Car accidents frequently happen when people drive carelessly and recklessly. When a violent car crash occurs, affected drivers and passengers may suffer severe injuries that require ongoing medical care and treatment. Medical costs can pile up quickly, and accident victims may be unable to work while they recover from their injuries. In some accident scenarios, victims may suffer permanent injuries that cause them to experience lifelong symptoms and complications.
If you sustained injuries in a recent car crash, you should obtain the legal help you need right away. A skilled car accident attorney can meet with you one-on-one, discuss your accident circumstances, and develop a plan for pursuing the monetary compensation you deserve. An car accident attorney can help you settle your case out of court or pursue litigation on your behalf in the court system.
In either circumstance, your lawyer will be your advocate throughout your entire case and will work to maximize the monetary damages you recover from your injuries, lost income, inconvenience, pain, and suffering.
How Do Car Accidents Happen?
Although there are some exceptions, the majority of car crashes result from driver negligence and error. Some crashes occur when drivers exceed the speed limit—especially during inclement weather, such as snow or ice. When a driver speeds, they are less likely to maintain control of their vehicle and more likely to cause a severe accident.
Other car crashes result from traffic law violations, like failing to yield the right-of-way to other drivers and pedestrians at certain times. Accidents may also occur when drivers fail to use their turn signals or aggressively weave in and out of heavy rush-hour traffic.
Car accidents may also happen when drivers exhibit road rage. These aggressive driving maneuvers, including tailgating other vehicles, passing vehicles in a no-passing zone, or zealously weaving in and out of traffic, may cause a car crash and lead to debilitating injuries.
Next, some car crashes result from DUI or operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol can seriously affect a driver’s ability to drive carefully. For example, it may slow down their central nervous system, resulting in blurred vision, and delay their reflexes and reaction time. Consequently, a driver may not see an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian, or they may be unable to stop their car in time to avoid a crash.
Drivers of passenger vehicles are legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. If a police officer arrests a driver for DUI, the driver may face numerous penalties and consequences, including jail time and monetary fines. In addition, the driver may be responsible for paying civil damages through their insurance company if their impaired driving causes an accident that leads to physical injuries.
Some car accidents also result from distracted driving. Electronic devices in a vehicle, including tablets, cell phones, and GPS navigation systems, may divert a driver’s attention away from the road, causing them to miss seeing an oncoming vehicle. Loud music playing in a car, as well as rowdy passengers, might also distract a driver from their primary duty of observing the road.
Finally, some car crashes happen when people drive while fatigued. Fatigued driving is especially common among operators of large trucks and tractor-trailers. These drivers often drive for hours on end without stopping simply because the trucking companies that employ them offer financial incentives for doing so.
When a driver becomes sleepy while behind the wheel, they may become inattentive and fail to see an approaching vehicle or pedestrian. Moreover, if they fall asleep while they are behind the wheel, they might lose control of their vehicle, causing a series of crashes that leave multiple drivers and passengers severely injured.
A skilled car accident lawyer in your area can help you determine if you are eligible to file a car accident claim or lawsuit for monetary damages. If you are eligible to proceed forward, your lawyer can assist you with every step of the process, including gathering the necessary documents, submitting a claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and aggressively negotiating with insurance company representatives. Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize the settlement offer you receive from the insurance company in your case.
What Are Some Common Car Crash Injuries?
Injuries that accident victims suffer in car crashes can be debilitating and may affect an accident victim for the rest of their life. Car crash injuries depend upon the force of a crash, the number of vehicles involved, and how the accident victim’s body shifts when the accident occurs.
Some of the most common injuries that car crash victims suffer include:
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Whiplash injuries
- Broken bones
- Rib fractures
- Spinal cord damage
- Open wounds
If you suffered one or more of these injuries in an accident that was not your fault, you might be eligible for various types of monetary compensation. However, prior to filing a personal injury claim for damages, you should seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. You can follow up with your primary care doctor or visit a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility.
In addition to undergoing medical treatment for your injuries, you should contact a skilled car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can begin to gather up your medical records and bills, lost income documentation, and other potential evidence to use when negotiating a fair settlement offer in your case.
