Determining Fault in a Car Accident Is Not a Job for the PoliceBy Stewart J. Guss on February 27th, 2020
Your first thoughts after any car accident should be about your safety and well-being. You may not be immediately concerned with collecting proof regarding who is at fault for the accident, or you may assume it is obvious.
However, just because you know it was the other driver’s fault doesn’t mean that they will be held personally liable for the accident or your resulting injuries and hardship. In order to hold them accountable, you need an aggressive car accident injury lawyer on your side who can undoubtedly prove what you already know: that the other driver was at fault.
Types of Car Accidents
There are more than 3,000 car accident deaths every day in the United States, with most car accident deaths occuring in urban areas. While thankfully not every car accident results in a death, many cause serious injuries, and many of these injuries require costly medical treatment.
There are countless types of car accidents. These vary greatly depending on the road conditions, the type of vehicles involved, the location of the accident, and the time of the accident. Every type of car accident can result in injuries, even minor fender benders. One thing is for certain: every type of accident is bound to result in financial difficulties and emotional stressors that can hinder the victims’ healing process.
Understanding the types of accidents in which serious injuries often occur can give you the knowledge that you need to help protect you and your loved ones from car accident injuries. Car accidents can occur in places you would least expect, like in a parking lot or your own neighborhood.
The most common car accidents that result in injuries are:
- Failure to yield
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Aggressive driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Sideswipe incidents
- T-bone accidents
The most common reason for these types of accidents occurring is simply human error. This term includes an array of examples – texting while driving, speeding, not paying attention to the road, and many more – but what it boils down to is that the other driver is the reason you are now suffering.
One person is injured every two minutes in a car accident. Every two minutes! Based on this fact alone, you or someone you care about is likely to find themselves injured in a car accident sometime soon (if it hasn’t happened already).
Head and Neck Injuries
When you’re involved in a car accident, your body is often forced in many directions rapidly. This force can put extreme pressure on your body, leaving you with injuries ranging from broken bones to muscle strains to soft tissue injuries that may be more difficult to notice at first. The truth is that the extent of your aches and pains may not be apparent to you until days after the accident as your body tries to readjust.
Car accidents often cause bruises, cuts, and scrapes. While this type of injury might not seem severe at first, imagine living the rest of your life with a scar across your forehead or with a cut deep enough to cause nerve damage. External bleeding from these scrapes is obvious, but the serious issue of internal bleeding isn’t, making it all the more crucial that you seek medical attention swiftly after even the most minor of accidents.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The most common type of traumatic brain injury is a concussion. However, it’s not the only one, and certainly not the most severe. More severe traumatic brain injuries can cause you to lose feeling in an extremity or, even worse, end up partially or completely paralyzed. These types of injuries are life-changing, requiring a great deal of medical attention and continuous care.
It doesn’t take much to break a bone. Much like whiplash injuries, broken bones are often caused by the body being thrown in different directions or from a direct impact. In a serious car accident, a direct impact can break bones when your body is pushed up against another object with extreme force. You don’t have to be crushed into or thrown from your vehicle either – bones can be broken just from your impact with your steering wheel, seats, dash, or even your airbags.
Just like a sudden impact can break your bones, it can also cause knee injuries. Often, this happens when the force of the car accident causes your knee to slam into the dash. These types of injuries often require surgery to fix, and even then, you may never make a complete recovery and your mobility and quality of life may be impaired.
Anyone who has experienced back pain understands how debilitating it can be. Back injuries are common injuries after a car accident due to the force of the impact. When your body suffers an impact as intense as a car accident, it can twist your spine in different directions, causing serious injuries that include herniated discs. A herniated disc occurs when a vertebra moves out of place. It can be extremely painful and unpredictable, as the disc can pinch your nerve and cause muscle spasms for the rest of your life.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
While focus is primarily placed on your physical ailments after an accident, you mustn’t neglect or downplay your mental state. A common misconception is that post-traumatic stress disorder is something only soldiers suffer from. However, it can affect victims of any unexpected traumatic occurrence. Car accident victims often have difficulty getting back on the road or returning to their daily routines after their accidents. They can be plagued with fears, worries, or flashbacks of the accident. This is classic post-traumatic stress disorder, and you should not have to suffer alone.
