Involved in an Auto Collision?
A car accident can happen in the blink of an eye. And, unfortunately, the split second it takes for vehicles to collide can lead to a lifetime of pain and suffering. If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation – especially if the accident was caused by another person’s negligent actions on the road. But first, you need to retain a top car accident lawyers who will help you fight your claim and protect your rights. That’s where we step in to assist.
USAttorneys.com is a free and convenient site that features access to some of the best and most experienced car accident lawyers across the nation. Each of the attorneys you’ll find on our site have the knowledge, drive, and commitment it takes to obtain a successful verdict for a car accident claim and will not rest until they are able to help you and your family attain justice. To find a lawyer in your area, simply click on the interactive map above. Information on each practicing attorney’s background, case history, and firm are available for you to check out. If you would still like additional information, just fill out our quick and easy contact form or contact one of our representatives.
You deserve the best possible legal counsel available, and our car accident attorney and auto lawyers are here to help. Start looking for elite legal representation today.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Not all auto collisions result in injuries, but those that do can lead to severe physical and mental trauma. There are actually many different kinds of injuries that a car accident victim can suffer. Some of these injuries can be minor, while others may be extremely severe.
When it comes to mental or emotional injuries, victims can experience deep and long-lasting trauma that may affect them for the rest of their lives, including post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and an overall fear of driving or riding in a motor vehicle. These types of injuries can be so debilitating that a victim may end up losing their job, become reclusive, and in general, have their lives completely turned upside down.
Like mental injuries, the physical injuries that can follow a car crash can also range in severity and can affect victims forever. Some injuries can be treated with minor medical attention, but others require extensive rehabilitation. Unfortunately, some car accident injuries result in fatalities.
No matter what kind of injuries you or a loved one suffered, you have a right to turn to a car accident lawyer for help in recovering compensation. You may receive reimbursement for medical costs, lost wages, general pain and suffering, and the wrongful death of a family member.
Retain a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer Now
The sooner you file a car accident claim, the sooner you can obtain justice for your injuries or losses. Speak to a car accident attorneys and auto injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and get started on your case right away.
What Types of Auto Accidents Can I Collect Compensation For?
After going through a traumatic experience such as a vehicular accident, you may be wondering whether your particular type of accident will qualify you to receive compensation. In most cases, you more than likely should be awarded for the property damage caused along with the injuries you sustained. And even if you were at-fault, it is vital you have one of our car accident lawyers assess your incident as they can best determine what exactly your mishap is worth. Each state varies with its laws and you very well might be entitled to receive payment even if you caused the crash.
Some of the most common types of car accidents that occur include:
• Rear-end collisions
• Single vehicle crashes
• T-bone accidents
• Rollovers caused by re-correcting
Auto accidents are also caused by a number of different things. Some factors that are known to cause car crashes include:
• Drunk driving
• Driving drunk and speeding
• Red light running
• Cellphone use
• Distracted driving
• Aggressive driving
• Hit and run accidents
• Failure to look before changing lanes
Accidents can be deadly, detrimental, and bring upon more pain, suffering, and mental anguish than you ever expected. It is important that no matter what the circumstances may be, you reach out to us immediately and allow us to pair you up with a local car collision lawyer who can help you. It isn’t easy trying to cope with the aftermath of an accident and it definitely isn’t an easy fight to get through when the insurance company who is supposed to compensate you isn’t complying.
In 2015 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 35,092 people died in motor vehicle accidents. That was an increase of 7.2 percent form 2014 and it can be assumed that the numbers have risen as drivers have become more careless in behavior.
What kind of damages can I seek after getting into a car accident?
Depending on the nature of your injuries, you can either seek economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages pertain to compensation for monetary losses sustained as a result of a car accident injury. Non-economic damages constitute non-financial losses, which are generally harder to distinguish.
What types economic damages can I recover from a car accident?
The types of economic damages you can recover from a car accident may include:
- Lost Wages: Regardless of whether or not you were employed at the time of your car accident, you may still be able to recover lost wages if you can show how the accident has since stifled your overall earning potential. If you were employed at the time of the crash, you can seek compensation for any lost wages incurred from the time you were injured to the end of the lawsuit.
- Loss of Earning Capacity: If any of the injuries you sustained have since prevented you from being employed, then a car accident lawyer may be able to help you prove that the car accident negatively affected your ability to earn an income.
