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​What is the Most Common Cause of a Crash between a Car and a Motorcycle?

Every motor vehicle crash is unique. However, there are some common causes of traffic accidents. If motorists learn what causes accidents, we can avoid the collision altogether and severe or fatal injuries.

A lawyer is your best bet if you have suffered an injury in a traffic accident caused by another driver’s negligence. An injury lawyer will fight to ensure you receive compensation for your damages following an accident. Despite what caused the accident, it is vital to put your legal team together as soon after the accident as possible.

Continue reading to learn more about what causes crashes between motorcycles and cars.

What Causes a Traffic Accident?

There are many causes of traffic accidents between motorcycles and cars. Call an attorney immediately if you suffered an injury in a traffic accident because another motorist was negligent. Keep reading to learn more about common causes of crashes between cars and motorcycles.

Recklessness

Reckless driving causes traffic accidents. When motorcyclists must share the road with reckless drivers, they are in danger. Motorcyclists do not have the same protection as drivers in trucks or cars. Because of motorcyclists’ exposure to traffic, it takes only a small amount of force from a car to throw the motorcyclist from their bike, causing severe injuries.

Reckless driving has been more prevalent across the country, particularly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of the quarantine, roads and highways across the country were empty because everyone was at home. With fewer people on the road, drivers began to take more chances on the road.

Carelessness

Distinct from recklessness, careless drivers put motorcyclists at risk of harm each time they are on the road. Careless driving includes drivers making avoidable mistakes, not paying attention to the road, failing to check their blind spots before turning and changing lanes, and failing to yield. Careless driving also puts motorcyclists at risk of severe injuries.

Speeding

Speeding is a significant cause of traffic accidents. Speeding accidents are entirely avoidable. If a driver speeds, it is unlikely they can stop in enough time to avoid a crash with a motorcycle. Rear-end accidents are prevalent between cars and motorcycles, especially when the driver is speeding because there is no time to stop the car.

Speeding accidents between cars and motorcycles can be deadly. Injuries and death are more prevalent when cars and motorcycles crash because motorcyclists do not have protection from any vehicle covering, unlike trucks and cars’ coverings.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving causes deadly accidents. When a driver operates their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they put everyone else on the road, including other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists, in danger. Every driver should avoid operating their vehicle while impaired.

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol lowers a driver’s inhibitions. Intoxicated drivers take more risks and have dull reflexes. Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to impaired drivers. Drivers who operate under the influence of drugs and alcohol tend to have slowed reflexes and sometimes blurred vision. Because of the decrease in these motor functions, impaired drivers do not think to check their blind spots. A motorcyclist may suffer severe injuries or even die if they are in the blind spot of a driver who is impaired.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving accidents can cause injury or death. Distracted driving includes any activity that takes the driver’s focus off driving. Texting while driving, talking on a cell phone, eating, changing music, and talking to passengers are all examples of distracted driving.

Fatigued Driving

Driving while sleep-deprived may seem like no big deal, but it causes many traffic accidents and injuries annually. Fatigue happens because of prolonged sleep deprivation. If you lose sleep for even one day, you can microsleep. During a microsleep, a driver closes their eyes or falls asleep for only a few seconds. An accident can happen in those seconds.

Drivers who operate their cars without adequate rest put motorcyclists at risk for severe injury or death. Like impaired driving, if a motorist drives while fatigued, their inhibitions and motor functions are decreased. Because of the decrease in function, drivers do not see motorcyclists. Drowsy drivers cause crashes.

Poor Road Maintenance

Lack of road maintenance and poor road conditions cause crashes each year. Poorly maintained roads are an issue across the country. Bad roads are dangerous for motorcyclists. Because a motorcyclist does not have the covering a car or another type of vehicle has, the rider is vulnerable to getting injured in a crash. If you crashed your motorcycle because a government agency improperly maintained the road, you might have a claim against the city. If you think that the government is responsible for your damages, you should talk to an attorney in your area.

Examples of poor road conditions that may cause an accident include:

  • Unmarked lane changes
  • Poorly lit roads
  • Lack of visible lane dividers
  • Vegetation-obstructed views
  • Hidden driveways or entrances

Defective Parts

Sometimes crashes are caused by defective auto parts. Every manufacturer must put safe products into the marketplace, and car manufacturers are not exempt from that duty. So, when your vehicle has a defective part, and you suffered an injury, you may file a claim against the car manufacturer. To learn more about your options in this circumstance, reach out to a motorcycle lawyer in your area.

Bad Signage

The city is responsible for maintaining road signage. Failure to properly maintain signage can cause an accident between two motorists, and neither of them did anything wrong. Here, you may have the right to file a lawsuit against the city. If your accident happened because of poorly maintained signage, you need to hire an experienced attorney immediately. After the accident, contact a lawyer in your area as soon as possible.

Bad Weather

Bad weather can cause a nasty traffic accident. Motorists can lose control of their vehicles while traveling in inclement weather. Remember that sometimes driving the speed limit is negligent when the conditions require slower speeds to keep the roads safe.

How to Prove a Negligence Case

All car crash cases are negligence cases. Negligence has four elements. Plaintiffs who fail to prove these elements lose their cases. If you want compensation after an accident, you must prove fault. The elements of a negligence case are:

Duty

Every motorist has a duty to others sharing the road to operate their vehicle safely. A driver cannot act unreasonably while they are behind the wheel. Unreasonable acts include speeding, recklessly switching lanes, and running red lights.

Breach

A driver breaches their duty to other motorists if they do not drive safely. A driver may breach their duty by speeding, but they may breach their duty even while following the speed limit when inclement weather requires them to slow down to maintain a safe speed.

Causation

An accident victim must prove that the other motorist caused the accident. Call a local motorcycle accident lawyer if you are a motorcyclist who suffered injuries in an accident with a negligent driver. Your lawyer will work with you to gather information and evidence that proves the other driver caused your injuries.

Damages

A plaintiff must prove damages after an accident. For example, your lawyer will use medical records and bills to prove damages. That is why you must go to the hospital after an accident, even if you do not think you suffered a severe injury.

What Evidence Proves a Motorcycle Accident Case?

You and your lawyer will work closely to prove your motorcycle accident case. Proving your case starts at the moment of impact.

You should keep a record of:

  • Witness testimony. You will want eyewitnesses to testify about what they saw. Your friends and family may also testify about how your personality changed after the accident. This testimony may help your lawyer prove a claim for pain and suffering at trial.
  • The police report.
  • As much visual evidence as possible. Your attorney will watch traffic camera footage if available; they will look at pictures of the accident scene, the damage to your bike, and your injuries.
  • Any protective gear you wore, like a helmet. They want to know this because insurance companies work hard to downplay your damages or claim that you were not hurt.

How Do Insurance Companies Avoid Paying Motorcycle Accident Victims?

Insurance companies do not like motorcycle accidents, and they typically discriminate against motorcyclists. Because insurance companies think poorly of motorcyclists, they work overtime to blame a motorcyclist for their injuries. If you have an attorney working for you, the insurance company cannot bully you just because you are a biker.

If an insurance company cannot successfully blame you for your injuries, they will try to downplay them. You should never sign anything that an insurance company gives you without speaking to an attorney first. The insurance company may claim that the injuries you suffered in the accident were due to prior harm to downplay your injuries.

Never sign a release of medical information authorization because that is how the insurance company gets the information it needs to build a case against you. Your lawyer will make sure that you do not fall for that trap.

How Can an Attorney Help Me Win My Motorcycle Accident Case?

Dave Abels Personal Injury Lawyer
Chicago Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyer, Dave Abels

Most states allow you to represent yourself in a motorcycle accident case, but that usually is not a good idea. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney knows what strategies to use, what questions to ask, and how to avoid any tactics from opposing parties that will increase your chances of maximizing your settlement.

Examples of how an experienced accident attorney will help your case include:

  • An attorney does more than stand up for you in court and negotiate for you; they will also work as an investigator. Your attorney will review the scene of the accident, look at pictures, watch the traffic camera footage, and talk to witnesses to improve your odds of getting a high settlement amount.
  • Your attorney will talk to the accident attorney on your behalf. You do not need to worry about leaving money on the table. If you hire an attorney, they will ensure you do not settle for less than all the available damages, including present and future medical bills, loss of wages, and all other continuing damages.
  • Your lawyer will help you determine if a settlement offer from the insurance company is reasonable. You can trust that your lawyer will be honest with you about whether it is a good idea to settle or if you will get more money at trial.
  • If you cannot reach a satisfactory settlement from the insurance company, your lawyer will take your case to trial. It may be tempting to represent yourself in a courtroom, but trial advocacy is an art, and you need someone with experience getting successful results working on your behalf.
  • If you hire an attorney, you will have a resource who can answer your questions during the litigation. Your attorney can inform you about the progress of your case and ensure you understand any settlements before you agree to them.

If you have suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, you need an attorney to help protect your legal interests. Never go it alone after an accident—doing so may jeopardize your financial recovery, leaving you with unpaid losses. After an accident, call a local motorcycle accident lawyer immediately.

 

​What to Do on Your First Offer From the Insurance Company Truck Accident

After suffering from the horrors of an accident with a commercial truck driver, you may want everything to return to normal as soon as possible. However, speed may be the enemy of full recovery. Commercial truck accident victims’ injuries may be acute or may not appear for months or years after the initial impact. You need time to learn more about the extent of your injuries.

Never accept an insurance company’s first offer without talking to a truck accident lawyer. If you suffered an injury in an accident with a commercial truck driver and want to learn more about what to do after receiving the first offer from the insurance company, continue reading. ​

Dos After Receiving a Settlement Offer From an Insurance Company

To increase your chances of maximum compensation after an accident:

  • Hire an attorney immediately. Accident attorneys work hard to protect the rights of accident victims. If you have not hired one yet, you want the protection of an experienced accident attorney right away after an initial offer. This will increase your odds of a fair settlement offer. Without an attorney, you face the risks all unrepresented accident victims face: ending up with less than you deserve.
  • Collect more evidence (which your lawyer can handle). Some offers are lower because you did not provide enough supporting evidence of your damages to the insurer. Receive medical treatment and compile a complete set of medical records and bills related to the accident. Your medical records and statements are essential to prove your injuries to the insurance company, and more proof can mean higher offers. Your attorney can review your claim file and determine what additional evidence you need.​

Don’ts After Receiving an Offer From an Insurance Company

  • Do not settle for the first offer. The first offer from the insurance company is not their best offer. Insurance companies rely on the impulsivity of inexperienced and injured accident victims who just want the whole situation finished. Therefore, the first offer is usually a lowball offer.
  • Do not sign anything. The insurance company may present you with paperwork or agreements but do not sign them. These documents may contain language stating that you agree to the settlement terms. Always have an attorney review any paperwork that an insurance company sends you.
  • Do not give a recorded statement. Insurance companies often ask accident victims to provide their side of the story in a recorded statement. However, the request for a recorded statement can seem innocent, but your words will be available against you as settlement negotiations continue or in a lawsuit if one gets filed.
  • Do not settle out of desperation. A reality of the aftermath of an accident is that you are in pain, you have multiple doctor’s appointments, you may need physical therapy, you lose time at work, and you struggle with your bills all because of another person’s negligence. Considering all the other problems that arise after an accident, it is tempting to finalize the whole thing, and getting it over with means settling with the insurance company. Insurance companies know this and may send a lowball offer expecting an accident victim to accept the offer out of desperation.

