Any commute involves some risk, but car accidents are among the most common types of wrecks and arguably the most avoidable if all drivers paid attention to safe-driving practices. The most common types of car accidents include collisions, such as head-on collisions or rear-end collisions, rollovers, particularly SUV rollovers, tire blowouts, single car accidents and multi-car accidents, and pile-ups. Automobile accidents often occur due to a driver’s negligence, such as speeding, failing to use turn signals, failing to obey traffic signs, reckless driving, distracted driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some auto wrecks can be caused because of auto defects, defects to the highway, poorly maintained roads, or traffic signal malfunctions.
Who is Responsible?
Depending on the particular circumstances of the accident, several parties may be involved in your particular case. These parties may include:
- You. Car accidents are often caused by the driver’s negligent operation of their own vehicle, including during incapacitation as the result of DUI or DWAI or texting while driving. Sometimes both drivers are at fault to different degrees, which in most states means you can still file even if you contributed to the conditions in which the accident occurred, as long as you are 50% or less at-fault.
- The Other Driver. If the crash was the result of another driver’s negligence, then that driver may be held personally responsible for resulting injuries, on grounds of negligence, reckless driving, DUI/DWAI, or any of the elements of unsafe driving mentioned above.
- The Car Manufacturer. From accidental oversights to gross negligence, car accidents may occur when the car manufacturer knowingly or unknowingly sends a defective vehicle on the road that is unfit for safe use. If a mechanic hired to repair the car behaves similarly, they too could be liable.
- The Government. Government fault may exist when on-going road construction is in place or the road/lights/signage are damaged or lacking, making it impossible to safely navigate an area that should be easily passable for any car. Government agencies could also be responsible if the road was poorly maintained or designed.
- The Property Owner. If the accident occurs on someone’s property as a result of an unavoidable safety issue or warning regarding the issue in place, the property owner may be liable for damages.
- The Employer. If either vehicle is a work vehicle, and especially if either party was on work-related business when the accident occurred, the employer of that person may be liable for damages incurred in the accident as well. Workers’ comp or a third-party claim may apply.
Do You Have a Claim?
Depending on the nature of your injuries due to a car accident, your lawyer may identify possible claims for:
- Medical expenses for injuries resulting from a car accident may include: whiplash, scrapes and cuts, head injuries, broken bones or fractures, internal bleeding, herniated disc, knee trauma, head, neck or back trauma, spinal cord injury, loss of limbs, brain injury, disfigurement, burn injury, paralysis, PTSD, and, in the worst case scenario, wrongful death.
- Lost wages as a result of hospital stay-time, or, for the loved one of a car accident victim, the necessity to leave work in order to provide care.
- Lifecare expenses, such as life support or ongoing medical expenses for chronic injuries.
- Vocational rehabilitation.
- Pain and suffering, for both emotional and physical distress.
- Loss of consortium and loss of care and companionship.
- Wrongful death.
- Funeral expenses.
Hiring an Attorney
You will almost certainly need an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle with an auto accident claim or case. There are many attorneys that have a great deal of experience in automobile accident cases, but you do not have to hire someone in your local area. Instead, work with an attorney that has experience and resources that can be applied to your specific situation. Also, you typically do not have to pay for the attorney’s services out of your pocket. Firms typically are paid out of the case settlement.