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How Do I Settle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer?

If you have a car accident claim you need to settle, doing so without an attorney can be extremely challenging, time-consuming, and will make it unlikely you will receive the full compensation you deserve. In reality, it is a really bad idea to try to handle an injury case without the help of a lawyer. In my experience, accident claims almost always go wrong without an attorney protecting your interests.

Compensation for a car accident should cover your:

  • Vehicle repairs
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Future medical expenses
  • Future lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent disability and disfigurement

If you accept an amount that does not cover all these losses, you leave money on the table. You also might be responsible for future costs of your injuries, which the at-fault party should cover. Too many people who try to settle a claim without a lawyer end up in this dire financial situation with few or no solutions.

When an insurance company knows a claimant has no legal representation, adjusters are ready to make low offers. They use tactics to get unrepresented claimants to accept much less than they deserve, as their focus is on maximizing company profits – not helping you. Everything changes as soon as someone has proper representation, and the insurance adjuster knows they cannot use their usual tricks.

The short answer is that you should never settle a car accident claim without a lawyer. Many people make this mistake, and they feel the negative financial effects for the rest of their lives. Always consult a car accident attorney about your claim as soon as possible. Consultations should always be free with no risk and no obligation, so you have nothing to lose by learning how a lawyer can help you.

How Insurance Settlements Work

When you settle an insurance claim, you accept a specific amount of money. In exchange for the sum of money, you give up your right to any other compensation regarding the injuries and costs from your accident. The at-fault party and their insurance company do not admit to any wrongdoing through a settlement offer, but instead, they are simply offering you money to make your claim go away.

The purpose of a settlement is to prevent you from filing a lawsuit and bringing the insurance company to court. A trial requires greater resources, and insurance companies want to avoid this by settling the claim out of court.

However, insurance companies are in business for profits. Offering every claimant a full settlement decreases those profits. They want to reduce settlement costs to increase profits whenever possible. Insurance adjusters often quickly present you with a (low) settlement offer, hoping you will accept less than you should receive. If you do not have an attorney, chances are you will accept an inadequate settlement.

There are two common types of car accident settlements:

  • Lump-sum – In this form of settlement, you receive a single settlement payment briefly after you and the insurance company reach a settlement agreement.
  • Structured – This type of settlement involves a payment structure, with payments on a set schedule over months or years, with the payments potentially varying in size and frequency depending on the terms of your settlement agreement.

Regardless of what type of settlement you accept, you cannot go back and demand more compensation or have your claim reopened once you finalize a settlement agreement.

Accepting a settlement offer cuts off all obligations from the insurance company to you, and they hope that you take less than you need, as you cannot request more. This saves the insurance company money and increases their profit margins, and may leave you having to pay costs from your car accident out of your pocket, taking away resources from your family and household.

Insurance Companies Offer Quick – and Low Settlements

When you work toward a settlement with the insurance company, you must deal with their full-time teams of claim adjusters and investigators. Claim adjusters are insurance company employees who process and evaluate claims, many of which stem from car accidents. The entire goal of the claim adjuster is to minimize the costs of the insurance company. Their job is not to offer quick and fair payments, but many people fail to realize that adjusters are not on their side.

Claim adjusters work to minimize insurance company expenses by carefully scrutinizing your claim. They try to identify any potential weaknesses or issues regarding liability for your accident or the extent of your losses. They might cite inconsistent medical records, damaging statements by you, or legal technicalities. They will find any reason to reduce or deny your settlement payment.

Some insurance adjusters try to get accident victims to make mistakes that justify lower offers. Never speak with an adjuster at length about your accident or injuries, as you might accidentally say something that hurts your claim. If the adjuster asks how you are feeling, and you say “fine,” you might think nothing of it. However, the adjuster might turn around and assert that since you are “fine,” your injuries must not be that serious.

You were likely just being polite, but even a small, off-hand comment can jeopardize your claim. This is why you want a car accident attorney handling all communications with adjusters.

Common tactics the insurance company employees use to lower your settlement amount include:

  • Recorded statements – When you do not have an attorney, the claim adjuster might pressure you into making a recorded statement. During the recorded statement, the adjuster will try and get you to provide vague, misleading, or inaccurate statements. They will often ask about your injuries and symptoms and the facts surrounding the crash or incident. The purpose is to use this information against you later in the process. To protect your interests and the amount of your settlement, you should speak with a lawyer instead of agreeing to provide any written or recorded statements, as they could create a record against you.
  • Discouraging you from calling a lawyer – The insurance company does not benefit if you call a lawyer, but you do. This is why insurance adjusters often discourage you from reaching out to an attorney. They might explain that lawyers are “too expensive” or that they “can slow down the process.” This is not the truth, as attorneys can often maximize your compensation. This is what adjusters don’t want you to know.
  • Independent medical examinations – The claims adjuster will likely try to schedule an independent medical exam (IME) for you, and when they do, you generally have to attend. While you should receive an objective and independent analysis at these appointments, they are rarely impartial. The doctor is a consultant of the insurance company, and if they want repeat business, they will likely favor the insurance company in their findings by downplaying your injuries. IME reports often reduce settlement values, but a lawyer can ensure you receive a fair result.
  • Blaming you, the victim – The claims adjuster might try to get you to admit to a portion of the fault in the accident. If you apologize or even say, “I only looked away for a second,” they will use this information to reduce or deny your claim. Your attorney knows how to challenge any claims that you were partially liable for the accident.
  • Failing to return calls and communications – The claims adjuster knows that you have injuries and immediate costs you need to cover. Missing phone calls and taking their time to get back to you when processing the claim can lead to greater stress for you. Delays are a tactic to encourage you to accept a lesser payment to resolve the claim as soon as possible.

These negative tactics do not work if you have a car accident lawyer on your side.

What Happens if You Accept an Inadequate Settlement?

When you accept a settlement, that is usually it. You accepted a specific amount of money for your losses, and you cannot seek any additional damages related to the accident or incident that led to your injuries. If the settlement amount was inadequate, then you and your family will likely have to pay for your losses out-of-pocket.

Once you finalize and sign a settlement agreement, it is nearly impossible to obtain more compensation. If your injuries get worse, do not heal as expected, or you do not recognize the full extent of your losses, the at-fault party will no longer be liable.

The purpose of seeking out compensation for your injuries is to be “made whole,” which is a legal concept that means putting you in as close a position as possible to the position you would be in if the accident had not happened. Money cannot change the past, however, and there is no way that financial recovery can fully compensate you for things like permanent disabilities or an inability to pursue your chosen career. This is why non-economic damages often far outweigh economic damages in car accident cases.

In many cases, insurance companies make settlement offers as quickly as possible to get victims to settle for less than they deserve. For example, suppose you were in an accident caused by another person that resulted in $20,000 in medical costs and vehicle repairs. Additionally, the crash caused an injury that prevented you from working for six months.

You deserve coverage for the $20,000 in costs, in addition to the value of your lost earnings and non-economic losses like pain and suffering. The insurance company might quickly offer you a twenty thousand dollar settlement, hoping you would not recognize that it was far below the actual value of your claim.

A Lawyer Will Know What Your Claim is Worth

Determining the value of a car accident claim is a complicated matter that requires experience and specialized knowledge. Fortunately, an experienced car accident lawyer will know how to evaluate your cases and determine how much you can expect to recover. The value of a car accident claim needs to address not only your economic losses like repair bills and medical costs but also your non-economic losses like pain and suffering or lost quality of life.

Your attorney can refer you to follow-up medical and occupational experts who can accurately measure the impact of your injuries not only in the immediate moment but into the long term. Compensation for your injuries requires that their related costs first be accurately calculated, then effectively demanded from the insurance company. Your car accident attorney can represent you every step of the way.

Insurance Companies Often Offer Higher Amounts to Attorneys

Insurance companies want to settle cases for as little as possible and are happy to take advantage of victims unfamiliar with the process. Unless you are a lawyer or have significant experience handling personal injury claims, you won’t know how much your claim is worth. Not having that knowledge significantly hurts your position when negotiating a settlement.

However, when you file a claim with an attorney, the insurance company will take you more seriously. As a result, they will generally start with a higher initial settlement offer. When you have an attorney, the insurance company knows that you will collect the best evidence possible in support of your case and won’t accept anything less than you deserve.

You Do Not Have to Accept an Unfair Settlement

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Car Accident Lawyer

If the insurance company refuses to make a reasonable settlement offer, all is not lost. Your car accident attorney can file a lawsuit and take your claim to trial and pursue the best possible outcome in your case.

Obtaining full compensation for your injuries can make the difference between a future of financial stability and one that leaves you footing the bills associated with the accident that the insurance company and at-fault party should have paid.

Importantly, the fact that your attorney files a lawsuit does not necessarily mean that your case is going to trial. In some cases, simply filing a lawsuit is enough to get the insurance company to make a reasonable settlement offer.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Who Is At Fault in a Phoenix T-Bone Car Accident?

T-bone accidents (or side-impact collisions) occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle, with the vehicles in the crash forming the shape of a T.

While the vast majority of T-bone accidents occur at intersections, these collisions may also happen when pulling out of a driveway or parking lot. In other words, this type of accident can occur any time a vehicle crashes into another vehicle from perpendicular traffic.

The force of impact in a T-bone car accident puts all drivers and passengers involved at risk for severe injury and death because one vehicle experiences a frontal collision while the other vehicle experiences a collision from the side.

You need to know who caused your accident so you can hold the at-fault party liable for your injuries. Speak with a car accident attorney in Phoenix to discuss your case, prove the other driver’s fault, and secure financial compensation.

What Are the Common Causes of T-Bone Car Accidents?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 23 percent of vehicle occupants die in car accidents after a side-impact crash. Thus, T-bone car accidents and other side-impact collisions account for more than 5,000 deaths annually.

Causes of T-bone car accidents vary greatly from one collision to another. However, some of the most common causes of these accidents include:

  • Drivers running a red light or failing to stop at a stop sign
  • Drivers failing to yield the right of way at an intersection
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving while distracted
  • Failing to indicate one’s intention to turn
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions
  • Reckless or aggressive driving
  • Driving in adverse weather conditions (fog, rain, snow, etc.)

No matter what caused the T-bone accident, people involved in the collision can suffer severe injuries. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, determining who is responsible for causing the side-impact accident can be challenging. You might want to discuss your case with a Phoenix car accident lawyer to determine liability for the T-bone collision.

Who Is at Fault in T-Bone Car Accidents?

There are different scenarios in which a T-bone car accident may occur.

