Understanding how car accident settlements work is important. If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from someone else’s negligence, you might be eligible for compensation. In addition to seeking prompt medical treatment after your car accident, you should call an experienced car accident lawyer in your area right away.
Not having legal counsel on your side can be a big mistake when it comes to recovering the settlement compensation you deserve. If the insurance company sees that you do not have representation, they will likely take advantage of you and significantly undervalue your claim.
Insurance companies try to settle car accident cases for as little money as possible. At the end of the day, they are only worried about their bottom line, and they will do anything and everything to keep from paying you the damages you need.
However, a knowledgeable Edmonton car accident lawyer can advocate for you during settlement negotiations, highlight the strengths of your case, and pursue the maximum amount of damages possible. Your lawyer can also guide you throughout the settlement process, submit the necessary documents for the insurance company adjuster’s review, and work to process your case as efficiently as possible if you reach a settlement.
Finally, your lawyer can answer all of your questions about the settlement process, how it works, and the types of monetary damages you are eligible to pursue and recover.
Car Accidents that May Lead to Settlement Compensation
Car crash victims may be eligible for compensation if their accident resulted from someone else’s negligence—and they suffered at least one injury in the crash. When drivers speed, violate traffic laws, or engage in distracted/intoxicating driving, they may cause serious accidents that injure others. Some of the most common accidents that result from reckless and careless driving include rear-end crashes, sideswipe collisions, broadside accidents, and head-on accidents.
Rear-end accidents happen when the front of one vehicle hits the rear of another vehicle. When these accidents happen, the vehicle occupants on the receiving end may lurch forwards and backwards very abruptly, causing a soft-tissue whiplash injury. Moreover, the impact force may cause a part of the accident victim’s body to strike some part of the vehicle, like the steering wheel, headrest, door frame, or window.
On the other hand, Sideswipe accidents happen when the sides of two vehicles strike one another—usually while moving forward in the same direction. These accidents are common on multi-lane highways, with heavy traffic in each travel lane. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or fails to watch the road, they might inadvertently cause their vehicle to move into another travel lane, striking a vehicle and causing the occupants to suffer injuries.
Broadside accidents, or T-bone collisions, usually happen at traffic intersections, where the front of one vehicle hits the side of a vehicle travelling on an adjacent roadway. These crashes typically occur when drivers fail to yield the right-of-way and run a red light, yield sign, or stop sign.
When these accidents happen at high speeds, the impact force may cause the vehicle on the receiving end to completely overturn—or spin around in the intersection—causing the occupants to suffer serious head injuries or broken bones.
Finally, head-on crashes happen when the fronts of two cars strike one another. These accidents are prevalent on roadways with one travel lane in each direction. A double line or concrete median strip separates the two travel lanes in most instances.
Head-on crashes usually happen when a distracted or intoxicated driver causes their vehicle to veer across the median strip or center line, striking an oncoming vehicle head-on. These accidents can lead to severe injuries and fatalities, especially when drivers travel at high speeds.
If you suffered injuries in one of these accidents that resulted from driver negligence, a car accident lawyer in your area can determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim. Your lawyer can guide you through the claims-filing process and work to help you recover the total amount of damages you deserve.
Common Car Accident Causes
Many car crashes happen when drivers are negligent in some way. Typical car accident causes include distracted driving, intoxicated driving, road rage, and road rule violations.
Given the numerous electronic devices present in vehicles today, it is easy for drivers to become distracted. Instead of watching the road, a driver might divert their attention onto something in their vehicles, such as a cellular device or tablet. In addition, loud music can be distracting for many drivers, as well as small children who are present in the backseat.
When a driver fails to watch the road—or diverts their attention away from it—they may completely miss an oncoming pedestrian or vehicle in the vicinity, causing a severe crash which leads to injuries.
In addition to distracted driving, intoxicated driving is another unfortunate cause of car accidents. A driver is legally intoxicated when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Commercial vehicle drivers like tractor-trailer operators—and minors who are under 21 years old—must follow stricter standards when it comes to BAC limits. Alberta imposes administrative penalties when the BAC is 0.05 percent and higher.
The law criminalizes intoxicated driving because alcohol severely affects brain functioning. Specifically, an intoxicated driver may lose focus and experience physical symptoms, such as blurred vision. Moreover, distracted drivers may experience delayed reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid a severe crash.
Likewise, road rage can cause serious accidents. Drivers engage in road rage when they overreact to an actual or perceived situation that arises while behind the wheel. For example, another driver might be driving too slowly, causing the first driver to become upset and engage in aggressive maneuvers, such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, or failing to use their turn signal. As a result, the unreasonably enraged driver may cause a severe accident.
