Car Accident Lawyers
How Can Car Accident Lawyers Help Retrieve Compensation?
Traffic collisions are always quite a messy affair, besides possible deaths, injuries, and property damage, the legal matters afterward are very tiring. This is because of time spent finding out the cause and if any of the parties present are to blame. And after that, as a victim of one, you have to battle insurance companies to get the absolute best deal. Fortunately, car accident lawyers work for both, keeping the blame off you as well as getting you the highest compensation possible.
Activities That Contribute Greatly to Car Crashes
The most common factor that contributes to car crashes or traffic collisions is on the part of the drivers. This is also why terms like car crashes are used to imply that no one was at fault by saying “accident”, disregarding the possible cause and therefore possibly causing more harm.
The human factors at play typically concern how well the driver can visually and audibly tell what is happening, or if they can make a clear decision. This is why DUI’s are the main suspect for car crashes with a report from 1985 showing that they contributed to 93% of crashes within the US.
More recent developments however like handheld phones have contributed as well, with drivers distracted by their phones being four times as likely to cause accidents. And on top of that according to some research institutions, drivers are 23 times more likely to crash if texting while driving.
With these daunting statistics, it may seem simple to end all car incidents with strict and severe law enforcement to check for DUI’s or keeping drivers off their phones. And sure the number would be lowered drastically but a good number of studies show other causes as well.
One such study was done in the UK which found that 78% of drivers thought that they were above average or thought to be highly skilled as drivers. This, on top of how most drivers involved in traffic collisions not believing they were at fault, shows that overconfidence in abilities does play a part.
This study was also a survey that listed what drivers thought was important for being a good driver. Though answers did include important things like awareness and being able to react according to the environment, average drivers pulling these off slowly feed into their confidence which can infinitely grow larger and larger. This can be a problem as with more confidence on the road it is hard to keep it down and as such these drivers may attempt riskier movements on the road, which can lead to a traffic collision. It is also found that drivers with such confidence only really lose any when an incident occurs or nearly occurs, having them reconsider their abilities.
There are also more general factors that don’t quite contribute to traffic collisions but more towards that kind of people that usually end up in accidents. These demographics include things like the age or sex of the drivers.
There is a disproportionately large number of young males that show up in traffic collision statistics. Many studies have been conducted which found that these young male drivers had certain characteristics and behaviors, which may have contributed to the incident. This may seem odd as you’d assume younger people would have better reactions and can more clearly tell what is happening, but with older drivers who have slower reflexes, it is found that they are “safer” on the roads. This is partly because this demographic just drives less in general and also because older drivers are much more cautious according to studies. Even without looking at these numbers, you can generally tell the likelihood of your age group being involved in a traffic collision and for that, all you have to do is compare insurance rates. Other feelings may take effect as well.
It is found that areas that seem well made and safe have high crash rates. This is because, with areas full of signs and clear landmarks of dangerous paths like on a mountainside, people drive more cautiously. There is a much higher risk of crashing in these “safer” areas that have high vehicle congestion. But just because there is a high number of traffic collisions, there are relatively few injuries. When compared to the roads that are more dangerous where it is much more common for a fatal crash to happen.
This is especially true at night when the traffic is light. Part of this is also driving faster than one can see in front of them. This of course only happens at night where the driver is moving at such a speed that even upon braking they stop well beyond what they can see.
Among all of this information, several things were found and these are:
- Both vehicles driving slower and faster than the speed limit were more at risk of crashing.
- The increase in speed at a certain point exponentially increased the likelihood of fatal crashes.
- Regulated speeds being slower show very little benefit to reducing car crash incidents.
Are There Different Types of Traffic Collisions?
As vehicles come in different shapes and sizes as well as having different parts that may save or further damage the driver there are different classifications of collisions. These range from relatively safe to almost impossible to not be injured, of course still depending on the type of vehicle. They are:
- Head-on collision – This is where the two vehicles hit right up against each other. This can be for any type of vehicle as long as both their fronts collide. Head-on collisions are typically fatal as the driver is quite close to the point of impact.
- Sideswipe collision – When the sides of the vehicles touch, whether it be in the same or opposing direction. Fortunately, the severity of these collisions is quite low as the glance of the vehicle at each other. Depending on the factors at play though a secondary collision may occur, and it may be much worse than the initial.