Recovering Monetary Damages for Car-Accident Injuries
To recover monetary damages for car accident injuries, you must first establish the legal elements of your personal injury claim or lawsuit. First, you must show that another driver violated their legal duty of care. For example, they might have broken a traffic law, engaged in distracted driving or road rage, or operated their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Next, you must establish that as a direct result of the other driver’s negligence, the accident occurred. Finally, you must show, through medical testimony, that you sustained one or more physical injuries as a direct result of your accident.
In a car accident claim or lawsuit, a medical doctor can state, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that your injuries are a direct result of your car crash. In addition, a medical doctor can establish that one or more of your injuries are permanent, meaning they are unlikely to improve or become asymptomatic over time.
Assuming you can satisfy these legal elements through expert testimony and other evidence, you may be eligible to recover various monetary damages via a monetary settlement or favorable litigation result. Since every car accident scenario is different, and not all accident victims suffer identical injuries, the financial damages that accident victims recover will vary significantly from case to case. Generally speaking, the more serious a car accident and the more serious the injuries an accident victim suffers, the higher the monetary compensation you may recover.
First, accident victims may be eligible to recover monetary damages for all of their related medical costs. In addition, if a medical provider predicts the accident victim will need to undergo medical procedures in the future—such as additional surgery—the accident victim can make those anticipated medical costs part of their claim or lawsuit.
In addition, accident victims can recover reimbursement for their lost earnings in the event they have to miss time from work to attend ongoing medical treatment appointments. Similarly, if they had to switch to light-duty work or take a pay cut due to their accident-related injuries, they can assert a claim for loss of earning capacity.
Car crash victims can also recover non-economic damages to compensate them for various accident-related intangible losses. Those damages include monetary compensation for their pain and suffering, loss of use of a body part, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent disfigurement or disability, long-term care costs, and emotional anguish.
A skilled car crash lawyer in your area can help you develop realistic expectations for your car accident case and determine which of these damages you are likely to recover via settlement or litigation. Your lawyer can then help you decide on a plan of action that will put you in the best possible position to maximize your monetary recovery.
Filing a Claim With the Insurance Company
If you sustained injuries in a car crash resulting from another driver’s negligence, you can file a personal injury claim with that driver’s insurance company. However, if the at-fault driver did not have motor vehicle insurance coverage, or if they did not have sufficient coverage to compensate you for the full extent of your losses, you can file an uninsured motorist (UM) claim, or underinsured motorist (UIM) claim with your own insurance company. These types of claims are first-party claims.
In either instance, your car crash claim will proceed in much the same way, and the types of monetary damages you will pursue in either scenario are essentially the same. First, your lawyer will need to gather specific documentation to show the insurance company adjuster, including copies of your medical reports, medical bills, income loss statements, property damage photographs, injury photographs, police reports, and witness statements (if any).
After the insurance company receives these documents, they will read through them and decide whether or not to accept fault for the car accident. If the insurance company accepts liability on their insured’s behalf, the adjuster handling your case might send a settlement offer to your lawyer. In most cases, that offer will be low, and your lawyer will need to negotiate aggressively with the adjuster in pursuit of a higher offer.
If the insurance company does not pay you the fair damages you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses, and other losses, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf in court and litigate your case through the court system.
Sometimes, cases settle during the litigation process, while at other times, cases must go to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing for resolution.
At a civil jury trial, the jury hears the available evidence and decides the amount of monetary compensation to award the car crash victim for their injuries. However, at a binding arbitration hearing—which takes place out of court—a neutral arbitrator evaluates the evidence and resolves the issue of monetary damages.
Your lawyer can help you make informed decisions about settlement or litigation and work to maximize the monetary award you receive for your car accident injuries.
Call a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney for Legal Help Today
Car accident victims only have two years from their accident date to file a lawsuit seeking monetary damages. Filing a lawsuit after the deadline expires will prevent an accident victim from recovering any financial compensation.
A skilled car accident attorney can help you file a timely lawsuit in your case and work towards recovering the fair damages you deserve for all of your injuries. In addition to investigating your car accident and filing a claim with the appropriate insurance company, your lawyer can handle all settlement negotiations on your behalf and pursue a favorable monetary award. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.
If your lawyer needs to litigate the case in court, they can represent you at all legal proceedings, introduce the appropriate evidence and witness testimony, and fight for a fair verdict in your case.