Do I call my insurance company if it’s not my fault? Car accidents that result from negligence can lead to debilitating injuries, pain, inconvenience, and suffering. Whenever an accident victim sustains serious injuries, they may need to seek lengthy medical treatment, miss time from work, and attend physical therapy sessions. Their quality of life may also decrease significantly—especially in the weeks and months immediately following their accident.
As soon as possible after a car accident, you should seek follow-up medical care at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center in your area. In addition, you should contact an experienced and compassionate car accident lawyer in your area. If you are eligible to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, your lawyer can take care of that for you.
Moreover, your lawyer can handle all dealings with your own insurance company. You must call your own insurance company after a car crash happens. This is a legal requirement. This is true even if the accident is not your fault. By contacting your own insurance company, you put them on notice of a potential claim in the event there is an issue with the at-fault driver’s insurer and you need your own insurance company to authorize accident benefits such as physiotherapy, massage, chiropractic care, disability benefits, etc. For example, the at-fault driver may be totally uninsured—or underinsured—and may not have sufficient insurance coverage to compensate you for all of your injuries and damages.
Moreover, in cases of uninsured and underinsured at-fault drivers, you can file a claim through Alberta’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program (MVAC). It is important to speak to a lawyer to understand how the MVAC works and their strict timelines.
By retaining a knowledgeable Edmonton car accident lawyer to represent you as early on in the process as possible, you significantly increase your chances of recovering the total amount of compensation you need for the injuries you suffered in your accident.
Types of Car Accidents That Result From Driver Negligence
A driver is negligent when they operate their vehicle unreasonably under the circumstances. In general, a driver behaves negligently when they fail to do something that a hypothetical reasonable driver should have done in the same situation. Alternatively, they may do something that a hypothetical reasonable driver should not have done under the same circumstances.
When drivers operate their vehicles negligently, they can cause several types of accidents. One of the most common types—a rear-end accident—occurs when the front of a car or truck hits the back of another vehicle. This often causes the affected accident victim’s body to move violently forward and backward, causing soft tissue neck and back sprains, strains, and contusions. The accident victim may also suffer a severe head injury if they strike their head on the steering wheel or headrest during the collision.
Another common type of car accident is a broadside collision or T-bone accident. These accidents occur when the front of one vehicle hits the side of a vehicle that is travelling on an adjacent roadway. Because these collisions resemble the form of the letter T, they are prevalent at four-way traffic intersections. They can also happen near highway merge lanes when a merging driver fails to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic.
Sideswipe collisions, on the other hand, happen when the sides of two vehicles strike one another while travelling in the same direction. These accidents usually occur on busy highways with multiple travel lanes in each direction.
Finally, head-on collisions happen when the fronts of two vehicles strike one another. These accidents usually occur when a driver is intoxicated or fails to observe the road. The at-fault driver may cross the median strip or double line, striking a vehicle in the opposing lane head-on and causing the accident victim to suffer serious injuries or fatalities.
If you suffered injuries in an accident that was not your fault, you have legal options you can pursue. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area can investigate the circumstances of your accident and file a personal injury claim with the appropriate insurance company.
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How Do Car Crashes Usually Happen?
While a select few car accidents result from defective car parts or improper repair work, most crashes happen because of driver error. Drivers have a duty to follow all traffic laws and safety regulations—and to operate their vehicles reasonably and safely at all times. When they fail to do so, and a car crash occurs, both they and their insurance companies may be responsible for the resulting injuries and damages.
Some of the most common causes of traffic accidents include road rule violations, road rage, intoxicated driving, and distracted driving.
The primary purpose of road rules is to keep drivers and their passengers safe at all times. However, when drivers carelessly violate these rules, they increase their chances of causing serious accidents. Some of the most common traffic violations that lead to crashes include failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles at the appropriate times, speeding, tailgating, and failing to use turn signals.
Road rage is another common cause of car accidents that lead to personal injury claims. Drivers in a hurry often resort to road rage when other drivers drive too slowly. For example, an enraged driver may tailgate another vehicle, honk their horn, engage in aggressive passing maneuvers, or weave in and out of busy highway traffic. In the process, a negligent driver may inadvertently cause a crash with one or more other vehicles.
Many car accidents also, unfortunately, happen because of intoxicated driving. Both alcohol and drugs can significantly impair a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle carefully and safely. Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system’s ability to function. As a result, the intoxicated driver may experience extreme delays in their reaction time, blurred vision, limited concentration, and nausea. As a result, the driver may be unable to stop their vehicle in an emergency that arises on the road, causing a serious crash.
Drivers of passenger vehicles are legally intoxicated when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent. Alberta imposes administrative penalties when the BAC is 0.05 percent and higher. On the other hand, commercial vehicle drivers and minors under 21 years old may not have any alcohol in their systems. Otherwise, they are, per se, intoxicated.