- Road departure – These incidents refer to single-vehicle collisions which occur off-road. It was found that most fatalities from these collisions occur when there is a pole or tree to be hit. Because of this and much testing, most engineers give at least 30 feet of clear space on highways. This was because it was found that 30 feet are an adequate distance to prevent fatalities or even for the driver to gain control again.
- Rear-end collision – As the name implies rear-end collisions are when a vehicle ‘shunts’ the car in front of it. This is typically caused by a lack of attention or tailgating. It can also be because of the driver in front suddenly braking hard. If both vehicles are of a similar size, the chance of injury is lowered. On the other hand, being in the back of the vehicle is the worst position to be in as it can lead to death.
- Side collision – These types of collisions only really occur at intersections. This sees one car’s front ramming into the side of another. This type of collision has about a 22% fatality rate. There is also a slight variation called a T-bone or broadside collision. This is when the side hit is close to the front, having the car’s glance and sort of form a T shape. Depending on the severity of this collision it may also result in the last type of collision on this list.
- Rollover – This is a type of vehicle crash where the vehicle is placed on its side or top. This type of collision also has a much higher fatality rate when compared with the others. There are two variations for a rollover, tipped and untipped. Tripped rollovers are when a bump or object on the road, wind, or even another vehicle causes the other vehicle to flip or roll over. Secondly untipped is where it was the speed, friction with the road, or turning that causes the vehicle to tip over. Tipped rollovers see that the driver was affected by external factors, while untipped rollovers are caused by the driver. Since things like the center of gravity and mass distribution can heavily affect a vehicle with this type of collision, large trucks are most susceptible. Not to say that normal vehicles are exempted. So when driving SUVs, minivans, or pickup trucks turning cautiously is advised still as the center of gravity is still far off the ground in these vehicles.
It is important to know all these details as car accident lawyers and insurance companies investigate the car accident and therefore compile a report to find who is at fault and how much the compensation should be.
When Should I Call Car Accident Lawyers?
Naturally, you’d call car accident lawyers for a collision but this can wait. Of course, making sure anybody injured is brought to a hospital, notifying family members of the victims, and helping police with their reports is the first thing one should do. As for yourself, you will also want to gather information for any insurance claims.
Speaking of insurance claims, car accident lawyers can only assist you regarding the vehicle so make sure you have a personal injury lawyer if you were injured. They will be able to help you out greatly when dealing with insurance claims as insurance companies will do their best to pay out as little as possible.
How Can Car Accident Lawyers Help Me?
It would be wise to deal with car accident lawyers as soon as you can after the collision. This is because some insurance companies will do their best to give you an immediate payout which is a very small amount that usually doesn’t even cover the damages. This is because after experiencing a traffic collision one would be naturally shaken and insurance companies take advantage of it.
By offering you a deal immediately and appealing to the trauma you just experienced they can more easily get away with paying you less. By discussing with the lawyers both what happened, the terms of your insurance, and other such information can help you greatly with the legal case and payouts.
Having a trusted group of accident lawyers work with you is also going to help with expenses. This is because accident lawyers benefit from you going back to their firm but also just because of unforeseen fees and payments that an individual may not know of. Car accident lawyers are experts in this practice area and understand the laws that come under scrutiny after investigating your case resulting in more payouts.
Another reason why you should get a car accident lawyer is that being unrepresented makes it so that insurance companies won’t take you that seriously leading to minimal compensation. And you’d have more legal fees as you’d have to hire an insurance lawyer to help you with your new problem. So immediately calling up accident lawyers will result in the best and most immediate solution.
Several car accident lawyers have dealt with clients who were swayed by the insurance company’s immediate payout accepting the small settlement. These car accident lawyers would sometimes receive calls from these clients again as the medical bills rack up, and their insurance company won’t budge.
At this point, car accident lawyers can’t assist as their focus is to deal with the incident right then and there getting the best result. So when working with car accident lawyers keeping a cool head and keeping yourself from jumping the gun with any decisions is vital because if you suddenly change your mind, the car accident lawyers can’t do much for you anymore. From here it’s best to seek assistance from other lawyers like insurance lawyers as they may be able to assist you.
How Are Car Accident Lawyers Different from Other Lawyers?
