Following a severe car accident, many drivers and passengers may have debilitating injuries that leave them incapacitated for an extended time. Some accident victims suffer such severe injuries that they feel constant pain and experience ongoing symptoms for the remainder of their lives.
After a car crash, you should expect extensive medical treatment and ongoing dealings with insurance companies and their adjusters. However, a skilled car accident lawyer in your area can represent you, negotiate with insurance company adjusters for you, and attend all legal proceedings with you, securing the best possible result in your case. Your attorney can also address all of your legal questions and anticipate what to expect in your car accident claim or lawsuit.
Common Reasons Why Car Crashes Happen
Car accidents frequently result from other drivers' negligence and carelessness. When a driver violates one or more traffic regulations or otherwise drives carelessly, accidents may lead to ongoing injuries and medical treatment for accident victims.
First, some car crashes happen when drivers violate standard traffic laws that everyone should know and follow. For example, a driver might fail to yield the right-of-way while at a traffic intersection, or they may speed excessively. Alternatively, a driver might forget to use their turn signal when switching lanes in heavy traffic – or before making a turn onto another road. Any of these traffic law violations can not only cause a two-car accident. Still, they can also lead to a multi-vehicle pileup that seriously injures numerous drivers and passengers.
In addition to traffic law violations, some car crashes happen when drivers exhibit road rage and aggressive driving maneuvers. To get ahead of slow-moving traffic, a driver might drive on the road shoulder, tailgate other cars, cut other vehicles off in traffic, weave in and out of traffic, or fail to use their turn signals appropriately. All of these aggressive driving maneuvers may cause the negligent driver to strike another vehicle, leading to debilitating injuries.
Next, some car crashes happen when drivers fail to use their mirrors, backup cameras, and other vehicle technology. Drivers should always glance into their mirrors while on a busy road. In addition, they should use their backup cameras and mirrors when pulling out of parking spaces in reverse. Failing to do so may lead to a severe motor vehicle or pedestrian accident.
Next, some car crashes happen when drivers are legally intoxicated. Passenger vehicle operators with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent are legally intoxicated. However, some drivers, including truck drivers and minor drivers, must obey stricter legal standards.
If a driver violates one or more DUI laws, they may ultimately sustain a criminal conviction on their record, and a judge may sentence them to criminal penalties, including jail time and monetary fines. Moreover, if the drunk driver causes an accident that leads to someone else's injuries, the at-fault driver, through their insurance company, may have to pay monetary damages as part of a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Finally, some car crashes are a direct result of distracted driving. Distracted drivers fail to pay sufficient attention to the road to stay safe. Inattentive driving can take several forms, including roughhousing with vehicle passengers, looking down or to the side, programming a GPS navigation device, or texting on a cellular phone or tablet.
When drivers look away from the road, even for a short time, they may not notice an approaching vehicle, cyclist, or pedestrian. As a result, they may initiate a serious crash that leaves other individuals with severe injuries.
If you recently sustained injuries in a car crash resulting from one of these driver errors, you are not alone. However, you should retain skilled legal counsel to represent you in your case as quickly as possible.
In fact, the sooner you enlist the help of a qualified attorney, the higher your chances of obtaining a favorable monetary award. A knowledgeable car crash lawyer can begin the claims-filing process on your behalf right away and start pursuing the financial settlement you deserve for your injuries.
Common Types of Car Accidents
Car accidents come in all sizes and shapes, and there is no disputing that some traffic accidents are more severe than others. Some of the most common traffic accidents that result from negligent driving maneuvers include head-on collisions, T-bone or broadside accidents, rear-end accidents and sideswipe collisions.
First, a head-on collision occurs when the fronts of two vehicles traveling in opposing directions strike one another. These accidents typically result from distracted or intoxicated driving, where the at-fault driver negligently causes their car to drift across a center double line or concrete median barrier. Moreover, when these accidents happen at high speeds, they are the most likely to cause permanent and sometimes fatal injuries.
T-bone or broadside collisions, on the other hand, happen when a driver negligently causes the front of their vehicle to hit the side of another car traveling on a perpendicular roadway. We call these accidents T-bone accidents because they resemble the shape of a T.
They happen most often at traffic intersections where one driver does not yield the right-of-way to the other driver. Moreover, when these accidents involve a significant amount of force, the vehicle on the receiving end might spin around rapidly or even overturn in the middle of the intersection.
Next, a rear-end accident happens when the front of one vehicle hits the back of another car, usually following an abrupt traffic slowdown where the at-fault driver was speeding. Sometimes, the collision force is so strong that it leads to a chain reaction of more minor collisions that involve multiple vehicles, drivers, and passengers.
