The number one cause of auto accidents is negligent driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, negligent driving can take many different forms.
Negligent drivers violate the rules of the road, including by driving while distracted or intoxicated.
If you or a person you care about has suffered injuries in an auto accident that occurred because of negligence, you have legal options that are open to you. A knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorney can pursue compensation from the insurance company and get the damages you need to recover from your injuries. Please give us a call or contact us today to find out more about how we can assist with your legal matter.
Types of Negligent Driving
Several types of negligent driving can lead to an auto accident. Negligence occurs when a driver violates a rule of the road, such as by speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle at the appropriate time, tailgating another vehicle, weaving in and out of traffic or otherwise driving recklessly or carelessly under the circumstances.
In addition, drivers cause accidents when they engage in distracted driving. Distracted driving means operating a vehicle while failing to give sufficient time and attention to the road. For example, the driver might be fiddling with a GPS device, disciplining small children in the back seat of the vehicle or sending a text message on a cellular phone. Any of these activities can divert a driver’s attention away from the road and onto something else. All it takes is a second or two for a serious motor vehicle collision to happen.
Finally, drivers are negligent when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol, for example, is a depressant that can slow down a person’s central nervous system. The driver, in turn, may not appreciate time or distance, or the driver’s vision might become blurry. In addition, the driver might experience delayed reaction time and may not stop their vehicle in time to avoid a serious collision.
In addition to the criminal and administrative penalties that often come with DUI convictions, a drugged or intoxicated driver can also be civilly liable if they cause an accident and a person suffers injuries as a result. When that happens, the insurance company should step in to provide the necessary compensation for the accident victim’s injuries.
If you have suffered injuries in any of these accidents, you need legal representation. If you do not have a lawyer representing you throughout your case, the insurance company will take advantage of you and try to settle your case for significantly less than it’s worth.
An experienced car accident attorney can review the circumstances of your accident with you and determine whether or not you’re eligible to pursue a personal injury claim for monetary compensation. If you are, our legal team can file the claim on your behalf and get you on the road to recovering the compensation that you deserve.
Types of Auto Accidents
When a driver operates their vehicle in a negligent, reckless, or careless manner, several types of collisions can occur. One common type of accident is a rear-end collision. In a rear-end accident, the front of one vehicle collides with the rear of another vehicle, typically resulting in significant front-end and rear-end damage for the vehicles.
The force of a rear-end impact can move an accident victim’s body forward and backward in the vehicle abruptly, resulting in soft tissue injuries. In addition, the force of the impact might cause the accident victim’s body to strike something in a vehicle, such as a headrest, steering wheel, door frame or window. Any of these impacts can lead to one or more significant injuries for the accident victim.
Another common accident is a head-on motor vehicle collision. A head-on collision happens when the front of one vehicle strikes the front of another vehicle, usually on a two-lane highway that has one lane of travel in each direction. These types of accidents can happen when a driver is distracted or under the influence of alcohol and the driver negligently causes his/her vehicle to cross the center line into oncoming traffic. Head-on collisions can sometimes be fatal, especially if they occur at a high rate of speed.
T-bone accidents at intersections typically occur because of driver error or negligence. A T-bone collision happens when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of a vehicle. In a forceful collision, the vehicle on the receiving end can spin around or overturn in the intersection, leading to serious and potentially fatal injuries for the driver and any passengers.
Finally, sideswipe collisions are usually the result of negligence. These accidents happen when the sides of two vehicles brush up against one another, usually when they are in multi-lane traffic on a busy highway.
If you have suffered injuries in any of these types of motor vehicle collisions, a knowledgeable attorney can explain all of your legal options to you and help you decide on the best course of action for your case. Our legal team can help you determine the best way to move your case forward to recover the monetary compensation that you need for your injuries.
Injuries That Victims of Auto Accident Victims May Suffer
Victims of auto accidents can suffer extremely serious injuries, some of which wind up being permanent. The accident victim might need extensive medical treatment and physical therapy, including one or more surgical procedures.