Do Not Accept the Offer Without Speaking to an Attorney

car accident lawyer in phoenixTo ensure you receive the maximum amount of money available to help fully compensate you, talk to an attorney before settling with the insurance company. Accident attorneys work hard to protect the legal rights of their clients. Having a qualified accident attorney can help you avoid common pitfalls created by the insurance company and more accurately determine the value of your claim.

They can also ensure that you receive the medical care you need, negotiate with the insurance company for a larger settlement amount, and tell you what to say, do, and sign when interacting with the insurance company. To learn more, continue reading.

Risks of Talking to the Insurance Company Without an Attorney

Insurance companies often send a settlement offer quickly to resolve an accident claim. Attempting to settle quickly before an accident victim has a chance to fully realize all their injuries is a tactic of insurance companies to keep their costs low. The initial offer from an insurance company is typically not satisfactory to compensate for your injuries.

An attorney can help you know what can help you understand what a reasonable offer is and can keep pushy insurance adjusters at bay while you continue getting medical attention.

Insurance companies want to lock your story down. To do that, they will ask you for a recorded statement. Insurance companies asking for a recorded statement is typical. Insurance companies use these statements to attempt to limit the amount of recovery that an accident victim receives.

In addition to recorded statements, insurance companies may try to get you to admit fault to avoid payment of your claim. An attorney will protect you by telling you what to say and how to interact with an insurance company during negotiations. If you receive an offer before hiring an attorney, you will not have the benefit of an experienced accident attorney, and you may settle for an offer that is less than your damages.

The most significant risk of an unrepresented accident victim dealing with an insurance company is settling too soon. Remember, acceptance is binding. If you accept the first offer, you are bound to it. You cannot go back to the insurance company and negotiate for more money if it turns out that you need more money to pay for future medical treatment. ​

What Is My Claim Worth?

You may not know what your claim is worth when you are first injured. There are various factors to consider as you determine the value of your claim. The insurance company may use these factors and your attorney to help argue the worth of your claim. ​

Inability to Work

Lost income is recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit. If you lost income because of an injury or lost the capacity to earn in the same way you did before your accident, you are entitled to those damages. Because you are entitled to those damages, the more proof you have of lost income or earning capacity, the more the value of your case increases.

Severity of Injuries

Injuries may be physical or intangible. Both types of injuries are compensable. The severity of your injuries may not be known when the insurance company makes its first offer. Physical and mental or emotional injuries may not fully develop for many months or years after the accident. Do not accept a settlement offer until you have a chance to estimate your damages. If your injuries are permanent, the value of your case increases. Showing evidence of scarring or physical disfigurement can prove the permanence of an injury.

Medical Bills

Your damages will not be known until you reach maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement occurs when your medical provider reports that there are no further medical treatments available that will improve your condition. Once you achieve maximum medical improvement, you will have an estimate of the value of your case and how much money will give you a satisfactory settlement. ​

Property Damages

You may also receive compensation for your property damage. The higher the value of your property damage, the higher your settlement value. Your attorney may want you to get several estimates from a few body shops to determine the value of the repairs your car requires. ​

Insurance Policy Limits

The reality of most personal injury lawsuits is that the amount of money you can recover reflects the parties’ insurance policy limits. There may not be any more money available than the insurance policy limits. The value of your case may reflect on the insurance policy limits. ​

What Happens If I Reject an Insurance Company’s Offer?

You can reject a settlement offer if you conclude it is too low to compensate you for your injuries. Remember that you cannot just flatly reject an offer without any reason. When you counteroffer an insurance company, you must provide facts and evidence to prove your injuries. An accident attorney knows how to help you present the evidence required to prove your damages. In a demand letter, an accident attorney will describe your injuries and attempt to persuade an insurance company to increase their settlement offer. ​

Send a Demand Letter

A demand letter sent by an accident attorney may include:

  • A description of your injuries. The accident attorney will send copies of your medical records and medical bills to the insurance company. When an accident attorney sends a demand letter to the insurance company, your attorney may have hired a medical expert witness to analyze your medical records. Depending on the state, your attorney may detail your injuries and their severity.
  • Evidence of your property damage. Your attorney may itemize your property damages in the demand letter they send. Your attorney may also send the estimates you received from various body shops with your demand letter.
  • Your attorney may calculate your lost income or loss of earning capacity.
  • Your attorney may also include some witness statements in your demand letter.

The above facts are included in your demand letter to bolster your claim and persuade the insurance company to increase its settlement offer. If you do not have the assistance of an attorney as you begin negotiating with an attorney, you likely will not know to present this as evidence. As a result, you will initially receive a lowball settlement offer from the insurance company. If you have not presented these facts to the insurance company, do not accept the initial offer. ​

File a Lawsuit

If the insurance company is unwilling to send a fair settlement offer, you and your attorney may begin a lawsuit. A personal injury claim has two major phases- negotiations with the insurance company and a lawsuit. If negotiations break down, your lawyer may file a lawsuit to help you get full compensation. ​

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

After an accident, hiring an accident attorney can help you narrow your focus to recovering from your injuries. You will need several things to start moving forward in the days and months after an accident. Necessities after an accident include time off work for doctor’s appointments, short-term and long-term medical care, and legal advice. Hiring an attorney takes much of these concerns off your plate and allows you to take action to recover physically. ​

No Way to Predict What Help You Will Need After an Accident

You must know the care you will need after an accident before accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company. An attorney can help you get access to the care that you need, including medical care, that will give you an estimate of the money you will need to recover after an accident fully. ​

Your Lawyer Will Communicate on Your Behalf

Gary Annes Injury Accident Lawyer
Gary Annes, Truck Accident Injury Lawyer

If you hire an attorney, they will communicate on your behalf with medical providers ensuring that you get the care required to recover. Most attorneys will work closely with an accident victim’s doctors and other medical providers, like physical therapists, during the life of a lawsuit. In some situations, doctors and other medical providers will defer the cost of your treatment until after a personal injury lawsuit ends if an attorney represents you.

In addition to speaking with your medical providers, your attorney will communicate with your insurance company. Your accident attorney will help file a claim with your insurance company to pay your medical bills faster.

Having a lawyer work on your behalf increases your chances of getting the care you need to recover fully. If you fail to get these services, you may not know how much money you need to pay for the services you require. Taking a lowball settlement offer limits your potential for monetary recovery.

​Is It Worth Suing an Uninsured Driver?

Did you know that New Hampshire is the only state in the country that does not require residents to have car insurance or even prove they can cover liability in an automobile accident? Alaska also exempts some residents from car insurance when they live in areas not connected by land to the state highway system or roads with an average daily traffic volume greater than 499 vehicles. Automobile insurance is mandatory in every other state in the nation, yet many drivers continue to operate their vehicles without any coverage.

Following an automobile accident with an uninsured driver, many people wonder what options they will have when the other driver is at fault and the accident caused either serious injuries or immense property damage. Anybody involved in a crash with an uninsured driver should quickly retain a car accident lawyer who will know the most effective ways to recover financial compensation in challenging cases.​

Contact a Lawyer for Accidents With Uninsured Drivers

If you were involved in a car accident caused by another driver who did not have car insurance, you always want to secure legal representation as soon as possible. A personal injury lawyer can make all the difference in your ability to recover anything, so you need to act quickly to find legal help.

Even when you had uninsured motorist coverage as part of your insurance plan, you will still want legal assistance if your insurance company refuses to fully compensate you for your losses. You should either call an attorney or contact them online to schedule what should be a free consultation to discuss your case and get a better idea of what options you might have.​

Options Following Accidents With Uninsured Drivers

In most cases, uninsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy will be your best avenue for recovering any compensation relating to your accident caused by an uninsured driver. People should always understand that uninsured motorist coverage is not the same as underinsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured coverage applies to accidents caused by drivers who did not have any automobile insurance coverage at the time of the crash. The underinsured will only pay you when another driver’s liability limits are too low to cover the total costs of all the damages involved.

Time Constraints

Most automobile insurance companies offer uninsured motorist coverage, but they may limit the time you have to file an uninsured motorist claim. This limit may be as low as only 30 days in some cases.

PIP Insurance?

Another possible insurance avenue for you can be personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which many “no-fault” automobile insurance states require drivers to carry. PIP insurance will cover the costs of injuries and disabilities in an accident without regard to fault and be the primary payment method for medical care and income replacement, even before you pursue an uninsured motorist claim.

Many PIP insurance policies require people to seek medical attention for an injury right away to preserve their rights. Even if you don’t have a PIP policy, you might have other insurance coverage.

For example, your health insurance policy can cover a portion of the cost of caring for accident-related injuries, although this coverage may not apply until you have exhausted your PIP coverage. Long-term disability insurance can also pay for long-term care and replace part of your income should your car accident injuries leave you disabled.

Was It Work Related?

Another option might be workers’ compensation insurance, which might apply if you sustained injuries in a car accident while you were working. This, of course, assumes your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance.

When filing a lawsuit against an uninsured driver, such legal actions are usually not recommended when the driver is uninsured simply because they can not afford insurance. In such cases, the drivers will not pay and may even file for bankruptcy to avoid liability.

On the other hand, if a driver lost insurance because their policy lapsed and they have significant resources, a lawsuit can recover compensation. This is another big reason you need to work with a skilled lawyer—they can determine whether the lawsuit is worth your time.

Is the Other Driver the Only Way to Recoup Losses?

You should also be aware that third parties can be liable in your case, depending on the circumstances. For example, a case involving an uninsured, intoxicated driver can lead to the liability of a bar or restaurant that served them.

If the uninsured driver caused a crash because of a defect with their vehicle, then an automobile manufacturer or parts manufacturer can also be held liable. In some cases, government agencies may bear responsibility for failure to warn drivers about hazardous conditions.

You also need to know that your insurance company can decide to subrogate your claim, which means the insurer will sue the other driver rather than leave it to you. Even if the other driver claims they do not have the money to pay any judgment you receive in a lawsuit, you can still have two different options.

First, you can file for a lien on the uninsured driver’s property, which will mean their assets become frozen and cannot be sold or spent, so you must be paid out should they sell the property. In other cases, you can also get the uninsured driver to agree to a payment plan when the uninsured driver cannot pay a judgment immediately, so they will instead pay you a smaller amount every week or month.​

Problems With Insurance Companies

Even if you have uninsured motorist coverage, your own insurance company may begin working against you because insurers always try to avoid spending in any way. As already mentioned, the first thing an insurance company will look at will be the timing of your filing of a claim, and claims filed too late will be ignored.

Your own insurance company may make you an unsatisfactory settlement offer. In these cases, you may head into arbitration, a process where your lawyer presents your case to either a single arbitrator or an arbitration panel.

