Victims of car accidents often suffer severe injuries that leave them debilitated and need medical treatment. When accident victims file a personal injury claim, they typically file a claim with the at-fault driver’s motor vehicle insurance company. The insurance company then holds the purse strings when settling or litigating a car accident claim. However, in some instances, the at-fault driver may not have insurance, or they not carry enough insurance.
In that instance, the accident victim may need to turn to their own insurance company for the monetary compensation they need for their injuries. In cases where the insurance company refuses to offer the accident victim fair and total compensation for their injuries, the accident victim can file a lawsuit in the appropriate court and litigate the case to a conclusion there.
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident that someone else caused, you have legal options. You need a knowledgeable car accident lawyer on board in your case as soon as possible after your accident.
Your lawyer can then file the appropriate claim with the insurance company and, if necessary, file a lawsuit in the court system that seeks monetary compensation for your injuries. Your lawyer can advocate on your behalf and work to get you the compensation that you deserve for your car accident injuries.
Common Car Accident Injuries
The injuries that car accident victims suffer are often severe, not to mention costly. These injuries can also result in pain, suffering, and inconvenience for the accident victim. The injuries that an accident victim suffers in a car crash depend on various factors. Some of the most common factors include the force of the impact from the other vehicle, how the accident victim’s body moves in the car, and the type of collision that occurs.
Typical car accident injuries include:
- Traumatic head and brain damage.
- Broken bones.
- Soft tissue contusions.
- Internal injuries.
- Cuts and abrasions.
- Even Wrongful death in the worst accident cases.
In addition to seeking medical treatment at an urgent care center or local hospital emergency room, a car accident victim might also need to undergo a medical procedure, such as a surgery, and attend physical therapy and rehabilitation sessions for a significant time.
If you have suffered any of these injuries in a car accident that occurred because of someone else’s negligence, you might be in a position to bring a personal injury claim. While you finish treating all of your medical issues, your lawyer can begin to gather up your loss-wage documentation, medical records, medical bills, and photographs and prepare to submit a demand package to the insurance company.
Once the insurance company reviews all this information, the adjuster handling your case might offer to settle. Your lawyer can begin taking these actions while you focus your attention on making a full recovery from your accident-related injuries.
Proving Negligence in Your Case
When you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or with your own insurance company, the elements of proof are essentially the same. Specifically, you will need to demonstrate that the at-fault driver was negligent, meaning that they acted unreasonably under the circumstances.
A motor vehicle operator behaves negligently when they do something that a reasonable driver would not do or when they fail to do something that a reasonable driver would do.
In some instances, that might mean violating a traffic law, such as speeding, running a stop sign, or blowing through a red light at an intersection. At other times, negligent driving may mean operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. Finally, a driver behaves negligently when they engage in distracted driving, such as by trying to text and drive.
In addition to proving negligence on the part of the other driver, an accident victim will need to demonstrate that the driver’s negligence was a cause of the accident. Finally, they must show that as a direct and proximate result of the accident, they suffered at least one injury. The accident victim’s lawyer may need to retain a medical expert who can causally connect a particular injury to the car accident in question.
When it comes to proving the legal elements of a personal injury claim or lawsuit, the at-fault driver does not need to prove anything. Instead, the sole legal burden of proof rests with the accident victim plaintiff. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer on your side can be an invaluable help when it comes to proving the necessary legal elements of your claim.
Establishing these elements may induce the insurance company to offer you favourable settlement compensation for your injuries. However, that does not always happen. If the insurance company refuses to compensate you adequately, you can file a lawsuit in your case and, if necessary, take your case to a personal injury trial. Your lawyer can assist you with every step of the litigation process and work to get you the best possible result, whether through settlement or litigation.
Filing a Claim or Lawsuit with the At-fault Driver’s Insurance Company
Even though you may file a claim against an at-fault driver, the driver’s insurance company supplies the necessary coverage and compensation. The claims filing process begins when the accident victim’s lawyer prepares a demand package for the insurance company.
A demand package will typically include essential documents, including the accident victim’s medical bills, medical records, lost wage information, injuries, property damage photographs, and a victim-impact statement. The package also typically includes a demand letter which makes a monetary demand for settlement in the case.