- Medical Expenses: This can include both future and present medical expenses for assistive devices, emergency room visits, future appointments with medical professionals, hospital stays, surgery, and any prolonged care needed as a result of injuries due to a car accident.
What types of non-economic damages can I recover from a car accident?
The types of non-economic damages you can recover from a car accident may include:
- Loss of Consortium: If someone’s spouse was killed in a car accident, then the surviving partner has the option to pursue compensation for any loss of assistance, companionship, or services from their loved one in the event of a wrongful death caused by a car accident. This also applies to children who suffered from loss of any of the aforementioned due to the wrongful death of a parent due to a car crash.
- Mental Anguish: If you suffered from any emotional pain after you car accident, you may be eligible to collect compensation. This can include feelings of anxiety, fear, grief, nervousness, worry, or any other emotional trauma felt as a result of the car crash.
- Pain and Suffering: The magnitude of your injuries will be taken into account in order to determine the total amount of damages you may be awarded. Factors can include the type of injury, the financial impact of the injury in question, and the length of time you are expected to suffer as a result of the car accident.
- Punitive Damages: If the actions of the negligent party are deemed to be with malicious intent, then the court may opt to enforce punitive damages. These are geared toward punishing the guilty party and preventing them from continuing the same behavior in the future.
What are the different type of car accident clams I can pursue?
Certain states may fall under no-fault insurance law, which works to control the amount of lawsuits that are filed for minor car accidents. Only certain situations are allowed in regard to collecting additional compensation for damages, which include:
- Manufacturer Liability: If either party’s vehicle had a defect that caused a car accident, then the injured person may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer of either the vehicle or of the faulty parts. If it is proven that the car in question had either a labeling issue or faulty design, then the manufacturer is at risk of being held liable regardless of who is actually at fault for causing the car accident. Common defective parts include accelerators, airbags, brakes, engines, and seat belts.
- Negligence: If a certain level of discretion and caution was not used while operating a vehicle on the road, then that party may be guilty of negligence. In fact, negligence is one of the most commonly cited factors in accidents involving bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians. In order to prove negligence, your car accident lawyer will need to prove that the defendant did not meet the anticipated level of care, and that as a result their negligence was the cause of the car accident. In this case, bus drivers, drunk drivers, and reckless drivers can all fall under the umbrella of a negligent driver.
- Road Design: Inadequate construction, maintenance, or design can be to blame as the cause for a car accident. Specific examples of road design that can lead to a crash may include barriers, embankments, guardrails, signage, surfaces, and traffic control. If any of the aforementioned are not up to acceptable standards, then motorist safety may be compromised, ultimately resulting in a car accident.
- Wrongful Death: In very extreme cases, you may have legal rights to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit if a loved one was killed in a car accident. If this is the case, then either the family or loved ones of the victim will need a car accident attorney to show that their loved one was killed as a result of the other party’s negligence, and they may be entitled to economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Why do I need to hire a car accident lawyer?
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, driving is more dangerous than ever, making it that much more important to make sure you have a car accident attorney you can trust who is on your side. Along with the increasing rate of car accidents occurring every year, there are constantly changing regulations and rules that only further complicate the claims process, which ultimately the collection of compensation you are rightfully entitled to.
In the event of a severe injury or even death, these rules and restrictions also apply to filing for additional damages, including pain and suffering. Enlisting the help of a car accident attorney can help you determine whether or not you qualify to file a claim for additional damages against the negligent party, as well as help ensure you collect the full amount of benefits from your insurance party.
Overall, the outcome and subsequent success of your claim is dependent on your car accident attorney’s ability to analyze and package evidence in your case.
Specifically, if you have injuries as a result of an auto crash, our car accident lawyers can help you prepare your claim by:
- Enlisting expert witnesses to review evidence.
- Gathering accident and police reports.
- Interviewing witnesses.
- Recreating the accident scene.
- Reviewing medical reports.
- Taking pictures of injuries sustained, damage, and the accident scene.
Moreover, it is not uncommon for insurance companies to work against the plaintiff in order to prevent them from collecting the full amount of compensation. Insurance companies can do this by trying to present you injury as temporary instead of permanent. An experienced car accident lawyer will have the experience necessary in order to ensure you or any other injured party is not taken advantage of by an insurance company.