Determining Liability is Difficult
As the victim of a car accident, you know the other driver is to blame. But even if it appears fairly obvious to you, don’t assume the other driver’s insurance company will cave and pay out your claim right away.
You need help holding the negligent party liable for the accident and your resulting injuries. This will require a firm that has dedicated, consistent investigators at the ready to help show the other driver was at fault. That’s why it’s so important to work with a trusted car accident injury lawyer.
“Wasn’t there a police report?” you ask. Yes, and it may have a great diagram of your accident scene that can help with your case. But it’s not the end of your story.he police usually don’t assign fault – they’ll leave that to the insurance companies to bicker over. Don’t place your trust solely in your insurance company, however. There are certain things a car accident injury lawyer brings to the table that your insurance company simply cannot.
Here’s what a good car accident lawyer will do for you:
- Examine the accident scene – law firms have the necessary resources to handle every detail of your car accident injury claim, including expert investigators who are trained at analyzing accident scenes. These investigators observe pictures taken by you or police, the diagram from the police report, and will even review the vehicles involved in the accident in person. While the average person may overlook them, there are many telltale signs of how an accident was caused that are very clear to trained investigators.
- Speak with witnesses – Witnesses are very important to your car accident injury claim. Not only can they help to verify your version of what happened, but they can also reveal what the other driver was doing before they caused the accident. (For example, a witness may have seen a driver texting or applying makeup right before the accident – something you probably wouldn’t have seen.)
- Review video surveillance – In today’s world, there are video cameras everywhere. This can come in handy for supporting your car accident injury claim. If your accident happened near a bank or at an intersection with cameras, you might be in luck and be able to retrieve video surveillance which could show your accident happening. Our team will do everything in their power to locate and review video evidence of your accident.
- Review digital evidence – If a person sent a text or posted on social media, there is a digital record of that happening. If the negligent driver who caused your accident was on their mobile device right before impact, our team will find that digital evidence and use it to hold the at-fault driver liable for your injuries.
All of this happens quickly after your accident, but most law firms will do all of this at no cost to you. They only get paid if you recover compensation.
Beware of Settlement Offers
Soon after your car accident, the other driver’s insurance company may reach out to you and offer you a settlement amount to close the case. You may be excited about this, or may be too overwhelmed to carefully consider your options, or you may be apathetic and just want to put this all behind you. Furthermore, if your injuries are severe enough, you may be out of work temporarily or even permanently, and in need of some fast cash.
The insurance company knows this, and it will prey on you. If they have to pay out your claim in full, that cuts into their profits. Your success is their failure – and vice versa. So what the insurance company won’t tell you is that its initial settlement offer likely won’t even cover all of your bills!
We never want to see clients end up in a situation where they have to pay out of pocket for medical bills when they didn’t even cause the accident. Even worse, when you sign their settlement offer, you waive your right to bring any future claim against the insurance company for this accident. That means that months or years down the road when you realize you still have medical bills and struggles resulting from this accident, you’re out of luck and you have to pay out of pocket.
The best way to avoid this situation is to work with a skilled and seasoned car accident attorney from the get-go who can help you maximize your financial recovery.
Getting Compensation for Your Claim
A car accident investigation is not easy, quick, or cheap. Getting compensation for your injuries isn’t as simple as just filing a claim. Unfortunately, the insurance company will fight you every step of the way. That’s where your car accident lawyer comes in to help you maximize your financial recovery and know all of your options, so you can focus on what really matters: making a full recovery and returning to your life as quickly as possible.
Your attorney should work with you to help secure compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Home rehabilitation costs
- Vehicle damage
- Rental vehicle costs
- And more
When you or a loved one is the victim of someone else’s negligence, all you want is to put this tragic situation behind you and move forward. Unfortunately, moving quickly isn’t always the best scenario. Often, the best approach is deliberate and calculated, with the help of someone who’s seen it all before.
You deserve a car accident lawyer with the resources necessary to help you maximize your financial recovery so that you can make a full and complete physical recovery. Not every law firm is created equal, and not every law firm has the resources necessary to seek compensation for the full cost of your injuries, including future costs.
Car accidents involve complex litigation. While it’s true that most car accident claims settle out of court, not all of them do. If the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, your lawyer must be prepared to take your case to trial if that’s what it takes to maximize your recovery.