Car accidents injure thousands of people every year. Despite being a daily occurrence, many victims are confused about handling the aftermath of a car wreck and are not sure if they need legal counsel. Generally speaking, discuss your legal options with an attorney after any car accident, especially for crashes involving physical injury.
If you or someone you care about has suffered injuries in a car accident that occurred because of someone else’s wrongful act, you have legal options that are available to you. A knowledgeable car accident attorney near you can explore those options with you and determine if you’re eligible to file a car accident personal injury claim. If you are, your lawyer can assist you throughout the process with negotiating your claim and, if necessary, litigating it in the state court system.
An Attorney Can Protect Your Legal Rights
In general, car accident victims should always consult with a lawyer after a crash. In some cases, like those involving relatively minor property damage only, an attorney may tell you that you can handle your claim yourself. If there are significant damages on the line, you definitely should retain an attorney to represent you.
Insurance companies always try to settle cases for as little as possible, and they will certainly try to minimize any non-economic or future damages you claim. For example, suppose they accept liability for the crash, and you can present repair bills totaling $5,000. In that case, there is little the insurance company can do to avoid paying you for those damages.
If you suffer a severe traumatic brain injury, while they may pay you for your medical bills, they may try to avoid paying for your pain and suffering or future lost income. However, when a lawyer represents you, the insurance company will be more likely to treat you fairly.
A Lawyer Can Help Determine Whether You Have a Case
Driver error is statistically one of the most common causes of car accidents around the country. A driver negligently operates their vehicle when they do something that a hypothetical reasonable driver would not do, or they fail to do something that a hypothetical reasonable driver would do under usual circumstances. Typically, this means that the driver violates a traffic law, engages in distracted driving, or operates their vehicle while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol:
Violating the road rules – Common violations of traffic rules include:
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Following too closely
- Failing to use turn signals
Whenever drivers break these rules, they can inadvertently bring about a serious motor vehicle crash that leaves someone else injured or even dead.
Engaging in distracted driving – A motor vehicle operator is distracted when they fail to give sufficient attention and time to the road. The driver, for example, might be looking down at their cell phone and sending a text message or email. At other times, the driver might be engaging in horseplay with passengers in the vehicle or listening to loud music in the car. A distracted driver might also turn their head slightly to program a GPS device.
These distracting activities can significantly divert a driver’s attention away from their primary responsibility: operating their vehicle safely and carefully. Even a second or two is sufficient time for a driver to fail to see a motor vehicle (or even a pedestrian) in the vicinity and cause a serious impact.
Drunk and drugged driving – State law imposes serious penalties for individuals who operate their motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Specifically, suppose a motor vehicle driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. In that case, they are per se intoxicated and can be subject to various criminal penalties upon conviction.
For instance, a convicted driver might lose their license or have to do jail time and pay significant monetary fines. Furthermore, suppose the drunk driver causes a traffic accident that leads to someone else becoming injured. In that case, that driver can be civilly liable, and their insurance company may need to pay out the claim. It sounds cliché, but drinking and driving never mix well together.
Drunk driving is illegal and dangerous because alcohol, being a depressant, has a significant impact on a driver’s brain functioning and processing of information. Alcohol can slow down a driver’s reaction time, preventing them from stopping in time to avoid a collision. Alcohol can also cause various physical impairments, including blurred visions and balance problems.
If you have suffered injuries in a car collision that a negligent driver caused, you should call a lawyer as soon as you can. An attorney can evaluate the circumstances of your collision and determine whether you have a claim. In addition, if you do have a claim, your lawyer can represent your interests with the insurance company and ensure that you do not accept a settlement offer that does not compensate you for your accident-related losses.
Types of Car Accidents that Typically Lead to Car Accident Claims
Negligent drivers can cause all different types of car accidents that may occur anywhere that motor vehicles are president. They can happen just as frequently on side roads and alleyways as they can on major interstate highways in the area. Car crashes also happen in parking lots and parking garages—especially when motor vehicle drivers are in a hurry. Some of the most common kinds of car accidents that happen include the following:
T-bone accidents – T-bone accidents, also called broadside collisions, happen when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle. The force of this impact can cause a vehicle on the receiving end to roll over or spin around. These accidents are especially common at traffic intersections where the at-fault driver is rushing. Consequently, the driver might try to beat a red or yellow traffic light and speed through the intersection, broadsiding a vehicle moving in an adjacent direction on the opposite roadway.