Arbitrators effectively act like judges. They hear evidence, and binding arbitration will mean that you must stick with the given outcome.

In addition to the problem of an insurance company undervaluing your claim, you can also face the possibility of your claim receiving a denial without any objective justification. Some insurers may not thoroughly investigate your crash, while others may misinterpret policy provisions.

In general, you should receive compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Ambulance fees
  • Costs of hospital stays
  • Costs of surgical procedures
  • Emergency room treatment costs
  • Medication costs
  • Nursing services.
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anxiety
  • Emotional distress

Filing a claim with your own insurance company should not affect your premiums. An attorney will know when an insurer acts in bad faith and can help you fight for appropriate compensation.

Most personal injury lawyers will not charge you any money to handle your case because they take cases on a contingency fee basis. This means they only receive payment when they get you an award first. Under these agreements, victims do not pay anything upfront and do not pay anything at all until the case resolves.​

Resources & Statistics for Accidents with Uninsured Drivers

Accidents can happen in any state – whether you are a resident or only visiting. Below are some interesting resources, statistics, and facts about uninsured motorists in different states.

One in Eight Drivers Uninsured – Insurance Research Council (IRC)This press release shows that one in eight drivers in a recent year drove without insurance, and the national uninsured motorist rate was 12.6 percent.

While national uninsured motorist rates increased only 1.2 percent over the last five years, the states with the most significant increases included:

  • Washington (6.9 percent)
  • Rhode Island (6.8 percent)
  • Mississippi (6.4 percent)

The states with the most significant decreases in auto insurance coverage include:

  • Michigan (10.1 percent)
  • Delaware (2.9 percent)

The five highest uninsured rates in the country were:

  • Mississippi (29.4 percent)
  • Michigan (25.5 percent)
  • Tennessee (23.7 percent)
  • New Mexico (21.8 percent)
  • Washington (21.7 percent)

The five lowest were:

  • New Jersey (3.1 percent)
  • Massachusetts (3.5 percent)
  • New York (4.1 percent)
  • Maine (4.9 percent)
  • Wyoming (5.8 percent)

In any state, you never know when other drivers have insurance or not, and an uninsured driver crashing into you can cause many complications.

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance by State – Kelley Blue Book (KBB) – View a complete list of state-by-state penalties for driving without insurance, including fines, imprisonment, registration suspension, and license suspension.

States in which drivers have license plates confiscated or turned in for driving without insurance include:

  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii (after multiple offenses)
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Nevada
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia (if the driver has not paid the uninsured motor vehicle fee)

States that impound uninsured vehicles include:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii (after multiple offenses)
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon.

States that add points to driving records for driving without insurance include:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii (after multiple offenses)
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon

States requiring drivers to get SR-22 forms for driving without insurance include:

  • Florida
  • Georgia (after multiple offenses)
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada (if insurance has lapsed for 91 days or longer)
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas (after multiple offenses)
  • Vermont
  • Virginia (if a driver did not pay the uninsured motor vehicle fee)
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming.

Facts + Statistics: Uninsured motorists | Insurance Information Institute (III)– On this page, you can learn more about the estimated percentage of uninsured motorists for the past few decades, as well as the estimated rate of uninsured motorists by state.

You can also find automobile financial responsibility limits by state, with Alaska and Massachusetts both having the highest requirements of coverage, including up to $100,000 for all persons injured in an accident, subject to a limit of $50,000 for one individual, and $25,000 coverage for property damage.

Meanwhile, Florida had the lowest requirements of coverage, up to $20,000 for all persons injured in an accident, subject to a limit of $10,000 for one individual, and California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania all had the lowest coverage for property damage with only $5,000.

Seek Help From a Car Accident Attorney Who Handles Claims With Uninsured Drivers

Dave Abels Lawyer
Auto Accident lawyer, Dave Abels

Did you recently suffer serious injuries or incur significant damage to your vehicle in an automobile accident caused by an insured motorist? You always need to act quickly and seek out the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

When you have an attorney on your side, you will dramatically increase your chances of recovering compensation for your losses and holding the negligent party accountable.

Call a car accident lawyer today or contact them online to take advantage of a free consultation. Doing so allows you to fully explain everything that happened and get complete insights into what the car accident attorney can do for you.

Too many people think the situation is hopeless when another driver has no insurance. They might also assume they can handle an uninsured motorist claim alone. These are both mistaken beliefs.

The best course of action is always to consult a legal professional. Leave it to your car accident lawyer to determine your best options for compensation.

 

​How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid?

Losing a loved one is always tragic. The pain of a loss intensifies if we lose a loved one because another person or entity was negligent. If that situation happens, every state has laws allowing wrongful death lawsuits and giving families an avenue to pursue compensation for their losses.

Although money will never replace the loved one you lost, winning a wrongful death case may provide some comfort moving forward. You may receive a money settlement from an insurance company or a judgment from a judge or jury, but how the money gets to you and your face is another challenge. There are various ways to pay the proceeds from a judgment or settlement. To learn more about the payments after the loss of a loved one, continue reading some of the useful information our wrongful death attorneys have compiled. ​

Understanding a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit alleging a negligent act or actions that lead to someone’s death. The deceased’s surviving family members may use a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages they sustained after losing their loved one. ​

What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

compensation for Phoenix wrongful death claimPlaintiffs can recover two major categories of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. The first category includes the damages the deceased might have recovered had they survived the accident. Those damages include medical bills, property damage, and other economic and non-economic damages owed to the deceased.

The plaintiff(s) may recover damages they have sustained in their own right. These damages can include loss of financial support, loss of companionship, loss of guidance, loss of consortium, mental anguish, and emotional trauma. Plaintiffs may also recover for the funeral and burial expenses incurred and other final expenses of the deceased. ​

Who May Sue for Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death laws vary from state to state. Only close relatives are eligible for wrongful death damages. The family members that may pursue wrongful death damages include the deceased’s spouse, children, and parents. In some cases, if the deceased died with a will, the executor will file the lawsuit, and if the deceased died without a will, the court appoints a personal representative to pursue a wrongful death claim.

What Happens If the Defendant Has Liability Insurance?

The person or entity that pays out a wrongful death settlement or judgment depends on the defendant’s insurance status. If a defendant is uninsured, a plaintiff may be entitled to go after the defendant’s assets if the defendant is an individual. However, liability insurance will likely pay a wrongful death claim.

How Does Liability Insurance Work?

Liability insurance is a standard part of a driver’s or business’s insurance policy. Liability insurance pays for the damage caused by the policyholder after an accident occurs for which they are responsible. Liability insurance provides coverage for the policyholder if they are responsible for another person’s property damage and bodily injury. Liability insurance covers economic and non-economic damages, including medical bills, repairs to property, and pain and suffering. ​

How Do Insurance Companies Use Liability Coverage to Pay Wrongful Death Claims?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a personal injury claim. If the case elements are proven, the settlement or judgment gets paid like any other personal injury lawsuit action. Once a settlement or verdict happens, the insurance company sends the plaintiff(s) the money they deserve.

Like with other personal injury lawsuits, insurance companies will fight to disprove their insured’s liability to ensure that they do not negatively impact the company’s profit margin by paying out your claim. Contact a wrongful death attorney in your area to protect your legal rights in a wrongful death case. ​

How Do I Get Compensation if the Defendant Does Not Have Insurance?

An unfortunate reality of settling a wrongful death case is that the responsible party may not have high enough insurance policy limits to pay the entire settlement amount or satisfy the judgment. In those scenarios, the surviving family members may not know how to recover sufficient payment for their losses.

All insurance policies have an upper limit on their coverage limit. There are circumstances when a policyholder’s insurance policy limits are insufficient to pay the settlement or judgment. In those cases, the insurance company may refuse to pay more than the policy limits.

If an insurance company refuses to pay more than policy limits, the plaintiff is entitled to pursue the individual’s assets to cover the remaining balance. The negligent party is responsible for paying the settlement or judgment, so they are on the hook for any remaining balance left after policy limits.

After a settlement or judgment, there are various ways to collect your judgment. If you are having trouble collecting on a wrongful death claim, speak to a local wrongful death attorney in your area. ​

How Will I Receive Payment for a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful death claims are either paid out in a lump sum or by partial payments over time. The way surviving family members receive a wrongful death settlement depends on a few factors. One factor determining how the settlement or judgment gets paid is whether the party is a business or an individual. ​

What Is a Lump-Sum Payment?

If a wrongful death payment is a lump-sum payment, the money a plaintiff deserves after a settlement or a judgment goes out to the surviving family members at once. This method is usually the payment arrangement that large businesses with ample insurance coverage choose when involved in a wrongful death lawsuit. ​

What Happens If They Cannot Make a Lump-Sum Payment?

If a defendant cannot make a single lump-sum payment after being liable in a wrongful death lawsuit, they can negotiate partial payments. The responsible party must pay the plaintiff’s damages; therefore, they must arrange to pay the money they owe. Partial payments might continue until they satisfy the judgment.

Each side’s legal team will discuss the best way to satisfy the judgment.

How Do You Distribute Wrongful Death Settlements?

After plaintiffs collect an award for wrongful death damages, the next step is determining who gets the money from the settlement and when. The deceased’s spouse and children receive the money after a settlement. In some states, the spouse will receive a larger percentage of the settlement than the deceased’s children.

If the children are under 18, they cannot receive the proceeds of a wrongful death settlement or judgment. In most states, a trust must keep the proceeds until the child reaches 18.

A trust is an arrangement between a trustee and beneficiaries wherein the trustee agrees to manage and care for the property placed in the trust. Here, the beneficiaries are the children, and when they turn eighteen (or reach the majority), the trustee will ensure that the beneficiary receives their share of the wrongful death benefits. ​

How Do You Pay the Deceased’s Debts?

You and your family will not receive the total settlement or judgment amount should you win your wrongful death lawsuit. The judgment must also cover certain bills the deceased left behind. For example, if your loved one left a hospital bill, that must get covered before the settlement money gets distributed among the family.

Depending on the state and situation, the court or representative of the deceased’s estate will ensure that the debts that the deceased left associated with the accident that took their life (i.e., medical debt) get paid. After the associated debts get paid, the estate representative will ensure that the beneficiaries receive their rightful share. ​

Who Receives the Money from a Wrongful Death Settlement?

Settlements from wrongful death lawsuits go to the heirs of the decedent. Any potential plaintiffs for a wrongful death suit are called designated beneficiaries. These designated beneficiaries include the deceased’s spouse, children, adopted children, and parents.

In some states, more distant relations may get wrongful death damages. Distant relatives include siblings, grandparents, or other relatives. Contact a wrongful death attorney in your area to determine if you are eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim. ​

Are Wrongful Death Settlements Taxable?

Wrongful death damages are compensatory. Compensatory damages are restorative money damages awarded to an accident victim or their family for the harm they suffered because of the negligence of another.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not tax compensatory damages. However, consult a tax attorney or other tax professional if you are awarded compensatory damages in a wrongful death suit. You may still be required to pay taxes on compensatory damages during the probate process. If you have any questions, contact an experienced attorney in your area. ​

What Happens If I Do Not Receive the Money Awarded?

