​When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident

​When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident

Serious car accidents continue to be an unfortunate problem nationwide. In most instances, these accidents happen when drivers fail to observe the road, violate traffic regulations, or drive while intoxicated.

Immediately after a car accident, preferably on the same day, you should seek follow-up medical treatment at a local urgent care center or hospital emergency room facility. By treating early, you ensure that your injuries do not worsen. After seeking prompt medical treatment, you should contact a skilled car accident attorney in your area who can begin advocating for you at these beginning stages.

Waiting too long to seek legal representation may cause complications down the road. You might inadvertently jeopardize your right to file a claim and recover the monetary compensation you need for your accident-related injuries. Therefore, you should retain skilled legal counsel immediately after your car crash.

A knowledgeable car accident attorney in your area can begin advocating for you and pursuing the total monetary damages you deserve. First, your lawyer can investigate the car accident scenario, gather necessary documents, and file a claim on your behalf—usually with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

If the insurance company does not offer you sufficient monetary damages, your lawyer can begin the litigation process by filing a lawsuit in court. Finally, if your case must go to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing, your attorney can represent you in all those legal proceedings.

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Physical and Mental Injuries in Car Crashes

​When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident

Victims of car accidents may sustain serious physical injuries that leave them needing ongoing medical treatment. Medical bills can pile up quickly, and accident victims may be unable to go to work, losing significant income.

Since every car accident scenario is different, not all accident victims will suffer the same types of injuries. Generally speaking, the more forceful a car collision, the more serious the injuries a driver or passenger in the affected vehicle will suffer. Although head-on collisions are the most likely to result in permanent impairments and fatalities, other accidents can lead to equally serious injuries.

Some of the most common injuries that car crash victims suffer include internal organ damage, cuts and lacerations, bruises, soft tissue contusions, whiplash injuries, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, spinal cord damage, full or partial paralysis, traumatic head and brain injuries, and death.

In addition to these physical injuries, car crash victims may also suffer mental impairments, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), that cause them to experience frequent panic attacks when operating or riding in a car.

When you go to a hospital emergency facility immediately after your car crash, the medical provider on duty can diagnose your medical condition after ordering imaging studies, including MRIs and X-rays. Depending on your injuries, the doctor may recommend additional treatment, such as with a physical therapist, neurologist, mental health professional, or orthopedic doctor.

When you retain a knowledgeable car accident attorney to represent you, that lawyer can begin gathering documents and dealing with insurance company representatives on your behalf right away—all while you seek the medical treatment you need. After your medical treatment is complete or you know you will need long-term treatment, your attorney can file a claim on your behalf and start negotiating with insurance company representatives.

Common Examples of Car Crashes

Car accidents can happen in many different ways and are very circumstance-specific. When other people drive negligently and carelessly, they significantly increase their chances of bringing about a severe crash.

Some of the most common car crashes that result from negligent driving maneuvers include:

  • Vehicle rollover accidents, where a driver speeds around a curve too fast—or drives too fast for weather or traffic conditions—causing their vehicle to overturn in the road.
  • Head-on accidents, where a distracted or intoxicated driver negligently causes their vehicle to cross the median strip or centerline and hit the front of an oncoming car, often resulting in debilitating injuries and fatalities
  • T-bone or broadside collisions, where a driver negligently fails to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle at a traffic intersection
  • Rear-end crashes, where a distracted driver causes the front of their vehicle to hit the back of another car, often causing the front vehicle driver and passengers to suffer soft tissue whiplash injuries or severe head injuries
  • Sideswipe accidents, where the sides of two vehicles strike one another while traveling in the same direction on a multi-lane road or highway

If you sustained injuries in any of these accidents due to another driver’s negligence, a car accident attorney who represents you can explore your legal options and help you take appropriate legal action against the responsible driver. 

Why Do Traffic Accidents Happen?

One of the most common causes of car accidents is excessive speeding. When a driver exceeds the speed limit, they are less likely to have the ability to slow down if an emergency arises on the road, such as an abrupt traffic back-up. A speeding driver is likelier to lose control of their vehicle, potentially causing a crash with another car or pedestrian.

Car accidents also happen when drivers violate traffic laws, such as by failing to use turn signals at the appropriate times and failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and pedestrians when it’s reasonable to do so.

Intoxicated and drugged driving is another common cause of car accidents. Many drugs can alter a driver’s mental state and affect their ability to concentrate while behind the wheel. Intoxicating drugs can include both prescription and non-prescription substances.

One of the most dangerous substances for drivers to consume is alcohol. Since alcohol is a depressant, it slows down a driver’s central nervous system. As a result, the intoxicated driver might experience certain mental deficiencies, including limited concentration, delayed reflexes, and delayed reaction time. Therefore, the driver cannot always stop their vehicle in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian or another vehicle. Intoxication can lead to various physical symptoms, including dizziness, nausea, and limited visibility.