In addition to incurring numerous criminal penalties upon conviction for DUI, drunk drivers may also have to pay civil and administrative penalties. Moreover, if they cause an accident that leads to injuries, they and their insurance companies may be liable for the resulting damages.
If you suffered injuries in one of these types of car accidents, you should retain skilled legal counsel right away. Your lawyer can begin handling your claim and negotiating with the at-fault driver’s insurance company adjuster for favourable settlement compensation. Your lawyer can handle all conversations with insurance companies and help you pursue the best possible result in your case.
Injuries That Car Accident Victims Suffer
There is no disputing that car accident victims can suffer severe injuries in a crash. Every car accident scenario is different, and accident victims may suffer various injuries in numerous types of accidents. The injuries that a crash victim sustains typically depend upon the force of the collision, how their body moves in the car, and whether or not a part of their body strikes a part of their vehicle.
Common car crash injuries include soft tissue contusions, fractures, broken bones, abrasions, cuts, bruises, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, full and partial paralysis, and death.
If you suffered any of these injuries in a recent car accident, your first step should be getting the medical treatment you need. You can visit a hospital emergency room or urgent care center, and the medical provider on duty will thoroughly examine you. Moreover, the doctor will order necessary imaging studies, including CAT scans, MRIs, and X-rays, to make an accurate medical diagnosis of your condition. Finally, the doctor can recommend future care if your symptoms worsen with time.
Failing to obtain prompt medical treatment after your accident can have grave consequences—both for you and your personal injury claim or lawsuit. First, untreated injuries can become far more symptomatic as time goes by. Moreover, if you fail to treat your injuries immediately, the insurance company may become skeptical and believe that your injuries are not all that serious—or that they are unrelated to your recent car accident.
While you focus on getting better, your lawyer can focus on getting you the compensation you deserve. First, your lawyer can start assembling a settlement demand package and obtaining the necessary evidence to prove your case, including medical records, lost wage statements, earnings reports, photographs of your injuries, property damage photographs, and a personal statement from you. Once your medical treatment is complete, your lawyer can submit these documents to the insurance company and begin negotiating a fair settlement of your claim.
Filing a Claim With the Insurance Company
In most instances, your lawyer will file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Once the adjuster handling your claim reviews all of the necessary documents, they might make an initial offer to resolve your claim through settlement. Most of the time, these initial offers are far below the claim’s actual value.
Your lawyer can aggressively negotiate with the settlement adjuster and pursue a higher t number. However, if the adjuster refuses to offer you the compensation you deserve, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and litigate your case through the system.
During litigation, the parties will answer written questions, also known as interrogatories, and may take each other’s depositions to learn more about the alleged claims and injuries.
If the insurance company refuses to increase its offer by the end of the litigation, the case may go to a civil jury trial. At trial, a jury will decide the total damages to award the car accident victim. In some situations, the parties can entertain alternative dispute resolution options, such as binding arbitration or mediation.
Your lawyer can handle all dealings with the at-fault driver’s insurance company if you suffer injuries in a car crash. They can also call your own insurance company and open a claim on your behalf.
Dealing With Your Own Insurance Company Following a Car Accident
In some situations, at-fault drivers do not carry adequate insurance coverage. They may not have any insurance coverage at all, or they may have fled the accident scene in a so-called phantom vehicle scenario. At other times, the at-fault driver may have had insurance coverage in place at the time of the accident. However, their coverage may have been insufficient to compensate you for the total amount of your damages.
In these situations, you can turn to the MVAC program, which provides a total of $200,000 worth of coverage per accident. Moreover, you can turn to your own insurance policy if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage under what is called a SEF 44 endorsement. In that case, your lawyer can deal directly with your own insurer.
When it comes to dealing with insurance companies, your lawyer can explore all of your legal options. They will leave no stone unturned when maximizing the available compensation for your car accident injuries.
Call an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Near You Today
Recovering monetary damages from a car accident is often an uphill battle. Dealing with insurance companies can be incredibly daunting because they are never on your side. In fact, the insurance company—even your own insurer—will do everything possible to undermine and undervalue your claim.
Insurance companies only make money by collecting premium payments from their insureds and from investment of that money. They do not want to pay out personal injury claim settlements, jury verdicts, and mediation and arbitration awards.
Your lawyer will be your advocate every step of the way, from investigating the circumstances of your accident to dealing with insurance company adjusters to negotiating and litigating your injury claim. Your Edmonton personal injury lawyer can help you highlight the strengths of your case, downplay any weaknesses, and work to recover the total damages that you deserve.
Those damages may include monetary compensation for your lost earnings, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, mental distress, loss of life enjoyment, loss of use of a body part, permanent disability, and loss of spousal companionship.