What to Do After a Car Accident?

Car accidents can lead to severe injuries, leaving individuals out of work and needing ongoing medical treatment. Victims may need to go to the hospital emergency room, follow up with their primary care doctor, or attend ongoing physical therapy sessions.

Moreover, following a car accident, many accident victims are unsure of what to do or where to turn next. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area can help you explore your legal options and take the next steps to recover the monetary compensation you deserve.

Your lawyer can also assist you during all settlement negotiations and, if necessary, throughout the litigation process. Your lawyer will do everything possible to maximize your monetary damages and help you recover the full compensation you deserve for your accident-related injuries.

How Do Car Crashes Happen?

Car accidents typically happen when drivers negligently operate their vehicles. A vehicle driver is negligent when they act unreasonably under the circumstances, such as by violating a rule of the road, exhibiting road rage, drinking and driving, or engaging in distracted driving.

Drivers have a duty to follow all prevailing rules of the road while they are behind the wheel. Those rules include obeying speed limits, following all right-of-way laws, using turn signals, and refraining from aggressive driving. When drivers disregard traffic regulations, they significantly increase their chances of causing an accident.

Moreover, when drivers engage in road rage, they may negligently cause their vehicle to strike another vehicle or a pedestrian. Road rage occurs when a driver reacts inappropriately to a real or imagined circumstance on the road. The driver may become unreasonably frustrated with other people who drive too slowly. As a result, they might fail to use their turn signal, aggressively weave in and out of traffic, or tailgate other drivers, inadvertently causing a crash.

In addition to road rage, some drivers cause serious accidents when they drink and drive. While minor drivers under twenty-one years old and commercial drivers must follow stricter standards, a passenger vehicle driver is legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent.

A convicted drunk driver may incur criminal fines and penalties. Moreover, if the drunk driver causes an accident that leaves someone else injured, the driver and their insurance company may be responsible for civil damages.

Alcohol is a depressant and slows a driver’s central nervous system, often blurring their vision and limiting their concentration. A drunk driver may also experience delayed reaction time, preventing them from stopping a vehicle in time to avoid a serious crash.

Finally, some car accidents occur when drivers operate their vehicles distractedly. A distracted driver does not watch the road attentively. Instead, they might be fiddling with a GPS device, sending a text message, roughhousing with others in the vehicle, or listening to loud music. All of these activities can divert a driver’s attention away from the road, and even a one or two-second distraction may cause the driver to miss seeing an oncoming vehicle, causing an accident.

If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from one of these types of driver negligence, you have legal options available. Your lawyer can help you investigate your accident circumstances, file a claim with the appropriate insurance company, and work to obtain the settlement compensation you need for your injuries.

What Are the Most Common Types of Car Accidents That Occur?

Car Accident Death

When drivers operate their vehicles negligently, they can cause many different types of car accidents. One of the most common types of car crashes is a rear-end accident, where the front of one vehicle hits the back of another vehicle, usually after an abrupt traffic backup or near a traffic intersection. These accidents usually happen when drivers violate the speed limit and cannot slow down in time to avoid a crash.

Head-on collisions, on the other hand, occur when the fronts of two vehicles collide while travelling in opposite directions. These accidents sometimes result from drunk driving or a driver falling asleep at the wheel and crossing the centerline or median strip.

Next, sideswipe accidents usually happen when the sides of two vehicles hit one another while travelling in the same direction. The force of a sideswipe collision might push the vehicle on the receiving end out of its travel lane or completely off the road.

Finally, broadside collisions, or T-bone accidents, happen when the front of one vehicle hits the side of a vehicle travelling on an adjacent roadway. The force of these crashes might cause the vehicle on the receiving end to spin rapidly or overturn.

If you suffered injuries in any of these car crashes that resulted from another driver’s error, a skilled car accident lawyer can help you settle your case with the insurance company or litigate your case through the court system.

What Are Some Common Car Crash Injuries?

Car accidents can lead to serious injuries, which leave drivers and their passengers debilitated and in significant pain. The injuries a car crash victim suffers usually depend on the way their body moves in the vehicle at the time of the crash. For example, the collision might force an accident victim’s body from side to side or frontwards and backward in their seat, causing them to suffer a soft tissue back or neck injury.

Alternatively, the collision force might cause an accident victim to strike a part of their body on something in the vehicle, for example, the dashboard, door frame, window, steering wheel, headrest, or console.

Some of the most typical injuries that car accident victims suffer include fractures, soft tissue injuries, traumatic head injuries, spinal cord damage, paralysis, internal organ damage, open cuts, and bruises.

