Following a car accident, many individuals are left with mounting medical bills, not to mention serious injuries that require ongoing medical care. During this time, accident victims are often unsure of the necessary steps they should take to file a legal claim and pursue the monetary remedies they need.
Also, many crash victims do not know what to expect following their accident. Fortunately, an experienced car crash lawyer can take some of the burdens off an accident victim’s shoulders and help them take the appropriate legal action.
A lawyer can first help you investigate the circumstances of your car crash and determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim—all while you focus your attention on attending medical appointments and getting better.
Your attorney can also help you file a legal claim with the appropriate insurance company and pursue the monetary damages you deserve via settlement compensation. Finally, if the insurance company does not offer you appropriate monetary damages, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system and litigate your case to a successful resolution. Reach out to a car accident lawyer.
While your personal injury case is pending, your lawyer can help you make informed decisions that will increase your chances of recovering the favorable monetary benefits and compensation you deserve.
Common Types of Car Crashes
Car accidents come in all shapes and sizes. One common type of car crash is a rear-end accident, where the front of one vehicle hits the back of another car. These accidents can happen near traffic intersections or along the highway—primarily when a traffic back-up occurs.
T-bone or broadside collisions, on the other hand, happen when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another car on an intersecting roadway. These crashes often cause the second vehicle to overturn or spin around rapidly. T-bone accidents usually occur at traffic intersections with stop signs, yield signs, or traffic lights. For example, the at-fault driver might fail to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle at the proper time, run a red light, and cause a crash.
Next, sideswipe accidents happen when the sides of two vehicles hit one another while traveling in the same direction. A fatigued or distracted driver might negligently cause their car to cross a lane marking and strike another vehicle in a nearby travel lane.
Overturn accidents, on the other hand, happen when a driver speeds in inclement weather—or around a sharp roadway curve—causing their vehicle to fully or partially overturn and bring about a multi-vehicle collision.
Finally, head-on collisions happen when the fronts of two vehicles strike one another, causing the cars to fold in on themselves and often bringing about fatal injuries.
If you or a person you care about sustained injuries in one of these car crashes that resulted from driver error, you should seek the legal help you need right away. Car crash victims only have two years from their accident date to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit seeking damages. Unless an exceptional circumstance applies, accident victims who file their lawsuit after the deadline expires will not be eligible to pursue any monetary recovery for their injuries. Therefore, you should seek the legal help you need immediately.
A car crash lawyer in your area can start gathering the necessary documents to file your claim. Moreover, if the statute of limitations expires soon, your attorney can promptly file a lawsuit in the court system and continue settlement negotiations with the insurance company adjuster.
Injuries in Car Accidents
Injuries are an unfortunate consequence of many car crashes and can sometimes be devastating and deadly. Both drivers and passengers may suffer serious injuries, depending upon how the accident occurs, the type of accident that happens, the speeds of the vehicles, the force of the collision, the number of collisions, and other accident-related circumstances.
Some of the most common injuries that car crash victims experience during a forceful collision include:
- Internal injuries
- Rib fractures
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue whiplash injuries
- Traumatic head and brain damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Open cuts and lacerations
If you suffered any of these injuries in a recent car crash, you should follow up at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility on the same day as your accident. Waiting too long to treat accident-related injuries may send the wrong signal to the insurance company. For example, insurance company representatives might believe your injuries are not severe and they do not warrant appropriate monetary compensation. Moreover, from a practical perspective, delaying medical treatment may cause a relatively minor injury to become significantly worse.
While you go to a hospital emergency room, undergo imaging studies, and seek the medical treatment you need, a car crash lawyer can begin to gather relevant documentation, including police crash reports and witness statements, and start assembling a settlement demand package on your behalf. After your treatment is complete, your lawyer can submit this demand package to the insurance company, start negotiating with adjusters, and keep you informed of all new settlement offers in your case.
What Can Happen After a Car Crash?
Following a car crash, many things can happen that leave an accident victim confused and unsure of the necessary steps they should take. Given the complexity of many car accidents and the resulting personal injury claims, you should have skilled legal representation in your corner as early on in the claims-filing process as possible.
Having a skilled attorney on your side from the very beginning of your case can make all the difference when it comes to maximizing your total settlement compensation, jury verdict, or binding arbitration award.
Requests for Recorded Statements by Insurance Company Adjusters
In many cases following a car accident, the insurance company adjuster for the at-fault driver reaches out to the accident victim directly. During this conversation, the adjuster might ask the accident victim to provide a recorded statement. However, you should always be wary about providing such a statement to an adjuster—especially without legal representation.
