Victims of car accidents often suffer severe injuries that leave them debilitated, in need of medical treatment, and in excruciating pain. Moreover, many accident victims are unsure of what to do or do a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney to pursue and recover the monetary damages they need after their accident and injuries.
In addition to obtaining proper medical care after your car accident, you should retain an experienced lawyer to represent you during your personal injury claim. First, a lawyer can explain your legal options in clear and easy-to-understand terms, so you know what to expect going forward.
A good lawyer will also evaluate your accident circumstances, assist you with filing the necessary claim documents, and negotiate with the insurance company adjuster on your behalf. Moreover, if you suffered a severe or permanent injury in your accident, you might be eligible to file a claim or lawsuit with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Your lawyer can assist you throughout that process and, if necessary, litigate your case in court to a favorable conclusion.
How do Car Crashes Typically Happen?
Car accidents often occur out of the blue and catch many drivers and passengers off guard. The majority of these accidents happen when other drivers operate their vehicles recklessly and carelessly or while distracted or intoxicated.
Some of the most common causes of car crashes include:
- Distracted driving: A driver becomes distracted when they fail to watch the road attentively. Whenever a driver texts and drives or uses a cellular phone unequipped with Bluetooth technology they divert their attention away from the road. Consequently, they may not see a vehicle or pedestrian approaching, causing a severe crash that leads to injuries or fatalities. At other times, drivers become distracted when they play loud music in their car or when they have to turn their heads to discipline young children sitting in the backseat. Even when a distraction lasts for as little as two to five seconds, that may be sufficient time for a severe car accident to occur.
- Road rule violations: Many car accidents happen when drivers violate the rules of the road, such as by speeding, failing to use turn signals, tailgating, and failing to yield the right-of-way at the appropriate time including at busy traffic intersections.
- Road rage: Some car crashes occur when drivers exhibit road rage or when they react inappropriately to real or perceived scenarios that arise on the road. For example, many drivers become frustrated when other drivers do not keep up with the speed limit. An enraged driver often tailgates other vehicles, weaves zealously in and out of traffic, and fails to use turn signals at the proper times, causing severe accidents.
- Intoxicated driving: Drunk driving is, unfortunately, an all-too-common cause of traffic accidents. When a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, they are legally intoxicated. Commercial vehicle drivers, including tractor-trailer operators and big rig drivers, must not have a BAC of 0.04 percent or greater. A zero-tolerance policy exists for minor drivers who are under 18 years old. Drunk driving is a big deal because alcohol can significantly impair a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely and carefully. Alcohol can slow down a driver’s reaction time, impair their perception, limit their concentration, and prevent them from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid a crash. When an intoxicated driver gets behind the wheel, the chances are good that they will strike another vehicle, bringing about severe injuries and sometimes casualties.
If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from another driver’s negligence, a knowledgeable car accident attorney in your area can explore your legal options and help you file the necessary claim to pursue monetary compensation in your case.
What are Some Common Injuries that Car Drivers and Passengers Suffer in an Accident?
When drivers and passengers become involved in serious car crashes, they may suffer injuries that leave them out of commission for a long time. The injuries that a car crash victim suffers depend upon the type of accident, the extent of the impact, the property damage to the involved vehicles, and the way their body moves in the car during the crash.
Some accident victims’ bodies move forward and backward or from side to side in an abrupt manner, causing severe injuries. Other injuries may occur when an accident victim’s body directly strikes something in the vehicle, like the steering wheel, dashboard, headrest, or window.
Some of the most common car accident injuries include:
- Traumatic head damage
- Soft tissue contusions
- Cuts and abrasions
- Bruises, fractures
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
Any of these injuries may require significant medical treatment and can even cause a fatality. If you believe you suffered an injury in your accident, you should seek prompt medical care right away at a local hospital emergency room or urgent care center.
What Happens After a Car Crash?
Every car accident is different, but there are specific steps that every accident victim should take both for their own personal safety and for the good of their future personal injury claim or lawsuit. First, while you are at the accident scene, you should call 911 if you can do so. This will dispatch a police officer, ambulance, and fire truck to the accident scene.
Next, you should obtain contact information and insurance card information from every other driver involved in the accident. You should also talk with a responding police officer about how the accident happened and insist upon a copy of the final police report. Finally, as soon as possible after your accident, you should go in an ambulance or have someone transport you to a hospital emergency room for medical evaluation and treatment.