If you don’t receive the money you should after winning a wrongful death lawsuit, you may have to file a separate lawsuit to recover damages. A garnishment is a legal action wherein a plaintiff attempts to take a portion of the defendant’s wages until a judgment is satisfied. Alternatively, a plaintiff may file a lawsuit to place a lien against a defendant’s property.

If you do not wish to file a separate lawsuit, you may want to talk to your lawyer to file a motion to enforce the judgment. Collecting a judgment can get complicated. Contact a local attorney if you have trouble receiving the money owed you from a judgment. ​

How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help Me?

An attorney can help you in various ways, including communicating and advocating for your full recovery. Often insurance companies work hard to avoid paying out any settlements. Unrepresented plaintiffs in wrongful death lawsuits are vulnerable to the tactics of insurance companies.

Insurance companies’ tactics to avoid paying wrongful death lawsuits center around denying liability. The insurance company will attempt to frame the harm and cause of death to blame the deceased. Having a legal advocate on your side is vital to protect your legal rights after losing a loved one in a wrongful death accident. ​

What if I Cannot Afford an Attorney?

There is no reason to delay pursuing a lawsuit for wrongful death because you think you cannot afford an attorney. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action, and most civil accident attorneys use a payment structure called a contingency fee to receive payment for their legal services.

In a contingency fee agreement, a client does not pay a lawyer unless they recover a settlement or judgment. The attorney and client must sign a contingency fee agreement in writing.

The terms of the contingency fee agreement include the percentage of the settlement that the attorney will receive as payment and who pays litigation costs. The percentage can vary depending on whether the case settles or requires litigation. The law firm or the client may pay litigation costs as the case continues. If the attorney and their firm pre-pay for litigation costs, they must usually receive reimbursement after the case settles.

The bottom line is that your family can afford to seek legal help with your wrongful death claim. Families with the right representation regularly take home much higher compensation – even after legal fees. The insurance company will underestimate your losses unless you have a lawyer to prove what you deserve for your wrongful death claim. ​

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney Today

Dave Abels Lawyer
Wrongful Death Attorney, Dave Abels

Call an accident attorney in your area to learn more about your options for a wrongful death claim. Accident attorneys help protect your legal rights from medical providers and insurance companies. After losing a loved one, you should focus solely on your recovery. Let an accident attorney do the legal work.

​What to Ask a Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck accidents happen frequently. In recent years, the National Safety Council reports that 100,000 to 150,000 victims suffer injuries in commercial truck accidents yearly.

After a truck accident, it is not uncommon to feel stressed and anxious. These feelings often bring about many questions. A truck accident lawyer can ease your mind and address your concerns.

During your consultation with a truck accident lawyer, you should go into the meeting prepared with various questions. While your lawyer may not have a perfect answer to every question, you should leave the meeting feeling better about your claim.

Before determining what questions you should ask your truck accident lawyer, it’s helpful to understand what truck accidents are, what they entail, and what you can expect.

What to Look for in a Truck Accident Attorney

When looking for a truck accident lawyer, you’ll encounter more options than you might ever imagine. While you have many options, not all attorneys are the same.

If you’re looking for the best truck accident attorney, keep these details and qualities in mind.

Knowledge and Experience

You wouldn’t go to your primary care physician for a root canal—not every lawyer can handle your type of case.

First and foremost, when looking for a lawyer to handle your case, be sure to consult with an attorney with experience handling truck accident cases. Because these cases present their own challenges, you must hire a lawyer with the knowledge, skills, and resources to represent you.

A Favorable Success Rate

When looking for a lawyer to handle your truck accident case, try to find one that not only has the right experience but also has success with these cases.

Along the same lines, happy clients speak volumes. It’s always helpful to have an attorney whose past clients have nothing but good things to say.

Lawyers regularly post some of their successful cases on their websites. Otherwise, do not be shy about asking your attorney about their track record and experiences during your consultation.

Available and Communicative

It happens all too often: A potential client consults a lawyer, likes what they see, and hires them. After the initial meeting, they rarely speak to their lawyer because the lawyer is too busy or has their support staff communicate directly with their clients.

A good truck accident lawyer should be available to speak with you and have no problems communicating with you. While attorneys are understandably very busy, if you leave a message for your lawyer or send them an email, they should get back to you within a reasonable time.

While an attorney is only made stronger by their staff, sometimes you need to speak to your attorney directly. Your lawyer should have no problem answering your questions and regularly keeping you abreast of the status of your case.

Contingency Fee

A truck accident lawyer should work on a contingency fee basis.

When you hire an attorney under a contingency fee arrangement, your lawyer agrees to pay all of the upfront costs. This removes any financial stress you may have about hiring an attorney to handle your case. In exchange, you agree to let your lawyer have a percentage of your settlement to cover all costs and fees.

Do not pay a large sum of money to an attorney to take your truck accident case.

Feeling Comfortable with Your Lawyer

Truck accident cases often take quite some time, meaning you’ll have to work with your lawyer from start to finish until your case concludes.

Therefore, you should easily establish rapport with your attorney and feel comfortable working with them. Feeling peace and ease when communicating with your lawyer is always a good sign.

Questions to Ask Your Truck Accident Lawyer

When you first consult with a truck accident attorney, you’ll undoubtedly have many questions. After your initial meeting, you should walk away feeling like you know the lawyer and how they work. Additionally, the lawyer should answer most of your case-related questions.

Some of the most common questions you may consider asking your attorney include the following.

Questions on Legal Background

Similar to a job interview, you’ll want to know more about your lawyer and their skills in handling truck accident cases.

These questions can include:

  • What’s your educational background?
  • How many years have you practiced?
  • How long have you handled truck accident cases?
  • What is your success record with these cases?
  • How do you handle truck accident claims?

Questions Regarding What You Can Expect

Your first meeting should ease some of your worries.

It may help to ask:

  • Who will I primarily be communicating with from your office?
  • Do I have access to you directly?
  • Will you update me regularly throughout the life of my case?
  • What is the best way to reach you?
  • How long can I expect it to take to receive a response to my messages or emails?
  • How long does a truck accident case typically take to resolve?
  • How involved should I be in handling my case?
  • What are the chances my case will go to trial?

Questions on Fees and Settlements

​What Is a Good Settlement Offer for a Car AccidentFinances are a big part of a legal claim.

If you want to know how this all works, you can ask:

  • What type of payment arrangement does your office use?
  • Am I expected to pay anything upfront for your services?
  • What happens if we don’t successfully secure a settlement?

While your truck accident lawyer may need to further investigate your claim before providing answers to some of your questions, they should address many of your basic concerns. Always attend your initial consultation prepared with a list of questions for your lawyer.

Truck Accidents Explained

If you were in a truck accident and don’t know these special cases, a brief explanation can answer some of your questions.

Truck Accidents are Different than Car Accidents

While many believe truck accidents are similar to car accidents, this is usually far from the truth. Truck accidents are particularly unique and come with their own set of challenges.

Trucks Cause More Injury and Damage

Simply looking at a massive commercial truck, it’s easy to imagine how destructive a collision with one can be. Only individuals that have experienced a truck accident understand the serious extent of injuries and property damage.

Because trucks cause massive injuries and destruction, this complicates truck accident claims. Victims often require more compensation for their losses, bringing about various challenges.

Trucks Often Have More Insurance Coverage

Semi-trucks require more insurance in case of accidents. Their policy limits are significantly higher than those on a regular vehicle.

Insurance companies are typically not easy to deal with, and truck insurers are no different. These companies employ various tactics to limit their liability and pay victims as little as possible. You can almost always expect an insurer to put up a fight—especially when so much money is on the line.

The Trucking Industry Has Strict Regulations

Many state and federal regulations govern the commercial trucking industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has many rules regarding trucking, including hours truck drivers may drive without stopping to rest and logbooks truckers must keep.

Most individuals are unfamiliar with these regulations, making handling a claim much tougher. This is one of many reasons a truck accident attorney helps, because they know these rules and understand how they affect your case.

Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuits

Truck Rollover Accidents in PhoenixAfter a truck accident, you may receive compensation for your injuries. Usually, you can obtain financial recovery from the liable party’s insurer. However, this is not always simple.

In many cases, you can settle with the insurance company for a fair amount that accurately represents your losses. But dealing with insurance companies is often not so straightforward. If the insurer is unwilling to settle or their settlement offers are low, you may need to file a formal lawsuit.

If you seek compensation after sustaining injuries in a truck accident, you might need to file a lawsuit. Personal injury law protects individuals after they’ve suffered harm due to another’s actions or lack thereof. These cases are frequently based on the defendant’s negligent action or inaction but can also include intentional or malicious wrongdoing.

In the most unfortunate circumstances, victims of truck accidents succumb to their injuries and pass away. After a death, the victim’s family can seek financial recovery through a wrongful death claim.

Lawsuits for commercial truck accidents are difficult to handle alone. Therefore, a qualified truck accident lawyer can provide invaluable help.

Causes of Truck Accidents

Determining the cause of a truck accident is often one of the first and most important steps to take.

The most common causes of truck accidents include:

Establishing what caused your accident can take some investigating. Several pieces of evidence can provide answers, including a truck’s black box, police reports, or witness statements.

Figuring out what caused your accident usually leads to the second most important answer: Who’s responsible for your truck accident.

Liability for Semi-Truck Collisions

After determining what caused your accident, you can find answers regarding who can be responsible for your injuries.

Liability for semi-truck accidents is not regularly as simple as that for car accidents.

Many parties can play a role in a collision, including:

  • Truck drivers
  • Trucking companies
  • Owners of semi-trucks
  • Individuals responsible for loading trucks
  • Parties handling truck maintenance
  • Truck and truck part manufacturers

In many cases, several parties are simultaneously liable for an accident. You must determine who to blame for your truck accident, as this is who owes you compensation.

Damages After a Truck Accident

Damages compensate victims for their injuries and losses after a truck accident. The damages you deserve depend on the details of your case.

Damages are either economic or non-economic.

Economic damages are often easy to prove, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Property damage

Non-economic damages are not as simple to prove because they represent intangible losses.

These can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Permanent disfigurement or scarring
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

When you file a wrongful death action, this allows the victim’s family to receive financial recovery for the losses experienced after the death of a loved one.

These damages can include:

  • Funeral costs
  • Burial expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • The victim’s lost earnings and benefits
  • Loss of care, protection, or guidance
  • Loss of consortium

In special cases, you may qualify to receive punitive damages. These damages are only available in cases where the defendant’s actions go beyond just negligence and include intentional, malicious, or grossly negligent actions. When the court agrees to grant punitive damages, it does so because it’s just and necessary to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing.

Determining how much you deserve is one of the toughest parts of a truck accident case. To help ensure you’re getting maximum compensation, allow a truck accident attorney to handle your case.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help

Plaintiffs that hire legal counsel often fare better in the end.

A lawyer will handle all of the critical parts of your case, including:

  • Thoroughly investigating your accident
  • Creating a legal plan of action
  • Gathering relevant evidence
  • Calculating damages
  • Communicating with insurance companies
  • Representing you in court, if necessary
  • Addressing your questions and concerns whenever needed

Having a truck accident attorney handle your case will give you invaluable peace of mind, allowing you to focus on your physical recovery fully while your lawyer works hard to obtain fair compensation on your behalf.