Once the insurance company adjuster handling the case receives and reviews all of this information, they may make an offer to settle the matter. In most scenarios, initial settlement offers from insurance company adjusters are extremely low and far less than the claim’s actual value. Therefore, your lawyer may need to negotiate with the adjuster several times before the offer comes up to a meaningful amount.
In some cases, however, insurance company adjusters refuse to adequately compensate accident victims for their injuries. The accident victim’s lawyer may need to file a lawsuit in the court system when that happens. When a lawyer files a lawsuit, the defendant in the lawsuit is the at-fault driver. However, it is still typically the actual driver’s insurance company handling the purse strings and offering the monetary compensation in the case.
Even after a personal injury lawyer files a lawsuit, the case can still settle. However, if the case does not resolve at the end of the litigation, the parties may take their case to a jury trial. At a jury trial, the jury will decide the outcome of all issues in dispute at that time.
In many instances, the primary dispute at issue is monetary compensation. As an alternative to a jury trial, the parties may consider one or more alternative dispute resolution methods.
For example, they might take their case before a mediator who can help the parties to facilitate settlement discussions. Alternatively, they may take their case to binding arbitration, and an arbitrator will decide the issue of damages in the case.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claims
Even though drivers in Canada are supposed to maintain motor vehicle insurance coverage, that, unfortunately, does not always happen. Therefore, some drivers are roaming around without any motor vehicle insurance coverage.
In addition, following some motor vehicle crashes, the at-fault driver leaves the collision scene. This type of driver, known as a phantom driver, is effectively an uninsured driver since, in most cases, the accident victim cannot obtain license or insurance information from the fleeing driver.
When an uninsured driver causes a motor vehicle accident, the accident victim might turn to their own insurance company for monetary compensation through an uninsured motorist insurance policy.
Uninsured motorist claims and lawsuits are both tort-based and contract-based. Since they stem from a motor vehicle collision, they have a basis in negligence. Moreover, the accident victim alleges a breach of contract since their insurance company failed to provide the necessary coverage when the at-fault driver does not have insurance.
In some instances, when an at-fault driver causes an accident, they may have insurance. Still, the coverage may not adequately compensate the accident victim for all of their damages, pain, and suffering. In that instance, the accident victim must first exhaust the insurance policy limits of coverage from the at-fault driver’s policy.
The accident victim can then turn to their own insurance company via an underinsured motorist claim to make up the difference. These claims proceed in much the same way as an uninsured motorist claim.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can determine which insurance policy or policies may come into play in a car accident claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer will then help you obtain the maximum monetary compensation that you deserve to recover from your injuries and other damages.
Various Types of Damages You Can Recover from a Car Accident Claim
There are numerous types of damages that an individual can pursue as part of a car accident claim. The damages that they can recover through a car accident claim will depend on the extent and severity of their injuries, including whether they suffered a permanent injury in their accident.
First of all, if the accident victim had to miss time away from work, they can bring a claim for loss of earnings. They can recover other out-of-pocket costs if they cannot work following an accident. In addition, an accident victim can file a claim for pain and suffering compensation, along with damages for all of their related inconvenience, emotional distress, and mental anguish.
If their injury prevents them from using a body part, such as paralysis or spinal cord injury, the accident victim can bring a loss-of-use claim. Finally, the accident victim can pursue compensation for loss of enjoyment of life related to their injuries.
In some accident cases, especially where the at-fault driver behaves particularly egregiously, the accident victim can recover punitive damages as part of a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer driver and prevent other drivers from behaving similarly under similar circumstances.
Finally, in car accident cases where a driver dies due to their injuries, the deceased driver’s surviving family members can bring a wrongful death claim. As part of a wrongful death claim, the deceased individual’s estate can recover the cost of burial and funeral expenses and compensation for the loss of the decedent’s future earnings.
Finally, the estate can recover damages for the loss of the decedent’s companionship and care going into the future. A knowledgeable personal injury car accident lawyer can file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf and help you recover the damages that you need.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer Today
An experienced lawyer can help you explore available avenues of insurance coverage in your case. Your lawyer can then file a claim on your behalf with the appropriate insurance company and work to obtain fair monetary compensation for you.
If you have suffered an injury in an accident, hiring a car accident lawyer allows you to focus on healing and recovery. While you heal, your lawyer can focus on dealing with the insurance company and, if necessary, the court system.
Start protecting your future by starting the process as soon as possible with a free case evaluation with a car accident attorney.