Car accidents can significantly affect the lives of injured drivers and passengers. In addition to the debilitating physical injuries that individuals might suffer, victims may also experience severe emotional trauma and mental anguish due to their injuries.
Fortunately, accident victims who suffer car crash injuries due to someone else’s negligence may be eligible to pursue a legal claim against the at-fault driver or their insurance company. Alternatively, they can file a lawsuit in the civil court system against the driver, seeking appropriate financial compensation for their injuries and other losses.
To maximize the monetary recovery you receive in your car accident claim or lawsuit, you should retain skilled legal counsel to represent you immediately. Your lawyer can help you prepare for what to expect in the coming weeks and months following your car accident claim.
Your car accident lawyer can also guide you through the claims-filing and litigation processes, helping you maximize the total settlement award, jury verdict, or binding arbitration award you receive for your accident-related losses.
Injuries in Car Crashes
The injuries car crash victims suffer are often severe and debilitating. An injured accident victim might be unable to work for a significant amount of time after their accident, incurring lost income. Victims may need continuous and painful medical treatment, including multiple surgeries and physical therapy.
The injuries that a car crash victim will suffer often depend on the circumstances leading up to the accident, the number of vehicles involved in the crash, the respective speeds of the cars, and how the victim’s body moves during the impact. For example, if the force of a collision causes an accident victim’s body to move abruptly backward and forwards, the victim may suffer a soft tissue neck or back injury, such as whiplash.
Additional injuries may happen if a part of the accident victim’s body strikes something in their vehicle, such as the door frame or window. Severe shoulder injuries, including broken bones and soft tissue contusions, often occur this way. If a victim’s head strikes the steering wheel or headrest during the collision, they may suffer a severe concussion or other traumatic head and brain injury.
Other potential injuries that accident victims suffer in car crashes include internal bleeding, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, full and partial paralysis, and bruising resulting from airbag deployment.
If you suffer injuries in a car crash, your top priority should be obtaining the medical treatment you need to get better. Usually, this means following up at a local hospital emergency room for a complete medical evaluation. While you are present at the ER, your doctor can order imaging studies, including X-rays and MRIs, allowing them to diagnose your medical condition.
You should seek follow-up medical treatment at a local emergency facility as quickly as possible after a car crash, preferably on the same day. Otherwise, if you file a personal injury claim later, the insurance company may doubt the seriousness of your injuries. Seeking prompt medical treatment also helps ensure that your injuries do not get worse, increasing your chances of full recovery.
While you attend ongoing medical appointments and focus on getting better, a skilled car accident lawyer can begin advocating for you. Your lawyer can prepare a settlement demand package, including copies of police reports, witness statements, medical records, property damage photographs, injury photographs, and other documents, and present it to the insurance company after you finish your medical treatment.
Your lawyer can then begin the settlement negotiation process with the at-fault party’s insurance company on your behalf.
Negligence That Leads to Car Crashes
People driving carelessly and negligently are more likely to cause a severe car accident leading to debilitating injuries. Different types of driver negligence may lead to other kinds of car crashes. But in all cases, a lawyer can prove a driver’s negligence when they deviate from the standard of care and drive in a reckless, careless, or otherwise unreasonable manner.
First, some car accidents result from a driver’s willful violation of one or more road rules.
Common traffic law violations that lead to traffic accidents include:
- Exceeding the speed limit.
- Tailgating other vehicles.
- Weaving abruptly in and out of traffic.
- Failing to use turn signals.
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles.
- Failing to use rearview and side view mirrors, especially while switching lanes in busy highway traffic.
In addition to these common traffic violations, some car crashes result from DUI or driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A driver is legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, reaches 0.08 percent or more.
A legally intoxicated driver cannot drive safely because alcohol slows down a driver’s central nervous system. Consequently, an intoxicated driver might experience blurred vision, dizziness, limited concentration, impaired reflexes, and an inability to stop their vehicle in time to avoid a crash.
In addition to drunk driving, distracted driving is another common cause of car accidents. Distracted drivers routinely fail to observe the road, instead concentrating on electronic devices or other non-driving activities. When a driver fails to observe the road or turns their head for a short time, they can lose their focus or simply fail to notice an approaching vehicle causing a severe crash.
Finally, some traffic accidents result from fatigued driving. Fatigued drivers often experience many of the same symptoms as intoxicated drivers. For example, a drowsy driver might not watch the route attentively or may become distracted quickly, causing a severe accident.
If you recently suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from another driver’s negligence, you have legal rights and options available. A skilled car accident lawyer can immediately start investigating your case and determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Your lawyer can then assist you with every step of the claims-filing and litigation processes, working to maximize your overall monetary recovery in the case.