Below is the breakdown of right-of-way rules and possible determination of fault in different kinds of side-impact collisions:

  • Accidents at a controlled intersection. If the intersection has traffic signals and signs, drivers must obey those signals and signs before entering the intersection. If a driver has a green light, they have the right of way and may enter the intersection first. However, if there were no witnesses, it could be difficult to prove that you had the right of way and the other driver was driving against a red light. According to a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly a third of all motorists say they ran a red light in the past 30 days.
  • Accidents at an uncontrolled intersection. According to traffic rules, drivers must yield the right of way to vehicles already in the intersection. In other words, the driver who arrived first has the right-of-way. However, if two vehicles reach the uncontrolled intersection at roughly the same time, drivers must yield the right of way to a vehicle on their right.
  • U-turns across traffic. A driver who wants to make a U-turn across traffic must yield to all vehicles in oncoming traffic. Failure to do so may lead to a T-bone accident. In this case, the driver who makes a U-turn is usually at fault.
  • Accidents in parking lots. T-bone accidents in parking lots may happen when a driver leaves a parking space or hits a vehicle in the perpendicular aisle. All drivers must remain vigilant and obey traffic control markings in a parking lot.
  • Accidents that occur when leaving a driveway. Drivers leaving a driveway must yield the right of way to all vehicles that approach them before entering the roadway. A driver should not enter the roadway unless the nearest vehicle is a safe distance away to perform the maneuver.
  • Left-turns across traffic. Many T-bone accidents occur when a driver is making a left turn. At uncontrolled intersections, the driver who makes a left turn is usually at fault for causing the collision with a vehicle from oncoming traffic. The only exception to the general rule is if the turning driver had the right of way because they had a green turn signal and the other driver ran a red light.

Unfortunately, many T-bone car accidents happen because drivers misjudge the speed or distance of other vehicles. The determination of fault in a T-bone collision depends on many factors involved in the accident. That is why you might want to contact a Phoenix car accident attorney to investigate your collision and help you understand who is at fault for causing the T-bone accident.

Can a Motorist Who Has the Right of Way Be at Fault for a T-Bone Car Accident?

The motorist who does not have the right of way will be held responsible for causing a T-bone car accident in the vast majority of cases. However, in some cases, the motorist who had the right of way may also share fault for the crash. Drivers must operate a vehicle safely and remain vigilant at all times, even when they have the right of way.

In some side-impact collisions, the right who had the right of way may be partially at fault for causing the accident.

Common examples of negligence on the part of the motorist who has the right of way include:

  • Exceeding the speed limit
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Driving at night without headlights
  • Crossing multiple lanes of traffic in one movement
  • Driving while distracted
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failing to signal one’s intention to turn or change lanes

If you need assistance with determining fault in your T-bone car accident, contact a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who will thoroughly investigate your case to identify liable parties.

Can a Vehicle Manufacturer Be at Fault for a T-Bone Car Accident?

Some car accidents occur due to vehicle defects. When a T-bone accident occurs because of defective automobile parts, the parties involved in the crash might hold the vehicle manufacturer at fault.

Common vehicle defects that may result in side-impact collisions include steering problems, defective brakes, and faulty accelerators. If brakes are defective, a driver may not stop their vehicle to avoid running a red light. As a result, a T-bone car accident may happen at an intersection.

Often, product liability cases filed against vehicle manufacturers require testimony from accident reconstruction experts to help a judge and juries understand how the accident occurred.

However, accidents involving defective automobile parts may involve several potentially at-fault parties:

  1. The vehicle manufacturer and/or manufacturer of defective vehicle parts;
  2. The driver of the defective vehicle if they failed to properly inspect the vehicle or get routine maintenance; and
  3. The auto mechanic who inspected the vehicle during routine maintenance and failed to notice/fix the problem.

If you suspect that your T-bone accident occurred because of defective vehicle parts, such as faulty brakes, you might want a Phoenix car accident attorney to investigate your crash and help you identify liable parties.

Can Road Engineers Be at Fault for a T-Bone Car Accident?

People who design and build our roads have a demanding challenge: to construct safe roadways after considering hundreds of factors. Some car accidents can result from improper road design, inadequate maintenance, or poor road signs and traffic signals.

These issues can result in devastating collisions, including T-bone car accidents. For example, if a traffic light malfunctions, drivers may have a hard time determining who should have the right of way in their specific situation. If two motorists believe that they have the right of way, an accident is bound to happen.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) estimates that more than half of all road accidents that result in injuries and deaths occur at or near intersections. An improperly designed intersection is a disaster waiting to happen. When drivers can prove that their accident was the result of improper road design or faulty traffic signals, they may hold road engineers or government agencies responsible for the resulting crash.

In particular, roads and intersections may have an improper design when:

  • It has inappropriate or contradictory signage or markings
  • It has too many or inadequate points of conflict, which are locations where paths merge, cross, or diverge
  • It has a confusing layout that makes drivers more likely to make mistakes

Proving that a road had an improper design is not an easy task. Even though other drivers can navigate the roadway or intersection safely does not necessarily mean that it is well-designed. A thorough investigation by an experienced car accident attorney will show whether or not road engineers and/or the government can be at fault for your T-bone collision.

How to Prove Fault in a T-Bone Car Accident?

Proving fault in a T-bone car accident usually requires a comprehensive investigation and/or testimony from accident reconstruction experts, especially if it is not immediately clear who had the right of way.

Often, your ability to prove fault in a T-bone collision-or any other car crash, for that matter – hinges on the strength of your legal case. Your lawyer can help you strengthen your case by gathering all available pieces of evidence that prove the other party’s fault.

Some evidence that may help determine liability for a T-bone car accident includes:

  • A police report that establishes the facts surrounding your T-bone accident
  • Statements provided by witnesses who saw how the accident occurred
  • Photos showing the extent of vehicle damage
  • Testimony from accident reconstruction experts
  • Video footage from surveillance or traffic cameras showing the moment of the collision

Consider contacting a Phoenix car accident attorney to help you prove the other driver’s fault and gather all available pieces of evidence to secure maximum compensation in your case.

What Damages Can You Recover After a T-Bone Car Accident?

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Car Accident Lawyer

Depending on the speed and size of the vehicles in a T-bone car accident, victims may suffer catastrophic and debilitating injuries.

Some of the most common types of injuries associated with side-impact collisions include:

If you get injured in a T-bone car accident, you need to understand your options for compensation. Understandably, the crippling medical bills and the inability to work can cause significant financial hardship, which is why you might want to seek compensation by filing an insurance claim or pursuing a lawsuit.

Your Phoenix car accident lawyer can help you recover:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • The cost of medical care, including rehabilitation, hospitalization, physical therapy, and others
  • Loss of income
  • Diminished or lost earning capacity
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering

Recoverable damages depend on the severity of your injuries, how many days you missed at work, whether or not you expect to return to your job, the impact of your injury on your emotional well-being, and a plethora of other factors.

Calculating fair compensation requires a thorough understanding of the law and a careful assessment of many factors involved in your T-bone accident. That is why you might want to consider contacting a Phoenix car accident attorney to discuss the circumstances of your crash and determine the value of your legal case.

Having the right legal help can mean the difference between future financial struggles and moving forward with a sense of justice and security.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Where Do Broadside Collisions Most Commonly Occur in Phoenix?

A broadside collision is a common type of car accident that happens when the front of a vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. The collision can result in devastating injuries because vehicles contain less protection for drivers and passengers on the side.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), side-impact crashes account for 23 percent of all deaths among vehicle occupants. Depending on the severity of the injury, victims of a broadside collision may need months or years to fully recover, and some may be left disabled for the rest of their lives.

Broadside collisions commonly occur at intersections and highway entrance ramps, also known as highway on-ramps, in Phoenix, Arizona. Injuries resulting from this type of collision can cause physical, emotional, and financial hardships no matter where they occur.

If you or your loved one were in an accident where one vehicle struck the side of another, consider contacting a Phoenix broadside accident lawyer to help you determine fault and obtain fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

Common Causes of Broadside Collisions in Phoenix, Arizona

Car accidents occur every single day on the roads and highways of Phoenix. However, some crashes tend to be more dangerous and deadlier than others. Broadside collisions are among the most dangerous automobile accidents because side-impact crashes often result in severe injuries and fatalities.

But how do these accidents occur? What causes a driver to slam into the side of another vehicle? Causes of broadside collisions vary from one accident to another. However, most accidents result from driver error and negligence.

Common causes of broadside accidents in Phoenix include:

  • Failure to yield. When a driver needs to make a turn into the path of oncoming traffic or change lanes, it is their responsibility to check their surroundings, including side-view and rear-view mirrors, to make sure that it is safe to make the turn or change the lane. They must yield to other motorists and can only turn or change lanes when it is safe. Failure to yield the right of way when making a turn or changing lanes commonly results in sideswipe and broadside collisions.
  • Running red lights. A survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that nearly a third of all drivers admit to running a red light in the past 30 days. According to the IIHS, running red lights results in an estimated 143,000 injuries each year. Broadside collisions are common at intersections where a driver blows through the red light. If perpendicular traffic enters the intersection when a driver runs a red light, an accident is bound to happen, especially if drivers do not react in time to avoid a side-impact crash.
  • Impaired driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one of the most common causes of all automobile crashes, including broadside accidents. Impairment can decrease a driver’s reaction time and impair their judgment when operating a vehicle, which is why impaired drivers are more likely to cause preventable accidents.
  • Distracted driving. Texting while driving and other forms of distraction contribute to hundreds of thousands of car accidents on U.S. roads every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 400,000 people suffered injuries in distracted driving accidents in 2018 alone. When a driver is distracted, they are more likely to crash into another vehicle, which is how many broadside collisions occur on our roads.
  • Fatigue or drowsy driving. Fatigue and lack of sleep can substantially affect driving performance. A fatigued or sleep-deprived driver is less likely to think clearly and make reasonable decisions behind the wheel. Drowsiness can decrease reaction time and cause vision problems, which is why a driver may fail to notice a red light when driving through an intersection.
  • Speeding. Motorists must slow down or come to a complete stop when approaching an intersection, especially when a stop sign or traffic signal orders them to do so. However, when a driver breaks the speed limit or drives too fast for conditions, they can’t slow down or stop in time to avoid a collision. Furthermore, a broadside collision is more likely to cause catastrophic injuries or deaths when vehicles travel too fast.
  • Poor visibility. Fog, rain, and snow can make it difficult for drivers to see other vehicles at an intersection or in adjacent lanes. Poor visibility contributes to many broadside collisions when drivers are making turns, changing lanes, or driving through an intersection.

