When people drive their vehicles recklessly or carelessly, they may cause serious accidents, leading to personal injuries and other damages. If you suffered injuries in a car accident that someone else caused, you can first turn to your own insurance company and recover Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. However, if you suffered a particularly serious or disfiguring injury, or your PIP insurance does not cover your total damages, you may be eligible to file a claim or lawsuit with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
In addition to seeking prompt medical treatment after your car accident, one of your first steps should be to retain an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you throughout your case. Your lawyer can answer all of your legal questions and explain all of your options so that you can make informed settlement and litigation decisions in your case.
Moreover, your car accident lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and help you file a claim with the appropriate insurance company. Finally, if the insurance company adjuster will not compensate you fully and fairly for your car accident injuries, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and litigate your case to an efficient resolution.
Unlike insurance company attorneys and defense lawyers, personal injury lawyers only advocate for accident victims. They do not represent big insurance companies, and they only have your legal and financial interests at heart. Your attorney will do everything they can to help you maximize the damages you recover in your car accident claim or lawsuit.
How Do Car Accidents Happen?
Car accidents usually happen when other drivers operate their vehicles negligently. In the context of a car crash, negligence means acting unreasonably under the circumstances. In most instances, a negligent driver does something that a hypothetical “reasonable driver” should not do under the same circumstances.
Alternatively, a negligent driver might refrain from doing something that a hypothetical reasonable driver should have done in the same situation. Driver negligence usually involves violating a road rule, exhibiting road rage, driving while intoxicated, or distracted vehicle operation.
What Types of Car Crashes Result from Driver Negligence?
When drivers operate their cars and trucks negligently, they significantly increase their probability of causing a traffic accident. Some of the most common accidents that result from driver error include rear-end impacts, sideswipe collisions, broadside accidents, and head-on crashes.
A rear-end accident happens when the front of one vehicle strikes the back of another vehicle, usually at a traffic intersection or following an abrupt highway back-up. These accidents also occur when drivers speed or tailgate other vehicles, failing to leave enough stopping distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. When a rear-end crash happens, the impact force may cause an accident victim’s head and neck to move backward and forward very abruptly, causing a soft tissue neck or back injury.
On the other hand, sideswipe accidents happen when the sides of two vehicles traveling in the same direction strike one another. These accidents are common on multi-lane roadways in heavy vehicle traffic. Sideswipe crashes may occur when a driver fails to watch the road or operates their vehicle while intoxicated.
As a result, the driver might negligently cause their vehicle to veer across the dotted line and into another travel lane. In some instances, the impact force may push the other vehicle out of its lane or off the road altogether.
A broadside accident, or T-bone collision, happens when the front of one vehicle hits the side of a vehicle traveling on an adjacent roadway. These accidents are common at traffic intersections where a negligent driver fails to yield the right-of-way at a yield sign, stop sign, or red traffic signal. The force of impact from a broadside collision may cause the adjacent vehicle to spin around rapidly or overturn, causing the driver and occupants to suffer severe and sometimes fatal injuries.
Finally, head-on crashes happen when the fronts of two vehicles moving in opposite directions strike one another. These accidents may also occur when a driver fails to watch the road or drinks and drives. The driver may negligently cause their car to veer across the solid double line or even a concrete median strip and strike the front of an oncoming vehicle.
If you suffered injuries in any of these accidents resulting from driver negligence, you should talk with a car accident attorney in your area immediately. Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and assist you throughout the claims filing and litigation processes.
Common Car Accident Injuries
When drivers and passengers suffer injuries in car crashes, they may require ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation. First, they might need to follow up at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center. They may also need to consult with their primary care doctor or go to a medical specialist, such as an orthopedic doctor or neurologist.
If they undergo a complicated medical procedure, such as surgery, they may need to attend rehabilitative therapy sessions for weeks or months after their accident. Some injuries are so severe that they cause an accident victim pain and suffering for the rest of their life.
The injuries that a car accident victim suffers usually depend on various factors, including the type of accident that occurs, the force of the impact, and the way in which their body moves in the vehicle during the crash.
In some cases, the impact is so forceful that it causes the accident victim’s body to strike something in their vehicle, like the window, headrest, console, dashboard, steering wheel, or door frame. At other times, the impact may forcefully eject the accident victim from the driver or passenger side of their car, causing them to suffer permanent and sometimes fatal injuries.