If a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, the driver is legally intoxicated. Minor drivers under 21 years old and commercial truck drivers must not have any alcohol in their system while driving. If a police officer arrests an intoxicated driver, their DUI case may go to court, and the driver may have to pay monetary fines or incur jail time if convicted. These criminal penalties may further increase if the driver causes an accident that leads to another person’s injury or death.

Victims of drunk driving car accidents may also file a civil claim or lawsuit against the drunk driver or their insurance company, after which the accident victim may receive civil damages of varying amounts.

In addition to drunk and intoxicated driving, road rage is another common cause of car crashes. In today’s fast-paced world, drivers often hurry to arrive at their final destination. Consequently, they will resort to anything, even aggressive driving maneuvers, to try and get ahead of other drivers.

For example, an angry driver may tailgate other vehicles, fail to use the turn signals, or zealously weave in and out of busy highway traffic. As a result, the angry driver may negligently cause their vehicle to strike one or more vehicles, resulting in serious injuries.

Finally, some car accidents can happen when drivers become distracted while behind the wheel. For example, instead of watching the road closely and looking into their rearview and side view mirrors regularly, a driver might be texting on a cellular device, programming a GPS navigation system, adjusting the volume on their car radio, or roughhousing with vehicle passengers. Any of these activities may turn a driver’s attention away from the road, preventing them from seeing an approaching vehicle or pedestrian.

If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from another driver’s negligence, a skilled car accident attorney in your area can review your legal options with you, help you select the best option for your case, and pursue the monetary compensation you deserve to recover by highlighting the strengths of your case.

How a Lawyer Can Help You After a Car Accident

Following a severe car crash, an experienced car accident attorney can be extremely helpful in pursuing and recovering the monetary compensation you need for your injuries.

First, some insurance companies dispute fault or liability in car accident cases, believing that the accident victim did something to cause or contribute to the crash. After all, an insurance company will do everything possible to try and avoid making a monetary payout to an accident victim.

In this situation, a car accident lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist to review police reports, speak with the accident victim and eyewitnesses, and reach a conclusion about how the accident likely occurred and who was at fault. An accident reconstructionist can also draft a report to send to the insurance company and, if necessary, testify at a discovery deposition or jury trial in support of the accident victim’s case.

In addition to retaining an accident reconstructionist, a skilled car accident attorney can help you prove medical causation in your case by retaining a medical expert. Insurance companies routinely allege that an accident victim’s claimed injuries are the result of prior injuries or pre-existing medical conditions.

In those instances, a medical provider can physically examine you, review your medical records, and draft a report that causally relates your current injuries and symptoms to the present car accident. As with an accident reconstructionist, a medical expert can testify in court or a deposition on your behalf.

Likewise, a skilled car accident lawyer can help you file a legal claim with the appropriate insurance company. In most car accident scenarios, your lawyer will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer.

To get the ball rolling, your lawyer may submit a settlement demand package that contains various documents, including:

  • Copies of your medical treatment records and bills
  • Expert reports
  • Police reports
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Lost income documentation
  • Income tax returns if you are making a lost income claim
  • Photographs of visible injuries
  • Property damage photographs
  • The insurance company will then review these documents, and if they accept liability for the accident, they may begin negotiating a settlement offer with your attorney. Your attorney can be extremely helpful during settlement negotiations and can convince the adjuster to increase their offer significantly. If the adjuster does not compensate you fairly for your injuries, then your lawyer can draft a lawsuit and threaten the insurance company with litigation.

    If your attorney ends up filing a lawsuit in court, they may continue their settlement negotiations with the insurance company and help you during each phase of the litigation process. For example, your attorney can prepare you for your discovery deposition and attend in-court settlement conferences with you in a further attempt to resolve your case favorably.

    When the parties cannot agree on a settlement amount during litigation, the matter will usually proceed to a jury trial. At a jury trial, the jury will determine the amount of monetary compensation to award the car crash victim for their injuries. During this time, your lawyer can represent you in court and introduce favorable evidence on your behalf.

    As an alternative to a jury trial, your lawyer can explore mediation or binding arbitration, and if the insurance company agrees to one of these proceedings, your attorney can represent you and strongly advocate for your interests.

    Filing a Timely Claim or Lawsuit After a Car Crash

    One of the most important reasons to contact a lawyer quickly in your case is because of the statute of limitations. Car accident victims only have two years from their accident date to file a lawsuit in the court system seeking monetary recovery.

    Although some exceptional circumstances exist, in most scenarios, if the accident victim files their lawsuit after two years, the court will prevent them from recovering any monetary damages for their losses. Therefore, you should retain experienced legal counsel as quickly as possible to represent y]ou during your case.

    Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Right Away

    Gary Annes Attorney for Car Accident Cases near Chicago
    Gary Annes Car Accident Lawyer

    If you suffered injuries in a recent car crash, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area can be an invaluable help. Your lawyer can guide you through each step of the claims filing, settlement negotiation, and litigation processes and advocate for your legal interests at all times.

    Depending on your car crash circumstances, you may be eligible to recover monetary damages for your medical expenses, lost income, mental distress, physical pain and suffering, and inconvenience. Your lawyer will maximize the monetary award you receive through a settlement or personal injury litigation.

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