As you might have noticed, negligence causes almost all broadside collisions. If you suffered injuries or your loved one died in a broadside accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may recover financial compensation. Speak with a Phoenix broadside collision attorney to discuss your particular case.

Where Do Broadside Collisions Most Commonly Occur?

While a broadside collision can occur any time a vehicle turns, changes lanes, merges, or enters the road from a driveway or parking lot, these accidents are more likely to happen in:

  • Intersections
  • Highway entrance ramps
  • Multi-lane roadways
  • Parking lots

According to disturbing statistics by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), over half of all injury and fatal accidents happen at or near intersections. A broadside collision is one of the most common types of accident at intersections. It is not uncommon for side-impact accidents to involve more than two vehicles because the force of impact may cause the vehicles involved in the initial collision to strike passing traffic.

Common Types of Injuries in Broadside Collisions

As mentioned earlier, broadside accidents are one of the deadliest types of collisions on U.S. roads. Accidents in which a vehicle hits the side of another may also result in severe and life-threatening injuries.

Some of the most common types of injuries associated with side-impact crashes are:

  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Loss of a limb
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Internal organ damage
  • Crush injuries
  • Disfigurement and permanent scarring

It is not uncommon for broadside accidents to result in temporary or permanent disability. Accidents in which one vehicle hits the side of another often require expensive and life-long medical treatment. Some victims never fully recover from side-impact collisions.

Often, the severity of injuries suffered by victims in broadside collisions depends on the size and speed of the vehicles.

How to Prove Negligence in a Broadside Collision?

In many broadside collisions, determining fault is easy. However, in other cases, proving negligence may require a comprehensive investigation and testimony from accident reconstruction experts.

To recover damages after a broadside crash-or any other type of automobile accident, for that matter-the injured party needs to prove:

  • Duty of care. You must prove that the other driver owed you a duty of care (all motorists owe other drivers and road users a duty to operate the vehicle safely).
  • Breach. The driver breached the duty of care by driving negligently. For example, if the collision occurred because the other driver was trying to run a red light, that driver will be negligent because they failed to follow traffic laws.
  • Causation. The accident and your injuries result from the driver’s negligent behavior.
  • Damages. You suffered actual damages because of the other driver’s negligence (e.g., medical expenses, loss of income, and others).

A skilled broadside collision attorney can assist you with proving the four elements of negligence to help you obtain the compensation you deserve in your case.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Broadside Collisions in Phoenix, AZ

Where are the most dangerous roads in Phoenix, Arizona?

While broadside collisions can occur on any road when drivers do not exercise due care, some roads and highways in Phoenix, Arizona, are more dangerous than others.

Below is the list of Phoenix roads where automobile accidents occur more often:

  • 43rd Avenue from W. Lamar Road to W. McDowell Road
  • McDowell Road from N. Scottsdale Road to N. 36th Street
  • 19th Avenue from W. Shangri-La Road to W. Union Hills Drive
  • Indian School Road from N. 53rd Avenue to N. 91st Avenue
  • Indian School Road from N. 40th Avenue to N. 3rd Street
  • Northern Avenue from N. 19th Avenue to N. 56th Avenue
  • Bell Road from N. 26th Street to N. 23rd Avenue
  • Thomas Road from N. 71st Avenue to N. 37th Avenue
  • Bethany Home Road from N. 35th Avenue to N. 12th Pl.

Regardless of where the broadside collision occurs, the driver who failed to exercise due care will be responsible for the resulting injuries and losses suffered by victims.

Who is at fault in broadside collisions at intersections?

When a broadside accident occurs at an intersection controlled by traffic signal lights, the person who proceeded through an intersection against a red light caused the crash. However, if there were no witnesses to prove that the other driver ran a red light, it might be difficult to prove fault. In that case, a thorough investigation and testimony from accident reconstruction experts may be necessary to determine who was at fault.

Who is at fault in broadside collisions in parking lots?

Most broadside collisions in parking lots occur when vehicles cross aisles or attempt to pull out of parking spaces. The driver who failed to exercise due care will bear fault. In many parking lot accidents, both drivers bear some fault for the collision.

Who is at fault in broadside collisions that occur when a vehicle enters the road?

Traffic law requires drivers leaving a driveway to yield the right of way to all vehicles on the roadway until it is safe to enter the road. Drivers who want to enter the roadway must wait until the road is clear to enter the road safely. Failure to do so may make the driver leaving the driveway at fault for the broadside accident.

Who is at fault in broadside collisions that occur when turning left across oncoming traffic?

Many broadside collisions occur when a vehicle is turning left across oncoming traffic. The vast majority of these accidents are the fault of the driver turning left because motorists must exercise due care and keep a proper lookout before turning left into the path of oncoming traffic.

In left-turn situations, a motorist must yield the right of way to all vehicles from oncoming traffic. However, drivers from oncoming traffic must also keep a proper lookout and slow down if they see a vehicle performing a left turn. Slowing down can prevent a broadside accident and save lives.

How can a Phoenix broadside collision lawyer help?

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Car Accident Lawyer

While you can handle your car accident case after a broadside accident on your own, doing so can be complicated, especially if you do not know how to prove the other driver’s fault or liability is unclear. In these cases, you might want to consider contacting a Phoenix broadside collision lawyer to investigate your accident, prove the other driver’s fault, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Your lawyer will gather the necessary evidence to support your insurance claim and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. With an experienced attorney on your side, you can determine and document the full extent of your losses to maximize the settlement amount.

A Phoenix broadside collision attorney will advise you of your options throughout the claims process. If the insurance company refuses to provide adequate compensation, your lawyer may determine that you can benefit from filing a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Where Do Broadside Collisions Most Commonly Occur in Phoenix?

A broadside car accident, also known as a T-bone crash, happens when the front of one car strikes the side of another. This type of crash should never happen. Invariably, one driver had done something wrong, failing to yield the right-of-way when the driver was legally required to do so. News reports and statistics detail that these crashes are a problem in the Phoenix area.

Free-flowing traffic and the broad and busy streets that carry traffic around the Valley often lead to chaotic intersections. Proving fault in a broadside car crash is not as simple as showing that one car struck another. You must pinpoint which car did not have a legal right to be where they were at the time of the crash. Then, you must negotiate with the insurance company for fair compensation to pay for your injuries.

Places with Elevated Risks of Broadside Crashes

Here are some general places where a broadside collision can occur in the Phoenix area.

#1. Intersections With Traffic Lights

The most obvious cause of a T-bone or side-impact crash is when one driver runs a red light. In this situation, the other vehicle will strike the unsuspecting driver or will hit a car that they do not expect to be there. These crashes are dangerous because they can occur at over 30 miles per hour, and both drivers probably did not attempt to slow down.

#2. Four-Way Stop Signs

Drivers may simply be driving too fast or distracted to see a stop sign. Crashes after running a stop sign can cause severe injuries because each driver is usually going above 25 miles per hour. In some cases, obstructions may make it difficult to see stop signs. However, in most cases, it is one of the two drivers who has been negligent.

#3. When Crossing Busy Streets

Some busy roadways do not require drivers to stop at an intersection. It is all on the driver trying to cross or turn onto the busy road to judge the traffic. Some drivers do not see or misjudge the oncoming traffic when trying to make a turn. These broadside crashes are the most dangerous because they often occur at high speed and result in severe injuries.

#4. On Any Roadway

In most cases, we talk of broadside crashes as happening at intersections. However, they can occur on any road when one driver loses control of their car. A driver can spin because they were speeding or failed to properly judge a curve. These accidents can happen on highways when motorists drive at high speeds.

#5. In Parking Lots

Cars backing out of parking spots have particular trouble spotting oncoming traffic. While newer cars have backup cameras, parking lot accidents can still occur. When a driver backs out and does not see a car coming, the other vehicle may hit the driver’s door. Even low-speed crashes can cause injuries, depending on where the impact occurs.

Risks of Broadside Car Crashes in Phoenix

Statistics show that Phoenix has among the most dangerous roads in the entire country. In general, Arizona ranks in the upper third in the U.S. in motor vehicle fatality rates, and the problem is even worse in the Phoenix area.

Here are some places in Phoenix that have been the actual site of broadside car collisions in the past several years:

  • A father and his two children suffered injuries when making a left turn from Broadway Road onto 35th Avenue, and a utility truck crashed into them. Rescuers had to mechanically extract the passengers from the totaled car.
  • Eight people suffered injuries in a T-bone crash on 43rd Street, near I-10. One person suffered life-threatening injuries.
  • Four people suffered injuries in a broadside collision at Seventh and Missouri Avenues. One person suffered life-threatening injuries in the collision.
  • A woman and her baby suffered severe injuries in a T-bone crash at 19th Avenue and Greenway Road.

Major Arterial Roads Increase Risks of Broadside Crashes

Besides these actual crashes, Phoenix has many other areas with a high risk of a side-impact crash. Phoenix has a reputation for having dangerous intersections because it has busy and wide streets. The main arterial streets in the Valley area can carry up to 80,000 cars per day.

Assuming a car stays on these roads, they may move more freely and safely. However, drivers may need to make left turns off these roads. Other drivers turning from a side street without a traffic light onto the busy roadway must make left turns across traffic. These actions pose risks for both the turning driver and the oncoming motorist.

Crowded and Dangerous Intersections in Phoenix

Busy Phoenix intersections can see more than a crash every week because of the high volume of traffic that passes through them. The broad arterial roads have the highest number of crashes.

Phoenix has several of them, including:

The most dangerous intersections in the Phoenix area based on the number of crashes are:

  • 27th Avenue and Camelback Road: 195.
  • 67th Avenue and Indian School Road: 191.
  • 75th Avenue and Indian School Road: 186.
  • 67th Avenue and McDowell Road: 178.
  • 51st Avenue and McDowell Road: 169.

The problem is equally bad in neighboring areas, such as Scottsdale and Tempe, where the worst intersections have accidents at a rate almost as high as the most dangerous intersections in Phoenix.

Contributing Factors to Phoenix Broadside Car Crashes

Part of the problem in the area is that traffic lights can be very long. In addition, the visibility at many intersections can be poor. When drivers are allowed to make a left turn through oncoming traffic, it raises the risks of a broadside crash.

The biggest factor in Phoenix intersection crashes was that one driver was going too fast. Other drivers may take risks because they want to make it through an intersection before the light changes, knowing that they may need to wait several minutes for their next opportunity to turn. No matter what Phoenix does to improve traffic safety, these risks will always remain.

In Phoenix, almost one in four traffic crashes happen at an intersection. The area will average around 100,000 car accidents each year. Over three years, there were an average of roughly 22,000 car crashes each year that were intersection-related.

