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Car accidents

When to Hire an Attorney after a Car Accident

By Walton Law APCMay 2, 2024May 4th, 2024No Comments
Attorney's desk with gavel, model car, and legal documents on display.

When other drivers violate traffic laws and drive carelessly, they can cause serious accidents and injuries.

If you suffered injuries in a recent car crash due to someone else’s negligence, the time to seek out and retain experienced legal counsel is now. You always want a lawyer on your side as soon as possible to protect your legal interests while your case is pending.

Once you retain a Bellingham car accident lawyer for representation, they can begin advocating for you and pursuing a claim or lawsuit on your behalf. They can then focus on obtaining the compensation you deserve for your accident-related losses.

Car Accident Causes and Types

Driver negligence is a significant factor in many car accidents, leading to devastating consequences.

One of the most prevalent forms of negligence is distracted driving. This includes activities such as talking on the phone, eating, drinking, texting, or using a GPS navigation system while driving. When a driver’s attention is diverted from the road, they are more likely to miss important cues and react slowly to potential hazards.

Another common form of negligence is speeding. Driving at excessive speeds reduces a driver’s ability to react to changes in traffic conditions and increases the severity of accidents when they do occur. Speeding not only endangers the driver but also passengers and other road users.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is another major cause of car accidents. Impaired drivers have slower reaction times, reduced coordination, and impaired judgment, preventing them from being able to stop in time to avoid an accident.

Additionally, reckless driving behaviors such as aggressive tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and disregarding the right of way contribute to many roadway accidents.

Car accidents resulting from driver negligence can also take several forms:

  • Rear-end collisions are among the most common types of accidents and often occur due to distracted driving, speeding, or following too closely.
  • Side-impact collisions, also known as T-bone accidents, typically happen at intersections when one driver fails to yield the right of way to another driver at the proper time.
  • Head-on collisions are some of the most severe accidents and often result from factors such as drunk driving, distracted driving, or falling asleep at the wheel.
  • Single-vehicle accidents occur when a driver loses control of their vehicle and crashes into a fixed object such as a tree, guardrail, or utility pole. These accidents can result from speeding or impaired driving.

If you suffered an injury in one of these accidents, a knowledgeable car accident lawyer can file a personal injury claim seeking the compensation you need.

Injuries and Damages in a Car Crash

When negligence leads to car accidents, the resulting injuries can be diverse and devastating.

One common injury is whiplash, occurring when the victim’s head is forcefully jerked back and forth – often in rear-end collisions. Whiplash can cause neck stiffness and pain and may require doctor visits, physical therapy, and pain medication to address.

Fractures are also prevalent in car accidents, resulting from the intense impact on the body. Broken bones can occur in various bodily areas, including the arms, wrists, ankles, legs, pelvis, and ribs. Treatment may involve immobilization, surgery for realignment, and rehabilitation to restore proper function and strength.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are another significant concern in a car accident scenario. The sudden force of a collision can cause the victim’s brain to strike the skull, resulting in bruising, bleeding, or swelling. TBIs range from concussions to severe, life-altering conditions that require medication, surgery, extensive rehabilitation, and follow-up appointments.

Similarly, spinal cord injuries are particularly devastating, often resulting in paralysis or loss of sensation. Treatment may involve surgery to stabilize the spine, followed by intensive rehabilitation to maximize the victim’s function and independence.

In addition to physical injuries, car accidents can also cause psychological trauma for victims, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Survivors may experience flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety related to the car crash. Therapy and counseling can address these mental health concerns and promote healing.

The type of medical treatment required depends upon the severity and nature of the victim’s injuries. Minor injuries may only require basic first aid, while more serious injuries may necessitate surgery, medication, and long-term rehabilitation.

Physical therapy helps restore mobility and strength, while occupational therapy assists with daily tasks and activities.

For individuals with psychological trauma, therapy and counseling provide essential support and coping mechanisms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps individuals process traumatic events and develop strategies for managing their symptoms.

How a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You With Your Case

A seasoned car accident attorney can be your strongest ally throughout an injury claim or lawsuit. Their knowledge extends well beyond legal jargon, as they have a thorough understanding of the intricacies of car accident law and how it applies to your specific case.

Here’s how they can help:

  • First, a knowledgeable lawyer will assess your case thoroughly. They’ll investigate the accident, gather evidence, and evaluate the extent of your injuries. This thorough analysis forms the foundation of your claim, ensuring that no crucial detail is overlooked.
  • Next, they’ll handle communication with insurance companies on your behalf. Insurance adjusters are trained to minimize payouts, often by exploiting victims’ lack of legal knowledge. Your lawyer will adeptly negotiate with these professionals, leveraging their legal experience to secure fair compensation for your injuries.
  • Furthermore, a skilled attorney will guide you through the legal process step by step. From filing paperwork to meeting deadlines, they’ll ensure all legal procedures are followed correctly, sparing you from costly mistakes that may jeopardize your case.
  • In the event negotiations stall or fail, your lawyer will be prepared to advocate for you in court. They’ll present your case persuasively, utilizing evidence, expert testimony, and legal arguments to convince a judge and jury of your claim’s validity.

A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will also be your unwavering advocate, fighting tirelessly for your best interests. They’ll prioritize your well-being, offering support and guidance throughout the legal proceedings. Whether you’re facing mounting medical bills, lost income, or emotional distress, they’ll strive to secure the compensation you deserve and lessen your accident-related financial burdens.