Consult With a Truck Accident Attorney Today

Gary Annes Injury Accident Lawyer
Gary Annes, Truck Accident Injury Lawyer

After sustaining injuries in a truck accident, you’re not alone. A truck accident lawyer can handle your claim and work toward getting you the fairest possible outcome.

Speak to an attorney near you as soon as possible to begin working on your case.

​What Is Your Accident Injury Claim Worth?

Accidents are often unavoidable and happen frequently. For example, slip and fall accidents account for over one million hospital visits every year. Car accidents cause injuries to over two million people per year in the United States.

After sustaining injuries in an accident, you may have legal options to help you recover financially for your expenses and losses. It is common to have many questions, including how much your claim is worth.

Continue reading to better understand accident injury claims, what determines the value of your case, and how an injury attorney can help you.

Pursuing Compensation After an Accident

After sustaining injuries in an accident, how you pursue compensation often depends on the details of your accident and who’s liable for your losses.

Car accidents are some of the most common types of accidents. After a collision, you’d likely first seek compensation through your insurance.

In many cases, your insurance pays you to cover your expenses, including medical bills and property damage, and later attempts to recover from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

If the policy limits don’t cover your injuries and losses, you might consider filing a lawsuit to pursue compensation directly from the liable party.

In some cases, filing a lawsuit may be your first option.

To fully understand how you can seek fair compensation after your accident, it’s best to discuss your case with an experienced attorney in your area.

Types of Claims to File After an Accident

After an accident, you may file a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury law protects you in cases where you’ve suffered injuries because of someone’s actions or failure to act. A personal injury claim is a civil lawsuit allowing you to hold the responsible party accountable for their wrongdoings and pursue financial recovery for your losses.

Common personal injury lawsuits arise from the following types of incidents:

In the most unfortunate cases, an incident leads to the victim’s death. If the accident ends in the victim’s passing, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Similar to a personal injury, a wrongful death results from an individual’s wrongdoing—the only difference is the victim passes away. A wrongful death lawsuit allows the victim’s family to hold the liable party responsible for their actions or inaction and seek financial compensation for their loss.

An accident attorney can answer your questions, address your concerns, and help create a legal plan of action to help you get the recovery you deserve.

Damages Available for Accident Claims

Claim ValueDamages serve to compensate you for your injuries, tangible losses, and intangible losses. Damages fall into two main categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages directly result from your accident and are typically easier to assign a value to.

These include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Property damage

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are also related to your accident but are not as easy to calculate as they represent intangible losses.

They can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement

Punitive damages are not granted in every case, as they require the defendant’s actions to go beyond mere negligence—the defendant’s actions must usually be grossly negligent, malicious, or intentional. When you receive punitive damages, this punishes the defendant and hopefully deters other future actors from acting the same way.

Damages are unique to every case and can be particularly challenging to calculate. An accident lawyer will review the details of your case to ensure they’re pursuing maximum compensation on your behalf.

Determining How Much Your Accident Claim is Worth

Because every accident case is different, there is no “average” you can expect to receive. Typically, the value of your claim depends on the details of your case and certain important factors.

Factors Affecting the Value of Your Claim

When determining how much your case is worth, your personal injury attorney will review your situation and weigh certain factors.

The factors that commonly affect the value of an accident claim include:

  • The type of case
  • The extent and severity of your injuries
  • Your financial losses, including medical bills and rehabilitation costs
  • The time you missed from work and your lost income
  • Whether the accident caused a disability
  • Insurance policy limits

These and other details can help your lawyer determine the true value of your case. Once you know what your case is worth, your attorney can work diligently to get you the compensation you deserve for your losses and injuries.

What You Do After an Accident Can Affect Your Claim

If you don’t know much about personal injury claims, you may not know what to do after an accident. However, your actions can affect the value of your claim.

Seek Medical Attention

Whether or not you receive emergency medical aid at the scene of an accident, you should always follow up with your healthcare provider.

Some injuries take some time to appear, and you may believe you walked away unharmed. A full physical exam can provide some insight regarding any potential injuries.

Additionally, the sooner your doctor can determine what injuries you suffered and the severity, the quicker you can begin medical treatment and get on the road to physical recovery.

Follow Through with Medical Treatment

Your physical recovery may take some time, but it’s crucial to stay the course and complete your treatment in its entirety.

Medical records are some of the most important evidence in accident claims. If you don’t complete treatment, this can potentially communicate to the defense that your injuries were not that serious, seriously affecting your ability to receive a financial recovery.

Document Everything

A Checklist for What You Should Do After a Car Accident Abels and AnnesIf possible, document everything after your accident.

This can include:

  • Taking photos and videos of your injuries and damage
  • Maintaining a pain journal to track your injuries
  • Keeping track of missed days at work and lost wages
  • Writing down anything relevant or helpful to your case

Your lawyer handles your case, but you can always try to help them. Keeping records and documenting certain details can help your attorney tremendously as they build a strong case on your behalf.

Avoid Speaking to the Defendant’s Insurance Company

While the defendant’s insurance company may contact you and pretend to care, they do not—they’re trying to help themselves.

Insurance companies work hard to avoid paying you. The other party’s insurance company usually contacts the plaintiff wanting to get a recorded statement and ask questions. They’ll then attempt to use your words against you.

If the other party’s insurer contacts you, avoid speaking to them without consulting with your attorney.

Who Pays for My Injuries?

Who ends up paying for your injuries and financial losses depends on your case. The person responsible for your accident and injuries is always legally responsible for your compensation.

The individuals or entities often liable in accident claims include:

  • The driver of a car or truck
  • A property owner or occupier
  • A manufacturer
  • The party responsible for vehicle or truck maintenance
  • A dog or animal owner
  • A medical provider
  • A hospital or medical care facility

In many cases, the individual does not pay you—their insurance covers your damages.

Is There a Guarantee I Will Get a Settlement for My Injuries?

Unfortunately, sometimes, even if you’re entitled to compensation, it does not automatically mean you’ll get it. Insurance companies do everything in their power to limit their liability. They do this to avoid paying you what you deserve.

Therefore, you must get quality legal representation. A qualified accident attorney will stop at nothing to get you the financial recovery you deserve for your injuries.

Should I Accept a Settlement Offer?

It is not uncommon for insurance companies to give you a settlement offer early on. Do not accept an offer without first consulting with an attorney.

Settlement offers are commonly low and don’t pay what you truly deserve. The insurance company hopes you’ll accept their offer so it can close your claim.

Once you accept a settlement offer, there’s no going back—you can’t change your mind or later ask for more money.

It is always best to let an accident lawyer handle negotiations with the insurance company. That way, you know you’re getting what you deserve.

How Long Does it Take to Settle an Accident Claim?

The length of time your case takes to settle rests on many details, including:

  • The extent of your injuries
  • How long your medical treatment takes
  • How long you need to recover
  • Whether you can settle or must file a lawsuit
  • If you file a lawsuit, the amount of time it takes to participate in the discovery phase
  • The insurance company’s willingness to settle
  • Whether your case settles pre-trial or goes to court

Discuss your concerns with your accident lawyer. While they cannot give you an exact answer, your attorney can assess your case and the important details, giving you a better idea of what you can expect.

Will I Need to Go to Court to Get Compensation for My Accident?

Not every case goes to trial. Only a small percentage of personal injury cases in the U.S. see the inside of a courtroom, with most cases settling before trial.

Your personal injury attorney will work to settle your case before going to trial. Trials can be time-consuming, stressful, and costly. Both parties often try to avoid going to trial if possible.

If your lawyer files a lawsuit, after obtaining all the evidence and information they need from the discovery phase, they’ll attempt to settle your case before it goes to court.

In many cases, this tactic succeeds because:

  • The defense feels you have a good chance of winning at trial
  • The opposing party believes you may get more at trial than if they agree to settle
  • The defendant wants to avoid trial altogether

In rare cases, your accident attorney may advise you to take your case to trial.

This is often because:

  • The defense won’t agree to the fair figure your case is worth
  • The opposing party isn’t willing to settle at all
  • Your lawyer feels going to trial will result in a more favorable outcome

Whether your case settles or goes to trial, you can trust your lawyer will do what is best for your case and protect your right to fair compensation.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You

A personal injury lawyer will handle your case from start to finish, seeing every step through promptly and correctly.

Your attorney will take on every case related to your accident claim, including:

  • Thoroughly investigating your case
  • Drafting and filing court documents
  • Gathering evidence
  • Calculating the value of your case
  • Handling communication with the insurance company
  • Engaging in settlement negotiations with the opposing party
  • Representing you at trial, if necessary

Having a knowledgeable personal injury attorney representing you puts you in the best possible position. While you’re not legally required to have a lawyer handle your claim, you’ll likely end up with a more favorable result.

If you handle your case pro se, meaning you represent yourself, the insurance company will take full advantage. Insurers prey on individuals that don’t have a skilled attorney handling their case. They know you don’t have the knowledge and experience a lawyer has and, therefore, they can take advantage of you and the situation, usually resulting in an unfair settlement.

Speak with a personal injury attorney to start work on your case as soon as possible after sustaining injuries in an accident.

Always Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer After an Accident

Dave Abels Lawyer
Personal Injury lawyer, Dave Abels

After suffering injuries in an accident, you’re not alone. Having a lawyer on your side will provide invaluable peace of mind. A personal injury attorney can help protect your rights and seek the financial recovery you deserve.

​What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Injuries are an inevitable part of life. Recently, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported 55.4 million injuries in one year in the United States.

However, if your injuries happened due to another’s wrongdoing, you may be legally entitled to compensation with a personal injury lawsuit.

If you’ve suffered harm, you’re not alone. A personal injury attorney can help protect your rights and pursue fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

Continue reading to better understand what a personal injury lawsuit is and what the process entails.

What is a Personal Injury?

Under the law, there are three types of harm done to an individual: bodily harm, harm to reputation, and property damage.

A personal injury involves harm to an individual’s body. In some cases, it can also include mental and emotional harm. While you cannot file a lawsuit for just any type of injury, if another person harmed you, it can be a personal injury.

When Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Arise?

Personal injury law exists to help victims recover for the harm caused by another’s actions or failure to act. Personal injury claims are civil lawsuits arising when a person’s actions or omissions cause another person injury. If an individual or entity causes your injuries, a personal injury lawsuit allows you to hold the liable party accountable for their actions while seeking financial recovery for losses.

Certain preventable accidents can result in lawsuits, including:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Dog bites
  • Intentional killing

If you suffered an injury due to another, you may file a personal injury lawsuit. Do not hesitate to discuss your situation with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the incident.

Common Types of Injuries

Personal injury incidents can result in a variety of injuries. These injuries can be life-changing and may require medical treatment after the accident and in the future.

Injuries that may result from an accident or incident include:

In the worst cases, an individual’s actions can result in the victim’s death. If the victim passes away, their family can file a wrongful death lawsuit or survival action claim to pursue compensation for the wrong done to their loved one.

