If you recently suffered injuries in a car crash, you should seek out the legal help you need as soon as possible. Waiting too long may jeopardize your right to recover monetary compensation for your accident-related injuries.
In fact, car accident victims only have two years from their accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking monetary recovery. Unless exceptional circumstances exist, accident victims who file their lawsuit after the two-year deadline are not eligible to recover any monetary damages.
As soon as you retain experienced legal counsel to represent you in your car accident claim, your lawyer can start advocating for you. First, your car accident lawyer can begin investigating your accident circumstances by speaking with witnesses and obtaining necessary documentation, including a copy of the police report and any eyewitness statements.
In addition, after you finish your related medical treatment, your lawyer can file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company and begin pursuing the monetary compensation you deserve.
If your lawyer must litigate your personal injury case in the court system, they can represent you at all legal proceedings, introduce evidence on your behalf, and fight for your right to receive the monetary damages you deserve.
Injuries in Car Crashes
Forceful car accidents can lead to debilitating injuries that require victims to undergo lengthy medical treatment, attend physical therapy sessions, and miss time away from work. All of these factors can place a financial strain on accident victims and their families.
Of course, the ultimate injuries that a car crash victim suffers depend on the exact circumstances surrounding the accident, how the crash jolts the accident victim’s body, the speeds of the involved vehicles, and the type of accident that occurs.
Some of the most common car crash injuries include open lacerations, bruising, soft tissue whiplash injuries, rib fractures, broken bones, internal organ damage, paralysis injuries, and spinal cord damage. While some of these injuries are relatively minor, others can result in permanent complications for accident victims.
If you suffered any of these injuries in a recent car accident, you should immediately seek medical treatment at a local hospital emergency facility. At the emergency room, a medical doctor can physically examine you, order imaging studies (including X-rays and MRIs), and develop a treatment plan that suits your needs.
As soon as possible after receiving additional medical treatment, you should contact an experienced car crash lawyer in your area. Your lawyer can begin handling the legal components of your case, including all written correspondence and verbal communications with insurance companies and their representatives.
How Drivers Cause Collisions?
Drivers usually cause car accidents when they drive negligently and carelessly. For example, they may speed excessively or violate other traffic laws, such as tailgating other drivers, failing to use turn signals, or aggressively weaving around traffic. As a result, they might negligently cause their vehicle to strike another car, causing significant property damage and physical injuries.
At other times, car accidents result from road rage or a driver’s inappropriate reaction to an adverse roadway situation. For example, a driver who is in a hurry might become angry and resort to honking their horn or attempting to pass another driver in a no-passing zone. Consequently, the enraged driver may negligently cause their vehicle to strike another car, bringing about serious injuries.
Car collisions also happen when people drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A driver is legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. Minor drivers who are under 21 years old, along with commercial vehicle drivers and tractor-trailer operators, must follow stricter legal standards.
If a police officer arrests an intoxicated driver for DUI and the driver incurs a criminal conviction, they can face criminal penalties, fines, and collateral consequences. In addition, if they cause a car accident that leads to injuries, they and their insurance company may be responsible for paying the accident victims civil damages for their physical injuries and other related losses. A drunk driver may also have to pay the accident victim punitive damages, depending on the circumstances.
Car crashes may also happen when drivers fail to pay sufficient attention to the road. Instead of watching the road and using their rearview and side view mirrors, drivers might be listening to loud music in their vehicle, roughhousing with vehicle passengers, texting on a cellular device, or making a phone call without using their Bluetooth capabilities.
Finally, some car accidents result from fatigued driving, especially where commercial truck drivers drive for long hours without sleep or unsuccessfully resort to stimulant drugs to try and keep themselves awake. A drowsy driver may lose concentration quickly and may experience delayed reflexes or reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid a crash.
When people drive negligently and recklessly, they may cause:
- Head-on crashes, where the fronts of two vehicles strike one another, often resulting in permanent injuries and sometimes fatalities for the involved drivers and passengers
- Rear-end car crashes, where the front of one vehicle hits the back of another vehicle, usually near a traffic intersection or on a major highway where traffic backs up suddenly.
- Sideswipe car accidents, where the sides of two vehicles strike one another, often causing one vehicle to drift into another travel lane or off the road entirely
- Overturn accidents, when a driver operates their vehicle too fast during inclement weather conditions or while travelling around a sharp turn, causing the car to fully or partially overturn in the roadway.