The extent of an accident victim’s injuries will depend on the force of the impact, the way the accident victim’s body moves in the car, and the speed of the vehicles involved in the collision. Moreover, accident victims whose bodies strike something in the vehicle can suffer serious injuries, such as a bone fracture or break.
Other common injuries in car accidents include soft tissue injuries, such as muscular contusions, sprains, and strains. When an accident victim’s head strikes the headrest or steering wheel, they can suffer a traumatic head injury, such as a concussion. In addition, victims of car accidents can suffer back and spinal cord injuries, including full or partial paralysis.
If you have suffered any of these injuries in a car accident, your first step after the accident should be to seek emergency medical treatment. Even if you are not sure about the severity of your injuries, you should go to a hospital emergency room or urgent care center and have the doctor or nurse on duty check your condition. The doctor or nurse will run the necessary tests and imaging studies to determine the extent of your injuries. The provider can also get you the emergency medical assistance that you need and make recommendations for follow-up care, such as with a medical specialist.
Seeking medical treatment right after your accident is one of the most important steps that you can take. If you fail to seek emergency medical treatment, an insurance company might later determine that you were not injured all that seriously in the collision. When it comes to auto accidents, it is better to be safe than sorry. Generally speaking, the earlier that you seek treatment, the better off you will be on all fronts.
Filing an Auto Accident Claim
Filing a personal injury claim after an auto accident can be a tedious process. Once you have finished all of your medical treatment, a lawyer can file the claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your behalf. As part of the claims-filing process, your attorney will need to gather up your medical documents and other paperwork and present it to the insurance company in a settlement demand package.
This package will include a settlement demand letter which makes a monetary demand to resolve the case through settlement. Accompanying documents will typically include copies of your medical records and bills, lost wage documentation, police reports, investigation reports (if any), eyewitness statements, a victim impact statement, photographs of property damage and photographs of your injuries.
Once the insurance company reviews all of this documentation, they will decide whether or not to accept fault for the accident. Your attorney can then negotiate with the insurance company adjuster to pursue a favorable settlement offer. If the case does not settle after several attempts at negotiating, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system and litigate it to a conclusion.
If the case still does not resolve, the parties can take it to trial or an alternative dispute resolution proceeding, like binding arbitration or mediation. No matter what happens, your attorney will assist you through all of these steps and represent you in any legal proceedings in court.
Recoverable Damages in Auto Accident Cases
Victims of car accidents are sometimes eligible to recover damages. To recover monetary compensation, you must prove all of the legal elements of your claim. Normally, you must show that another driver acted in an unsafe or unreasonable manner, such as by drinking and driving, engaging in distracted driving, speeding, or violating some other rule of the road. In addition, you must show that the driver’s negligence caused the accident and that you suffered one or more injuries because of the accident.
If you can satisfy these legal elements, you can pursue various damages. Not every car accident case is the same, and some accident victims are injured more severely than others. Therefore, not all accident victims will recover the same types and amounts of damages. The damages that you are eligible to recover in your case will depend upon the severity of your injuries, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether or not you suffered a permanent injury or disability in the accident.
First of all, you might be eligible to recover compensation for your medical expenses, including your treatment costs, surgical bills, and physical therapy, if any. If you need to miss time away from work to recover from your injuries, you can claim lost wages. In addition to these economic damages and other out-of-pocket costs, you can claim noneconomic damages. These damages compensate accident victims for their pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of the ability to use a body part and loss of life enjoyment associated with their injuries.
In addition, if an accident victim suffers a permanent injury that prevents them from working at the same job or in the same capacity, they can bring a claim for loss of earning capacity. Finally, accident victims can claim loss of spousal companionship or consortium.
If you have suffered injuries in a recent car accident, a skilled legal team can help you file your claim and work to negotiate a favorable settlement. Throughout the process, they will zealously advocate for your interests and do everything to maximize the monetary compensation you deserve for your car accident.
Speak With a Car Accident Lawyer About Your Legal Matter Today
A skilled team of attorneys can handle every step of the claims-filing process following your motor vehicle accident. Don’t wait to contact a car accident lawyer near you for a free case evaluation today.