First, the only reason an insurance company requests a recorded statement is to see if there’s a basis for denying fault in the case. Many insurance companies and their adjusters will twist the accident victim’s words during a recorded statement in an attempt to deny liability for the crash.
You should also be aware that many adjusters tell accident victims that providing a recorded statement is mandatory. However, nothing can be further from the truth.
Settlement Offers From Insurance Companies
Assuming the insurance company does accept liability for your car accident, they will likely put a settlement offer on the table at some point. However, you should anticipate that initial settlement offers are going to be very low and far less than the total value of your claim or lawsuit.
Insurance companies have many reasons for making low settlement offers in car accident cases. First, they are big businesses, and they have the incentive to keep as much of their money in-house as possible. They cannot accomplish this goal if they must pay out a significant car accident settlement, jury verdict, or binding arbitration award to an injured accident victim. Therefore, throughout the process, they will do everything they can to limit their monetary exposure.
Insurance companies may also attempt to limit payouts by shifting some or all of the blame for the accident onto the accident victim—or by alleging the accident victim’s injuries and symptoms are unrelated to the subject occurrence. They may even claim the accident victim’s current symptoms are the result of a pre-existing medical condition or injury rather than from the subject accident. These allegations are widespread when car accident victims claim that they suffered a traumatic head injury or soft tissue contusion in their crash.
A car crash lawyer can retain a medical expert who can causally relate your claimed injuries and symptoms to the present accident. They can also establish, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that one or more of your injuries are permanent in nature.
Car Accident Litigation
Sometimes, car accident cases settle prior to filing a lawsuit. These types of settlements are prevalent in cases where liability is clear and where there is a clear causal connection between the accident victim’s claimed injuries and the accident itself. However, in some cases, insurance companies and their adjusters simply refuse to appropriately compensate accident victims for the full extent of their losses. In those circumstances, an accident victim’s attorney may need to file a lawsuit in the court system.
However, even after filing a lawsuit, the parties may continue their settlement negotiations, and the case can still resolve during the litigation stage. In fact, the majority of car crash cases in litigation ultimately resolve at some point. This is because insurance companies often want to avoid the uncertainty of taking a case to trial and obtaining a jury verdict that is unfavorable to them.
If your case is in litigation, the court will likely establish deadlines for various milestones, including the completion of discovery. The court may also set one or more settlement conference dates, as well as a jury trial date.
Legal Proceedings if Your Case Doesn’t Settle
If your case does not resolve via settlement, you should anticipate that it will go to a jury trial. During a trial, the lawyers present evidence on behalf of their clients, and a judge or jury decides the case outcome. The jury’s main job is to resolve all issues currently in dispute. In some car accident cases, the parties will stipulate liability, but the question of monetary damages may remain open. In that situation, the jury will decide what, if any, monetary compensation to award the car accident victim.
As an alternative to a jury trial, the parties might consider mediation or binding arbitration as a means of alternative dispute resolution. For example, during a binding arbitration hearing, the presiding judge or lawyer will listen to the evidence and determine the total amount of monetary damages to award the car accident victim.
What Monetary Damages May I Recover for my Car-accident Injuries and Other Losses?
Following a car crash, injured accident victims can recover various monetary damages for their injuries, medical expenses, and other related losses. Every car accident case is different. Therefore, different accident victims will recover different types and amounts of monetary damages.
Factors that influence a monetary damage award include:
- The injuries the accident victim suffered
- The cost of all related medical treatment
- The likelihood the accident victim will need to undergo additional medical treatment in the future
- Whether the accident victim missed time from work
- Whether the accident victim suffered a permanent injury
- The length of time the accident victim received treatment for their injuries
- The amount of pain and suffering the accident victim experienced due to their injuries
Some of the most common monetary damages that car crash victims may recover include compensation for:
- Related past and future medical expenses
- Missed earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent disability
- Permanent scarring
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
A skilled car crash lawyer can take the steps necessary to help you maximize these monetary damages and ensure you become whole again, to the greatest extent possible, following your car accident.
Contact a Skilled Car Accident Attorney for the Legal Help You Need Today
Victims of serious car accidents are oftentimes unsure of what to expect during their personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Your lawyer can also help you anticipate the types and amounts of monetary damages you may be eligible to recover, depending upon the accident circumstances and the extent of your injuries. With a skilled lawyer on your side, you significantly increase your chances of maximizing your monetary damages and obtaining a favorable monetary award through settlement or litigation. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.