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When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident

When people drive recklessly and carelessly, they can cause accidents that leave individuals with serious medical complications. If you sustained injuries in a car crash that an irresponsible driver caused, it is important that you retain skilled legal counsel as soon as possible. A lawyer can be helpful at every stage of the process, from investigating your car accident circumstances to pursuing the compensation you need through a claim or lawsuit. Your car accident lawyer will also be available to answer your questions and help you make informed decisions throughout the process.


What are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents, and What Injuries Can Result?

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Car accidents can occur due to various factors, but some of the most common causes include:

  • Distracted Driving – Drivers who are distracted may engage in activities like texting, talking on the phone, eating, adjusting the radio, or interacting with passengers. Distracted drivers are less attentive to the road, increasing the risk of collisions with other vehicles or stationary objects.
  • Speeding – Driving at speeds higher than the posted limit – or too fast for road conditions – can reduce the driver’s ability to react to hazards in a timely manner.
  • Impaired Driving – Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication can alter a driver’s judgment, coordination, and reaction time, significantly increasing the risk of accidents and serious injuries.
  • Reckless Driving – Reckless driving behaviors such as aggressive driving, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, or running red lights can lead to accidents by disregarding traffic laws and endangering other motorists on the road.
  • Fatigued Driving – Driving while fatigued or drowsy can impair a driver’s ability to stay alert and focused on the road, leading to slower reaction times, poor decision-making, and an increased risk of accidents.

Injuries resulting from car accidents can vary widely depending upon factors like the severity of the collision, the speeds of the vehicles involved, the use of seat belts and airbags, and the health and age of the occupants. Some common injuries that may result from car accidents include:

  • Whiplash – Whiplash is a neck injury that results from the sudden back-and-forth motion of the head during a collision, resulting in reduced range of motion, stiffness, and neck pain.
  • Fractures and Broken Bones – Car accidents can cause fractures or broken bones in various parts of the body, including the arms, legs, ribs, pelvis, or facial bones, which may require surgery and rehabilitation to correct.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) – TBIs can occur when the head strikes an object or when the brain is jolted inside the skull during a car accident, resulting in concussions, contusions, or skull fractures. TBIs may ultimately lead to cognitive impairments, memory loss, and other neurological problems.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries – Spinal cord injuries can result from trauma to the spine during a car accident, causing partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation, or impaired motor ability.
  • Internal Injuries – Car crashes may also cause internal injuries, such as organ damage, internal bleeding, or abdominal trauma, which may not be immediately apparent but can be life-threatening if left untreated.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries – Soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, bruises, or tears in muscles, ligaments, or tendons can occur due to the force of impact during a car accident. These injuries may result in limited mobility, chronic pain, and difficulty performing everyday tasks.

Types of Available Insurance Coverage in a Car Accident Scenario

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Filing an insurance claim after a car accident involves navigating through several steps to ensure you receive compensation for your injuries. Here’s how to approach filing insurance claims in different scenarios:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Claim – In states like Florida, PIP coverage is mandatory for all drivers, regardless of fault. After a car accident, you can file a PIP claim with your own insurance company to cover medical expenses and lost income, regardless of who caused the accident. PIP benefits typically cover up to $10,000 in medical expenses and 60 percent of lost income, up to $10,000. Be sure to submit the necessary documentation, including medical bills, treatment records, and proof of income, to support your claim.
  • Third-Party Claim – If the other driver is at fault for the accident, you can file a third-party claim against their insurance company to seek additional compensation beyond what PIP covers. This may include compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. Provide the at-fault driver’s insurance company with a detailed account of the accident, including photographs, witness statements, and a copy of the police report, if available. Be prepared for the insurance company to investigate the claim and potentially dispute liability or the extent of your damages.
  • Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Claim – If the at-fault driver is uninsured or lacks sufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate you for your injuries and damages, you can file a UM/UIM claim with your own insurance company. UM/UIM coverage can provide benefits for medical expenses, lost income, and other damages not covered by PIP or the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.

When filing insurance claims after a car accident, it’s important to document the accident, seek medical treatment for your injuries, and consult an experienced car accident attorney to help you navigate the claims process and ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses. A lawyer can advocate on your behalf, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent your interests in any legal proceedings that may arise.

What are the Benefits of Having a Car Accident Lawyer Represent You?

Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you in your claim or lawsuit can offer numerous benefits and greatly improve your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your injuries. Here are some of the key advantages of having a skilled attorney by your side:

  • Legal Knowledge – Car accident laws and insurance regulations can be complex and difficult to navigate without proper legal knowledge. An experienced car accident lawyer understands the intricacies of personal injury law and can provide guidance throughout the claims process.
  • Investigation – A car accident lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of your accident to gather evidence, obtain witness statements, and determine fault. This may include reviewing police reports, gathering medical records, and consulting with accident reconstruction experts to build a strong case on your behalf.
  • Negotiation Skills – Insurance companies often try to minimize payouts to accident victims by offering low settlement amounts or disputing liability. A skilled car accident lawyer knows how to negotiate with insurance adjusters and fight for maximum compensation for your injuries and damages.
  • Legal Representation – If your case proceeds to litigation, a car accident lawyer will provide experienced representation in court. From filing legal documents to presenting evidence and arguing your case before a judge or jury, your lawyer will advocate for your rights and interests every step of the way.
  • Case Management – Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, especially if you are recovering from injuries. A car accident lawyer will handle all aspects of your case, including communicating with insurance companies, scheduling medical appointments, and managing paperwork so you can focus on your recovery.
  • Maximizing Compensation – An experienced car accident attorney understands the types of damages you may be entitled to receive, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and future medical care. Your lawyer will work tirelessly to ensure you receive fair and just compensation for your losses.
  • Peace of Mind – Knowing that you have a dedicated legal advocate fighting for your rights can provide invaluable peace of mind during a difficult time. With a car accident lawyer on your side, you can feel confident that your case is in capable hands and that you are taking the necessary steps to protect your future.