Compensation Available for a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Compensation for a personal injury should cover the injury-related losses you’ll face. However, the type of damages you’re eligible to receive will depend on the details of your case. Personal injury damages typically fall into economic, non-economic, and punitive categories.

Economic damages are easy to calculate,

through:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitative costs
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity

Non-economic damages are more challenging to calculate because these losses are intangible and difficult to prove.

They include:

Some victims may receive punitive damages. A judge or jury can grant punitive damages in cases where a defendant’s actions go beyond negligence and are intentional, malicious, or egregious. These damages serve to punish and deter – punish the defendant for the actions and deter future actors from engaging in such behavior.

Calculating damages is one of the toughest parts of a personal injury case, especially if you’re unaware of the damages you’re eligible to receive. A personal injury attorney will examine the details of your case to determine how much you deserve and work diligently to pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.

Factors Affecting Value of a Personal Injury Case

One of the biggest questions plaintiffs have is, “how much is my case worth?” There is no average settlement amount for personal injury cases—the value of your case depends on many factors.

The details that most affect the value of your personal injury lawsuit include:

  • Your age and health
  • The type and severity of injuries you sustain
  • Medical and rehabilitative expenses
  • The total amount of lost wages
  • Who was liable for the accident and resulting injuries
  • Whether you’ve suffered a disability
  • Whether you’re also experiencing mental and emotional trauma

Your personal injury attorney or judge can review these and other factors when determining how much your case is truly worth.

The Personal Injury Claim Process

The personal injury process often follows similar procedures as other cases. Knowing the steps involved can give you a better idea of what you might expect.

Consult a Personal Injury Attorney

Be sure to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Your attorney will review your situation, ask the right questions, and help create a feasible legal strategy.

Speaking with an attorney will give you peace of mind, answer your most pressing questions, and get you started on your path to financial compensation.

Demand Letter

First and foremost, your personal injury attorney will thoroughly examine the details of your case to familiarize themselves with your case. What they do subsequently depends on your case.

Depending on your case, your lawyer may start by sending the defendant’s insurance company a demand letter.

In this letter, they’ll provide certain information, including:

  • Details of the accident
  • Why their insured caused the accident
  • The extent of your injuries
  • Details regarding your losses

The letter will then propose a figure and make a settlement demand. The insurance company will then respond to the letter. If they do not respond, reject the demand, or refuse to engage in settlement negotiations, your lawyer can file a lawsuit.

File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If necessary, your lawyer will then file a personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, your attorney may forgo the demand letter and go straight to filing a claim.

Initiating the lawsuit requires drafting and filing a complaint with the court detailing the specifics of your case, your losses, and the relief sought.

After filing the required documentation with the court, the opposing party will be served with copies, formally notifying them of the lawsuit.

The opposing party will have some time, usually about 30 days, to file their response with the court. If they fail to respond, your lawyer can pursue a default judgment, giving you the relief you requested in your complaint.

However, in most cases, the opposing party will respond, contesting the claims in the complaint. After the defendant files their response, the case can proceed.

The Discovery Process

The discovery phase allows both sides to obtain and review evidence while building their case.

The discovery process can include:

  • Interrogatories
  • Requests for admission
  • Requests for production
  • Depositions

Your attorney takes this time to build on the information they already have from reviewing the details of your case. The discovery phase allows your lawyer to gather what they need to build a strong case.

Settlement Negotiations

After the discovery phase has concluded and both sides have what they need, your attorney will attempt to engage in settlement negotiations once again.

Pre-trial negotiations are often successful, with about 95 percent of personal injury cases in the United States settling before trial.

A trial can be costly, time-consuming, and stressful for both parties. Therefore, defendants are usually more willing to settle before trial to help avoid the extra cost and time.

Frequently, the defense will agree to settle before going to court because:

  • They know they don’t have a good likelihood of winning
  • They think the plaintiff may get even more money at trial
  • They want to resolve the case quickly

Settlement negotiations may require some time and plenty of back and forth, but your lawyer will try to get you the best possible settlement.

Trial

While most cases don’t make it to trial, some do.

If your personal injury attorney recommends you proceed to trial, it’s usually because:

  • The other side is offering too little
  • The defendant is not willing to negotiate at all
  • Your attorney feels going to trial can be the best move

Never fear trial, as it can be the best decision for your case. Always ensure you hire a skilled litigator in case your case needs to go to court.

Building a Strong Personal Injury Case

You can fully trust your personal injury attorney to handle your case. However, there are certain steps you can take to help your chances of reaching a successful outcome.

Seek Medical Attention

As soon as possible after your accident or injury, get medical attention. If your injuries are severe enough, you may receive aid at the accident scene. Still, you should always follow up with a visit to the emergency room or your primary care physician.

A doctor can conduct a physical examination to determine the extent of your injuries. They’ll then provide recommendations for treatment to help get you on the road to physical recovery.

Follow Through with Medical Treatment

One of the most important things you can do is complete your medical treatment as prescribed. Many plaintiffs fail to follow through with their treatment, stopping mid-way. Even if you begin to feel better and think you don’t need to continue any further treatment, never stop before your doctor releases you.

Failing to complete medical treatment can make the opposing party question the severity of your injuries or whether you even suffered injuries in the first place. This can hurt your case, resulting in a diminished settlement.

Gather Evidence

Whenever possible, gather as much evidence as possible.

Strong evidence can include:

  • Photos and videos
  • The liable party’s information
  • Witness information
  • Documentation proving your losses

Additionally, police reports and medical records can help your case considerably. If you need assistance getting this documentation, which is common, your attorney can help.

Avoid Speaking With the Defendant’s Insurance Company

The other party’s insurance company is not on your side. After an accident, it is common to have the defendant’s insurer call you requesting a statement. They’ll ask many questions, including how the accident occurred from your perspective.

Insurance companies are always utilizing tactics to help avoid or limit liability, so they don’t have to pay you. They will attempt to use your words against you.

If an insurance company other than yours calls, kindly tell them you cannot speak to them without first consulting your lawyer.

How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take to Resolve?

Every case is unique. Therefore, there is no average time you can expect your case to take.

Many factors dictate how long your personal injury case can take to complete, including:

  • The extent of your injuries
  • How long it takes you to recover from your injuries
  • How long the discovery phase lasts
  • Whether there are questions regarding liability
  • Whether the opposing party is willing to negotiate
  • Whether your case goes to trial

While it can frustrate you, remain patient throughout the process. Your attorney knows what they’re doing—rushing them can result in an unfair settlement.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?

While you’re free to handle your personal injury case, hiring an attorney frequently yields better results.

Your personal injury lawyer will handle the most critical parts of your case, including:

  • Investigating your claim
  • Drafting and filing court documents
  • Communicating with the opposing party
  • Gathering evidence and documentation
  • Calculating your damages
  • Engaging in settlement negotiations
  • Representing you at trial, if necessary

A personal injury attorney is well—versed in the law and procedures for your case. They have the skills and resources to advocate for your right to fair compensation.

Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Gary Annes Injury Accident Lawyer
Gary Annes, Personal Injury Lawyer

If you suffered injuries at the hands of another, discuss your case with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Time is of the essence with personal injury cases, so the sooner you allow a lawyer to begin working on your case, the better.

​What Happens in a Personal Injury Lawsuit After the Deposition?

Injuries happen every single day for multiple reasons. For example, in one recent year, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported over 2.2 million individuals suffered injuries in car accidents.

Suffering injuries is often inevitable. But if someone else was the cause of your accident and resulting injuries, you may have legal options. A personal injury attorney can review the details of your incident to determine where you have a valid claim for personal injury.

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you can expect a long process full of many stages and steps on the way to resolution. One essential part of a case is discovery, where attorneys take several depositions to collect detailed information.

Continue reading to understand what depositions entail and how they can help your case.

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Personal injury involves suffering harm because of someone else’s actions or failure to act.

A personal injury lawsuit allows you to hold the responsible individual or entity accountable for their negligent acts while also allowing you to pursue financial recovery for your injuries and losses.

Personal injury lawsuits can arise from a variety of accidents and incidents.

The most common include:

All of the above have something in common: the injuries resulting from these incidents are the result of someone’s acts or omission.

It is helpful to note that, while the most unfortunate cases result in the victim succumbing to their injuries and passing away, this does not eliminate all possibilities for legal action. In these situations, the victim’s family might file a wrongful death or survival action to hold the at-fault party responsible and pursue compensation for losses resulting from losing their loved one.

If you’ve sustained injuries at the hands of another, do not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your situation and your legal options.

The Typical Personal Injury Lawsuit Process

To better understand what happens after depositions, it’s helpful to get a bigger picture and comprehend the whole personal injury lawsuit process to give you a better idea of what you can expect.

Initiating the Lawsuit

​What Are the Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?The first step you’ll take is consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney to discuss the details of your case. Your lawyer will ask questions and gather as much information as possible to create a legal strategy.

Depending on your situation, your attorney may begin by sending the opposing party’s insurance company a demand letter.

A demand letter provides details regarding:

  • Your accident
  • The insured’s liability
  • The extent and severity of your injuries
  • Your losses

Your lawyer will calculate your losses and include them in the letter for the insurance company to consider.

After receiving the letter, the insurance company can then either:

  • Respond to the letter agreeing to the settlement amount provided
  • Respond to the letter denying the allegations and settlement amount
  • Not respond at all

In some cases, your lawyer will forgo sending any letter and go straight to filing your personal injury lawsuit.

To initiate the lawsuit, your attorney will draft a complaint to file with the court. The complaint includes information regarding your accident, injuries, and resulting losses. It also consists of a prayer for relief, detailing the compensation you seek.

After filing the complaint and required documentation, your lawyer will serve the opposing party. Service of process provides the defendant with formal notification of the lawsuit.

After receiving service, the opposing side must file their response with the court. The answer often contests the claims in the complaint.

After the defendant files a response, the lawsuit can proceed.

The Discovery Phase

The discovery process allows both sides to dig up evidence and information that can potentially help their arguments.

Attorneys will collect information through interrogatories, requests for production, and requests for admissions. Additionally, attorneys will conduct depositions.

This phase is the most time-consuming, as it can take quite some time for both the plaintiff and defendant to get everything they need to build their case.

Pre-Trial Settlement Negotiations

After the discovery process, your personal injury lawyer will engage in settlement negotiations with the opposing party and their insurance company representatives.

Defendants are most likely to settle during this phase because they know much more about the case and have acquired all the necessary information. About 95 percent of personal injury cases in the United States settle before trial.

While not common, if the opposing party refuses to settle, it’s because they feel they have a good chance of winning at trial or the plaintiff’s settlement figure is too high.

Most personal injury attorneys can resolve cases and get their clients the settlements they deserve after the discovery process.

Trial

If settling with the opposing party is impossible, your attorney will continue pursuing compensation in the courtroom.

During the trial, the judge (and sometimes a jury) will hear both sides’ arguments, evidence, and testimony. The judge or jury must then decide if you’re eligible to receive any compensation.