Find out more about how the car accident attorneys at USAttorneys.com can help you achieve the best result possible for your case by scheduling a free consultation today.
Car Accident Lawyer
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that in 2015 alone, 35,092 people died in automobile crashes nationwide. This number was up over 7.2% from 2014, and the number of fatalities from one year to the next increased more than it had in 50 years. Loss of life isn’t the only possible outcome: the estimated number of those injured on American roadways was 2.44 million, an increase from the reported 2.34 million in 2014.
The number of automobile accidents, injuries, and fatalities rose in all segments of the passenger population, including passenger vehicles and bicyclists. The only group that had a nearly-unchanged death rate from 2014 to 2015 was large truck drivers.
This isn’t solely due to the increase in vehicle miles traveled; according to the National Highway Safety Administration, distracted driving and alcohol impairment continue to be contributing factors to higher injury and fatality numbers. The cost of damages for automobile accidents can be astronomical not just in economic damages, but also in noneconomic damages.
At-fault versus no-fault insurance laws
Automobile laws are made at the state level. Each state determines for themselves how insurance claims are handled and whether someone has to be at fault, or whether they choose to operate under no-fault insurance laws. Each state also requires that drivers have automobile insurance to drive, but the minimum amounts vary from state to state.
There are currently only 12 states that operate under the no-fault auto insurance law. The other 38 states require that the at-fault party be liable for any damages or injuries. No-fault laws mean that when you are in an accident, your insurance company is required to pay for your injuries to the full financial extent of your policy, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. At-fault or tort insurance state laws require that the person who is found negligent, and therefore responsible for the auto collision, be liable for any costs.
No-fault state drivers must purchase Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage, which can cover their injuries if they are in an accident. After an accident, you file a claim with your insurance carrier. At-fault states require drivers to have Bodily Injury Liability to cover any injuries. No-fault insurance does not cover damage to your vehicle, but if you have collision coverage that can cover damages, and property damage liability can cover damage to the other party’s vehicle.
Those who live in no-fault states are not allowed to sue the other driver, even if the other party is negligent, for any additional costs that aren’t covered by their own policy. Three states — Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and New Jersey — allow the drivers to decide whether they want to purchase no-fault or at-fault policy coverage. When taking out your insurance policy, the policyholder must choose whether they want limited tort or full tort coverage.
No-fault states were initiated to try to curtail the litigation process for those who are in car accidents. Denying drivers the chance to sue one another based on negligence was intended to reduce litigation. For those states with no-fault laws, however, non-economic damages like pain and suffering are much harder to recover for, unless your injuries are severe enough.
Comparative negligence vs. contributory negligence
Negligence is a legal construct that implies that someone either did something to cause an injury to happen, or that they failed to do something which directly led to the accident. Contributory negligence can be used if the person who is injured did not take reasonable care to stop themselves from being injured. The notion behind contributory negligence is that people have a duty to act in a reasonable manner to protect themselves. If a person is not acting in a reasonable way to protect themselves, there are occasions where they may be held either partially — or in some instances entirely — responsible for their own injuries and damages. If the defendant of a personal injury case can prove that the plaintiff’s actions were to blame for their injuries, the defendant may be exonerated of paying for any injuries or damages that result.
Comparative negligence is when each party’s responsibility is calculated as a percentage of how much their negligence or actions led directly to the accident. Some states use the comparative negligence rule so that one driver is not responsible for full negligence and for having to incur the costs when the accident is not 100% their fault. There are two different approaches that states can use for comparative negligence:
Pure comparative negligence: States who use the true comparative negligence approach total the amount of the plaintiff’s damages, and then reduce the amount they are awarded according to the amount of negligence they contributed to the accident.
Modified comparative negligence: States who use the modified comparative negligence approach abide by the rule that if the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault for the accident, they are not able to recover for their damages and injuries.
Who is responsible when you allow someone else to drive your car?
If you give someone permission to drive your car, then you might be responsible and liable for any accident that results from their negligence. Vicarious liability is a legal term that means if you allow someone to drive your car, you might be held liable to pay for an accident if they are at fault.