As expected, car accident lawyers also specialize in their respective fields, dealing with all the legal proceedings in car collisions and insurance claims. Car accident lawyers can help the most on the latter part as they can maximize the payouts to make sure you recover without going into debt.
Fortunately as well you’ll find car accident lawyers only get paid once the dispute is won, taking an agreed-upon percentage of the payout. So besides helping you combat any tricks insurance companies will pull, car accident lawyers have in their best interest to get you the most amount of money.
Importance of Having Car Accident Lawyers
Since car accident lawyers can only really do things immediately after a collision it’s best to seek out car accident lawyers to represent you before it even happens. This will mean you finding trusted car accident lawyers in your life just to ensure that you save thousands of dollars in the future.
Keeping you from being exploited is a car accident lawyer’s main job and this duty to their client is something that you require when in an accident that wasn’t your fault. The trauma of experiencing a traffic collision makes it easier for insurance companies to pay you less but car accident lawyers keep this from happening, however, they can only do that if you work with them closely and immediately. Contacting car accident lawyers as soon as you can is also essential as every hour you give an insurance company to find some way to devalue your claims will be taken by them. So acting as soon as they do at least means you won’t be fighting an uphill battle.
Car accident lawyers can also inform you about your state laws since it’s not uncommon to find an injury caused by a car crash after it had happened. Of course depending on state laws when you can file further complaints varies but typically you have about 2 years from the incident to press further legal action.
Of course, car accident lawyers can also help a tough case where you are being blamed for the collision. Naturally, if you are, you can be charged with multiple crimes. So knowing a few car accident lawyers is still the safest bet no matter what as representing yourself will be extremely difficult as most cases where the clients represented themselves end up failing.
Car Accident Lawyers Investigate Crashworthiness
This is determined by how safe or how much safer the crash after the initial hit could’ve been. So this concerns injuries sustained by victims of the crash and if they could have been prevented if not for lack of features of the vehicle.
In cases where crashworthiness is taken into consideration are typically concerning secondary collisions. Secondary collisions take place after the initial one leading to more injury or more victims. There are two main things used to determine the crashworthiness of a vehicle. These are if the people in the said vehicle could have fared better, and were there any features missing in the vehicle that directly lead to further injury. These features could be airbags, seat belts, roof, door latches, child restraint, fuel tank, and so on.
These metrics for crashworthiness help lawyers with cases as the blame can be laid upon other factors including manufacturers of the vehicle. Who is to blame isn’t too important as long as it wasn’t yourself and crashworthiness is one of those. There are a few ways to go about labeling crashworthiness as follows.
- Design Defects – These are when possible improvements to the actual design of the vehicle could’ve been made by the manufacturer. This could be an unnecessarily sharp edge that caused injury, or the placement of the fuel tank is susceptible to damage and leaking.
- Failure to Warn – Cases where there is a slight problem or issue but the manufacturer withholds the information from the consumer completely. Rather than let them know of some slight quirk the car may have, that could’ve prevented injury.
- Manufacturing Defects – This includes when certain mandatory features are missing. Or when non-intentional problems make it past QC which then led to the injury of the consumer in a collision that could’ve been prevented.
So being able to get a full report on your vehicle both its condition before and after the crash can help your car accident lawyers have more leverage.
Before Calling a Car Accident Lawyer, Do This First
Let’s go over several things to either do or keep in mind to help with the future compensation of the collision.
First, immediately seek medical attention if you are injured and provide any information asked of you. Preferably you also get the names and contact information of any witnesses, this includes bystanders and the police to respond to the collision. Next take photos of the site including vehicles, surrounding traffic signs and lights, and any skid marks or other scattered evidence. If someone claims responsibility also keeps note of that.
After all of that and after dealing with any injuries, update your insurance company and file the necessary reports. This would be both to the police and Department of Motor Vehicles which will cost you about $200 – $500 depending on your state. Make sure to keep all information concerning the incident including medical checkups and records after.
At this point, you can consider contacting a car accident lawyer. With the information you have, your lawyer should immediately get on it and provide you with information regarding what you can do. Keep in mind this will vary from state to state, the most important part is that your lawyer makes you aware of the statutes and limitations. As to how long of a time you have to file it won’t just vary from the state but also what your claim is. If not you may lose out on your right to recover the damages caused and injuries.
