Motor Vehicle Accidents
Each year, thousands of people are seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents, often resulting in complex legal issues. This already difficult situation can become even more stressful when injuries are involved. Severe injuries sustained in automobile collisions can have a lifelong impact, so it is important to seek experienced legal representation. The more motorists that are involved in the accident, the more complex these cases become. With proper representation from an experienced personal injury attorney, you can recover the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact an attorney in your area to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident
Following any type of motor vehicle accident, there are a number of steps that you should take to protect your health and legal rights. If your car is still operable and traffic conditions allow, you should safely move your vehicle to the side of the road as soon as possible.
Seek Medical Attention Right Away
If you have sustained any injuries - even if they appear to be minor - you should seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms of many injuries, including concussions and whiplash, may not be apparent right away, which makes it even more important to see a doctor promptly. In addition to obtaining the treatment that you need, visiting a doctor will also provide documentation of your injuries that can be used as evidence in your case.
Documenting the Scene
You should document every aspect of the scene of an accident. Most cell phones have cameras that will allow you to obtain photographic evidence of the scene and other important information, including:
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all other drivers and passengers
- Driver’s license or other form of identification for all parties involved
- Copies of insurance cards for drivers involved in the collision, plus information regarding the type of coverage and policy limits
- License plate numbers for all vehicles involved
- Names and contact information for the responding police officers
- Contact information for any witnesses of the accident
It is important that you do not make any admissions of fault. Whether you believe you are fully or partially responsible for the accident, do not make any statements to the other drivers, witnesses, or responding officers.
Contact an Attorney
It is imperative that you contact an attorney immediately following an accident to ensure that you are legally protected. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you properly document the scene of the accident and preserve all relevant evidence.
Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Nearly any type of vehicle has the potential to be involved in a traffic collision. Additionally, non-motorists, such as cyclists or pedestrians, are also at risk of being involved in an accident.
Car accidents can involve multiple vehicles or just a single car, and can range in severity from minor fender benders to catastrophic collisions.
Motorcyclists have gained a bad reputation among other drivers as being reckless or careless on the road. However, most motorcycle accidents are actually the result of another driver failing to adequately check their mirrors before changing lanes, or adverse weather and road conditions.
Accidents involving large commercial trucks often result in much more serious injuries, especially for drivers of smaller vehicles. Despite the many rules and obligations truck drivers must adhere to, many go without sufficient rest, putting themselves and others at risk.
As with motorcyclists, bicycle accidents are often the result of another driver’s negligence. Some drivers feel bicyclists have no place on the road and drive aggressively, which can create a dangerous situation for all parties involved.
Accidents involving buses and other mass transit vehicles commonly result in severe injuries for passengers and other motorists because of their large size and lack of safety restraints. Victims of these types of accidents require the assistance of a personal injury attorney to help determine liability for their injuries.
Boating accidents are unfortunately common, and can turn a pleasant vacation or outing into a painful memory for those involved. In addition to the injuries the accident can cause, there is the potential for drowning. Even for strong swimmers, an injury can prevent victims from keeping themselves afloat.
Passenger Van Accidents
Accidents involving passenger vans can also typically involve injuries to numerous parties. Many schools, churches, and senior homes use vans of this type, and serious accidents could result in injuries to young children or elderly passengers.
Pedestrian accidents can involve any type of motor vehicle accident that results in an injury to a pedestrian. A distracted driver may not see a pedestrian until it is too late to stop, or the driver may not see the pedestrian at all. Pedestrian accidents can also include instances in which a driver breaches a sidewalk, or strikes someone who is crossing the street.
Similar to motorcycles, ATV accidents often involve severe injuries because the rider is left vulnerable without safety equipment. Most recreational vehicle drivers wear a helmet, but their bodies are still exposed in a crash.
Unfortunately, DUI accidents involving injuries occur roughly every two minutes in this country. A driver under the influence of alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs can be arrested for DUI. In addition to criminal charges, offending drivers can be held financially responsible for any injuries that result.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help
Personal injury lawyers typically have extensive knowledge and experience dealing with motor vehicle accidents. Since there is almost always more than one insurance company involved, you may feel overwhelmed while to handle everything on your own. However, an experienced attorney can deal with each insurance company on your behalf, allowing you to focus on recovering from your injuries.
A skilled attorney will aggressively pursue the appropriate amount of compensation for the damages you suffered in the accident. Depending on the extent of your injuries, your attorney can help you recover financial compensation for physical and emotional losses, including:
- Your current medical expenses and estimated future expenses relating to your injury, such as medications, physical therapy, surgeries, and ongoing care
- Any wages you lost due to time off work for your recovery, or loss of income if your injury prevents you from returning to work permanently
- Your physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
Determining Liability in a Motor Vehicle Accident
There are a number of different tools an attorney will use to determine liability after a motor vehicle accident. Many attorneys will use a team of accident reconstructionists to determine the chain of events that led to the collision. These teams can recreate the entire atmosphere surrounding the accident, from road and weather conditions to driver fatigue and defective auto parts. Using this information, your attorney can build a compelling case to hold the at-fault driver responsible for your injuries.
Many attorneys will use a team of accident reconstructionists to determine the chain of events that led to the collision.
Your attorney will also gather information from witness statements, photographs from the scene, and police reports from the responding officers. Your attorney will work diligently to obtain proof of negligent or reckless behaviors, such as driving under the influence (DUI), excessive speeding, texting while driving, or other instances of inattentive driving.
Motor Vehicle Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there are over six million automobile accidents each year in the United States. Teenagers and older adults are disproportionately involved in these collisions, often resulting in severe injuries. Other significant numbers pertaining to motor vehicle accidents may include:
- More than 2.6 million Americans suffer serious, sometimes disabling, injuries in motor vehicle accidents each year
- Over 37,000 Americans die in motor vehicle accidents each year
- Nearly one quarter of those deaths are from accidents involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 20
- More than 1,500 children under the age of 15 die in motor vehicle accidents each year
- Motor vehicle accidents cost the United States more than $200 billion annually
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident, please contact an attorney in your area today to schedule a free case evaluation.