The number of car accidents in Canada has decreased in recent years, but these collisions continue to be a problem. In one recent year, nearly 1,745 motor vehicle fatalities occurred, and many more accident victims suffered injuries.
Car accidents in Canada sometimes occur in the blink of an eye. Therefore, it can be difficult to tell precisely how the accident occurred and who caused it. Consequently, if you have suffered injuries in a car accident, you should speak with a knowledgeable lawyer soon as possible.
Your car accident lawyer can undertake the necessary investigation to determine how your accident occurred and who the likely at-fault party was. Your lawyer can then file a claim with the at-fault person’s insurance company and work to negotiate a favourable settlement of your car accident claim.
If the insurance company refuses to adequately compensate you for your accident-related injuries, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and, if necessary, take your case to court.
Determining Who Caused a Car Accident
Determining the likely at-fault party following a car accident is sometimes an uphill battle. However, your car accident lawyer can identify fault.
First, your lawyer can analyze the police report, which often includes an accident description. Moreover, the police report usually consists of the officer’s assessment as to who likely caused the accident and whether or not they issued the at-fault driver a citation. The police officer might also note whether alcohol was a factor in the crash in their report.
Your lawyer can also look at statements that eyewitnesses to the crash might have prepared. These statements often include valuable information about the relative speeds of the vehicle and whether or not one of the drivers did something wrong, such as running a stop sign or yield sign or barreling through a red light at an intersection.
Finally, your lawyer can hire an accident investigator or reconstructionist who can analyze all of the information of the case and accurately piece together who or what caused the accident. Generally speaking, the sooner you involve a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your case, the better off you will be and the more likely you will recover compensation for your injuries.
Rear-end accidents are one common type of motor vehicle collision on Alberta roadways. A rear-end accident happens when the front of one vehicle collides with the back of another vehicle. While these accidents can happen when traffic moves, they are prevalent at intersections where traffic has slowed down or stopped.
The force of the impact from a rear-end collision can force an accident victim’s body forward and backward, causing them to suffer whiplash or some other soft-tissue injury. In a rear-end accident, it is almost always the rear driver who is at fault.
A head-on motor vehicle crash occurs when the front of two motor vehicles collide with one another. These accidents often happen on dual-lane roads with one lane in each direction. The at-fault driver typically diverts their attention from the road, crosses a double line or median strip, and collides with an oncoming vehicle. Head-on collisions can result in fatal injuries, especially when they involve high rates of speed.
Sideswipe accidents happen when the sides of two vehicles collide, often while they are moving in the same direction on a multilane roadway. These accidents typically occur when the driver is not paying attention to the road and veers over into another travel lane.
These impacts can cause the vehicle on the receiving end to veer off onto the shoulder or strike something on the side of the road, such as a median strip, concrete barrier, or other stationary objects, such as a tree.
Broadside collisions, also called T-bone accidents, typically occur at traffic intersections. In a broadside collision, the front of one motor vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle, resembling the shape of the letter T. A driver who runs a stop sign, yield sign, or red traffic light is the at-fault driver in the scenario. In many instances, the driver tries to beat a yellow light and make it through the intersection before the light changes.
In the process, they strike a vehicle moving in a different direction on an adjacent roadway. The force of the impact may cause the vehicle on the receiving end to spin around violently or completely overturn in some instances. When that happens, the driver and passengers in the vehicle can suffer severe injuries and possibly death.
Reasons Why Car Accidents Occur
Car accidents occur for various reasons, but the most common cause is motor vehicle driver negligence.
Negligent driving means operating a vehicle unreasonably under the circumstances.
The most common types of negligent driving include:
- Intoxicated Driving – A motor vehicle operator who gets behind the wheel while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs sets themselves out for a disaster. Alcohol reduces a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle carefully and safely. Specifically, alcohol slows down the central nervous system’s ability to function and react to an emergency. Moreover, alcohol impairment has numerous physical symptoms, including blurry vision. A driver is per se intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Minors under 21 and commercial motor vehicle drivers (including the drivers of big rigs and tractor-trailers) must follow stricter standards. In addition to the criminal penalties associated with a DUI or DWI conviction, at-fault drivers may also be civilly liable if they cause an accident in which someone else suffers injuries. In that instance, the driver’s insurance company is supposed to step in and provide the necessary insurance coverage.