Finally, some traffic accidents occur when drivers fail to obey traffic laws and regulations. In addition to tailgating, drivers may violate speed limits or fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles at the appropriate times, causing an accident in the process.
If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from one of these types of driver negligence, a car accident lawyer near you can evaluate your case and determine if you’re eligible for settlement compensation. If you are, your lawyer can file a claim with the insurance company on your behalf and begin settlement negotiations with the adjuster.
Injuries That Car Crash Victims Often Suffer
Car crash victims may sustain serious injuries, which leave them in need of medical treatment and rehabilitation. In some instances, these injuries are permanent, meaning that they are unlikely to improve over time. A medical expert can help you causally connect specific injuries to your accident or establish that one or more of your injuries are permanent.
The injuries a car accident victim suffers will depend upon the type of accident that occurs, the impact force, and how the accident victim’s body moves in the car at the time of impact. Typical injuries include soft tissue contusions, fractures, broken bones, traumatic head injuries, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and death.
As soon as possible after your car crash, you should seek medical attention from a qualified medical provider. For example, you might go to your family doctor or seek treatment at a local emergency room or urgent care facility. The medical provider on duty can diagnose your medical condition after taking the necessary imaging studies, including X-rays and MRIs. In addition to rendering emergency medical assistance, your doctor may also make recommendations for follow-up treatment, such as with a neurologist or orthopedic doctor, depending upon your injuries.
Seeking prompt medical treatment is also vital for your personal injury case. If the insurance company sees that you delayed your medical treatment significantly—or that you did not treat continuously for your injuries—the settlement adjuster may become skeptical.
They may believe that your injuries were not all that serious or that you did not make your medical treatment a priority following your accident. Therefore, it is best to seek additional medical treatment on the same date as your accident and follow through with all treatment recommendations.
Once you complete your medical treatment, your lawyer can begin gathering the necessary claim documents and advocating for your legal interests.
Pursuing a Settlement by Filing a Car Accident Claim
To recover monetary compensation for your accident-related injuries, your lawyer will need to file a personal injury claim on your behalf. In most instances, your lawyer will file the claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
The first step in the process is for your lawyer to gather all essential documents in your case, including your medical records, lost wage documentation from your employer, photographs of property damage, photographs of your injuries, and a victim impact statement.
Your lawyer will also draft a settlement demand letter which makes a monetary demand for settlement resolution within the applicable insurance coverage limits. Once you finish your medical treatment, your lawyer will submit these documents to the insurance company adjuster.
The next step in the process is for the settlement adjuster to review all of these documents and determine whether to accept fault for the accident. If the insurance company accepts liability, your lawyer can begin settlement negotiations with the adjuster. In some cases, the negotiation phase can take some time. Initial offers from adjusters are usually far less than the actual car accident claim’s monetary value. Insurance companies want to try and resolve personal injury claims for as little money as possible. Therefore, your lawyer will need to negotiate with the adjuster so that they will hopefully increase their settlement offer.
When it comes time to decide whether to accept a particular offer, you—and not your lawyer—are the final decision-maker. However, your lawyer can help you determine whether a particular offer is a good offer under the circumstances.
If your case resolves during the settlement stage, your lawyer will obtain the closing documents, which you will then sign. One of those documents is typically a release from the insurance company, which prevents you from filing another claim or lawsuit arising from the same accident. Moreover, if your case settles, it will not go to trial at any point.
However, if the insurance company refuses to offer you the compensation you deserve, the next step is for your lawyer to file a lawsuit in court and litigate your case to a conclusion. However, just because your lawyer files suit does not necessarily mean that your case will require a civil jury trial. In fact, the majority of car accident claims settle well before trial.
While your case is in litigation, your lawyer may continue their settlement negotiations with the insurance company adjuster in hopes of resolving your claim favourably. Only if your case does not settle will it go to a jury trial.
At a jury trial, the jury will decide the total damages to award you after listening to the evidence.
Recoverable damages in car accident claims and lawsuits include compensation for:
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Loss of use of a body part
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area will guide you through the settlement and litigation processes and help you make the best possible decisions in your case.
Call a Knowledgeable Car Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
If you suffered injuries in a car accident resulting from negligence, your lawyer will do everything possible to help you obtain the highest settlement compensation available.
In addition to negotiating with the insurance company adjuster, your lawyer can threaten litigation if the insurance company will not take your case seriously. At that point, your Edmonton personal injury lawyer can file a lawsuit in court, litigate the case on your behalf, and pursue a favourable resolution that fully compensates you for your injuries.