Almost 2.5 million people are injured in traffic crashes every year. Injuries can range from minor bruises and cuts to debilitating injuries. Many of those accident victims did nothing wrong and were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Accident victims should not be left to deal with their injuries on their own. Injury victims and their families can rely on the advocacy of a strong legal defense team to help them recover damages.
After a car accident, the injury victim may be left with vehicle damage, medical bills, loss of income, and chronic pain. A personal injury lawsuit can help the injury victim recover damages to compensate them for their losses. When the injured driver files a claim with their insurance company, the insurance adjuster may try and offer a small settlement, just to close the claim. Before you take a settlement offer, make sure you understand your rights and what legal rights you are giving up by signing the check.
Your claim may be worth much more than the settlement offer. Talk to an experienced car accident lawyer about your case. Your attorney may be able to negotiate a better settlement to pay for your losses. If necessary, your lawyer can also take your case to a jury, to recover the full compensation you deserve. Contact Gilman & Bedigian for a free consultation.
Top 3 After a Car Accident
The first thing to do after a car accident is to make sure you are safe. If anyone else is injured, call 9-1-1 for help. Unfortunately, after many car accidents, injury victims worry about the cost of medical care before seeking medical attention. Car accident injuries can be tricky. Even if you feel like you can walk away from the accident, there may be internal injuries or damage you can’t see.
Head injuries and neck injuries may not show up immediately. It could take hours or days before you realize that something is not quite right. Getting medical treatment as soon as possible after a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury can increase your chances of recovery. If there is any possibility that you were injured in a car accident, seek out medical care.
The next steps after a car accident generally involve exchanging information with others involved, reporting the accident to law enforcement, and reporting the crash to your insurance company. Many people stop there, relying on their insurance company to take care of everything. However, before you decide to leave everything in the hands of the insurance company, remember they are a business and have an interest in paying out as little as possible.
The next step you may want to take after a car accident is contacting an experienced auto accident attorney. If you have an attorney on your side, they will work for you, not the insurance company. They have experience dealing with insurance adjusters and will protect you from deceptive insurance practices. You will also be able to focus on recovering from the accident instead of spending hours on the phone trying to get answers from the insurance company.
A car accident lawyer can make the difference between taking the first settlement offer that comes along and recovering a significant award for damages in court. Do not sell yourself short. With a free consultation, you can learn more about your legal rights and options to recover compensation after an auto accident.
Dealing With an Accident Injury
Healthcare in the United States is expensive. Even with health insurance, a car accident can leave you with expensive medical bills. Even a minor injury can result in tens of thousands in medical expenses. Injury accident medical treatment can include:
- Ambulance transportation
- Pre-hospital care
- Emergency room treatment
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Outpatient care
Some car accident injuries result in permanent damage. Brain injury, back injury, or other traumatic injuries may require future medical care. Some accident injuries get worse over time. Even if you are feeling okay shortly after an accident, the damage may lead to chronic pain or disability. Some common types of car accident injuries include:
- Traumatic head injury
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injury
- Back injury
- Burn injuries
- Loss of limb
Accident victims may not consider the treatment and medical expenses that they will require in the future because of a car accident. It is important to understand the full extent of your injuries before accepting a settlement offer. Talk to your accident attorney for legal advice.
Who Is At Fault?
Fault is an important consideration in a car accident. In most states, auto accident claims are based on who is at fault for the accident. The at-fault driver is usually liable for damages, including the damages to anyone else injured in an accident. Each driver may point to the other but when there is a dispute, it may be up to the judge or jury to determine who was at fault.
Fault is generally based on negligence. Negligence is the breach of a duty of care to others that results in damages. Under per se negligence, when a driver violates a traffic law and causes an accident, that driver is generally at fault. For example, if a driver runs a stop sign and hits a pedestrian in the intersection, the pedestrian could show negligence because the driver failed to stop at a traffic signal, as required by traffic laws.
In some cases, multiple parties share fault in the accident. If multiple parties are at fault, the jury generally allocates fault up to 100% total. For example, if 3 drivers were involved in an accident, the jury may determine Driver 1 was 60% at-fault, Driver 2 was 40% at-fault, and Driver 3 was 0% at fault. The level of fault can make a big difference in the ability of an injury victim to recover damages. Different states have different approaches to comparative negligence and contributory negligence.
In states with pure comparative negligence, each party is liable for their own level of fault. For example, if a car accident victim suffered $100,000 in damages and the injury victim is 40% at fault, the defendant may be liable for $60,000 in damages. In modified comparative negligence, there may be a limit to the victim’s recovery if they are more than a certain amount responsible. Depending on the state, if the victim is 50% responsible or 51% responsible, they are not eligible to recover any damages.