While going to trial can be risky, if your personal injury attorney decides it is the best course of action, you can fully trust their decision.

Many people want to avoid a trial, as it can be even more time-consuming, stressful, and costly for both sides. However, some injury victims must go to court to obtain what they deserve.

What is a Deposition?

What Happens After A DepositionA deposition may seem like a foreign concept for those unfamiliar with legal procedures. But depositions can play an integral role in a personal injury lawsuit.

A deposition is a declaration made out of court made under oath. During a deposition, the person deposed, referred to as the deponent, appears before the attorneys in the case and a court reporter to give sworn testimony.

A lawyer in the case will want to depose someone with specific knowledge of the claim or some important detail of the case. If the attorney wishes to depose someone, they’ll need to serve the individual with a subpoena.

An individual formally receives a subpoena through a process server. The document contains details regarding the date, time, and place of the deposition and the case in question. Additionally, the subpoena will command the individual’s attendance—depositions are not optional.

What Happens During a Deposition?

During the deposition, the parties will meet at a specified location on a specific date and time. For example, the deposition may occur at the defense attorney’s office.

The lawyer that requested the deposition will ask the deponent various questions. The types of questions depend on who the individual is and what information the attorney is seeking.

Deponents can include:

  • The parties to the case
  • Treating physicians
  • Witnesses to the incident
  • Expert witnesses
  • Family and friends

There is usually no set time to take a deposition. Depositions can last anywhere from an hour to an entire day. The amount of time it takes typically depends on the number of questions.

How are Depositions Helpful?

Depending on the situation, depositions can be extremely helpful for your case.

They serve many purposes, including:

  • Getting more information about the case
  • Finding out what a party knows about the accident or incident
  • Establishing the cause of the accident
  • Determining who’s liable for your injuries
  • Creating a solid record to be used later on in court
  • Getting an idea of how a witness will testify in court
  • Determining how credible a witness is
  • Getting specialized information from an expert witness

Attorneys always have a reason to depose an individual. Depositions can provide valuable insight and critical information.

What Happens After Depositions?

Your personal injury attorney may need to take multiple depositions of various witnesses before they’ve officially concluded the discovery phase of your case.

After each deposition, your lawyer will likely want to review the questions and answers. The court reporter, who takes down everything said throughout the entire deposition, can provide a written transcript. Your attorney can request either a hard copy or an electronic copy to read.

Your lawyer will take whatever helpful information they need from the transcript to help strengthen your case. These details can then help them when it comes time to engage in settlement negotiations or prepare for trial.

Depositions are an essential part of the discovery phase—you can expect both sides to take advantage of this. Your attorney will create a strategy to take depositions and extract whatever pertinent facts they need to pursue fair compensation for your case.

Can Lawyers Depose an Individual More than Once?

An individual can be deposed more than once. However, more than one deposition for a single individual is not typical.

Usually, if new facts arise, an attorney may need to re-depose an individual. In some cases, a judge can also order a deposition.

Generally, attorneys try to only depose individuals only once unless there is a valid reason to request a subsequent deposition.

Does the Deponent Need an Attorney?

Whether the deponent needs an attorney depends on who the deponent is.

If the deponent is another individual, like a witness to the accident or an expert witness, they do not need to hire an attorney for their deposition. They are not a party to the case and, therefore, do not need legal representation.

If the deponent is a party to the case, their attorney needs to attend the deposition with them. So, for example, if you are undergoing a deposition by the defendant’s attorney, your personal injury attorney will be there with you.

However, if you try to handle your claim unrepresented and you have a deposition with the opposing party, you will attend on your own without a lawyer.

Personal injury lawyers are all-around beneficial to have for your case, but especially when it comes to depositions. Not only will they protect your rights and best interests during your deposition, but they’ll also schedule their depositions to gather pertinent information for your case.

Do I Need an Attorney to Handle My Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Many people wonder whether they need a lawyer, and they might even try to start their case without legal guidance. However, in most cases, a lawyer can help you achieve a much better result than you’d get handling your own case. This is especially the case if you need to file a lawsuit, which requires following strict and complicated Rules of Civil Procedure.

A personal injury attorney knows the law and procedures for your case. They have the experience and resources needed to build a strong case and work toward getting you the financial recovery you need.

When you hire a lawyer, you’re no longer responsible for the major tasks associated with your case.

Your attorney will:

  • Thoroughly investigate your claim
  • Draft and file necessary court documents
  • Gather relevant evidence and documentation
  • Uncover the cause of your injuries
  • Determine liability
  • Calculate your damages
  • Participate in the discovery process
  • Engage in settlement negotiations
  • Represent you in court

When you try to represent yourself, you risk having a tough time communicating and dealing with the opposing party’s insurance company. Insurance companies can sense when an individual has little knowledge of the personal injury process and take advantage of the situation, usually resulting in an unfair settlement.

You only have one opportunity to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. Having a personal injury lawyer handling your case gives you the best possible chance of getting a fair outcome in your case.

Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Dave Abels Lawyer
Personal Injury lawyer, Dave Abels

If you’ve suffered an injury caused by another person, you may have legal options. Put yourself in the most favorable position by discussing your case with a skilled personal injury attorney.

Your lawyer can help protect your rights and seek maximum compensation on your behalf while you focus entirely on your physical recovery.

​Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?

One of the worst things that many of us can think of is losing a loved one suddenly in an accident. The only thing that can worsen the loss is if a negligence action caused it. You may wonder what to do next after such a tragic experience. Along with the emotional impact of your loss, you may suffer financial harm after losing your loved one. The law provides a remedy to help ease both the emotional and financial burden.

A wrongful death lawsuit protects the bereaved family’s legal rights after losing a family member in an accident caused by the negligence of another person or business. Although your loved one gained many relationships they held dear during their life, only certain people may file a wrongful death lawsuit. To learn more about who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, continue reading.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

​Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal cause of action that is available to specific parties after a loved one dies due to the negligence of another person or entity. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is for the family of the deceased to recover compensation for their loss. Wrongful death laws are different in each state. If you think that you may have a wrongful death claim, speak to a local wrongful death lawyer.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

​Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?Different people may recover damages for wrongful death depending on state law. However, the laws on wrongful death are different in each state. A person who can be a plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit also varies from state to state. Despite the state where someone makes a wrongful death claim, certain groups of people are typically allowed to be parties in a wrongful death suit. The following people commonly file complaints for wrongful death.

Immediate Family Members

Immediate family members include close family members, often only the family members who live in your home, although residence does not affect the family member’s right to sue. In many states, immediate family members include the deceased person’s spouse, parents, and children. In some states, legally adopted children can recover from a wrongful death claim. However, the law precludes stepchildren and foster children even if they live in the deceased’s home.

There is a hierarchy of sorts within the immediate family members who can sue. If the deceased leaves a surviving spouse, the spouse will be the plaintiff in a wrongful death suit alone. If there is no surviving spouse, then the deceased’s children will be named as the plaintiff(s) in the lawsuit.

If the children are under eighteen, then a guardian is appointed to represent the children’s interests in the lawsuit. If the deceased did not have a spouse or children at the time of their death, then their parents can file a lawsuit for wrongful death damages.

If the deceased and their spouse were divorcing but a court did not finalize it at the time of the deceased’s death, the surviving spouse may file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the divorce was final, the surviving ex-spouse does not have a claim for wrongful death. In that circumstance, the children will be the plaintiff(s) in the wrongful death lawsuit.

An Executor or Personal Representative of the Estate

In some states, the deceased’s last will and testament decides who the plaintiff is in a wrongful death lawsuit. If the deceased left a last will and testament, then the executor, a person named in the will, is named as the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit. If the deceased did not leave a last will and testament, then the personal representative of the deceased’s estate is named the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit.

An executor is someone named in a person’s last will that they chose to ensure that someone completes the terms of their will after the person’s death. If you die because of another’s negligence, in some states, your executor can act as a plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit. The executor’s service as the plaintiff will mirror their other work as the executor.

Just like how the executor is responsible for paying the estate’s bills and that the beneficiaries get the property as the will dictates, the executor will ensure that they use the settlement from the lawsuit to pay medical bills first and then distribute the rest to the deceased’s beneficiaries. You must choose a responsible and trustworthy person to act as your executor. ​

In some states, for a person who died because of another person or entity’s negligence and without a last will and testament, a court will appoint a personal representative.

A personal representative performs the same or similar duties as an executor. A personal representative ensures that the estate pays a deceased person’s last debts and that they distribute their property and money to the appropriate heirs. Family members may apply to serve as a personal representative, or the court will appoint someone who may not be a family member, to serve as the deceased’s personal representative.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, a personal representative acts as the plaintiff and represents the interests of the family in the lawsuit- just as they will in probate court. In some states, the personal representative will be unable to receive any damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit.

If an executor or personal representative is the plaintiff in a wrongful death case, the lawsuit is filed on behalf of the estate. If the court awards a judgment, the court may divide the settlement proceeds between the estate and the family. The estate will use the portion allocated to it to pay any outstanding bills related to the accident. The same way that it would be if the deceased survived the accident.

Who Can Sue if the Deceased Person is a Minor?

If a child who dies is the subject of a wrongful death lawsuit, their parents are the plaintiffs in the complaint about wrongful death. If the parents were married at the time of the child’s death, both parents are named plaintiffs. If the parents were not married at the time of the child’s death, then the parent who is the primary custodial parent at the time of the child’s death is named as the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Although the lawsuit only names one parent, both parents will receive a share of any settlement proceeds awarded. If the child is adopted, the adoptive parents are each named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Adoptive parents may have more of a challenge than biological parents because the adoptive parents must prove that they have legally adopted the child and that the adoption was final before the child’s death.

Stepparents and foster parents do not have a legal right to file a lawsuit for wrongful death benefits unless a legal adoption of the child is final at the time of the child’s death.

Determining which parent(s) has the right to sue in a wrongful death lawsuit can be confusing and varies from state to state. If you have questions or a complicated issue, contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer in your area.

Why Are There Restrictions on Who Can Sue?

The damages that are available in wrongful death lawsuits are specific. The money awarded in wrongful death lawsuits, and any personal injury lawsuit, are intended to compensate or restore the victim to their position before the harm occurred.

In a wrongful death claim, the beneficiaries are pursuing the claim to recover from the loss of companionship, guidance, consortium, and other emotional damages and loss of financial support. The deceased person provides those things primarily to their immediate family. In that sense, the law does not entitle people beyond the deceased’s immediate family to wrongful death damages.

Who Can I Sue for Wrongful Death Damages?

Typically, a person can sue all responsible parties for wrongful death. If a commercial truck driver operated a truck negligently, the driver and the company they work for are liable for wrongful death. Further, if the truck had a manufacturing defect that caused the accident, then a person can also sue the manufacturer for wrongful death damages.

Some parties may be responsible for the accident but have immunity from a lawsuit. The government usually has immunity from litigation. Immunity here means that you cannot sue the government for wrongful death.

What Damages are Available in Wrongful Death Cases?

Wrongful death damages include two types of damages. Plaintiffs can recover the damages the deceased person would have recovered and may also separately recover compensation for their emotional damages and loss of support.