Types of Compensation Car Accident Lawyers Can Claim
Though most traffic collisions are quite minor in the case where the personal life of the victim is severely affected, compensation should be expected when you could be facing months or even years of physical rehabilitation to function mostly normally again. The time off work, medical expenses, vehicle damage, and to top it all off the suffering the victim has been through adequate, compensation is the least they can ask for.
Since the compensation should account for all of this, your lawyer will do their best to pursue the maximum amount of compensation you can receive. A good lawyer will have gathered all the essential evidence to combat your claims and prove them thus ensuring you get the compensation you deserve. The lawyer will also defend you from the other parties’ insurance companies, as they will try their hardest to pay you as little as possible.
Knowing this there are several things you can claim to get compensation and these are:
- Any medical or rehabilitation cost for injuries sustained from the collision.
- Any pay that was missed out on due to the recovery period of your injuries.
- Loss of any potential income, like if your performance meant you would’ve gotten a raise or promotion. But could not receive it as you were off work and could no longer attend for a while.
- Any future medical cost, this is for when sustained injuries would have long-term problems pop up.
- Pain experienced due to the injuries.
Insurance and Possible Problems Your Lawyer Can Help With
Insurance companies have always been known to try their hardest to not pay out as much as they claim, always going for the absolute minimum they can get away. This is how these companies do business and is to be expected. With a car accident lawyer though your chances of decent compensation skyrocket. Here will be several obstacles you will probably face when trying to claim your insurance.
It is important to inform your insurance company because if you don’t, they can claim that the settlement is invalid due to how long you took to inform them. It would be best to provide them with most of the information you had collected on the scene, including the information of the people you shared the collision with.
When insurance companies of any of the parties involved ask for a statement be sure to check with your car accident lawyer before making one. This is to make sure that you aren’t forfeiting any rights. Furthermore, any settlements offered to you by the other parties’ insurance companies should be declined as there are chances your settlement amount comes to more than what they are willing to pay you initially.
Unseen or Unpredictable Problems When Dealing with Insurance Claims
Since insurance companies do keep their financial interest as their top priority there are a few things you should keep in mind. These scenarios are fairly common and here is what you can do if you find yourself in them.
Insurance Bad Faith Claims
This is when a completely valid claim from a client is denied by the insurance company saying it was invalid for whatever reason. So even with completely acceptable evidence behind a claim like this, insurance companies deny them, this is called insurance bad faith. Fortunately, your car accident lawyer can help you by filing a bad faith claim against the insurance company.
Even though in pretty much all the states there is a legally required amount of car insurance to even be able to drive one on the road, some just don’t. In this case, it is best if you have an insurance policy that includes uninsured motorists. This makes it so your own insurance company compensates you, then they are left with finding the uninsured motorist and demanding some sort of return. If you do not have this in your insurance plan then the best you can do is charge the uninsured motorist for whatever damages you can.
No-Fault and At-Fault Laws
Half of the states in the US follow the No-Fault laws which claim that in a collision all parties involved are responsible for their damages and vehicles. The only exception to this is in cases where the victim has taken serious injuries or has damages exceeding a specified amount. For the other half of states that follow the At-Fault laws, the driver who claims or is accused of being responsible must pay for all that were involved in the collision.
Car Accident Lawyers Will Prove That You’re Not Guilty
Beyond what was covered with crashworthiness there is also the actual person that is possibly at fault. This is essential for both dealing with insurance or any actual lawsuits. Proving who is at fault can be quite a messy affair, but there are a few key things to look out for.
The most obvious source of evidence would be the official police reports on the case. This would be invaluable for proving who is at fault. Another factor would be your state’s laws as alongside the police reports it can lead to a quick and clear outcome. Unfortunately, police reports usually aren’t enough, but assuming you called your car accident lawyer immediately they can help with that as they specialize in reconstruction and investigation on car collisions as that’s sort of their whole thing.
Since car accident lawyers have worked on cases before they know exactly what to look out for when finding essential evidence for the case. This is why calling them immediately is important, as if it’s too late this essential evidence might’ve been lost or tampered with. So having a car accident lawyer handy can save you from a lawsuit, or help you file one.