Some of the most common injuries that car accident victims suffer include:
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord damage
- Full and partial paralysis injuries
- Cuts and scrapes
As soon as possible after a car accident, you should go to a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility in your area. You should seek this initial treatment even if you are unsure about whether you suffered an injury. This is because many injuries become far worse if untreated for a significant time. Moreover, the symptoms of some injuries, including some soft tissue injuries and concussion injuries, do not become apparent until days or weeks after a car accident happens.
When you go to the ER, the attending physician can physically examine you and order MRIs, CAT scans, X-rays, and other studies, to determine your medical condition and render an accurate diagnosis. If you require additional medical treatment, your doctor can recommend you to a specialist or other medical provider.
Seeking prompt medical treatment after your car accident also bodes well for your personal injury claim or a lawsuit. Seeking immediate and ongoing treatment shows the insurance company handling your claim that your injuries are serious and that you took your medical treatment seriously right after your accident. Consequently, they are more likely to award you the total amount of damages you deserve for your injuries.
While you continue attending medical appointments, a knowledgeable car accident attorney in your area can begin advocating for you. In addition to protecting your legal rights and interests, your lawyer can start to gather your medical documents, lost wage statements, and other potential evidence for your personal injury case. Once you finish treating, your lawyer can submit these documents to the insurance company adjuster and pursue a favorable settlement offer on your behalf.
Potential Damages in Car Accident Cases
You might be eligible for various damages if you suffered injuries in a car crash. After turning to your own insurance company, you may be eligible to recover your medical expenses and lost wages, if any. However, if you suffered a severe or disfiguring injury in your accident or your medical damages exceeded the amount of your PIP coverage you can file a claim or lawsuit with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, seeking various damages.
Recoverable damages in a car accident claim depend significantly upon the type of accident that occurs, the impact force, the nature and extent of your injuries, and your medical treatment. Generally speaking, the more significant your injuries and the more extensive your medical treatment, the higher the damages you may recover in your car accident claim or lawsuit.
First, you may be eligible to recover compensation for all related medical bills and treatment after your accident. You may even recover these damages if health insurance pays for some or all of your medical treatment. In addition, if you had to miss time from work due to your injuries, you can assert a lost wage claim.
To prove your lost wage claim, you may need to introduce documentation from your medical provider, which authorized you to be off work for a period of time. Moreover, you may need documentation from your employer which shows the amount of money you lost and the number of workdays you missed due to your accident-related injuries. Finally, if your case goes to court, your employer or their representative may need to appear in court and authenticate your lost wage documentation.
If you suffered a serious, permanent, or disfiguring injury, you might also be eligible to recover compensation for your past and future inconvenience, pain, suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish. Moreover, if you suffered a permanent injury in your accident, such as full or partial paralysis and you cannot use one or more body parts you may be eligible to file a claim for loss of use.
Additionally, if your quality of life declines after your accident due to the injuries you suffered, you can bring a claim for loss of life enjoyment. Finally, if you are married and your injuries affect your ability to be intimate with your spouse, you can file a claim for loss of spousal companionship and consortium.
Obtaining settlement compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier is oftentimes an uphill battle. Large insurance companies are only concerned with their bottom line and will try to offer you as little money as possible to resolve your claim.
An experienced car crash lawyer in your area can determine which of these damages you are eligible to recover in your car accident claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer will then help you negotiate with the insurance company adjuster and, if necessary, litigate your case to a favorable resolution in the court system.
Filing a Prompt Lawsuit after a Car Crash
Car accident victims must file their claim or lawsuit within four years of their accident date. If the accident victim files their claim or lawsuit belatedly, they waive their right to recover any monetary compensation and damages. Therefore, as soon as possible after your car accident, you should retain an experienced attorney to represent you, thereby increasing your chances of recovering favorable monetary compensation.
A car accident attorney can immediately file a lawsuit if the statute of limitations is running short in your case. Your lawyer can then assist you throughout the litigation process and work to recover favorable damages on your behalf.
Speak to an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Near You Today
If you suffered injuries in a car crash, it is essential that you retain experienced legal counsel right away. In general, the sooner you retain a car accident attorney to represent you during your personal injury claim or lawsuit, the better off you will be and the more likely you will recover favorable monetary compensation for your injuries.
Your lawyer can zealously negotiate with the insurance company adjuster on your behalf and pursue damages that make you whole again after your car accident. If the insurance company refuses to award you favorable compensation, your personal injury lawyer can file a lawsuit, litigate your case in the court system, and aggressively represent you in all legal proceedings.
Start protecting your legal rights and financial future today by seeking a free legal evaluation and consultation.