Illinois and Pennsylvania follow the 51% rule for modified comparative negligence. For example, in a car accident, Driver A suffers $100,000 in damages in an accident with Driver B. Driver A files a personal injury claim against Driver B. The jury determines Driver A and Driver B are both 50-50 responsible for the accident. In that case, Driver A could recover $50,000 in damages from Driver B. However, if the jury found Driver A 51% responsible and Driver B 49% responsible, Driver A would be barred from recovering from Driver B.
Contributory negligence can be much harsher if the injury victim had any fault in the accident. Some of the only states that still use contributory negligence are Maryland and Washington, D.C. In contributory negligence, even if the injury victim is 1% responsible for the accident, they cannot claim any damages. It is important to know the negligence system in your state when pursuing a personal injury claim.
After an accident, the injury victim may have significant financial losses from medical bills and not being able to work. A personal injury lawsuit seeks to recover compensation from the negligent parties involved. The parties in a personal injury claim may be able to settle the dispute through a settlement agreement, where both parties agree to release legal claims for a set amount of compensation. If the parties cannot agree, the case may go to trial.
In a trial, the injury victim can present evidence of their damages, including medical bills, medical records, pay stubs, past income records, and expert testimony from medical and occupational experts on the future costs and losses associated with the accident. It is up to the jury to determine the amount of compensation. Compensation in a car accident lawsuit can include:
- Vehicle repair/replacement
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of opportunities
- Pain and suffering
Types of Auto Accidents
There are several types of auto accidents and each type may have a greater risk of certain types of injuries. Some of the different types of auto accidents include:
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicyclist accident
- Head-on collisions
- Rollover accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- T-bone accidents
- Multiple vehicle accidents
- Truck accidents
Injuries tend to be more severe in car accidents involving a motorcycle, pedestrian, or cyclist. Most cars have a number of standard safety features, including seatbelts, airbags, crumples zones, special glass, and even automatic crash reporting. Pedestrians generally have no protection. Cyclists and motorcycle riders may have a helmet to help protect against serious head injuries. Generally, unprotected accident victims are at greater risk of serious injury or death.
Some types of car accidents also have a greater risk of serious injury. In an accident with a truck, the size, shape, and mass of the tractor trailer vehicle can overwhelm a small passenger car, trapping the injury victim inside and requiring extraction. When a passenger is trapped in the vehicle, they may also be more at risk of hemorrhage, burn injuries, and shock.
Five Common Causes of Auto Accidents
Car accidents can be caused by just about anything but most accidents involve driver error. One or both drivers may have been driving unsafely, with some of the most common causes of an accident involving:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Running a stop sign or traffic light
- Reckless driving
Distracted driving can involve anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road. This includes visual distractions, manual distractions, and cognitive distractions. Cognitive distractions may involve inexperienced drivers chatting with passengers or drivers in a heated argument with a passenger. Manual distractions can include trying to pick something up off the floor while driving, shaving or putting on make-up in traffic, or eating on the way to work.
Visual distractions are among the most common. Taking your eyes off the road for even a second can increase the risk of a serious accident. Looking at your phone while driving is an increasing cause of accidents, including texting, checking email, looking at social media, or mapping directions.
Some accidents are not caused by the fault of the driver but by some outside cause. In these cases, another driver may not be at fault for the accident. Liability could include the vehicle manufacturer, auto repair shop, or government agency. Some non-driver caused accidents include:
Baltimore Car Accident Attorneys
People who live in highly congested areas of the country, including Baltimore and the D.C. Metro areas spend more time in traffic than most other areas of the country. With so much time behind the wheel, it is not surprising that drivers in Baltimore face serious car accident injuries every day.
If you were injured in an auto accident in Maryland, contact an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer for help. Your Baltimore attorney can explain your options, make sure you get the help you need, and fight to recover the maximum compensation to provide for you and your family after an accident. Contact Gilman & Bedigian online or at 800-529-6162 for a free consultation.
Chicago Auto Accidents
At Gilman & Bedigian, our aggressive trial lawyers have helped car accident victims and their families recover millions of dollars in compensation after an accident. Chicago injury victims and their families can rely on our courtroom experience to get results. Contact us online or call our law office at (800) 529-6162 for a free consultation.
Legal Help for D.C. Car Accidents
At Gilman & Bedigian, our team will assist you in each step of your claim. We understand that every case is different, and each client has unique needs. We will stand by your side and fight for the compensation you deserve. If you are injured in a car accident in Washington, D.C., we can pursue a personal injury claim against the driver responsible to help you recover medical expenses and lost wages. Contact our office today for a free phone consultation.
Philadelphia Auto Accident Lawyers
Many drivers in Philadelphia have close calls every day with reckless drivers, distracted drivers, or drivers who may have had too much to drink. Unfortunately, even the best defensive drivers can be victims in a car accident. After the accident, you may want to reach out to experienced lawyers with a record of success in vehicle and transportation accidents in Philadelphia. You can contact Gilman & Bedigian online or at (800) 529-6162 for the legal representation that you need to get the compensation that you deserve.