In some states, if you loan your car to someone who has a record of being an unsafe driver, both you and the driver are capable of being named in a lawsuit. Common law’s theory of negligent entrustment can apply if you let someone with a history of driving recklessly drive your car. You can be held negligent because you entrusted them with your car even though you knew that they weren’t trustworthy
The Family Car Doctrine, which is employed in states like California, holds parents liable for the negligence of their children if they allow the child to drive a family-owned car. Even if the child is not listed on the parents’ insurance policy, if the child is a minor, then the parents might be held liable.
When you hire someone to drive a company vehicle
Vicarious liability or “respondeat superior” applies to employers who allow their employees to drive company-owned vehicles. If the employee is in an at-fault accident while performing under the scope of their employment terms and with the employer’s authorization, the employer is liable for any damages. Vicarious liability only applies if the employee is authorized and working under the scope of their employment duties; for example, if they were asked to deliver something to a client.
If the employee delivered something to a client, however, and then decided to run a personal errand before returning to work and then got into an accident, then they would not be operating the vehicle under the scope of their employment. In this case, the employer would not be liable. Since vicarious liability can be very complex and specific, if someone else is driving your car and is at-fault during an accident, hiring a car accident lawyer from USAttorneys.com becomes even more critical to protecting yourself.
Another instance where vicarious liability would apply to an auto accident case is if there was a defect in the vehicle that was responsible for the accident. If an airbag deployed due to a manufacturing defect, then the manufacturer would be liable for the accident. In that situation, product liability would hold the manufacturer liable. In some states, there are laws that allow drivers to sue the government agencies who maintain roadways if road conditions, like construction, were the cause of an accident. But rules about road liability vary from one state to the next.
Special circumstances when vehicles other than cars are involved
When an accident involves two cars, deciphering who is at fault is usually not as difficult as it can be when there are special circumstances — like when someone is using a rental car, pedestrians or domestic animals are involved, or someone is on a motorcycle or bicycle. When there are more than just two driver parties, ascribing fault might be more problematic and worthy of hiring an experienced lawyer from USAttorneys.com to defend your interests.
Rental car liability and the Graves Amendment
When you drive a rental car, the rental car company is not liable if you are at fault in an accident. Due to the Graves Amendment, vicarious liability does not apply in a rental car. The Graves Amendment is a federal statute that preempts any common laws or state laws pertaining to driving a borrowed vehicle. Signed in 2005, the only way that a rental company can be held liable for the actions of a renter is if the rental company does not maintain a car and it leads to an accident, or if they improperly train employees or managers and it directly leads to a renter’s accident.
If you get into an accident, don’t assume that your auto insurance will pay for rental car accident damages; look over your policy carefully. In most instances, your auto insurance will pay for your damages if you are in a rental car accident and at fault. If your insurance does have an exclusion for rental cars, then you can take out the policy that the rental car company offers to cover yourself.
When a pedestrian or bicyclist is hit
In most states, when a pedestrian is hit, the presumption of guilt typically rests with the driver. The driver has a higher duty of care when pedestrians are present to ensure their safety. That presumption, however, can be overturned in instances where the pedestrian did not take reasonable care to protect themselves. If a pedestrian fails to act as any reasonable person would and is hit due to their negligence, contributory negligence might determine that the driver is not liable for any damages.
An example of this would be if a pedestrian walked out in the middle of traffic without even looking and got hit. In states that adhere to the contributory negligence system, the pedestrian would be held either entirely or partially responsible for their actions and thus liable for their own damages. The theory is that any reasonable person would not have endangered themselves, and so the driver can’t be held responsible. For states that have no-fault laws, injured pedestrians are usually covered by their own automobile insurance, and can collect from their insurance even if they are at fault.
If a domesticated animal is hit and damages result, the onus typically is on the pet owner since they were not in control of the animal. This means if there is any property damage to the driver’s car, the animal owner might be liable. If the driver’s negligence was to blame, the animal owner could sue the driver. In most states, however, animal owners are not permitted to recover for noneconomic damages like emotional distress; they can only seek economic damages in the form of medical care and the value of the animal.
What are economic versus noneconomic damages?
When you sustain damages in an automobile accident, you are allowed to recover for both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses are things like medical bills and lost wages. Noneconomic losses are things like pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of consortium.
What are the first steps you should take if you are in a car accident?
