The ultimate value of a car accident claim depends upon several factors, including the specific injuries the accident victim suffers and the medical treatment they undergo. Moreover, accident victims who suffer permanent injuries are more likely to recover higher compensation than victims who suffer only temporary injuries. Finally, property damage to the involved vehicles may also affect a personal injury damage award. This is because higher property damage usually translates into more severe injuries at least from the insurance company’s standpoint.
One of the most important steps to maximize monetary damages in a car accident claim is to retain a knowledgeable attorney to represent you throughout your case. Generally speaking, the sooner you have knowledgeable legal counsel in your case, the better off you will be and the higher the damages you may recover.
A car accident attorney in your area can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your accident, along with your injuries and subsequent medical treatment. Your lawyer can then help you file a claim with the appropriate insurance company and help you pursue the total amount of damages you deserve.
Insurance companies often offer car accident victims as little settlement compensation as possible. They do this to try to save themselves money and avoid paying out extensive damages. Your car accident lawyer will know the tricks and tactics that insurance companies and their adjusters routinely use to try and undervalue personal injury claims.
Armed with this information, your attorney can take on the insurance company directly and aggressively fight for your right to recover total monetary compensation for your car accident injuries.
How Do Car Accidents Happen?
Car accidents usually happen when drivers operate their vehicles negligently and carelessly. Some of the most common causes of these accidents include road rage, moving violations, distracted driving, and drunk driving.
A driver exhibits road rage when they react inappropriately to an actual or perceived circumstance that arises while on the road. For example, a driver might angrily honk their horn or tailgate another driver when they don’t keep up with traffic. At other times, an enraged driver might fail to use their turn signal, or they may aggressively weave in and out of busy highway traffic. When irate drivers execute these risky maneuvers, they might miss another vehicle or pedestrian in the vicinity, causing a severe collision.
Another common cause of car crashes is moving violations. A driver commits a moving violation when they disregard one or more road rules. Common moving violations that lead to traffic accidents include failing to yield the right-of-way at a traffic intersection or highway merge lane, speeding, and failing to use turn signals at the appropriate times.
Other traffic accidents happen when drivers become distracted while behind the wheel. A distracted driver is one who ignores the road. Instead of watching the road, the driver might be fiddling with a cellular phone, tablet, or GPS device. Alternatively, they might listen to loud music in their vehicle or roughhouse with vehicle passengers, turning their attention away from the road. When a driver fails to pay attention, they may not see another vehicle or a pedestrian approaching, causing severe accidents which lead to injuries.
Finally, some car accidents happen when drivers operate their vehicles while intoxicated. A driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent is legally intoxicated. The same holds true for commercial drivers, including tractor-trailer operators, who have a BAC of at least 0.04 percent. Minor drivers who are under 18 years old may not have any alcohol in their system while driving.
Drunk driving is hazardous because alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle carefully and safely. An impaired driver might experience delayed reaction time, preventing them from stopping in time to avoid a crash. Moreover, drunk drivers often experience troubling physical symptoms, like blurred vision and delayed concentration, limiting their ability to drive safely.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in one of these accidents that resulted from negligent driving, you have legal options available. A local lawyer for a car accident in your area can discuss the circumstances of your accident with you and determine your eligibility for various damages. Then, your lawyer may file a claim on your behalf with the insurance company and advocate for your legal interests during settlement negotiations and litigation.
What Are Some Common Car Accident Injuries?
When negligent drivers cause collisions, other drivers and their passengers may suffer serious injuries. In some instances, these injuries may become permanent, causing the accident victim to experience pain and other symptoms for the rest of their life.
The injuries that a car crash victim suffers often depend upon how their body moves in the car at the time of impact, along with the impact force itself. Generally speaking, the more forceful an impact, the more severe the injuries an accident victim suffers in the crash. In some instances, the impact is so hard that it causes a part of the accident victim’s body to hit something in the vehicle, like the headrest, steering wheel, door frame, or headrest, causing debilitating injuries.
Some of the most common car accident injuries that drivers and passengers suffer include soft tissue contusions, traumatic head & brain injuries, broken bones, rib fractures, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, internal organ damage, and death.
If you suffered any of these injuries in a recent car crash, your first step should be to seek prompt medical intervention at the emergency room or local urgent care center. The medical provider on duty can render you emergency assistance, order the necessary imaging studies, and physically examine and diagnose you. Moreover, if you need additional medical treatment, your doctor can make the required recommendations. Depending upon your injuries, you may need to follow up with your primary care doctor or with a medical specialist, like an orthopedist or neurologist.