- Broadside accidents or T-bone collisions, where the front of one vehicle hits the side of another car, resembling the shape of the letter T—usually at traffic intersections where the responsible driver fails to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle at the proper time
If you suffered injuries in one of these car accidents that a negligent driver caused, you should contact skilled legal counsel as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can meet with you to discuss how the accident happened and review your legal options for moving forward. Your lawyer can then help you file a claim or lawsuit for the monetary compensation you need.
How a Lawyer Can Help Following a Car Crash?
Having experienced legal representation in a car accident claim or lawsuit significantly increases your chances of recovering the monetary compensation you deserve.
First, your lawyer can promptly investigate the circumstances surrounding your car accident, especially if the at-fault driver’s insurance company is disputing fault for the accident. An accident reconstructionist can speak with you, along with witnesses to the accident, and review police reports and witness statements. They can then draft a report or testify on the witness stand if your car accident case goes to trial.
In addition, a lawyer can help you file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company and negotiate settlement offers on your behalf. During settlement negotiations, insurance companies are never on your side, and they will do everything they can to limit the monetary payout you ultimately receive.
In some cases, the insurance company might even allege you caused or contributed to the car accident as a means of denying liability in your accident case. Moreover, the insurance company might contend your present injuries and symptoms are the result of pre-existing medical conditions or injuries rather than from the subject car accident.
Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf by pointing to medical documentation, highlighting the strengths of your case, and, if necessary, threatening them with litigation if they fail to increase their offer significantly. Your lawyer can also retain an expert healthcare provider to testify in your case and establish the necessary medical causation.
If the insurance company does not increase their offer, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and handle your case in the court system. During this time, your lawyer can help you answer written discovery questions from defence counsel, prepare you for a discovery deposition, and represent you during all court proceedings, including settlement conferences and jury trials.
Finally, your lawyer can help you explore available options for alternative dispute resolution. For example, your lawyer can represent you at a mediation hearing, during which time the parties try to resolve their case with the assistance of a qualified third-party mediator. Also, as an alternative to a jury trial, your lawyer can represent you at a binding arbitration hearing. During binding arbitration, a neutral arbitrator listens to evidence the parties present in their case and makes the final decision regarding a monetary award to the accident victim.
Proving the Elements of a Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit
To recover monetary compensation in a car accident claim or lawsuit, you must satisfy your legal burden of proof.
Effectively, this requires that you show that:
- Another driver violated their legal duty of care, such as by speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, engaging in DUI, or breaking some other traffic law
- As a result of the other driver’s negligence, your accident occurred.
- As a direct result of your accident, you suffered one or more physical injuries.
A skilled car accident lawyer in your area can help you satisfy these legal elements and, if necessary, retain experts to testify in your case.
Recovering Economic and Non-economic Damages for Car Accident Injuries
The economic and non-economic damages that car crash victims are eligible to recover are very case-specific. Therefore, different car accident victims will recover different types and amounts of monetary damages, either through settlement offer or litigation. The total damage award that an accident victim receives will depend on the severity and nature of their injuries, the types of injuries they suffered, the force of the collision, and their ability to work at a job, both presently and in the future.
In terms of economic damages, accident victims can pursue compensation for their lost earnings, as well as for loss of earning capacity (for example, if they are unable to work after their accident or have to switch jobs and take a pay cut).
Car crash victims can also pursue non-economic damages to compensate them for their intangible losses. For example, they may be eligible to receive compensation for their mental distress, pain and suffering, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of life enjoyment, inconvenience, permanent disfigurement, or loss of spousal companionship.
Your lawyer can help you maximize your damages during settlement negotiations or litigation in the court system by aggressively advocating for your legal interests at all times.
Speak to an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Right Away
If you suffered injuries in a car crash, do not wait too long to seek the assistance of legal counsel. Your lawyer needs to have time to meet with you and develop a plan of action for your case. Your lawyer must also have ample time to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. Therefore, the sooner you retain a lawyer to represent you, the higher your chances of recovering a favourable monetary award.
Your personal injury attorney in Edmonton can assist you with every step of the negotiation and litigation processes and work to maximize your overall monetary award via a personal injury settlement or litigation in the court system.