Moreover, your lawyer will have access to a network of resources to strengthen your case. They may collaborate with accident reconstruction specialists, medical experts, and other professionals to bolster your claim with compelling evidence and testimony.

Ultimately, partnering with a skilled car accident lawyer in your area can make a significant difference in the outcome of your personal injury lawsuit or claim.

Settling Versus Litigating a Car Accident Case in Court

Deciding between settling a car accident case out of court or pursuing litigation in court is a crucial decision that can significantly affect the outcome of your case. Here’s a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of both options:

Settling Out of Court AdvantagesPerson assessing damage on car using tablet, focusing on dented front.

  • Time and Cost – Settling out of court typically resolves the case more quickly – and with lower legal fees than going to trial. It avoids the lengthy court process, including pre-trial preparations and court appearances, which can save both time and money.
  • Control – Parties have more control over the outcome of their case in settlement negotiations. They can directly negotiate the terms of the settlement, including the amount of compensation and any other agreements, without relying on a judge or jury’s decision.
  • Privacy – Settlement agreements are often confidential, protecting the parties involved from public scrutiny and preserving their privacy.

Settling Out of Court Disadvantages

  • Potentially Lower Compensation – In some cases, settling out of court may result in lower compensation than what could be awarded in court. Insurance companies may offer lower settlements to avoid litigation costs, leaving victims with less compensation for their injuries.
  • Uncertainty – There’s always a level of uncertainty in settlement negotiations, as there’s no guarantee that the other party will agree to a fair settlement offer. This uncertainty can be stressful for victims seeking closure and financial recovery.
  • Limited Legal Recourse – Once a settlement is reached and finalized, victims typically waive their right to pursue further legal action related to the accident. If unexpected complications arise later, they may have limited legal recourse.

Litigating in Court Advantages

  • Potential for Higher Compensation – In court, car accident victims have the opportunity to present their case to a judge and jury, who may award higher compensation than what the insurance company offered in settlement negotiations. This can be especially beneficial in cases of severe injuries or disputed liability.
  • Legal Protections – Court proceedings offer legal protections, including the right to legal representation, discovery of evidence, and the opportunity to challenge testimony. This ensures a fair and transparent process for resolving disputes.
  • Precedent – Court decisions set legal precedents, establishing guidelines for similar cases in the future and promoting consistency and fairness in the legal system.

Litigating in Court Disadvantages

  • Time and Expense – Litigation can be a lengthy and expensive process involving court fees, attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, and other costs. It requires significant time and resources to prepare for trial, attend court hearings, and navigate the legal proceedings.
  • Stress and Uncertainty – Court proceedings – and most especially trials – can be stressful and emotionally draining for all parties involved. There’s always a level of uncertainty in litigation, as the case outcome ultimately depends upon a judge or jury, which can cause anxiety and frustration.
  • Publicity – Court proceedings are generally a matter of public record, meaning that details of the case may become part of the public domain. This lack of privacy can be a concern for individuals seeking to keep their personal and financial matters private.

Both settling and litigating have their advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to weigh these factors carefully before making a decision. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help victims understand their options and make informed decisions that best serve their interests and needs.

Maximizing Compensation after a Car Accident

Monetary compensation for car accident victims hinges on various factors, from the severity of injuries to the circumstances of the accident – and even the legal jurisdiction where the case is tried.

Here’s a closer look at some key factors that can influence the types and amounts of available compensation:

  • Severity of Injuries – The extent of physical harm that the car accident victim suffered significantly affects compensation. Severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation – or which result in permanent disabilities – typically require higher amounts of compensation.
  • Medical Expenses – The costs associated with past and future medical care, including hospital bills, surgeries, medications, and therapy, are crucial in determining compensation amounts. Documentation of medical expenses is essential for accurate reimbursement.
  • Lost Income and Earning Capacity – Car accident victims may also be entitled to compensation for lost income if their injuries prevent them from working. Additionally, if the injuries affect their ability to earn a living in the future, compensation may be available for diminished earning capacity.
  • Property Damage – Awarded compensation may also cover repair or replacement costs for damaged vehicles and other property, such as personal belongings.
  • Pain and Suffering – Non-economic damages, including physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life, are often factored into compensation awards. Calculating these damages is subjective and may vary based upon the severity of injuries and their effect on the victim’s life.Two individuals shaking hands over a contract with a model car nearby.
  • Insurance Coverage – The types and amounts of compensation available may depend upon the insurance policies of the parties involved, including liability coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
  • Legal Representation and Negotiation Skills – The effectiveness of legal representation and negotiation skills can determine the outcome of compensation claims. Experienced car accident attorneys may secure higher settlements through skillful advocacy and knowledge of relevant laws and precedents.
  • Statutes of Limitation – Time limits for filing compensation claims vary by jurisdiction and can affect the availability of monetary recovery. Missing these deadlines may result in the forfeiture of the right to seek compensation.

Talk With an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today

Upon suffering injuries in a car crash due to someone else’s negligence, it’s essential that you talk with a knowledgeable car accident attorney in your jurisdiction as soon as possible.

Your lawyer can streamline the process for you by gathering important documentation and starting the claims-filing process – all while you focus on your injury recovery.

Your personal injury attorney can then pursue a favorable settlement offer or litigation in court on your behalf.