Common Causes of Broadside Crashes

Here are the common causes of broadside crashes:

  • A driver misjudges the amount of time that they have to make it through the intersection
  • The oncoming driver is speeding, striking the other driver before they are can complete their turn
  • A driver is distracted and on their phone and fails to see a red light or stop sign
  • A malfunctioning traffic light or obstructed stop sign makes it difficult for drivers to cross through an intersection
  • Aggressive driving makes motorists take chances at an intersection

In many cases, liability for broadside car crashes is clear. The accident can happen at a busy intersection, where there will likely be witnesses who saw it and possibly cameras that record it. There are some instances where there are well-established rules for who may be at fault for the crash. For example, if a car is trying to cross a busy road when the other driver is lawfully in their lane, the crossing car will be at fault.

Both Drivers May Try to Blame the Other

However, some accidents occur in residential areas or those with fewer people around. The legal rule is that the car that was not where it was supposed to be (meaning it did not yield the right-of-way as it legally should have) is the one to blame for the crash.

Both drivers can say that the other was the one who ran the stop sign or failed to yield. Without witnesses who saw the crash, your case can become far more difficult. An attorney will need to gather evidence that backs up your side of the story for you to receive financial compensation. One way to help prove fault without witnesses is to work with an accident reconstruction expert, who will give their opinion on which driver had the right of way.

Damages in a Broadside Car Crash Claim

Even getting a settlement offer from the other driver’s insurance company is just part of the work in your case. The initial offer is almost always far too low to compensate you for your injuries.

In a car accident case where another driver is at fault, the law may entitle you to damages:

  • Lost wages for the time that you missed from work due to your injuries, whether you were unable to work or had to go to medical appointments
  • The complete cost of all your medical-related expenses, including surgeries, hospital stays, prescriptions, and medical equipment
  • The post-accident experience, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life
  • If your loved one died in the crash, your family can sue for its damages in a wrongful death case.

Then, the insurance company may be trying to lay some of the blame for the accident on you. They may claim that you were speeding or not being attentive yourself. If they can successfully shift fault onto you, it will reduce the size of your financial recovery. Having an experienced lawyer on your side will make it more difficult for an insurance company to do this to you. An attorney will defend your actions while helping make the case that the other driver was to blame for the accident.

What to Do After a Broadside Car Accident

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a broadside car crash, there are two things that you must do. The first is to get the necessary medical help. Even if you did not suffer severe injuries at the accident scene, it does not mean that everything will be fine in the future. Some car accident injuries take weeks, or even months, to show symptoms. Treatment time is valuable, and a doctor can diagnose injuries that you are not yet feeling.

Before you can file a compensation claim, you need a documented injury. Your doctor will provide you with the medical records necessary to prove your damages. The rest of your damages will depend on your prognosis after your injury.

How an Experienced Lawyer Can Help Your Case

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Car Accident Lawyer

Next, you must call an experienced lawyer to represent you in the legal process. Without an attorney, nobody will look out for you. Lined up on the other side is an insurance company that is looking out for itself and will do anything necessary to further its financial interests. The last thing that they want to do is pay you the full amount that you deserve.

Getting the right financial compensation takes a mix of strategy and toughness. In the end, you may have to file a lawsuit to get money for your injuries. This is all part of the legal process, and it does not mean that your case will always head to a trial. Most cases settle before trial, even though it can take time to reach that point.

The key is to get legal help to understand and know your options. Without a lawyer by your side, your much-needed financial compensation can be in jeopardy.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Phoenix What to Do After a Car Accident Not Your Fault

Any car accident can be a traumatic and stressful event. As a car accident victim in Phoenix, Arizona, you may experience shock and confusion, which may make it difficult to concentrate and think clearly at the crash scene. That is why you may not know what steps to take following an accident, even if the crash was not your fault.

Fault is an important factor in any car accident in Phoenix, Arizona. However, the steps to take at the crash scene are the same for everyone, regardless of fault. If you do not know what to do after a car accident that was not your fault, consider speaking with a Phoenix car accident lawyer.

An experienced attorney will protect your rights, help you navigate the legal process, and fight for fair compensation in your specific case.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident Not Your Fault in Phoenix

Knowing what to do after a car accident that was not your fault is important because the steps you take following the collision can affect your compensation claim. If you were involved in an automobile accident in Phoenix, Arizona, take the following steps to protect yourself and safeguard your rights.

Step 1: Stop your car

Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-662 requires all motorists to stop at the scene of a car accident and exchange information with other people involved. Many people have the temptation to leave the scene of a car crash. However, doing so is against the law. It is a criminal offense in Arizona to flee the scene of the accident.

For this reason, stopping your car is the first critical step you should take after being involved in a car accident in Phoenix, Arizona.

Step 2: Ensure your safety

The scene of a car accident can be a chaotic and stressful environment, especially if the crash involved more than two vehicles and/or there is heavy traffic on the road where your accident took place. It is important to ensure your safety after being involved in a collision.

If your vehicle is drivable, turn on your hazard lights and move the car to the shoulder of the road to avoid impeding traffic. However, if your car is disabled or the accident involves injuries or deaths, do not move your vehicle. Once you get to safety, check yourself and others for injuries.

Step 3: Call 911

It is vital to call the police even after a minor crash in Phoenix. If any property damage occurred or anyone suffered injuries or died in the accident, the responding officer will write a police report. The report can be an invaluable piece of evidence for your insurance claim.

When reporting the accident, stick to the facts. Be completely honest when answering the police officer’s questions. If you are certain that the car accident was not your fault, be sure to tell the officer why you believe the other driver was negligent. For example, if the other driver cuts in front of you without using turn signals, make sure the officer is aware of the driver’s negligent behavior.

Step 4: Exchange your information

While you wait for the police to arrive, you must exchange your information with other parties involved in the accident.

Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-663 requires all drivers involved in car accidents to exchange the following types of information with other drivers:

  • The full name
  • The address
  • The driver’s license number
  • The vehicle registration number

Obtaining the at-fault driver’s information is critical if you want to file a personal injury or property damage claim. However, be sure to verify that the driver provided the correct information. Sometimes, at-fault drivers may provide a false name or address to avoid paying the damages, especially if they do not have an auto insurance policy.

Step 5: Gather evidence at the accident scene

Do not assume that the responding police officer will gather all evidence at the scene of your car accident. The evidence you collect after the crash can substantially strengthen your future insurance claim. Types of evidence to gather at the scene of the crash include photos of vehicle damage and injuries, photos of skid marks and other relevant details, video footage from nearby surveillance or traffic cameras, witness statements, and others.

Step 6: Be careful what you say

The things you say and the words you use at the scene of your car accident in Phoenix could potentially affect your ability to obtain fair compensation. Even if the accident was not your fault, saying the wrong things to the police, the other driver, witnesses, or insurance adjuster could jeopardize your claim. When discussing the accident, stick to the facts and do not say anything that could be interpreted as your admission of fault.

Step 7: Talk to witnesses and collect their contact information

In most car accidents, at least a few people witness how the collision occurred.

Potential witnesses include:

  • Drivers and passengers in other cars
  • Pedestrians
  • People in buildings nearby

Witness statements can be of great value for your future personal injury or property damage claim. That is why it is critical to write down their names and contact information, including the phone number and home/work address.

Step 8: Seek medical attention

If someone else caused your injury, you can hold them liable for your medical bills and other losses. However, seek medical attention as soon as possible to document the extent and nature of your injury. Failure to visit an emergency room or hospital immediately could hurt your car accident claim. The insurance company could argue that the delay in treatment means that your injury is not as severe as you claim or you were injured elsewhere.

Step 9: Notify the insurance company

Arizona is an at-fault insurance state, which means if the other driver is responsible for causing your car crash, their insurance company will have to pay for your damages and losses. However, you still need to report the accident to your own auto insurance company. Even if the accident was not your fault, this is necessary.

How to File an Accident Report After a Car Crash in Phoenix, Arizona?

Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-667, law enforcement must prepare an accident report when investigating an accident that results in bodily injuries, death, or property damage exceeding $2,000.

The accident report usually includes the following information:

  • The date and time of the crash
  • The location of the car accident
  • Information about the parties involved in the accident, including their names, addresses, phone numbers, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration numbers
  • Information about the people who witnessed the accident
  • A description of the facts surrounding the crash
  • The responding police officer’s name and badge number

The most straightforward way to get an accident report in Phoenix is to report your crash to law enforcement and wait for their arrival. The responding officer will prepare a written report, which must be submitted by their law enforcement agency to the Arizona Department of Transportation within 24 hours. The agency will also provide a copy of the accident report to the parties involved in the crash.

How Can an Accident Report Affect Your Car Accident Claim?

Once you report your car accident in Phoenix to the insurance company, the company will assign an adjuster to launch an investigation into your claim. One of the first steps the adjuster will take is to review the accident report filed by the law enforcement agency. When dealing with insurance companies, it is vital to keep in mind that insurers are for-profit organizations whose profits depend on paying out less than they take in.

An accident report plays a critical role in your car accident case. If the report blames the other driver for the crash, the victim may not have to prove the at-fault driver’s negligence. When that is the case, insurance companies usually make a quick settlement offer and hope that the injured party will accept it.

However, those quick settlement offers are usually lowball offers that do not reflect the full value of the victim’s case. If you have received an initial settlement offer from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, consider consulting with a Phoenix car accident lawyer before accepting the offer.

Your lawyer will review the accident report and launch an independent investigation to determine fault (if the report does not indicate the other driver’s fault), gather all available evidence to strengthen your claim, and obtain the necessary documentation to prove your losses and damages, both past and future. The lawyer’s goal is to help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.

If the insurance company’s settlement offer is not sufficient to cover all of your losses and damages, your lawyer will prepare a counteroffer and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Car Accidents in Phoenix, Arizona

How common are car accidents in Phoenix, Arizona?

Phoenix accounts for the largest number of car crashes in Arizona. In one recent year, nearly 35,300 car accidents injured more than 9,311 people and killed 207, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).

Can Arizona drivers recover damages if they were at fault for the accident?

The short answer is, “Yes, they can.” Drivers in Arizona can seek compensation even if they are at fault for the accident. An experienced car accident attorney in Phoenix can help you understand Arizona laws and pursue the compensation to which you are entitled.

How to determine fault in a car accident in Phoenix?

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, determining fault in a car accident may require an in-depth investigation. Consider contacting a Phoenix car accident attorney to investigate your crash and examine the facts of your accident to determine fault. In some cases, it may be necessary to retain accident reconstruction experts to determine how the accident occurred and who can be held responsible for causing it.

How long do Arizona drivers have to file a lawsuit?

Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-542 provides a statute of limitations on personal injury claims filed by victims of car accidents. The statute of limitations, which is the time limit to bring a lawsuit, is two years from the date of sustaining the injury. If you do not file suit before the deadline expires, you may lose your right to sue and recover money damages.

What compensation can you seek after a car accident in Phoenix, AZ?

If you sustain injuries in a car accident, the expenses associated with seeking treatment can skyrocket. On top of mounting bills, you may also lose income due to your inability to work and earn a living. In that situation, it makes perfect sense to wonder, “How can I recover damages?” and “What compensation can I seek after a Phoenix car accident?

Since each case is unique and no two car accidents are the same, the compensation you can recover depends on the circumstances of your crash and the severity of your injuries.

Some of the recoverable damages after a car accident may include:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering and other non-economic damages (emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and others)
  • Loss of income and diminished earning capacity
  • Disfigurement
  • Disability

The financial hardships faced following a car accident can be significant. For this reason, you might want to consider hiring a Phoenix car accident lawyer to help you pursue fair and full compensation from the at-fault driver.

How can a Phoenix, Arizona car accident lawyer help me?

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Car Accident Lawyer

Handling a personal injury case can be a confusing and stressful experience, especially when you do not know what to do after a car accident and are not familiar with the laws in Arizona. Obtaining fair compensation can be a complicated process, even if the accident was not your fault.

Consider hiring a skilled car accident lawyer to handle the legal aspects of your claim while you can devote your time and energy to returning to your normal life. Your lawyer will negotiate with insurance companies and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

Who Is at Fault in a T-Bone Car Crash?

T-bone crashes, also called side-impact crashes, are among the most severe car accidents that can occur. The front of one car hits the broadside of another, and both drivers may be severely hurt. In many cases, one driver has failed to yield the right-of-way to the other.

Listed below are some of the local intersections where T-bone accidents can occur:

  • 75th Avenue and Indian School in Phoenix
  • 67th Avenue and Indian School in Phoenix
  • 67th Avenue and McDowell Road in Phoenix
  • 99th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road in Phoenix
  • 51st Avenue and Camelback Road in Glendale

T-bone crashes and fatalities are even more common in Phoenix than in the rest of the country. Failure to yield is the cause of 27 percent of the car accidents in the Phoenix area. These crashes can happen at intersections with traffic lights or at other junctions with only stop signs.

T-bone accidents are a prime example of a car accident that should never happen under any circumstances. These accidents are dangerous because one driver typically has no idea that the other vehicle is there until it is too late. The driver that strikes the other car normally collides at full speed because they have not made any effort to slow down and avoid the crash, leading to more severe injuries.

Statistics About the Dangers of Side-Impact Crashes

Roughly one in every eight car accidents in the United States is a T-bone crash. Even though they are 13 percent of the total car accidents, T-bone crashes cause 18 percent of the total fatalities underscoring exactly how dangerous they are. Some estimates have T-bone crash fatalities making up one in every four car accident fatalities nationwide.

Reasons for T-Bone Crashes in the same place at the same time. The driver who is at fault for the accident must pay all of the damages suffered by the other driver. A car accident lawyer can help you fight for the compensation you deserve because the insurance company does not make the process easy for you.

Why Phoenix Drivers Are at Risk for T-Bone Crashes

Phoenix is one of the most car-dependent cities in the entire country. The city was designed and built with the car in mind. There are wide sweeping streets that carry tens of thousands of cars each day. Busy roads mean treacherous intersections. The crossings in Phoenix are known as some of the most dangerous in the country, as cars struggle to make left turns when necessary. Here are some of the most dangerous intersections in Phoenix where T-bone crashes may happen:

Here are the common causes of T-bone car crashes:

  • Running a red light at an intersection
  • Misjudging crossing a busy road
  • Running a four-way stop sign
  • Not seeing traffic signals or stop signs because the driver was distracted
  • Aggressive driving or speeding

Usual Car Accident Rules Do Not Always Apply in T-Bone Crashes

The rule that applies in rear-end accidents, the car that strikes the other car is at fault, does not apply to T-bone crashes. In a T-bone crash, the driver of the car that did not have the right of way is usually responsible. The difficulty happens in proving who had the right-of-way. In some cases, the person at fault will be very apparent. The issue may be more contested in other cases, especially when nobody saw the accident.

Who Is Responsible for a Side-Impact Crash?

Most T-bone crashes occur at intersections. However, they can happen in other places. If a driver loses control of their car on the highway, they can be struck in a broadside crash by another car. However, the driver who hits the car that lost control will usually not be responsible for the accident. Instead, they can seek damages from the car driver who lost control, especially when that motorist was speeding or driving recklessly.

The local government can be responsible for the crash in very rare cases. There can be a malfunctioning traffic light with no police officer in the area to direct traffic. In other cases, branches can obscure a stop, keeping drivers from seeing it.

Some T-bone crashes occur because a third driver did something wrong and caused one of the two cars in the accident to lose control or be in the wrong place. For example, the third driver may have made an illegal turn and cut off one of the two cars. In that case, the third driver will likely be responsible for the damages suffered by both drivers in the crash if victims can locate that other driver.

Finally, T-bone crashes can happen because one of the cars involved was not working properly. When the driver hits the brakes to stop at an intersection or stop sign, they may not respond. In that case, you may hold the manufacturer of the car or part legally responsible for the crash in a product liability lawsuit.

Your lawyer will perform a full investigation after your accident to determine who may have been at fault.

The Insurance Company May Try to Blame You

Given how T-bone crashes normally occur, the chances are that one of the two drivers will be entirely at fault. However, there is a possibility that the insurance company may try and blame you for your crash.

The typical ways that the other driver can share in the blame is if:

  • They were driving distracted and did not see the car run the stop sign or red light and could have avoided it had they been paying attention.
  • They were speeding through the intersection.
  • Not wearing a seatbelt made their injuries worse.

Your actions may come under the microscope when you try to get compensation. It’s critical to be ready to defend your actions, even when the other driver was at fault. The best way to prevent the insurance company from blaming you for your accident is to retain an experienced lawyer as soon as you can.

Proving Fault in a T-Bone Crash Case

Fault in a T-bone crash is much easier to prove at a crowded intersection. Here, there will be witnesses who can testify who ran the red light or stop sign. Then a T-bone crash occurs at night or in a quieter residential neighborhood, proving fault may be more difficult. Then, both drivers may point the finger at the other driver, claiming that it was them who ran the stop sign.

This situation presents more of a challenge when there are no witnesses or camera footage of what happened. Here, the best option is your attorney working with an accident reconstruction expert who can give their opinion about the cause of the crash. Even still, this case may be a heavier lift legally.

When the police come to the scene after an accident, they will play a very important role. If the responding officer gives a ticket to one of the two drivers for running a red light or stop sign, this can help determine fault. Running a stop sign can be considered negligence per se. However, you cannot use a police report as evidence in court. The insurance companies can review it to determine who was at fault for the accident.

Evidence that an Attorney Will Use to Prove Liability

A lawyer is an absolute must in any T-bone accident case. It is even more critical when the two drivers dispute who had the right of way. When it is your word against another driver’s, physical evidence can often show who is telling the truth.

Here is what can prove your side of the story in a T-bone accident case:

  • The police report
  • Traffic light camera footage
  • Pictures of the accident scene
  • Witness testimony
  • The damage to the cars
  • Expert witness testimony

Insurance companies often cannot determine who was at fault by looking at the damage to the cars alone, but it can back up some of their initial thoughts about what happened to cause the accident.

The Insurance Company Is Not Your Friend

When there is a difference of opinion between the drivers in a T-bone accident case, you can count on the other driver’s insurance company trying to contact you to ask questions. They may try to trick you or put you on the spot, trying to get you to say something that will undercut your claim.

There are no circumstances under which you should be speaking with the other driver’s insurance company. However, they are very clever in how they deceive you into talking. The sooner you get a lawyer, the more protected you are from tricks like these because the insurance company will need to go through your attorney.

Common Injuries from a T-Bone Crash

Because of how T-bone crashes occur, the injuries may be severe for both drivers involved. A T-bone crash is practically the same as a head-on collision for one car. For the other car, the impact may hit a part of their car with less reinforcement. The injuries will often be even more severe if one vehicle hits the other’s driver’s side door.

Here are some of the injuries that one can suffer in a T-bone crash:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries

Many of these injuries can be severe. Accident victims can face prohibitive financial costs and difficult recovery after a crash, given the severity of side-impact crashes. The costs can escalate in these accidents. It is critical for victims to fight for the highest possible settlement amount or jury verdict because you will need this money in the future. Obtaining the compensation you deserve is where your attorney will be an invaluable help.

Why You Need an Attorney for a Side-Impact Accident Case

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Car Accident Lawyer

You may not even know how much you can get for your injuries. The insurance company knows how much your claim is worth, but they will certainly not offer that to you in an initial settlement agreement. Their strongest hope is that you try to handle your case so that they can get away with paying you less than you deserve. Without a lawyer, not only may you not get the right amount of compensation, but you may not even get a check at all.

Hiring a lawyer in your T-bone car accident case will give you an experienced professional who can:

  • Investigate your car accident and gather evidence that you can use to prove who was at fault
  • Review your damages to help you come up with an amount for your financial compensation
  • Counsel you on your legal options for obtaining financial compensation
  • Keeping the insurance company from trying to catch you unaware or pressure you into doing something against your interests
  • Negotiate with the insurance company if they make you a settlement offer
  • File a lawsuit on your behalf if that is the most effective way to be in a position to receive damages

These are all time-consuming and stressful things if you try to do these on your own. You run the real risk that you cannot do them effectively. Besides, the entire reason why you are seeking damages is that you have likely been injured in the accident, meaning that you are not in a condition to handle your legal process.

The best thing you can do is contact a lawyer right after your accident and leave everything to them. You will not even need to spend money out of your pocket, only paying the lawyer out of settlement proceeds or a jury award that you receive. If you do not win, you do not need to pay the lawyer anything.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Can You Sue if Someone Hits Your Car?

The last thing you want to happen when running errands or on your way to work is to have someone hit your car. A car accident can disrupt your day, and if you suffer injuries, it can derail your entire life for months or years. The good news is that if another driver hits your car, they are likely at fault, and their insurance should cover all of your losses. If their insurance fails to cover your losses, you can file a lawsuit.

Someone is at fault for a collision when they engaged in negligent, reckless, illegal, or otherwise prohibited behavior. Drivers have a responsibility to pay attention to their driving, stay sober and well-rested, and follow the rules of the road. You have important legal rights when this doesn’t happen and a driver causes an accident.

