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What Do Auto Accident Lawyers Do?
Auto accident attorneys are ready and available to help you with your car accident lawsuit claim. Chances are you will be involved in at least one car accident in your lifetime, and you’ll probably be injured at least once in your lifetime due to a car accident. If you are injured in a car accident, contact a local, qualified car accident attorney today!
A car accident attorney can help “level the playing field” by providing car accident victims with information regarding the practical and legal aspects of personal injury law and car accident claims. For a review of your claim, please contact a car accident attorney now.
Car accidents are the leading cause of injury and death for drivers under the age of 34 years, and the number of people over the age of 34 years injured and killed in car accidents is also alarmingly high. Over 40,000 people are killed in approximately 5 million motor vehicle collisions and other car accidents annually, many involving teen car accidents. In 2002 alone, nearly 43,000 people died in highway accidents nationwide. That equates to over 115 fatalities per day.
In almost all auto accidents, at least one injury is involved, which is why car accidents are one of the top personal injury claims filed in civil courts these days. The economic costs of personal injuries and property damage sustained in car accidents is staggering—over $150 billion per year. What does all this mean to you? It means that all drivers, including you, are likely to get in at least one car accident in their lifetime. They also indicate that you probably will suffer an injury, and if you are injured you will need an experienced car accident attorney to assist you with your personal injury claim.
15 Steps To Take After a Car Accident
- The first thing you should do if you are able to move is to make sure you and your passengers (if any) are OK.
- Move as far off the roadway as possible, but stay at the scene of the auto accident.
- Warn oncoming traffic by activating your hazard warning lights or setting flares.
- Exchange vital information with other drivers involved in the car accident.
- Write down the name, address, phone number and license numbers for all drivers and witnesses.
- Ask for the insurance companies and policy numbers for drivers involved in the car accident. Be sure to note makes, models, colors and descriptions of all vehicles involved, and take down the plate numbers, as well.
- Call the police to report the accident if damage exceeds $500 or if any injuries may be involved.
- If the damages exceed $500 and/or an injury could be involved, call the police and have them take a report.
- The majority of accidents require a police report because they seldom involve damages less than $500 and the chances of injury are very high, even they may not be immediately apparent. Neck and back injuries are notorious for cropping up days and even months after the accident occurred.
- Interview all witnesses and record their comments either at the scene of the accident or as soon as possible afterwards. It is important to do these interviews as quickly as possible because witnesses’ memories tend to fade with time and the information you get may not be as valuable to you. Information gathered immediately or very soon after the accident will be much more accurate than any recalled at some later date. The police officers at the scene can also help you.
- Photograph the accident scene and notate traffic light color (if applicable)
- If you happen to have a camera, try to photograph the scene prior to moving the vehicles (only if safe to do so). Be sure to note what color the traffic light was was (if applicable).
- Remember to write everything down immediately or as close to the time of the accident as you can. You should also keep in mind that anything you say to anyone following the accident will be admissible and is not considered hearsay, so it is important that the information you provide is as accurate as possible.
- Seek medical attention for your injuries as quickly as possible.
If treatment is delayed, the other driver may argue that it was not his or her negligent driving that caused your injury, but rather something that occurred between the time of the accident and your visit to the doctor. Then, contact an experienced and reputable car accident lawyer as quickly as possible because there are time limits involved in filing any car accident personal injury claims. Any delays could affect your entitlement to a lawsuit claim.
- Get a copy of the police report. They are typically available about 10 business days after the car accident occurred. Review the police report to be sure that it generally coincides with your recollection of the accident. Even if it doesn’t you will need it for your claim. A car accident attorney will be able to provide advice if the report does not coincide with your recollection.
Different Vehicles Are Treated Differently Under Law
Although all vehicles must obey traffic safety laws, they are not treated the same under law. Some vehicles are not considered as motor vehicles, and are subject to different laws than those that are. This could affect your rights as an injured person. For example, if you are injured in an accident involving a bus, trolley or train, your rights as an injured person are affected because busses and trolleys are governed by different laws in your state, and trains are regulated by federal law. This is why it is imperative to contact a car accident attorney as quickly as possible after the accident has occurred. An experienced car accident attorney will be able to determine what medical benefits you will be entitled to and also if any immunities will be granted to municipal owners.
If you have been seriously injured in an car accident you should contact a car accident attorney who can evaluate your case and help you protect your legal rights as soon as you can. Because there are typically statutes of limitations (time limits) involved with filing a lawsuit claim, you should contact an auto accident attorney immediately after receiving care for your injury.