If you are involved in a car accident, there are steps that you need to take; this is not always easy when you are shaken or injured. The best way to ensure that you take the proper steps following an accident is to keep a checklist in your car, just in case you aren’t thinking very clearly. Things to keep on your checklist:
Call law enforcement
Never leave an accident before the proper authorities arrive. If you leave the scene without having a police report filed and someone is injured or hurt, it may be considered a criminal offense for being a hit and run driver. Also, it is important that you have a police report filed to establish who is at fault and liable in the accident. Even though police reports are not permissible in court, they will help your personal injury attorney from USAttorneys.com during the negotiation phase of your trial and might enhance your ability to settle without going to court.
It is important for all parties to exchange information like full names, addresses, driver’s license numbers and license plate information. You will want to make sure to have all that information accessible when you call your insurance company to file a claim.
Seek medical care
If you are injured due to the accident, even if you think it is only minor, you need to seek emergency care. Often the types of injuries you sustain in an auto accident appear minor at first but can get pretty serious quickly. If you seek medical care, you can establish a chain of causation. It will also ensure that the defendant can’t claim that you didn’t mitigate your damages. Mitigating damages means that you didn’t take the necessary care to lessen your damages. Not seeking medical help can hurt your ability to recover for your damages.
Look for any eyewitnesses
If there were any eyewitnesses to the accident, you would want to get their information in case you need someone to lend credibility to your account of the events.
Inform your insurance company
Even if you are not at fault in your auto accident, it is critical that you call your insurance carrier to make a claim. Make sure that the events are fresh in your mind when you file the claim. Try to keep your statements to facts only and make sure to always tell the truth to the best of your recollection.
Call a personal injury attorney
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can handle your damages alone. The insurance company’s job is to minimize their costs and those of their client. The best way to reach a fair settlement and to recover for your damages, now and in the future, is to contact a professional car accident attorney from USAttorneys.com who specializes in auto accident law. If you don’t know what you are entitled to recover for, you could be doing yourself a significant disservice in trying to settle by yourself.
Why you need to hire a car accident attorney
If you are involved in an automobile accident, it is imperative that your personal injury lawyer specializes in auto law. There are many phases to an automobile claim, and having the assistance of a lawyer from the onset is the only way to ensure that you are protected and that you receive fair compensation for your damages and injuries.
If you are concerned about the cost of a personal injury lawyer, you need not be. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning they don’t receive any compensation for their work unless you do. Once you collect, they take a percentage of your award, which is agreed upon ahead of time.
According to statistics compiled by the US Department of Justice, Federal Tort Trials and Verdicts, Office of Justice Programs, and Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, only about 4% to 5% of all automobile accident claims go to trial. Often a settlement can be reached before it has to be escalated to court. But the only way for you to know what you are entitled to is to have a personal injury attorney involved from the onset to settlement or trial.
What is a statute of limitations?
When you are involved in an automobile accident, there is a limited amount of time that you will have to make a claim for damages and injuries. The statute of limitations for your auto accident will be dependent on the laws of the state where you live. If you miss the allotted time you have to file, then you will not be eligible to receive compensation for your damages. That is why it is imperative for you to contact your insurance company immediately to file a claim.
The reason that there are time limitations is that over time your memory of events fades, you lose the potential for eyewitnesses to be contacted, and evidence can get misplaced. So although you might need to seek future treatment or procedures, don’t wait to file a claim, or you can find yourself with no recourse to collect.
When you should settle and when you should proceed to trial
Being able to settle without going to court is usually beneficial to both parties if a resolution for compensation can be found. If you can have the defendant agree to meet your damages, both economic and noneconomic, then it is easier to settle out of court. The cost of litigation can be highly expensive. However, taking a lower settlement might not behoove you. Since personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, it is in your best interests to escalate your case to trial if fair compensation cannot be agreed upon.
The only way to make sure that you are receiving a fair settlement is to have a professional car accident lawyer from USAttorneys.com calculate not just what you have lost to date, but to anticipate any further economic loss that you will have due to your accident.
If you choose to accept a settlement, then you are releasing the defendant from any further liability in the case. Therefore, if you don’t appropriately anticipate for future medical costs or loss of future wages, you will not be compensated. Once you agree to a settlement and receive compensation, anything that comes up in the future will be your responsibility.
When you get behind the wheel of a car, you have a duty to follow the laws according to the state where you live. If you are involved in a car accident, don’t try to sift through the complexities of it on your own. Consulting a personal injury car accident lawyer, even for minor incidents, is the best way to ensure that you are protecting yourself and your best interests.