Seeking Emergency Medical Care as Soon as Possible after Your Accident
As soon as possible after your car crash, you should follow up at a local urgent care center or hospital emergency room. Seeking immediate medical treatment after a car accident is essential, even if you are not experiencing pain or symptoms at that moment. This is because many car accident injury symptoms do not appear after an accident for a few days, weeks, or months. This is especially true with concussions and other head injuries. Soft tissue injuries may also remain asymptomatic for several days after an accident before a flare-up occurs.
Therefore, you should promptly follow up at an ER so that a medical provider can thoroughly examine you, order the necessary imaging studies, and diagnose your medical condition. You must also follow through on all recommended medical treatments, such as following up with your family doctor, neurologist, or orthopedic doctor, if your symptoms worsen with time.
By treating your injuries early and often, you increase your chances of a quicker recovery. Moreover, if you later file a personal injury claim or lawsuit, such as with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you show the settlement adjuster that you took your injuries seriously and that your injuries were themselves serious. Therefore, you increase your chances of recovering fair monetary compensation in your case.
Call an Experienced Attorney to Represent You after Your Accident
After seeking initial medical treatment for your injuries, you must contact a knowledgeable car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will likely speak to you about how the accident happened and explain the next steps in the process, including filing a claim with your own insurance company.
Report a Claim to the Insurance Company and Submit the Necessary Claim Documents
Drivers must carry minimum personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage in the event they suffer injuries in a car accident. Under most circumstances, accident victims must first turn to their own insurance company for monetary compensation after a car crash. PIP will pay for your related medical expenses, as well as for your lost wages. Your lawyer can gather up all of your medical records, bills, and lost earnings statements and submit them to the insurance company adjuster for review. Your lawyer can also help you negotiate a favorable settlement, ensuring you receive the monetary compensation you deserve.
However, in some situations, accident victims suffer permanent injury or disfigurement. In addition, their medical bills and other damages might exceed the amount of their PIP insurance coverage. When that happens, you may be eligible to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, seeking various damages.
Engaging the At-fault Driver’s Insurer in a Personal Injury Claim
If you are eligible to file a car accident claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, your lawyer can help you file the claim and submit the necessary documents. In most instances, insurance companies try to settle car accident claims for as little money as possible. After all, adjusters want to try and save their insurance companies as much money as possible and avoid paying you the fair damages you deserve.
Your car accident lawyer can assist you during settlement negotiations by highlighting the strengths of your case and downplaying any weaknesses. Moreover, if the insurance company refuses to compensate you appropriately, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court on your behalf and assist you during the litigation process.
Litigating Your Car Accident Case to an Efficient Conclusion in the Court System
Car accident victims have a limited time to file a lawsuit for monetary damages. In almost all circumstances, this period is four years after the accident date. If the accident victim fails to file a claim or lawsuit within this timeframe, they waive their right to recover monetary damages for their car accident injuries and other accident consequences. If an accident victim tries to file a lawsuit after four years have expired, a court will almost certainly dismiss it.
Just because your lawyer files a lawsuit in court does not necessarily mean that your car accident case will go to trial. In fact, most car accident claims settle long before the trial date. Your lawyer can help you navigate the litigation stage of your case, including answering written interrogatories on your behalf and preparing you for a discovery deposition. Throughout the litigation process, your lawyer may continue negotiating with the settlement adjuster and pursue a higher settlement offer from them.
If your case does not settle, your lawyer can represent you and advocate for your legal interests at a civil jury trial. At trial, the jury will decide the total damages to award you in your case. Your lawyer can also recommend alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or binding arbitration, as a way of efficiently resolving your car accident claim.
Potential Damages You May Recover in Your Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit
When you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, you may be eligible for various damages. In addition to recovering compensation for your medical expenses and lost earnings, you may recover various non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages compensate accident victims for their non-tangible losses, such as inconvenience, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Victims may also pursue damages for loss of enjoyment of life, loss of the ability to use a body part, and loss of spousal companionship and consortium.
A car accident lawyer in your area will advocate for your legal interest during settlement negotiations or litigation and pursue a damage award that is full and favorable to you and you alone.
Contact a Skilled Car Accident Attorney to Represent You Today
Serious car accidents often create more questions than answers. However, by following up promptly at a hospital emergency room and speaking with a knowledgeable car accident attorney as soon as possible, you increase your chances of a successful settlement, jury verdict, or binding arbitration award.
Your lawyer can guide you through every step of the claims process and ensure that your legal rights remain protected. Moreover, your Florida personal injury lawyer will do everything they can to maximize your monetary damages and bring your case to an efficient and successful resolution through settlement or litigation.