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As one of the most emotionally draining and physically harmful events in life, car accidents require victims to move forward by following a series of steps. From collecting evidence to dealing with an uncooperative insurance company, the aftermath of a car accident can be as difficult as the health consequences of the accident itself.
If you need help after a car accident, turn to a state-licensed personal injury attorney to ensure you receive just compensation for all costs and lost wages.
9 Legal Tips If You're Injured in an Auto Accident
One misstep, even a minor misstep, can derail an insurance claim and/or a personal injury lawsuit. Before we get into more detail about how to handle yourself after an auto accident, let’s review nine tips to help you submit the most persuasive insurance claim.
- Seek immediate medical care for serious injuries
- Never admit fault
- Maintain a well-organized digital file of every medical bill
- Submit an accident report
- Report the accident to your auto insurance company
- Give your insurance agent everything that is requested
- Never sign documents for the other driver
- Never provide the other driver and/or the insurance company with a recorded and/or a written statement
- Request the help of a personal injury lawyer
Three Common Types of Auto Accidents
Although there are several types of car crashes, three types stand out as the most common types of auto accidents.
Considered the most common type of auto accident, a rear-end collision happens when the front of one car makes an impact with the rear bumper of a second car. The severity of the personal injuries and vehicle damage depends on the speed traveled by the car that hit the rear bumper of another vehicle. Rear-end crashes are often caused by driver negligence at stoplights and intersections that have stop signs, such as not paying attention to the traffic in front of the vehicle.
Referred to by many insurers as a blind spot accident, a sideswipe collision can produce significant vehicle damage and life-threatening injuries. This common type of vehicle accident typically unfolds when one driver tries to merge into traffic. For example, a driver entering a highway at a high speed hits another car while trying to merge into the far right lane.
When the front of one car impacts the side of a second car, both cars form a T shape that signifies a T-Bone collision. The vehicle impacted on the side usually receives the most damage. If the front end of a fast-moving vehicle slams into the driver’s side of a second car, the driver of the impacted car can face life-threatening injuries. Reckless driving is one of the most common reasons for a T-Bone crash.
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Most Common Causes of Car Accidents
Whether you commute to and from work or drive for a living, you have to stay alert to avoid becoming involved in a vehicle crash. Unfortunately, some drivers violate proper driving techniques, which can lead to a car accident. Getting from one location to another is full of potential obstacles.
However, you can protect yourself and your family by understanding the most common causes of auto accidents.
Driving over the speed limit
As the most common cause of crash accidents, traveling at speeds above the speed limit can prove to be fatal in the time it takes to snap your fingers. When an oncoming car travels above the speed limit, it becomes more difficult to judge the amount of time you have to perform a vehicle maneuver.
When we take or retake a driver test, we do not play around with our Smartphones while navigating through traffic. Yet, many drivers drive their vehicles with heads bowed towards an electronic device. Many states make it illegal to text and drive, but the threat of punishment has not deterred enough drivers.
Driving While Intoxicated
It goes by many acronyms, but the fact remains that drunk driving is the leading cause of fatalities caused by an auto accident. Drunk driving is the cause of more than 30 percent of all fatalities caused by car crashes. Drivers under the influence not only put other drivers at risk, but they also put cyclists and pedestrians in harm’s way as well.
From serious design flaws to flagrant manufacturing mistakes, any type of vehicle is capable of experiencing a defect such as failure of the braking system. malfunctioning seatbelt, and tires that blow out while traveling at a high speed.
Poor judgment, inexperience behind the steering wheel, and overly aggressive driving techniques represent just three of the mistakes made by drivers. Teenagers that have recently received their driver’s licenses are the most likely to cause an auto accident because of one or more mistakes.
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5 Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
A car accident can result in one or more serious injuries that produce medical bills that run into the thousands of dollars, as well as prevent victims from holding down full-time jobs. If you suffer from one or more of the following injuries caused by a motor vehicle crash, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer to receive just compensation.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
As the most common cause of TBI, a car accident can leave a victim permanently disabled. A TBI might also leave emotional scars that include acute anxiety and depression.
Spinal Cord Injury
The intense impact and resulting violent torque triggered by an auto accident can cause a severe injury to the spinal cord. Partial or total paralysis below the center of the injury can leave a victim with huge medical bills and the loss of income that lasts for years.