- Violating Road Rules – Drivers must follow all applicable traffic laws and regulations. Specifically, they must follow the speed limit, operate vehicles carefully, obey traffic signs and laws, refrain from tailgating other vehicles, and use turn signals appropriately. When drivers fail to operate their vehicles safely, they can cause severe injuries. They can also be subject to fines and other penalties.
- Distracted Vehicle Operation – Many motor vehicle accidents often happen when drivers engage in distracted driving. Distracted driving means paying attention to something other than the roadway when operating a car or truck. A driver engages in distracted driving when they make a cellular phone call without using a hands-free device, text while driving, listen to loud music in the car, or turn their head for any reason. Even a diversion that lasts for a second or two is sufficient time for an accident to occur.
If you suffered injuries in a traffic accident that resulted from one or more of these types of negligence, you have legal options. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can explain your best options.
Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents
The injuries that a car accident victim can sustain vary based upon the accident and force of the collision.
Generally speaking, the more forceful the impact from another vehicle, the more serious the injuries an accident victim may suffer in the crash. In addition, head-on collisions are the most likely to lead to severe and fatal injuries.
However, serious injuries can also occur when an accident victim’s body moves around inside the vehicle at the time of impact and when a part of the accident victim’s body strikes something in the vehicle. For example, the accident victim’s head, arm, or leg might hit the steering wheel, headrest, console, window, or door frame, leading to severe injuries.
Some of the most common injuries that accident victims suffer in car crashes include traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries, cuts and abrasions, bruises, fractures, soft tissue injuries, and death.
If you suffered any of these injuries in your car accident, make your first priority, even before calling a lawyer, to seek needed medical care and treatment. At a hospital ER or urgent care center, a healthcare provider can check you out, take the necessary imaging studies, and recommend you for follow-up treatment.
Initial medical treatment following a car crash is critical to ensure that your medical condition does not get any worse. Moreover, if you later file a car accident claim or lawsuit that seeks monetary compensation of damages, the insurance company will become skeptical if you did not seek same-day medical treatment.
Specifically, the adjuster handling your car accident case may believe that your injuries were not severe or that you did not take your medical care and treatment seriously.
While you finish treating your injuries, a personal injury lawyer can begin advocating for you. Specifically, your lawyer can gather all the necessary documents, including your treatment medical records and bills to date, police report, lost wages statements, and photographs of your injuries, and begin assembling these documents into a demand package. While your lawyer takes care of the legal aspects of your case, you can focus all of your energy on getting better and recovering from your injuries.
Pursuing the Compensation That You Deserve for Your Injuries
Injuries that car accident victims suffer can lead to significant medical treatment and numerous problems down the road. In some instances, these injuries are permanent and can cause the accident victim to experience pain, suffering, and inconvenience for the remainder of their lives.
First of all, if the accident victim had a missed time away from work following their car accident, they can file a claim for lost income. They can also recover other out-of-pocket costs from their car accident.
In addition, victims of car accidents can pursue non-economic damages. These damages include compensation for mental distress, emotional anguish, inconvenience, pain and suffering, loss of family and spousal support, loss of the ability to use a body part, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Accident victims can pursue compensation for past and future pain and suffering. An accident victim can recover future pain and suffering damages if a healthcare provider determines that they suffered a permanent injury in their accident to a reasonable degree of medical certainty.
In cases where the at-fault driver behaved particularly egregious, such as if they were intoxicated while they were behind the wheel, the accident victim can bring a claim for punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the driver and discourage other drivers from behaving similarly.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will do everything possible to help you maximize the compensation that you can recover for your injuries. Your lawyer will play up the strength of your case and downplay any weaknesses to convince the insurance company or the jury to offer you the fair amount of monetary compensation you deserve.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer Today
One of the first steps you should take after suffering injuries in a car accident is to contact an experienced car accident lawyer. In addition to reviewing the accident with you, your car accident lawyer can file a claim for you or litigate your case to a conclusion in court if necessary.