Below, learn more about common causes of collisions and the process of recovering compensation. If you have questions regarding your specific accident and options, reach out to a car accident lawyer near you for a free case evaluation.

Negligence and Liable Parties for Car Accidents

You can seek compensation for accident-related losses when there is an at-fault party. For example, if you are driving alone down the street, pick up your cell phone, and drive into a telephone pole, you’ll be filing a claim with your own insurance company to cover your costs, as no one else was at fault.

Alternatively, if you were driving down the street and another driver picked up their cell phone, stopped paying attention to the road, and hit your car, they are at fault and should be liable for your losses.

A lawsuit requires an accident that causes injuries that result in costs and damages. When this happens, a car accident attorney can review what happened to determine available compensation. Your car accident attorney will collect evidence, interview witnesses, and possibly even seek out expert opinions to recreate the accident and identify what happened and who is at fault.

Some causes of accidents make the driver liable by default, as when the driver violates a safety law. If they violate the law and cause an accident (which the law aimed to prevent), they are automatically negligent and liable for resulting harm.

For example, if a person was drunk driving when they hit your car, they are liable for your losses. Drunk driving accidents killed 10,142 people in a recent year in the U.S., and they claim the life of an American every 52 minutes. Every driver should know the risks – and illegality – of impaired driving, and they should face not only criminal consequences but also civil liability for injuries of accident victims.

When someone engages in distracted driving, they may or may not be automatically negligent. Most states have laws against texting or even holding a smartphone while driving. If a driver violated distracted driving laws and pays the fine, it determines their liability for your losses.

On the other hand, state laws do not expressly prohibit other distracting activities, such as caring for children, reaching across to the passenger side of the vehicle, watching your GPS, or eating and drinking. In this situation, the driver did not violate the law, but they still violated their duty to drive safely and maintain attention on the road. While it might require additional evidence to prove liability in this situation, your car accident lawyer knows how to do this.

Other conduct that can lead to liability for your collision includes:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Aggressive driving
  • Road rage
  • Drowsy driving and falling asleep at the wheel
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Improper passing

Many of these behaviors violate traffic laws and might result in a conviction that serves as evidence in your claim.

Determining whether or not the other driver was drunk, distracted, or otherwise negligent when they hit you is something you might not know how to do. If the police report to the scene, they will ideally identify if one or more drivers violated the law. They can then issue citations or arrest the offending driver, and if the driver receives a conviction, your lawyer will not need additional evidence of liability. Your car accident attorney will collect the evidence you need to prove liability and obtain compensation.

You Will Generally Start with Insurance Claims

While you might imagine a lawsuit right out of the gate, most car accident cases begin by filing a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault party. Sometimes, your lawyer will file claims with more than one insurance company if multiple parties share liability.

Drivers must have liability insurance, so coverage exists for damage and injuries they cause. You might expect an insurance claim to be fairly easy, especially if liability for the collision is clear. However, there can be many obstacles along the way, as insurance companies do everything possible to limit payments to claimants.

Insurance companies are businesses first, and their priority is profit. They increase profits every time they minimize a claim settlement, so you can expect initial offers to be quite low. Adjusters start low, hoping a claimant will accept something, not knowing they can get much more. This game often hurts car accident victims even more, as it leaves them responsible for many of their losses.

In some instances, insurance companies deny rightful claims in hopes the claimant will not go through the appeals process or may be willing to accept a lesser settlement amount to speed the process along. Insurance companies are in no hurry to pay you, and ongoing delays save them money while preventing you from moving on from your accident.

While insurance companies can be difficult, you can help your outcome by hiring a car accident lawyer. Your attorney can negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf with the insurance companies. They can present clear evidence to support your claim that the insurance company cannot rightfully deny. If they still deny a valid claim, your attorney might file a lawsuit for bad faith insurance conduct.

Do not negotiate directly with the insurance company, and do not accept a settlement offer from the insurance company without consulting with an attorney.

Trying to Resolve a Claim Directly with Insurance Companies

We refer to resolving your claim directly with the insurance company as settling. This is the fastest way to obtain compensation, but it never means you should accept a settlement for less than you deserve.

Insurance settlements are often possible, but they can take work by your car accident lawyer.

Your lawyer will:

  • Determining which insurance claims you need to file
  • Calculate your past and future losses to know how much compensation to demand
  • Gather and present evidence to the insurer of liability and your losses
  • Communicate with insurance adjusters and provide any requested information

Even after completing all of these steps, your attorney might receive an offer that fails to cover your losses. Your lawyer will discuss each settlement offer with you and advise whether you should accept it or fight for more. Your lawyer cannot accept a settlement offer on your behalf unless you agree to it, and it is your right to accept a lower offer against your attorney’s advice.

In most cases, however, a low settlement offer will lead to several rounds of negotiations between your lawyer and the insurance companies. These negotiations may or may not be successful. If your car accident attorney assembled evidence to substantiate your claim and damages fully, and the insurance company won’t settle for a fair amount, you may need to file suit.

Deciding to File a Lawsuit

A lawsuit is necessary when the insurance company won’t settle for a fair amount, or the policy limits won’t cover your full damages. In either case, your car accident lawyer will inform you when they recommend escalating the matter to civil court. You will ultimately decide whether or not you want to sue the driver who hit your car.

If you decide to move forward, you want a skilled car accident litigator by your side. Insurance defense lawyers defend against injury claims regularly, and they know how to challenge your claim. Without an experienced attorney working with you, the insurance company is at a significant advantage, and you are unlikely to recover the full amount you deserve. You might even lose your case altogether and walk away with nothing.

When moving forward with a civil suit, your priority is to have an experienced car accident lawyer who handles litigation. Some lawyers will push clients into insurance settlements to avoid filing a lawsuit and handling litigation. This is not the lawyer you want to handle your case. You want legal help from an attorney who will not hesitate to file a personal injury lawsuit if necessary to protect your rights.

The Lawsuit Process

There is no doubt that litigation is a complex process. Your attorney must comply with the Rules of Civil Procedure, the Rules of Evidence, and other local court rules and procedures. They must ensure the defense complies and must take action if the defendant violates procedural requirements.

After your attorney prepares and files your complaint, which initiates the lawsuit, the defendant has a chance to respond. Defense attorneys will generally ask the court to dismiss the case, and your lawyer will need to properly respond to this request to keep your case alive.

If the case proceeds, your lawyer begins the discovery process, which allows each side to request and review evidence from the other side. Requests must use the proper forms, applications, and procedures to obtain all the evidence you need to proceed.

Your claim might head into pretrial mediation, where a third-party mediator reviews all the evidence and arguments. They will then try to facilitate a compromise between the parties to reach a settlement agreement. Even if your claim does not resolve in mediation, the attorneys can continue settlement negotiations out of court until the trial date. Most car accident claims settle during pretrial negotiations.

If pretrial settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, your case will proceed to trial. A trial might take place before a jury or judge, who will decide whether you deserve compensation and how much. While car accident trials are rare, they do happen, and you want a lawyer ready to represent you in court and achieve the outcome you deserve.

You Want a Car Accident Lawyer From the Start

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Car Accident Lawyer

When it comes time to hire a lawyer, choose an attorney with experience handling car accident claims and lawsuits. If you suffered an injury in a car accident, you want to look for a local personal injury attorney with a track record of success with car accident cases in the courts where your accident took place.

The time to begin looking for your car accident lawyer is as soon as possible after you have received emergency medical care. While your immediate physical health and safety are the priorities following a crash, protecting your legal rights should be the next step.

Right after you hire a car accident attorney, they can take over everything for you so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. This can immediately reduce stress and allow you to have peace of mind that your claim is in progress. Your lawyer can handle the entire insurance process and file a personal injury lawsuit if needed.

Even if you don’t know whether you can sue after someone hits your car, seek a free case evaluation. You have nothing to lose by exploring your rights, and the sooner you contact the right legal help, the sooner your claim might resolve.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Can I Sue After a Car Accident?


This is one of the first questions that car accident victims and their families will ask after the crash. Accident victims suffer damages from the crash, and they want justice. The way to get it is by starting the legal process. A lawsuit is one way to pursue what you legally deserve after a lawsuit.

In every car accident, the same general legal principle is at work. You have the right to financial compensation for your full damages if you can prove that someone else was to blame for your car accident. How you reach this point depends entirely on how the legal process plays out once you begin to seek compensation.

Your best hope is that you can reach a settlement agreement that will pay you in full for your injuries. You always have the legal right to file a lawsuit should you choose. Ultimately, a court can decide whether you can get money and how much.

You Have the Legal Right to File a Lawsuit Against the Responsible Driver

If you suffered injuries due to someone else’s actions, you have legal rights. You have probably heard that phrase many times in television commercials and read it on roadside billboards. Even though you have committed this statement to memory, you may not fully know its importance because the legal process is complex. This gives you a choice of how to get financial compensation for your injuries.

You have two ways to pursue compensation after a car accident:

  • You can file a claim directly against the responsible driver’s insurance policy
  • You can file a lawsuit against the responsible driver

Each course of action has its pros and cons. If you choose to file a claim, you do not forfeit the right to file a lawsuit if you cannot reach a settlement agreement. If you elect to file a lawsuit, you can always reach a settlement agreement at any point in your case. The two options can work in tandem with each other as part of a coordinated legal strategy to be paid for your injuries. Usually, you will file an insurance claim first and then a lawsuit second.

You Deserve Financial Compensation for Someone Else’s Negligence

It does not matter how serious your injuries are from the car accident. As long as you suffered damages, physical or property, you may recover financial compensation when someone else’s negligence caused it.

It does not matter whether you have suffered thousands or millions of dollars in damages. However, the person who caused your injuries (and their insurance company) often does not want to pay you what you legally deserve, if they even offer to pay you at all. They should not escape responsibility for their carelessness.

The lawsuit process is your way to use the law to force them to pay for what they have done. You get your day in court in front of a neutral jury where the insurance company is stripped of its power and must make its case the same as anyone else would. While it sounds like a cliche, everyone is equal in the eyes of the jury.

Lawsuits May Be Common, But Trials Are Rare

In practice, car accident lawsuits are usually rare. Most injured drivers and their passengers will opt to go down the insurance claim route. However, the insurance companies know that and will try to take advantage of you.

They know that you are often coming first to them and do not want the process to go any further. Therefore, they will act like they have power over you when the legal right to compensation is yours, and they are just an intermediary.

You are far from powerless in this situation. You can take strong action to enforce your legal rights if an insurance company wants to cut your rightful financial compensation.