Rear-end crashes – A rear-end car crash happens when the front of one vehicle collides with the rear of another vehicle. These accidents can also happen when drivers are in a hurry and traffic slows down quickly—or when one driver tailgates another driver. The force of the impact from behind can cause an accident victim’s body to move forward and backward very quickly, resulting in a soft tissue neck or back injury. In most cases, the at-fault driver is the driver of the rear vehicle. That said, there are situations in which the driver of the leading vehicle is at fault. As a result, you should always speak to an attorney after involvement in a rear-end collision.
Sideswipe car accidents – A sideswipe motor vehicle collision occurs when the sides of two vehicles collide with one another, usually in busy, multi-lane highway traffic. Both vehicles move side-by-side in the same direction when the collision occurs. These accidents can result from distracted driving when a negligent driver lets their vehicle veer into another lane. They can also result from intoxicated driving when a driver fails to control their vehicle.
Head-on car collisions – A head-on car crash occurs when the fronts of two vehicles collide with one another. These accidents usually happen when the vehicles move in opposite directions, often on a roadway with one travel lane in each direction. The at-fault driver might negligently cause a vehicle to cross over a double line or median strip, colliding with an oncoming vehicle head-on. These actions can result in deadly injuries, especially when drivers exceed the speed limit.
Determining who was at fault for a car crash can be a difficult task, especially if the collision occurred suddenly and in the absence of witnesses or video surveillance. As a result, if you have suffered injuries in a car crash, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as you can. Keep in mind that almost all personal injury lawyers provide free case evaluations, so there is no risk associated with speaking to an attorney about your claim. Additionally, since most injury lawyers work on contingency, you can retain an attorney to represent you without paying anything upfront.
What Are the Most Common Car Accident Injuries?
Car accidents can lead to debilitating injuries that may require an accident victim to undergo medical treatment, including a painful medical procedure or injection. The injuries that an accident victim suffers in a car collision depend on various factors. The first factor is the force of the impact. Generally speaking, more forceful collisions result in more severe injuries to the people involved.
Another factor is how the accident victim’s body moves in the vehicle. In some instances, especially in the case of a rear-end accident, the accident victim’s body will move from side to side or forwards and backward at the point of impact. This can result in a soft tissue whiplash injury or muscular contusion. At other times, the accident victim’s body might strike a part of the vehicle, such as the headrest, window, steering wheel, door frame, dashboard, or console. When that happens, the accident victim can suffer a serious injury to the affected body part.
Common injuries that victims of car accidents frequently suffer include soft tissue injuries, abrasions, cuts, lacerations, broken bones, internal injuries, spinal cord damage, crush injuries, burns, traumatic amputations, and traumatic head and brain injuries.
If a car accident injured you, seek medical care and treatment as soon as possible. You can go to the local hospital emergency room or urgent care center. Alternatively, you can follow up with your primary care doctor so that the provider can examine you and render a medical opinion.
The responding healthcare provider can also take the necessary X-rays, MRIs, and other tests to ascertain your medical condition. Finally, the provider can recommend follow-up treatment if you require additional medical care.
After you have begun seeking medical treatment for your injuries, you should speak with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer as soon as you can. An experienced attorney can begin gathering the documents that are pertinent to your case, including the police report, medical records, and lost wage statements. Once you finish your medical treatment, your lawyer can submit a demand package to the insurance company on your behalf and pursue favorable settlement compensation for your injuries.
Economic and Non-economic Damages in Your Car Accident Case
Victims of car accidents can often recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate accident victims for all of their out-of-pocket expenses, medical costs, and any income they lost when they couldn’t work.
In addition, car accident victims can claim non-economic damages. These damages compensate accident victims for their pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of the ability to use a body part.
Many of these damages go to permanency, and an accident victim can recover compensation for both past and future pain and suffering. Moreover, suppose a healthcare provider determines that the accident victim might need to undergo a medical procedure in the future, such as surgery. In that case, the accident victim can recover those anticipated costs as part of their injury claim.
The types and amounts of damages that a car accident victim can recover will depend on various factors, including the extent of their injuries, the cost of their medical treatment, and the types of medical treatment they underwent.
The most important thing is to demand the full amount you deserve from the insurance company after a car accident. While you might not realize all of your economic and non-economic damages, Contact your car accident attorney should, and this is only one way they can help.