Seeking prompt medical treatment after a car accident helps to ensure that your injuries do not get worse. It also shows the insurance company that your injuries are serious and that you made your medical treatment a top priority immediately after your car crash.
While you focus on seeking treatment and getting better, a car accident attorney in your area can begin handling the legal aspects of your claim. Specifically, your lawyer can start gathering relevant medical documents, including your treatment records and bills. They can also gather wage loss documents from your employer, photographs of your injuries, and property damage photographs. Once you complete your medical treatment, your lawyer can submit these documents to the appropriate insurance company adjuster and pursue fair settlement compensation for your car accident injuries.
What Is a Car Accident Claim?
Accident victims may be eligible to file several types of claims after their car accident. First, drivers must carry $10,000 worth of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage. If you suffer injuries in a car accident, regardless of who caused the accident, you can access this coverage to pay for your related medical expenses and lost wages.
However, in some severe car accident scenarios, an accident victim’s medical bills exceed this $10,000 PIP limit. When that happens, they can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for damages. The same is true if the accident victim suffers a permanent or disfiguring injury in their car accident or if the accident victim dies as a result of their injuries.
Factors that Affect the Total Monetary Value of a Car Accident Claim
All car accident claims are different, and certain claims have higher monetary values than others.
Some of the most common factors that influence a car accident claim’s monetary value include:
- The extent of your accident-related injuries: Generally speaking, the more serious a car accident victim’s injuries, the higher the monetary compensation available in their personal injury claim.
- Related medical costs: The more expensive an accident victim’s medical treatment, the higher the damages they may recover in their accident claim. When accident victims have to stay in the hospital, undergo surgeries and other medical procedures, and attend physical therapy sessions, they usually incur high medical bills.
- Lost wages: Some accident victims suffer such severe injuries that they cannot go to work for an extended period. When accident victims miss work time, they may claim lost wages as part of their personal injury case. This will likely increase the damages they are eligible to recover.
- Vehicle property damage: Insurance companies and their adjusters tend to favor personal injury claims involving significant property damage. In the settlement adjuster’s mind, catastrophic property damage translates into serious injuries, leading to higher settlement offers.
- The need for future medical treatment: In some car accident cases, a medical provider may state in writing, and to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that the accident victim may need to undergo a future medical procedure. For example, they may need reconstructive surgery at some point in the future. An accident victim can incorporate these anticipated medical costs into their personal injury claim or lawsuit.
- The insurance company: The insurance company with whom you’re dealing as well as the handling adjuster may also affect the total settlement value of your car accident claim. This is because some insurance companies and their adjusters are more generous than others. Moreover, specific adjusters will work harder than others to settle a car accident claim efficiently and for a fair value.
A car accident attorney in your area will do everything in their power to maximize your claim’s monetary value and ensure you recover the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Recoverable Damages in a Car Accident Claim
If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from another driver’s negligence, you might be eligible to recover various damages from the at-fault driver’s insurer.
In addition to recovering your medical costs and lost wages, you can pursue damages for:
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Permanent disfigurement
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium
Your lawyer will assist you during settlement negotiations and highlight the strengths of your claim while downplaying any weaknesses. If the insurance company does not fairly compensate you for your accident-related injuries, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and pursue litigation to a favorable conclusion on your behalf.
Deadline to File a Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit
Car accident victims have a limited time to file a claim or lawsuit that seeks monetary recovery. That time deadline is four years from the accident date. If the car crash victim fails to file the appropriate claim or lawsuit within that time period, they waive their right to recover damages, and they will not be eligible for damages at any future time.
Therefore, as soon as possible after your car accident, you must retain an experienced car crash attorney to represent you in your case. Your lawyer can determine the statutory deadline for filing a lawsuit in your case, and if that deadline is approaching, they will file your lawsuit immediately. Moreover, your lawyer can assist you throughout the litigation process and help you decide whether you should accept or reject a pending settlement offer from the insurance company.
Call a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney in Your Area Today
Car accident victims often have numerous questions that need answering. An experienced car accident lawyer in your area can address all of your legal concerns and help you decide the best course of action for your personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Personal injury attorneys only represent injured accident victims. They do not advocate for insurance companies or their legal and financial interests. Therefore, your personal injury attorney will advocate only for you and help you recover the maximum damages you deserve either through settlement or litigation.
Trying to take on the insurance company by yourself is seldom a good idea. Always have the right lawyer on your side.