Finally, a sideswipe accident happens when the sides of two vehicles brush up against one another while traveling in the same direction on the same roadway. In some cases, the force of a sideswipe accident is so brutal that it pushes one vehicle into another travel lane – or entirely off the road.
If you sustained injuries in one of these traffic accidents that occurred because of another driver's negligence, contact an experienced attorney about your case right away. Your lawyer can promptly speak with you about the accident and start a claim for you.
Injuries From a Car Crash
Given the force associated with many car accidents, drivers and passengers in a vehicle may suffer debilitating injuries. The extent of an accident victim's injuries typically depends on the number of separate collisions involved, the speeds of the vehicles, and how the force of the crash moves the victim around.
For example, the accident may have caused the victim to strike their head on the window or steering wheel, causing a traumatic head or brain injury, like a concussion.
Other potential injuries that car crash victims may suffer include:
- Open wounds and lacerations
- Bruises from airbag deployment
- Soft tissue whiplash injuries
- Bone fractures
- Rib fractures
- Shoulder injuries
- Knee injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Full or partial paralysis
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you should seek the medical treatment that you need right away and follow through with all of your healthcare provider's treatment recommendations.
Prolonged Medical Treatment
First, depending on the extent of an accident victim's injuries, prolonged medical treatment may become necessary. For example, an injured car driver or passenger may need to consult with their primary care doctor, visit a hospital or urgent care center, attend pain management sessions, undergo surgery or other medical procedure, or undergo physical therapy.
The types of medical treatment that an accident victim will require, as well as the cost of that medical treatment, will depend mainly on the accident victim's injuries.
While accident victims seek treatment for their injuries, a car accident attorney can begin handling the legal components of the claim, such as gathering the necessary documents and other potential evidence for the case.
New Jersey generally follows a no-fault insurance system. Individuals have the option to pre-select:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage
- The Unlimited Right to Sue Option
- The Limited Right to Sue Option
Many accident victims will first need to turn to their own PIP insurance coverage for monetary compensation after a crash. To support a PIP claim, your lawyer will need to obtain various pieces of evidence and submit them to the insurance company. Essential documents in your case may include a copy of the police report, witness statements, photographs of damage to your vehicle, pictures of visible injuries, medical records, and medical bills.
Negotiating with Insurance Adjusters
As part of a PIP insurance claim, you can recover compensation for your related medical expenses, lost earnings, and other out-of-pocket costs. Even though you will likely be dealing with your own insurance company following a car crash, you should not assume that the insurance company or its adjusters are going to do you any favors in the case.
In fact, when you file a PIP insurance claim under your policy, you essentially start an adversarial relationship with your own insurer. Insurance companies do not have the incentive to offer significant amounts of monetary compensation to resolve, even to their own customers in PIP claims. Instead, they have an incentive to keep as much of their money in-house as possible by paying as little monetary compensation as possible to accident victims.
However, a skilled car accident attorney can negotiate with your insurance company and pursue a fair settlement amount on your behalf. Your attorney can also highlight the strengths of your case, including the severity of your injuries and the accident itself, to recover a reasonable settlement within the limits of your PIP policy.
Car Accident Litigation
Depending upon the insurance coverage you pre-selected, you can file a third-party claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver who caused your accident. When dealing with the at-fault party's insurance company, your attorney can aggressively negotiate on your behalf and pursue the maximum compensation you can recover for your accident-related losses.
Moreover, if the other driver's insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly for your injuries, your lawyer can initiate litigation and, if necessary, file a lawsuit in court.
To recover monetary damages in a third-party claim or lawsuit, the accident victim must satisfy their legal burden of proof. Specifically, they must demonstrate that the other driver owed them a legal duty of care to drive safely and responsibly, which they subsequently violated. Next, the accident victim must show that as a result of this negligence, the accident occurred, along with one or more physical injuries.
A skilled attorney can help you pursue the total monetary damages you deserve by successfully proving the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit.
Potential Monetary Recovery for Car Crash Injuries
As part of a New Jersey PIP claim, accident victims are only eligible to recover their medical expenses, lost earnings, and other out-of-pocket losses. However, if you are eligible to file a third-party claim or lawsuit, and you ultimately succeed, you can recover additional monetary damages.
Those damages may include financial compensation for all of your mental distress, pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of life enjoyment, and other intangible losses.
Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer About Your Case Right Away
If you sustained injuries in a recent car crash, a personal injury attorney in New Jersey can anticipate what will happen next and pursue the necessary legal actions to recover fair monetary compensation.
Your attorney can assist you during the claims-filing process, negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf, and, if necessary, pursue litigation in your case.
Your attorney will do everything possible to maximize your total settlement or litigation compensation.