Important Steps You Should Take After a Car Accident

Following a car accident, there are certain steps that you should always take to maximize your chances of recovering monetary damages for your injuries. Those steps include going to a local hospital or urgent care center for medical treatment, speaking with a lawyer, obtaining ongoing medical treatment, retrieving important documents, filing a timely claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and negotiating or litigating your case to a conclusion.

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Go to a Local Hospital or Urgent Care Center for Treatment.

As soon as possible after a car accident, you must go to a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility for medical treatment. You should seek this treatment even if you are not experiencing pain and other symptoms at that time. This is because many injuries, including soft tissue contusions and traumatic head injuries, do not manifest until days or weeks following the initial car crash. Seeking medical treatment early on helps to ensure that your injuries do not become more serious over time.

At a hospital emergency room, the medical provider on duty can order the necessary MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans to render an accurate medical diagnosis of your condition. The provider can also recommend future medical care, such as with a family doctor, neurologist, orthopedist, or physical therapist.

Talk with a Car Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible.

In addition to seeking proper medical treatment right after a car crash, you should also speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can begin working for you while you focus your attention on medical treatment and fully recovering from your injuries.

During this time, your lawyer can start investigating the circumstances of your accident and, if necessary, retain an expert accident reconstructionist who can later testify in your case. An accident reconstructionist is especially necessary in cases where the insurance company disputes fault or liability for the car accident.

Seek Ongoing Medical Treatment.

If your emergency room medical provider recommends seeking additional medical treatment, such as physical therapy, you should undergo that treatment as soon as possible. Lengthy delays and large gaps in medical treatment are often red flags for insurance companies. Insurance companies and their adjusters typically believe that individuals who do not treat continuously either fail to prioritize medical treatment or that their injuries are not serious.

Obtain Copies of Important Documents.

Following a car accident, you or your lawyer should obtain copies of important documents. Those documents include any photographs of the accident scene, photographs of your injuries, copies of the police report or body cam footage, and statements that witnesses may have prepared. All of these documents may serve as potential evidence in your case.

File a Timely Claim with the Insurance Company.

Once you complete your medical treatment, your lawyer can assemble a settlement demand package that includes all of these documents and forward that package to the insurance company handling your claim. If the insurance company accepts liability for the accident, settlement negotiations may begin, and your lawyer can start negotiating a fair settlement number on your behalf.

When it comes to settlement offers, you, as the accident victim, have the final authority. Therefore, you are the one who decides whether to accept a particular settlement offer or litigate your case to a conclusion in the court system. Your lawyer can recommend based upon their experience whether you should accept a particular settlement offer or litigate your case in the court system to an efficient conclusion.

Litigate Your Case in Court.

You should keep in mind that car accident victims have only two years from their accident date in which to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit that seeks the monetary damages they need. The clock starts to run on the car accident date and continues for two years. If the accident victim files a lawsuit in the court system even one day after the deadline expires, they will not be eligible to recover any damages for their injuries. Therefore, you should retain an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you in your case as soon as possible.

If the statutory time clock is running short in your case, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court promptly and begin the litigation process on your behalf. Your lawyer can then assist you throughout litigation by advocating on your behalf and representing you at all legal proceedings, including depositions, mediation sessions, binding arbitration hearings, and jury trials.

Potential Monetary Damages in Car Accident Cases

An experienced car crash lawyer can help you recover the monetary damages you need and deserve. The damages that an accident victim may recover will depend upon certain factors, including the severity of their injuries, whether their injuries are permanent, and whether they incurred lost wages due to their injuries.

First, an accident victim may be eligible to recover compensation for missed work due to attending medical appointments and physical therapy sessions. If they had to switch jobs and take a pay cut due to their injuries, they might be eligible to claim loss of earning capacity.

Next, car accident victims may recover compensation for their inconvenience, mental distress, pain and suffering, and permanent disfigurement or disability. They can also claim compensation for loss of the ability to use a body part, such as with a full or partial paralysis injury. Finally, they can pursue damages for lost quality of life and loss of spousal companionship or consortium.

A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can determine which of these damages you can recover as part of your car accident claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer can then highlight the strengths of your car accident claim while downplaying any weaknesses and work to maximize the damages you recover for your accident-related injuries.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today

Michael Hoosein
Car Accident Lawyer, Michael Hoosein

If you suffered injuries in a recent car accident, time is of the essence. A knowledgeable car crash lawyer can help you evaluate your options and take the necessary legal steps to start a claim on your behalf. 

Your lawyer will be your advocate every step of the way and help you maximize your monetary damages by highlighting the strengths of your case while downplaying any weaknesses.

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