Types of Car Accidents That May Happen Due to Negligence
When people drive negligently and carelessly, they may cause several different types of accidents. The kind of accident that ultimately occurs depends on various factors, including the traffic conditions at that time, the number of vehicles involved, and the location where the traffic accident occurs.
Some of the most common car crashes that result from driver negligence include:
- Sideswipe accidents, where the sides of two vehicles strike one another while proceeding forward in the same direction
- Rear-end crashes, where the front of one vehicle hits the back of another car, usually near a traffic intersection or following an abrupt traffic back-up that occurs on a highway
- T-bone or broadside collisions that happen when one vehicle hits the side panel of another car, usually as a result of failing to yield the right-of-way
- Head-on accidents, where vehicles in opposing travel lanes hit one another, often resulting in permanent injuries and sometimes fatalities
- Rollover accidents, where a driver negligently speeds around a sharp turn or fails to follow speed limits in inclement weather, causing their vehicle to overturn and bringing about multiple crashes.
If you or someone you care about sustained injuries in a recent car crash, speak with a skilled lawyer as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can obtain a copy of the police report and investigate your accident circumstances. Your lawyer can also file a claim or lawsuit and handle every aspect of the case for you.
As quickly as possible after your car accident, your lawyer can begin an investigation into how the accident occurred and who was responsible. In some circumstances, your lawyer may need to retain an accident reconstructionist who can visit the accident scene, speak with witnesses, review police reports, and speak with you directly about what happened.
An accident reconstructionist can also draft a report about the cause of the accident and, if necessary, authenticate that report at a discovery deposition or jury trial.
During the investigation phase of a car accident claim, the at-fault driver’s insurance company representative may contact you about providing a recorded statement. You should never agree to provide one of these statements, especially if you do not have a lawyer on the phone or provide advice.
Recorded statements only help the insurance company find a valid basis to deny your claim. Sometimes, insurance company adjusters will twist an accident victim’s words during a recorded statement in an attempt to deny the claim. A lawyer who is present with you can object to certain questions or instruct you not to answer them. Even if an insurance company representative tells you that a recorded statement is necessary, that is not true, and you are under no obligation to provide one.
In addition to representing you during the investigation stage of your car accident claim, a lawyer can handle all settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives on your behalf. Specifically, your lawyer can submit a settlement demand letter, along with a complete settlement demand package, to get the ball rolling. Once the insurance company reviews this information, they might make an offer to resolve your car accident claim through settlement.
Opening settlement offers that insurance adjusters make typically are far less than the case’s fair and true value. In fact, insurance adjusters make these low-opening offers to try and convince an accident victim to settle their case early potentially avoiding a lot of expense and litigation.
A lawyer can make a counter-demand to the insurance company representative and continue back-and-forth negotiations with the adjuster until the adjuster either increase their offer or the parties reach an impasse. If the latter occurs, your lawyer may threaten the insurance company with the prospect of a lawsuit.
Sometimes, this action is sufficient to make the insurance company adjuster sit up and take notice. However, if the adjuster does not raise their offer significantly, your lawyer can explore the available litigation options in your case.
Car Accident Litigation
Car accident litigation begins when a lawyer files a lawsuit in the court system on an accident victim’s behalf. During litigation, the parties will engage in discovery. The written component of discovery consists of exchanging documents back and forth and answering written questions that the lawyers prepare, called Interrogatories.
The oral component of discovery includes depositions, where the defence lawyer may ask the accident victim questions about how their accident happened, the injuries they suffered, the medical treatment that they underwent, and the aftermath of their accident. During the litigation stage of a car accident claim, the parties may resolve the case, or the case may move forward to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding.
Your lawyer will keep all of your options open and help you select the option that best suits your needs and the needs of your pending personal injury case.
Potential Monetary Recovery From Car Accidents
Car crash victims who can satisfy each element of their claim or lawsuit may be eligible for various types of monetary compensation. Damage awards vary considerably from case to case and often depend on the severity of an accident victim’s injuries, as well as the severity of the car accident itself.
Compensable monetary damages in car accident claims and lawsuits include:
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental distress
- Loss of use of a body part
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of spousal consortium
- Past and future pain and suffering
Speak With a Knowledgeable Car Crash Lawyer Today
Car accident victims are often unsure of what to expect during the settlement negotiation and litigation stages of a car accident case. A personal injury lawyer in Endmonton can answer all of your legal questions, address all of your concerns, and help you prepare for a discovery deposition or jury trial in your case.
Your lawyer can also explore your legal options at every stage of the process and help you decide on a favourable course of action. Finally, your lawyer can help you determine whether you should accept a pending settlement offer or litigate your case to a conclusion. In any event, your lawyer will do everything possible to maximize your total monetary award, ensuring that you receive the monetary compensation you need.