The Insurance Claims Process May Not Respect Your Legal Rights

When you file an insurance claim, you will still need to have enough evidence that shows what caused the car accident. You will need to convince the insurance company that their driver was negligent. Your claim should include photographs of the accident scene and witness statements from people who saw the crash.

At this point, the insurance company will:

  • If they are unpersuaded by the strength of your claim, they will deny it in its entirety. If this happens, you will need to sue to have a chance at financial compensation. Insurance companies cannot unreasonably deny claims that have merit in their entirety. This can subject the insurance company itself to a bad-faith lawsuit.
  • They may make you a settlement offer that pays you money and releases them from future liability in the case. In most cases, the insurance company will make a settlement offer, even if it is astoundingly low.

Even the latter course may not be enough to satisfy your legal rights. After all, you deserve compensation for the damages that you suffered, including your actual economic losses and the experience you have endured. Insurance companies will never make you a reasonable offer at first. They may only arrive at a more reasonable number after an extended negotiation. Your lawyer will advise you to reject settlement offers that do not fairly compensate you for what you lost in the car accident.

Filing a Lawsuit Is Often Your Best Leverage

What helps you during the settlement negotiation process is the ultimate trump card that you have; the legal right to file a lawsuit in court. While there are drawbacks for you that we will discuss below, the insurance company does not want to be in court either. They will need to pay their legal expenses, and the jury may not see things their way. Juries may award far more in financial compensation than an insurance company might give you in a settlement agreement.

You can file a lawsuit at any time in your case. You could even initiate the legal process in court without filing an insurance claim at all. Even still, you may still end up dealing with an insurance company at some point in the process because most cases will have settlement discussions at some point.

The choice about whether to file a claim or not is entirely yours. Still, the insurance company may pressure you to file and settle your claim because it will cost them less money than if you end up in court. They may bombard you with calls right after the accident, trying to trick you into making a statement that undermines your claim.

Speak With Your Attorney About the Best Course of Action

You will choose your legal path. Your lawyer has experience dealing with cases like yours. They will also know the insurance company you are dealing with and how they operate. Finally, your lawyer will factor in your priorities when advising you how best to proceed.

In most cases, your lawyer will tell you to deal with the insurance company first. A claim may provide your quickest route to money. While the insurance company will not write you a reasonable check quickly, a claim is usually quicker than a lawsuit. Some lawyers may advise you to file a lawsuit then begin settlement negotiations. At some point, you should at least explore the possibility of a settlement.

Timing Can Dictate Whether You Sue or File a Claim

One factor that may impact your decision about whether to sue or file a claim is timing. Before you can file a claim, you must reach the point of maximum medical improvement. Without that knowledge, you cannot claim the right amount of damages.

However, it may take time after the accident for you to reach that point. At the same time, you have a limited time after the accident to seek financial compensation. The statute of limitations may not allow you enough time to go through the insurance claims process before you file a lawsuit.

You might reach the point in your case when you have to file a lawsuit against the driver. The insurance company may be dragging its feet in settlement negotiations in an attempt to wear you down. Your only way to get a fair forum to decide your legal case may be to go to court. A jury has none of the same considerations as the insurance company. The jury is only interested in finding the facts and applying the law to them.

However, going to court for your car accident case comes with risk. First, the court process can take time. Second, you can lose your case in court. Then, you will not even have the settlement that the insurance company made you. Nonetheless, some car accident victims find that they have no choice other than to go into court.

Considerations for Deciding Whether to File a Lawsuit

Statistics show that only about five percent of personal injury cases will end up going all the way to trial. Even when a plaintiff files a lawsuit in court, they will still agree to a settlement far more often than not. Both parties to the case have an incentive to settle. As a plaintiff, you will get your money more quickly, and you take the risk of getting nothing off the table. The defendant will also reduce their risk of getting hit with a large verdict by the jury.

Timing is everything in a car accident case. Without the evidence that you need to prove your case, you may not receive the financial compensation you need. Call your lawyer at the earliest possible time after your car accident, so you will not lose key evidence that can establish your entitlement to financial compensation.

Damages in Your Car Accident Lawsuit

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Car Accident Lawyer

You are legally entitled to the following damages when you suffer serious injuries in a car accident:

  • Lost wages for the money that you could have earned had you not suffered injuries
  • All of your medical expenses related to your car accident (both in the past and future)
  • Damages for the pain and suffering that you have endured
  • Wrongful death damages if your loved one died in the accident

If the insurance company does not offer you a settlement that pays you in full for these injuries, you have the right to sue. Actually, your right to file a lawsuit exists on its own and has nothing to do with the insurance company. They are just an intermediary trying to satisfy the responsible driver’s legal obligation to pay you damages.

Regardless of how you choose to pursue financial compensation, your interests are always best served when you hire an experienced lawyer to fight for you. Many injured motorists do not even know the full extent of their legal rights and how to get maximum compensation. When that happens, they are easy targets for insurance companies that want to avoid their legal obligations.

Your most important step is to get the legal help you need to secure full compensation for your car accident injuries. The path toward financial compensation can be difficult, so begin as soon as possible.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Can I Get a Settlement for a Car Accident Without a Lawyer?

After you suffer an injury in a car accident, you should focus on your injuries and physical recovery. You may juggle medical appointments, procedures, and rehabilitation. However, you cannot take your eye off the legal process, even when you have other pressing things in your life.

One of your major concerns is whether you can get financial compensation for your car accident injuries and how much you can get. After all, you need this money to pay your medical bills.

The first major decision you need to make after your car accident is whether to hire an attorney. In reality, this should not be a difficult decision for you to make. In practice, you have far too much going on to deal with the insurance company and the legal process on your own. You will fare far worse without a lawyer.

Plaintiffs generally end up with more money, even after paying a lawyer’s fee, than they would if they represented themselves in their claim. In addition to receiving less money in a settlement, the plaintiff will also need to go through the stress of navigating the legal process, where they are in unfamiliar territory. This is difficult to do even when you are in the best of health and can be overwhelming if you are dealing with a serious injury from your car accident.

Getting Money After a Car Accident Is Not a Foregone Conclusion

People talk about car accident settlements after a crash as if they are a given, but nothing is a given in the legal process. People and companies have an interest in their bottom lines, and they can care less about your situation.

It does not matter to them if you cannot pay your mortgage or rent or put food on the table. If something gets in the way of their profits, they are dead set against it. This includes fair compensation for your car accident injuries. While most car accident claims will eventually settle, a denied claim will force you to file a lawsuit.

Legal Rights Do Not Mean that the System Works for You

Right away, you should understand that, while you have legal rights after a car accident, the legal system is not necessarily in your favor.

On your own, there are companies out there that are far more powerful than you. They have invested a lot of money developing their infrastructure to skew things to their advantage. We are talking primarily about the insurance company. We will detail how they work against you shortly, but first, we will say that they are far from your friend when you file a claim.

The insurance company is usually a vast corporation. They have a balance sheet that stretches into the billions of dollars. They did not build this balance sheet by paying out claims. Their infrastructure consists of adjusters, actuaries, and lawyers working for the same common purpose; to boost the company’s bottom line.

This is who you are up against when you file a car accident claim. We use the words “up against” because the claims process is often contentious. The insurance company views it as a zero-sum game. Money that goes into your pocket is money that comes out of theirs.

What You Need to Do to Get a Settlement Check

To understand why you need a lawyer in a car accident case, let’s talk about the legal process.

There are two parts of any car accident settlement process:

  • Proving that you are legally entitled to a settlement
  • Negotiating the right amount of money to fully pay you for your damages

Why Representing Yourself May Not Be Helpful

First, nothing says that you must have a lawyer representing you, but it is always wise. Some people think that they can get more money for themselves if they do not have to pay part of their settlement to an attorney.


  • You may not be in a position to get a settlement at all without a lawyer.
  • The insurance company will dramatically underpay your claim if you do not know how to deal with them.

An Attorney Can Help You Prove Fault

To the first point, you are only legally entitled to a car accident settlement when you can prove that someone else was responsible for your injuries. Just because you were in an accident with someone else does not mean that they are the ones to blame. Even if they were responsible, it is not so much about what a person did as it is about what you can prove that they did.

Many car accident cases end up coming down to your word against someone else’s. In those cases, you cannot recover financially from your injuries. If you are seeking money, the burden of proof is on you to show that the other driver was negligent in the crash. Negligence is a legal term of art for a four-part test that proves legal responsibility for the crash. If you do not meet every single element of the test, you cannot get money.

The main part of the negligence test is proving that the other driver acted unreasonably. Meeting this test requires that you prove exactly what the driver did to cause the accident. Every car accident claim requires evidence that shows exactly what the other driver did wrong. You must prove that they acted in a way that a reasonable driver would not have.

When you deal with car accident injuries and don’t know the legal system, this is a tall task. The average person does not know enough about the legal process to accomplish this under the best of circumstances. Your physical injuries will complicate this even further. Thus, working on your own, you may end up with a claim that the insurance company denied because you did not persuade the other driver’s insurance company that they have a legal obligation to pay you.

The one thing that you can count on is that an insurance company will not write a check when there is no obligation for it to do so. Hiring a lawyer can be the difference between a denied claim and a settlement offer.

The Settlement Offer Will Always Be Low

When it comes to the settlement offer, the insurance company often does you no favors when it puts one in front of you. Getting money from the insurance company is not always the best thing for you if what you receive is far less than you deserve. Every settlement comes with a price. You have signed away your legal right to get additional compensation as a condition for receiving the money. You do yourself a disservice if you sign away that right for pennies on the dollar.

If you do not have a lawyer, you are not in a great position to evaluate any settlement offer that comes your way. You may end up turning to Google and typing in questions like “What is a good settlement for a car accident claim.” This is no match for the experience and knowledge of an attorney who has a track record of helping injured clients just like you.

The average person may not even know what they can receive compensation for in a car accident. The general rule is that you must be put in the same position as if the accident never happened. You need payment for your actual economic losses and the experience you endured.

Valuing a Claim Is Difficult for Everyone But an Insurance Company and Experienced Attorney

Beyond that, you will find it challenging to put a dollar value on everything you have lost and experienced. For example, you may not know how pain and suffering damages work. They can form the largest part of your car accident compensation, especially when you suffer severe injuries. The insurance company knows exactly how to calculate these damages, but they will try to pay you far less than you deserve.

In general, the insurance company knows the exact value of your claim practically as soon as you file it. They have decades of experience and a comprehensive database that they know how to use. The insurance company loves it when injured claimants try to represent themselves. To them, they see it as an easy mark and a way to save money.

They do not like to see experienced and aggressive lawyers across the table from them because it means that they will need to pay more. Insurance companies will be on better behavior when they know that a lawyer will call them on it. When dealing with the claimant directly, they will take far more liberties.