Overall, hiring an experienced car accident lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim or lawsuit, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Settling or Litigating a Car Accident Claim

Deciding whether to settle or litigate a car accident claim can be a complex and important decision that requires careful consideration of various factors. Here are some key points to keep in mind when weighing your options:

  • Strength of the Case – Consider the strength of your case and the evidence available to support your claim. If you have strong evidence of the other driver’s negligence, such as witness statements, police reports, and medical records, you may have a better chance of success in court. However, if the evidence is weak or disputed, it may be more difficult to prevail in litigation.
  • Potential Settlement Offer – Assess any settlement offers that the insurance company makes. While settling your claim may offer a quicker resolution and guaranteed compensation, it’s important to evaluate whether the offer fully compensates you for your injuries, damages, and future medical expenses. If the settlement offer is inadequate, you may consider pursuing litigation to seek fair compensation.
  • Costs and Time – Consider the costs and time involved in litigating a car accident claim. Lawsuits can be time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally draining, requiring court appearances, legal fees, and other expenses. If you are seeking a relatively small amount of compensation or prefer to avoid the stress of litigation, settling your claim may be a more practical option.
  • Risk vs. Reward Analysis – Evaluate the risks and potential rewards of litigating your car accident claim. While litigation offers the opportunity to obtain a larger settlement or jury award, there is also the possibility of an unfavorable outcome, including a lower settlement or no compensation at all. Consider whether the potential benefits of litigation outweigh the risks involved.
  • Long-Term Effect – Consider the long-term effect of your decision on your financial and emotional well-being. Settlements offer certainty and closure, allowing you to move forward with your life and focus on your recovery. Litigation, on the other hand, can prolong the legal process and may result in additional stress and uncertainty.

Ultimately, the decision to settle or litigate a car accident claim depends on your individual circumstances, priorities, and goals. Consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer can help you understand your options, weigh the pros and cons, and make an informed decision that is in your best interests. A lawyer can provide valuable guidance, advocacy, and representation throughout the claims process, whether you choose to settle your case or pursue litigation.

Maximizing Your Damage Award in a Car Accident Case

A judge's gavel with two colliding cars in an accident scene, representing traffic accidents, court law, insurance, and fault.

In a car accident claim or lawsuit, third-party damages refer to the compensation sought from the at-fault party’s insurance company – or through litigation – to cover the victim’s injuries and other losses. These damages can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, the severity of the injuries, and the effects on the victim’s life. Here are some available types of third-party damages in a car accident claim or lawsuit:

  • Payment of Related Medical Expenses – Victims of car accidents may seek compensation for related medical expenses incurred as a result of their injuries, including hospital bills, surgeries, diagnostic tests, medications, rehabilitation therapy, and ongoing medical treatment. To maximize medical expense damages, it’s important to document all medical treatment received, keep records of expenses, and obtain written estimates for future medical care.
  • Lost Income – Victims may also be entitled to compensation for lost income if their injuries prevent them from working. This may include compensation for missed workdays, reduced earning capacity, and future lost income due to disability or impairment. To maximize lost income damages, it’s important to provide documentation of employment status, income history, and any work-related restrictions or limitations.
  • Pain and Suffering – Victims may seek compensation for pain and suffering resulting from their injuries, including physical pain, emotional distress, and psychological trauma. Pain and suffering damages are subjective and may vary based on factors such as the severity of the injuries, the duration of recovery, and the effects on the victim’s quality of life. To maximize pain and suffering damages, it’s important to provide evidence of the extent of the victim’s pain and suffering, such as medical records, testimony from medical experts, and personal statements from the victim and their loved ones.
  • Loss of Consortium – Family members of car accident victims may be entitled to compensation for loss of consortium, which refers to the loss of companionship, care, and support resulting from the victim’s injuries or death. Loss of consortium damages compensates family members for the emotional and practical challenges they face as a result of the victim’s suffering or absence.

To maximize third-party damages in a car accident claim or lawsuit, it’s important to gather evidence, document losses, and work with an experienced car accident lawyer who can advocate for your rights and interests. A lawyer can help you understand your legal options, assess the value of your claim, and negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company to seek just compensation for your losses.

Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Near You Today

If you suffered injuries in a recent car crash that resulted from another driver’s negligence, it’s important to consult a knowledgeable personal injury attorney right away. Your lawyer can thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your accident, explore various legal options, and help you make important decisions throughout the process. They will also do everything possible to maximize the overall settlement or litigation award you receive.

Article written or reviewed by:

Attorney Anthony Russo

Attorney Anthony Russo

Managing Partner and Lawyer at The Russo Firm

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