In a wrongful death case, a plaintiff can collect:

  • The deceased’s hospital bills
  • The fee for the ambulance ride
  • The deceased’s property damage
  • Funeral expenses
  • Burial or cremation expenses
  • The emotional damage to the bereaved
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of guidance
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of financial support
  • Punitive damages (Punitive damages are available in limited situations, and courts typically only use them for wildly outrageous conduct)

How Do I Collect My Judgment?

Winning the wrongful death lawsuit is the first step to receiving recovery. The first step to getting compensated for a wrongful death lawsuit is to get a judgment from either a judge or jury. The next step is securing the money by collecting it from the defendant.

The ease of getting a judgment depends on who the defendant is in the lawsuit. Typically, if the defendant is a business collecting a judgment is easier. The business’s insurance company will cut a check for the total settlement amount. If the defendant is an individual, they may not have the money to pay the entire settlement amount at once. Defendants that are individuals may want to create a payment plan and schedule small periodic payments to satisfy the judgment.

A plaintiff can collect a wrongful death settlement in one large payment called a lump sum or small periodic payments over time. The parties must agree upon the way that the plaintiff collects the settlement.

In addition to collecting the money from the defendants, the plaintiff may choose to receive their payments in installments regardless of how the defendants pay the judgment.

When a plaintiff receives the money from their settlement in phases, it is called a structured settlement. If you receive a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit and want a structured settlement, speak to your attorney about how to set that up.

If the defendant fails to pay the settlement, either because they can not make the payments or they refuse to satisfy the judgment, the plaintiff can pursue a wage garnishment. A wage garnishment is a civil action separate from the original case that creates a legal right in the plaintiff to receive a portion of the defendant’s regular income until their judgment is satisfied. Speak to a local attorney if you desire to pursue a wage garnishment action.

How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help Me?

Dave Abels Lawyer
Wrongful Death Attorney, Dave Abels

The laws surrounding wrongful death lawsuits are complex. The laws vary from state to state. Talk to a wrongful death lawyer in your area to maximize your compensation and protect your legal rights.

A local wrongful death lawyer knows the particularities of state law and can avoid pitfalls that an unrepresented family may face while pursuing wrongful death benefits.

While no money can replace the ones we hold dearest, receiving compensation from the accident can help you and your family cope with the financial and emotional loss that you suffered.

Contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer today.

​Who Can Be Responsible for a Truck Accident With a Defective Tire?

Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 393.75 establishes that no one can operate a motor vehicle on a flat or leaking tire, with any tread or sidewall separation, body ply or belt material exposed through the tread or sidewall, or a cut that exposes ply or belt material. A tire on a bus, truck, or truck tractor must have a tread groove pattern depth of at least 4⁄32 of an inch when measured at any point on a major tread groove, and the measurements must not take place in an area where tie bars or humps exist.

Tire maintenance is a constant area of concern for most trucking companies, but many companies still send vehicles on the road with worn or defective tires that, in turn, endanger all other road users. If a commercial truck crash caused by a defective tire injured you, contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact a Lawyer for Truck Accidents With Defective Tires

Who Can Be Responsible for a Truck Accident With a Defective Tire?If you suffered severe injuries or a loved one lost their life in a commercial truck accident caused by a defective tire, do not wait another moment to seek legal representation. You will want to find an experienced personal attorney who knows how to investigate what occurred leading up, during, and after your crash, so they can preserve critical evidence, and you will have the best shot at recovering as much financial compensation as possible.

You need to be aware that many trucking companies are not likely to admit that their vehicles had defective tires, so the burden will be on you to prove your claim, and most insurance companies will find reasons to deny you compensation in any way.

Call a lawyer or contact them online right away so you can schedule a free consultation that will let you sit down with the attorney and thoroughly review all of the circumstances surrounding your crash while also providing you with complete knowledge about what rights you have and what action you can take.

Possible Liable Parties in Truck Accidents With Defective Tires

In most cases involving truck accidents caused by defective tires, victims may seek damages from:

  • Truck Drivers – In some instances, the drivers themselves will bear responsibility for truck accidents caused by defective tires. A driver can be liable when they were made aware of defects but failed to take the necessary action to remedy the problem.
  • Trucking Companies – A trucking company can bear responsibility for a truck crash caused by a defective tire if it was aware of a tire defect but did not take the appropriate corrective action. Many companies keep these trucks on the road when someone notifies them of an issue, but a truck is already on the road, and there are concerns about delays that tire repairs might cause for delivery times.

Other parties can bear some liability in a truck accident caused by a defective tire, including other drivers. The confusion about liability is one of the primary reasons you want to hire a skilled attorney because they can determine with certainty who was responsible and then work to hold the proper party accountable.

Maintenance Regulations for Commercial Trucks

In addition to the regulations previously noted, federal law also requires every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to its control. They also have to keep records for each motor vehicle they control for 30 consecutive days, which includes a history of inspection, repairs, and maintenance indicating their date and nature.

Carriers must retain records for one year and six months after the motor vehicle leaves a motor carrier’s control.

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) further recommends that truck drivers:

  • Only use approved rim and tire combinations
  • Examine tires daily for irregular tread, cracking, bulges, cuts, foreign objects, and inadequate tread depth
  • Avoid exceeding the speed rating of tires
  • Gauge tire pressure before each trip
  • Avoid overloading cargo on underinflated tires

General truck maintenance requirements under Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 396.3(a) state that every motor carrier must inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles subject to its control. They must keep all parts and accessories in safe and proper condition, and the carrier must inspect pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights at least every 90 days.

Required records under Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 396.3(b) establish that for all vehicles under control for 30 consecutive days or more, a motor carrier must maintain a record of identifying the vehicle by company number, make, serial number, year, and tire size. When the motor carrier of passengers does not own a vehicle, the record must identify the party providing or leasing the vehicle.

This section also requires a means to demonstrate the nature and due date of the inspection and maintenance operations that they will perform, a record of the inspection, repairs, and maintenance showing their date and type, and a record of tests conducted on pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights on buses. Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 396.7 states that carriers cannot operate commercial motor vehicles in such a condition as it is likely to cause an accident or a vehicle breakdown.

Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 396.11 relates to driver inspection reports and stipulates that drivers are required to complete written post-trip inspection reports at the end of every driving day, with inspection reports identifying the vehicles and listing any defects or deficiencies discovered by or reported to the driver that can affect the safety of operation of the vehicle or result in a mechanical breakdown.

Furthermore, a motor carrier or its agent must certify that they have repaired any listed defect or deficiency or that immediate repair is unnecessary. A motor carrier must maintain the original copy for three months before requiring or permitting a driver to operate a vehicle. Every motor carrier or its agent must repair any defect or deficiency listed on a driver’s vehicle inspection report that can likely affect the vehicle’s safe operation.

Injuries in Truck Accidents With Defective Tires

Commercial trucks typically weigh several tons, so accidents involving these vehicles can cause positively devastating injuries. The simple size of large trucks increases the likelihood of a fatal commercial truck accident.

Some of the most common kinds of truck accident injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Fractures or broken bones
  • Severe head injuries such as concussions
  • Sprained muscles, tendons, or ligaments
  • Back injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Muscle strains
  • Bulging discs
  • Knee injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Joint damage
  • Pinched nerves
  • Cuts and lacerations

Again, commercial truck accidents can also be fatal in many cases, and families that are suddenly left behind can struggle to figure out how to get help covering the bills their lost family member can no longer assist in paying.

The family of any person killed in a commercial truck accident can file a wrongful death action, and such lawsuits are different from personal injury lawsuits in that the statute of limitations (or time limit) for filing such a claim begins on the date of a person’s death rather than the date of an accident, which can be important because a person can die many days or weeks after initially suffering an injury in a truck accident.

The statute of limitations for any truck accident is a significant concern that emphasizes the need for legal representation. A court can deny a person who waits too long to file their case an opportunity to recover anything. For this reason, speak to an attorney as soon as possible so they can file your case in time.

Tire Recall Process

The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), which represents approximately 80 percent of all tire shipments in the United States, has an online search tool that lets you search its member companies’ tire recalls since 2000. Once a tire recall is issued, it may still take weeks or months before the information gets into the hands of the tire owner.

While automakers work with states to locate the addresses of registered vehicle owners when they recall vehicles, tire makers often have to rely on warranty registration cards that their purchasers do not necessarily complete. Most manufacturers only initiate voluntary recalls after a government agency like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contacts and pressures them.

Defects in design or production may result in:

  • Tire belt separation
  • Sudden air loss
  • Loss of vehicle control from tire belt separation
  • The missing load rate information on the sidewall
  • Missing date code TIN information on the sidewall
  • Visible cords visible through the inner liner
  • Tire sidewall separation
  • Incompletely cured vulcanizing compound
  • Failure to meet strength test requirements

Some of the most recent tire recalls include companies like Falken, Sumitomo, Michelin, Continental, Tri-Ace, Sailun, Hercules, Cooper, Bridgestone, and Firestone.

Resources for Truck Accidents With Defective Tires

Tire Anomaly and Classification System (TACS™) – TACS is a system designed by International Road Dynamics Inc. (IRD) that screens commercial vehicles at weigh stations to identify vehicles deemed unsafe due to missing or underinflated tires.

TACS consists of:

  • In-road sensors for tire detection and measurement
  • Roadside electronics to capture information from the in-road sensors and pass the information to weigh stations for use by weigh station operations
  • Software, and graphical user interface (GUI) to present information to weigh station operators and support their setting of commercial vehicle screening criteria based on data provided by TACS

TACS can integrate weigh station screening systems, including weigh-in-motion, electronic screening, vehicle dimensioning systems, and vehicle tracking systems.

Safety defects and long hours contribute to large truck crashes – Vehicle defects that are serious in nature triple the risk of being involved in a crash. The research said almost 75 percent of crash-involved trucks had vehicle defects identified during post-crash inspections, and trucks with out-of-service violations for any defect were over four times as likely to crash as trucks without such violations.

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study – Analysis Brief – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) examined the reasons for serious crashes involving large trucks, defined as trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings of more than 10,000 pounds. The LTCCS sample of 963 crashes involved 1,123 large trucks and 959 motor vehicles not defined as large trucks, with 963 crashes resulting in 249 fatalities and 1,654 injuries.

They collected samples at 24 sites in 17 states, with data collected on as many as 1,000 elements that included the condition of a truck driver and other drivers involved before a crash; a driver’s behavior during a crash; the condition of trucks and other vehicles; roadway factors; and weather conditions.

Call a Truck Accident Attorney if Your Crash Involved Defective Tires

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Attorney, Dave Abels

Did you suffer severe injuries, or was your loved one killed in a commercial truck accident you believe to be caused by a defective tire? Do not try to handle your claim on your own because an insurance company will not help you, no matter how friendly and helpful an agent may sound.

With the help of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer, you will give yourself the most substantial chance of making sure you can recover every dollar you need to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Call an attorney or contact one online to set up a free consultation that will let you explain what happened to you and the issues you deal with, so you can have the best chance at possibly recovering and getting back to your original condition.