Vehicle accident injuries
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury in the U.S. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2.5 million Americans went to the emergency room—and nearly 200,000 were then hospitalized—for crash injuries in 2012. On average, each crash-related emergency visit costs about $3,300 and each hospitalization costs about $57,000 over a person’s lifetime.
Key auto accident numbers
- 1 million – Americans spend more than 1 million days in the hospital each year from crash injuries.
- $18 billion – Crash injuries in 2012 totaled $18 billion in lifetime medical costs. More than 75% of costs occur during the first 18 months following the crash injury.
- $33 billion – Lifetime work lost because of 2012 crash injuries cost an estimated $33 billion.
Taking Action Against A Negligent Motorist
Usually, a lawsuit is not required to be filed against the motorist who caused your vehicle accident. The insurance company will often offer a settlement during settlement negotiations. This is a complex process that involves:
- Investigating the crash, such as when and where it took place, and if laws were broken
- Collecting available evidence, such as eyewitness statements and traffic camera videos
- Proving the other vehicle’s driver acted with negligence or malice
- Tying your injuries to the crash
- Calculating the full value of your pain, suffering, medical bills and other damages
- Approaching the motorist’s insurance company with a solid case and demand for fair compensation
- Negotiating a settlement with the driver’s insurance company
In the case that an insurance company won’t offer a fair settlement, a civil suit is your next step, which can often bring the insurer back to the table for more negotiations. If that fails, then the case would go to trial.
If you are involved in a vehicle accident
When consulting a lawyer, it is wise to provide him or her with as much information about your case as possible. The more information you provide up front, the easier it will be for the lawyer to prepare your case and fight for your rights. The more time you take to share information, the faster your accident will go resolved and the less time you will have to spend recovering from your injuries. A lawyer does not have time to sift through irrelevant details, so if you have any concerns or questions, now is the time to voice them.
As previously mentioned, you should not delay in contacting a qualified auto accident compensation lawyer if you have been injured. This way, you can gather information to give to your lawyer so that he has enough information to begin gathering facts and preparing your case. By contacting a lawyer as soon as possible, you will make the best possible use of your rights.
In most cases, while an employee is commuting to or from work, an injury suffered in an accident will not be covered by worker’s comp. There are limited circumstances in which an injury sustained while commuting to and from work can be covered by workers’ compensation However, if said commute was part of your job duties (for example, if you are already on the clock, or traveling between two work locations), then your injury may qualify for workers’ compensation.
The first step is to identify whether your employer is a federal, state or private employer, or one of several specific groups covered by federal worker’s compensation laws.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs administers disability compensation programs which provides help to federal workers (or their dependents) and other specific groups who are injured at work or acquire an occupational disease.
Individuals injured on the job while employed by private companies or state and local government agencies should contact their state workers’ compensation board.
A qualified attorney can be essential in helping you navigate a worker’s compensation claim.
How much can I expect from an auto accident injury settlement?
The wide range of potential injuries makes it difficult to give a specific amount, but like all injuries, there are common factors in the compensation you may be owed. The settlement amount can only be determined on a case-by-case basis, but in general, injury claims are based on a person’s economic and non-economic losses.
Pain and suffering can mean a substantially higher amount of compensation. If you have permanent disabilities as a result of the injury, the amount can be substantial.
Economic damages are the actual financial losses stemming from an injury. Some examples of economic damages are:
- Past medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost income
- Diminished earning capacity
These damages, sometimes called general damages, cover losses that aren’t easy to estimate with a dollar figure. These include:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
These non-economic damages can come with a damage multiplier (for example, between 1.5 and 5) based on the seriousness of the injury.
In rare cases, punitive damages may be assessed in particularly egregious personal injury cases, where the incident arises from more than just negligence.
Two factors that can reduce your injury compensation are contributory negligence, where you share some of the blame for the injury, and failure to mitigate damages, which means you are required to take reasonable steps after your injury (such as taking your prescribed medication as the doctor orders, or resting or wearing a brace for the appropriate length of time.)
What is my next step in seeking financial compensation?
Your injury can be a debilitating experience, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of your hopes and dreams. A qualified attorney can make sure you are appropriately compensated for your injury.
Don’t forget that even if you are able to move around now, with all your pain and suffering behind you, there is still a chance that your accident could contribute to further injuries to the affected area in the future. This is why it is important to see what our injury compensation calculator can do for you today.
Using the auto accident injury calculator
It is important to remember that the results of this calculator do not take into consideration any current or previous medical treatments you may have received. The auto accident injury compensation calculator is a useful aid, but it cannot provide legal or financial advice. It is not intended to replace the services of a qualified attorney. Before proceeding with making a claim, it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer who can advise you on your options. With their help and advice, you can successfully make a claim for injury compensation.
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