Getting Reasonable Compensation Requires a Negotiation

When the insurance company makes you an initial settlement offer, they almost always have far more room to up that offer, any lawyer who has handled a personal injury claim knows this fact. If you are handling your own claim, you may jump at the first settlement offer you get because you may see it as a much-needed bounty. The insurance company will be overjoyed if you accept it because they have saved themselves quite a bit of money. It means they get to keep more of the premiums they collected.

If a lawyer represents you, the claims negotiation process will be an entirely different story. Your lawyer will review the initial settlement offer that comes to learn exactly how short of fair compensation it falls. You can bet that it will be substantially short of what you deserve. Your attorney will evaluate the settlement offer and explain to you exactly how much more you can get by saying no to the initial offer. Your lawyer will write them a demand letter, presenting your detailed demand to the insurance company. This will likely be a prompt for continued negotiations that will lead to a settlement,

Insurance Companies Do Not Want to Litigate Your Case

Car Accident Settlement Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Car Accident Settlement Lawyer

When you have an experienced lawyer on your side, you have more power in the process than you think. The insurance company most fears your case going to court.

Two things happen that can create problems for the insurance company:

  • They will need to pay legal fees to an insurance defense firm to handle your case
  • A jury will be the one to decide how much money you can get

When you have a credible threat of litigation, it may press the insurance company to be more reasonable in settlement negotiations. Each side will need to adjust its expectations before reaching a final agreement. What an attorney does is give you more power in the process. Without one, you may be in a position where you must take what the insurance company offers because you do not know their pressure points.

Most cases will not go to trial. In fact, only about four to five percent of personal injury cases will end up in front of a jury. Your battle will happen in the settlement negotiation process. Even when you get a check, you may lose the battle if you accept far too little. Hiring a lawyer reduces the chance that this will happen.

This was all a detailed way of saying that, while you may get a car accident settlement without a lawyer, your chances of getting one are lower, and the amount you receive will certainly be lower. Trying to handle your own case because you want to keep the entire settlement for yourself will end up being counterproductive. You may cost yourself a dollar – many of them, in fact – just to save a quarter.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Are You at Fault if Someone Pulls out in Front of You?

Many things can go wrong if a car suddenly pulls out in front of you and into your path. Not only will the accident leave you with a damaged car, you can sustain injuries that require extensive and ongoing care. After a crash where someone pulls out in front of you, you may wonder who was at fault. If the other driver did not have the right of way and pulled out in front of you, you may hold them liable for your damages.

However, determining liability in a car accident case can be complicated, and the answer will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. An experienced auto accident lawyer will determine liability in your case, pursue a personal injury claim against the other driver’s insurance company, if necessary, and help you secure the compensation you deserve to cover the cost of your losses.

Steps You Should Take After a Car Crash

Obtaining a Police Report

Understanding what steps you should take if you get into an accident where someone pulls out in front of you is essential and can affect your legal rights. If the accident results in injuries or property damage, you should call law enforcement to the scene of the accident. A police officer will collect all accident-related evidence, indicate preliminary fault, and write a police report containing essential information about the crash.

In some cases, failing to contact law enforcement is considered a violation of your legal obligations as a driver. A police report can substantially benefit your car accident case. Your lawyer will often request it when filing your insurance claim. Before leaving the accident scene, the investigating officer will likely provide you with an identification number for the accident report.

Seeking Medical Care

Even if you feel fine, scheduling a medical evaluation with your primary care provider can help you prevent an injury with dormant symptoms from becoming worse. Potentially severe injuries like brain trauma and organ damage may not manifest right away but can kill people if left untreated. Get a checkup within 24 hours after the accident.

If you sustained serious injuries, call an ambulance to the accident scene, and let an EMT check you over. Visit an emergency room if necessary. Seeking prompt medical care is not only the best option for your health, but it creates medical records that serve as key pieces of evidence in your car accident claim.

Maintain Evidence to Support Your Claim

Maintaining documentation of the accident is crucial in supporting your claim and determining who was at fault. Be sure to keep copies of your medical records, proof of lost wages, photos of your injuries or damage to your vehicle, and any other evidence that proves your economic and non-economic losses.

A picture is worth a thousand words, especially in car accident cases, so you should be sure to take photos of the crash from all angles. Taking pictures from as many angles as possible will increase your chances of capturing an image that best illustrates how the accident occurred.

Written witness statements may also be beneficial in your case and provide significant details into how the crash happened and what the damages are from a third-party perspective. Writing a demand letter is another great way to summarize how the accident occurred and show the value of your case. In your demand letter, you can detail the severity of your injuries, itemize damages, and list all enclosed pieces of evidence supporting your claim.

When Should I File a Claim?

If you were in an accident and believe the other driver who suddenly pulled out in front of you was at fault, you should consider filing a claim against their insurer. Never admit fault straight away – instead, consult with a skilled auto accident attorney who can also speak to the at-fault driver’s insurer on your behalf.

Examples of documentation you should bring to your initial consultation with your lawyer include:

  • Evidence of your injuries, such as doctor’s reports, scans, or medical center tests.
  • Proof of damage to your vehicle, including repair or replacement costs.
  • Evidence of loss of wages or earning capacity.
  • Proof of any other non-economic damages like emotional suffering.

When Is a Driver Who Pulls out in Front of You at Fault?

Car accidents are not pleasant, and if another driver who doesn’t have the right of way suddenly pulls out in front of you, their negligent actions risk causing an accident.

An example of this is someone pulling out of a driveway. When a driver exits a driveway, they must exercise care and yield to oncoming traffic.

Suppose you’re driving down a residential speed at the posted speed limit and are also keeping your eyes on the road. Another driver quickly whips out of their driveway without warning, and you are unable to react quickly enough to avoid hitting them. In this case, the other driver will be liable for your injuries and damage to your car.

You have the right of way when traveling down a road unencumbered by stop signs or red lights, which means that any vehicle that enters your lane must only pull into traffic when it’s safe to do so and adhere to all traffic signs and signals.

When another driver pushes into your lane, you can hold the negligent driver liable for failing to yield the right of way and the cost of your losses. Consulting a car accident lawyer  with experience dealing with cases like yours will give you the greatest chance at receiving the full and fair compensation you need to recover as soon as possible.

A driver who pulls out in front of you may be liable for:

  • Failing to use their turn signal
  • Being drunk or tired
  • Pulling out in front of you at a high or low speed
  • Intentionally causing the accident
  • Being distracted and not paying attention to the road
  • Pulling into traffic from a driveway or alley when it is unsafe
  • Driving through a stop sign or red light
  • Failing to yield to oncoming traffic
  • Pulling out in front of you because of road rage
  • Crossing in front of you and slamming their brakes
  • Smartphone use

How Do You Determine Fault After a Car Accident?

Determining who was at fault for your accident, especially if the responsible party is seemingly apparent, might feel like adding insult to industry. Assigning fault plays a central role in car accident cases by managing the risk of liability for an accident.

The basic principle behind determining liability in car accident claims is if a person acts carelessly and causes harm to others, they should pay for their wrongful actions.

Factors used to decide fault in these types of cases may include:

  • How fast the at-fault driver was traveling
  • Whether they failed to adhere to a stop sign or red light
  • Whether either party could have seen the other coming
  • Whether the at-fault driver’s car was functioning properly at the time of the accident

If a driver cannot stop in time due to faulty brakes and crashes into another car, they may not be liable for the accident – instead, the brake manufacturer can be responsible. The at-fault party is usually the person or entity whose actions most closely contributed to the crash. To allocate payment to the victim of an accident, courts and insurance companies utilize the concept of fault to determine liability.

Who Determines Fault After an Accident?

Will a police officer or lawyer decide fault?

While police officers commonly respond to the scene of an accident to collect information, make observations, and interview witnesses, they do not have the last word on fault. The traffic accident report that the investigating officer submits will include their opinion of who caused the accident.

Even though their opinion might carry some weight in your claim, it won’t settle the issue with the insurance company entirely. A lawyer’s job is to collect evidence, form an opinion about fault based on that evidence, and make an argument about who may be responsible for the crash. People usually hire auto accident attorneys to safeguard their best interests. They do not have the authority to make a final determination concerning fault.

Does an insurance company assign liability?

Insurance companies determine fault by assigning adjusters to investigate accidents, collect evidence, and help inform their final decision. An insurance company will use fault to decide whether to pay out a claim to an accident victim and the amount of compensation they should receive. However, the insurance company’s determination is not binding.

If you are unhappy with an insurance company’s decision, in most cases, you may take your case to court. In other words, the final authority on the question of fault is judges and juries. Courts may decide to ignore the opinion of an investigating police officer or overrule the insurance companies’ decision after hearing your evidence.

How is liability determined when multiple vehicles are involved?

When a driver pulls out in front of you suddenly, resulting in a car crash, multiple parties may be involved in the accident. If you swerve to avoid hitting a driver who cuts in front of you and, in the process, collide with another car, the driver who pulled out in front of you may bear full responsibility for damages and injuries sustained by you and the driver you hit.

Similarly, if you collide with a driver who pulls out in front of you and a car traveling behind you rear-ends your vehicle when you brake, the driver who performed the negligent maneuver will be held responsible. Assigning liability in car accident cases involving multiple drivers is complicated. Determining who may be responsible for a car accident where additional cars are involved requires the use of expert witnesses and guidance from a skilled car accident lawyer.

Recovering Compensation If the Other Driver Was At-Fault

When the facts in your case conclude that another driver who pulls out in front of you is responsible for causing your injuries and damages, you are entitled to receive compensation to cover the cost of your losses.

Because so many questions arise in car accident claims, determining how much compensation you will receive will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. Consulting with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer will ensure that you safeguard your best interests.

You have a legal right to seek:

  • Non-economic losses like pain and suffering
  • Lost income or wages
  • Diminished earning cap acting
  • Medical expenses for injuries caused
  • Any out-of-pocket expenses that resulted from the accident

Your auto accident attorney may also request that the at-fault driver pay punitive damages if the act of pulling out in front of you was intentionally harmful or especially egregious.

Consult an Auto Accident Lawyer Today

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t try and take on the insurance giants on your own. Consult a car accident attorney as soon as possible after a car crash to give you the best chance at a successful outcome. During your initial consultation, a lawyer will review your case and estimate a fair value for your claim.

A team of exceptional car accident attorneys understands that insurance companies don’t tend to play fair and look for any reason to deny a victim’s claim or pressure them into accepting a low-ball settlement offer. Let a lawyer help you learn more about your rights and options – call to consult a car accident attorney today.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575