Back injuries are a tricky type of injury because the symptoms often take time to appear, as well as come and go randomly. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to maximize the financial assistance required to live with an auto accident-related back injury
A vehicle crash can fracture one or more bones, with the legs, ribs, arms, and wrists representing the most common areas of the body where bones break. The seriousness of a fractured bone ranges from a simple break that requires a cast to a compound fracture that needs one or more surgeries to help heal.
Automobiles contain several flash points that can erupt during a car accident. Extremely hot fluids and/or steam create severe burns that require surgery and skin grafts.
Regardless of the type of injury or injuries that you suffer because of a car accident, organizing all the medical bills associated with the injury or injuries should strengthen your insurance claim and/or civil lawsuit.
faqs for car accident lawyers
Car accidents leave behind a trail of emotional and physical scars that can make it difficult for a victim to know how to move forward with a claim. Recovering the entire amount of money lost because of an auto accident should be your top priority, and an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you effectively move forward with a claim in a timely manner.
Knowing the answers to the most frequently asked questions for car accident attorneys should allow you to focus more on healing and less on fighting legal and insurance red tape battles.
The answer to the most important question asked by car accident victims follows six general steps.
- Turn on the emergency lights to your vehicle
- Report the auto crash
- Move the car away from traffic
- Get medical help for any injuries
- Collect and organize evidence
- Exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver(s)
Emergency medical care for a life-threatening injury or injuries should be the focus of first responders after a car crash. If you can move about with nothing more than minor discomfort, report the accident to the nearest law enforcement agency. The official police report represents the most persuasive account of the accident for both insurance companies and civil court judges.
You can also do your part to collect evidence by shooting photos of the accident scene, as well as interviewing witnesses to the crash. Photographs of the damage done to your vehicle give your insurance company proof of the extent of the damages. Witness accounts support any physical evidence collected at the scene of the accident. Make sure to interview witnesses as soon as possible after the accident to ensure you gain the freshest account of what happened before, during, and after the vehicle crash.
Whether you require emergency care or you need to have a few small wounds cleaned and bandaged, you should see a doctor after a car accident. In addition to treating your injury or injuries, having a physician conduct a medical examination and then treat any injuries creates the medical documents you need for submission to every insurance company involved with a claim and/or a lawsuit.
Another important reason to visit with a physician after a car accident is some injuries do not produce symptoms until hours or even days after an auto crash. Some of the medical conditions that generate delayed symptoms include a concussion and back spasms.
Most auto insurance companies employ adjusters that specialize in processing property damage and personal injury claims. Contact your insurer to speak with a property damage adjuster, who should have a copy of the official accident report on file. The property damage and personal injury claim adjusters then make a decision on how to proceed with your claim. If one or both adjusters decide the insurance company will cover some, most, or all of the cost of property damage and medical bills, you should receive just compensation.
A highly rated personal injury attorney can walk you through the insurance claim process.
When it comes to the costs associated with car accident-related injuries, the insurance adjuster handling your claim might ask you to undergo an independent medical examination (IME). A physician hired by your insurance company conducts a comprehensive evaluation of your injury or injuries. You should refuse a request to undergo an IME because the doctor conducting the examination might return an assessment that favors the interest of your insurance company. Consult with your personal injury lawyer before you decide whether you should undergo an IME.
Car accidents account for a substantial percentage of personal injury claims and civil lawsuits. Although many vehicle crashes share similar characteristics, each one has unique details and conditions that require the services of a state-licensed personal injury lawyer. A minor accident, such as a fender bender at a local grocery store, probably does not require the services of a personal injury attorney.
However, a vast majority of vehicle crashes should involve a personal injury lawyer to ensure the recovery of the costs associated with the accidents.
The mantra “The sooner, the better” should apply to the question “When should I contact a personal injury attorney.” Any significant delay between the time of a car crash and contacting a personal injury attorney might be construed by an insurance company and/or a civil court judge as hesitancy on the part of the victim of the accident.
Contacting a personal injury as soon as possible after a car accident ensures you follow the right steps in the right order to receive just compensation for your financial losses.
The Bottom Line
A motor vehicle accident can be a minor nuisance that turns a good day into a bad day. Nonetheless, many car crashes result in costly damage to one or more vehicles, as well as injuries that require immediate medical care. Preparing yourself for one of life’s most certain events involves much more than storing emergency flares in the trunk of your vehicle.
You have to know how to act in the aftermath of a car accident to build a strong enough case to receive just compensation for your pain and suffering.