Car accidents happen every day in the United States, and these incidents continue to be one of the leading causes of accidental deaths and serious injuries throughout the country. If you experience any accident, the incident may leave you with severe injuries and substantial economic losses. All drivers should know how to prevent car accidents, but it is also good to see how you can minimize your chance of suffering an injury in an accident.
What Are the Best Ways to Prevent Injuries From Car Accidents?
All drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely and comply with traffic laws. The signs and signals on the road exist to help drivers anticipate the actions of other drivers. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to predict how another driver will behave, and some drivers make serious mistakes or engage in reckless actions that result in injury to others. While you cannot account for every possible action every other driver could take, you can do a few things to minimize your risk of suffering a serious injury in a car accident:
- Drive defensively. Defensive driving means adhering to the traffic laws and posted speed limits at all times while doing your best to avoid dangerous situations. This means keeping to the right to allow faster moving vehicles to pass, using your signals whenever necessary, and paying close attention to the road at all times.
- Keep your vehicle in good condition. If you notice any performance issues with your vehicle, you should address them immediately. Even something as seemingly simple as a broken taillight or malfunctioning turn signal can potentially cause an accident, so address any mechanical issues with your vehicle as soon as possible.
- Do not drive if you are under the influence of alcohol or prescription medication. This is illegal and very likely to result in serious accidents as well as criminal prosecution.
- Do not drive while fatigued. If you are not well rested, you have a greater chance of making errors behind the wheel.
- Always wear your safety belt. Not only is this required by law, but doing so will also dramatically reduce the chance of experiencing a serious injury in a car accident.
- Avoid driving in dangerous conditions whenever possible. It’s typically best to avoid driving in severe weather, at night, or in periods of poor visibility.
Hopefully, these tips can help any driver avoid serious injury in an accident and minimize their risk of experiencing a car accident at all. However, some accidents are entirely unavoidable, and drivers can suffer severe injuries despite their best efforts to prevent them.
What Is the Most Common Injury in a Car Accident?
Car accidents are capable of causing many types of injuries, some more severe than others. However, the most common injury that can result from a car accident is a soft tissue injury. A soft tissue injury can include any damage to the tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the body. Typically, the soft tissues of the head and neck are most vulnerable to injury in a car accident. These injuries result from the head snapping back and forth from the shock of impact in a crash. It is also possible for soft tissue injuries to occur throughout the rest of the body from the force of impact in an accident.
A car accident can also cause many other types of injuries beyond soft tissue damage, including broken bones, facial injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, and damage to internal organs. Catastrophic and fatal injuries are also possible in severe accidents that occur at high speeds.
Can a Minor Car Accident Cause Injury?
It’s common for drivers to experience “fender benders” that seemingly result in no injuries, only to experience pain and other medical complications within a few days of the incident. Even minor car accidents can cause serious injuries, some of which may not be immediately noticeable. It is also possible for some injuries to manifest undetectable symptoms that quickly worsen to life-threatening levels.
Should I Always Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident?
As a general rule, it is vital to seek medical treatment after any car accident, even if you believe your injuries are only minor. Even seemingly minor injuries can cause dramatic medical complications when left untreated. If you suffered a very apparent and painful injury from an accident, it is typically best to visit the nearest hospital for medical treatment as soon as possible. However, if you believe you only suffered minor injuries, you may visit an urgent care facility or your family doctor for examination and treatment.
It’s crucial for any car accident victim to remember the importance of seeking care promptly after an accident, even when injuries appear to be minor. The physician who treats you will provide you with a medical report outlining the severity of your injuries and the prognosis for potential future complications. This document will be crucial if you intend to file an insurance claim or pursue further legal action following your accident.
How Many Days After a Car Accident Do You Feel Pain?
Some car accident victims experience pain immediately from their injuries, while others experience a delayed onset of painful symptoms. In some cases, pain and other symptoms appear in the first 24 hours after an accident, while in others, the victim may not notice any pain until several days or even a week after their car accident. This is another reason it is important to seek prompt medical care following any car accident, no matter how minor it may seem. It’s possible that you suffered severe injuries that are not yet noticeable, and a physician will be able to identify hidden injuries and help you offset pain as much as and as early as possible.
What Happens to the Body in a Car Accident?
Crash impact forces from a car accident can have a dramatic effect on the human body. The force of impact can cause soft tissue injuries throughout the body, affecting everything from the musculoskeletal system to the internal organs. Some of the ways a car accident can affect the body include:
- Seatbelt syndrome, a condition that entails damage to the abdomen and internal organs from improper use of a seatbelt. The lap portion of the seatbelt should rest across the top of the hips, not across the stomach. The constriction of the seatbelt worn incorrectly can cause this condition, sometimes rupturing internal organs.
- Whiplash, a condition entailing soft tissue damage in the spine and neck. The force of impact causes the head to snap back and forth rapidly, resulting in whiplash symptoms. This type of injury is common from rear-end collisions and may result in stiffness, swelling, blurred vision, and other symptoms.
- Crushing injuries. If a driver is pinned by another vehicle, the part of the body that is pinned may experience severe crushing injuries. These injuries may include compound bone fractures, extensive soft tissue damage, and other wounds that will require surgical treatment.
This is not an exhaustive list, and car accidents are capable of inflicting severe injuries throughout the body.
How Can I Heal Faster After a Car Accident?
Recovery can be difficult after any car accident injury. Still, you can make your recovery process easier and faster by seeking immediate treatment after your accident and heeding the recommendations of your doctor. Prompt care ensures your physician can identify and treat your injuries as quickly as possible. Listening to their recommendations for your recovery is equally crucial. Failure to heed your doctor’s advice after an accident can not only cause your injuries to worsen but also complicate future insurance claims or legal proceedings. You will not be able to hold the other driver responsible for any medical expenses you incur due to not listening to your doctor’s instructions and worsening them yourself.
You can heal faster after a car accident by following your doctor’s instructions to the letter, reporting changes in your symptoms to your doctor as soon as they appear, and by resting as much as possible. Your car accident may require you to take time off work, but if another driver caused your accident, you might be able to recover lost income through a personal injury claim against them.
Can You Sue for a Car Accident If You Are Not Hurt?
Personal injury law exists to ensure that a victim of another party’s negligence has a legal vehicle for securing compensation for their loss, making them as “whole” as possible again. To proceed with a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove “actual harm” or that your accident resulted in some tangible, measurable loss. Typically, if you did not suffer any harm from an incident, there are no grounds for a personal injury claim. However, physical injury is just one type of harm that a car accident may potentially cause. It’s possible to claim compensation for property damage for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, lost income resulting from the incident, and pain and suffering damage for psychological suffering.
An experienced attorney can help you evaluate the types of damages you can claim in a car accident lawsuit and your overall possible recovery. It’s vital to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you thoroughly explore every possible channel of compensation available to you after a car accident for the most complete recovery possible.
Do You Always Get Pain and Suffering From a Car Accident?
“Pain and suffering” may seem like a difficult concept to assign a monetary value in a personal injury claim. Still, the reality is that pain and suffering compensation can potentially form the bulk of a plaintiff’s recovery depending on the severity of their injuries. Typically, the amount of pain and suffering compensation a car accident victim receives depends on the severity of their claimed injuries and the likelihood of those injuries causing permanent medical complications. It is also possible to secure pain and suffering compensation for the trauma caused by an accident.
How Is Pain and Suffering Damage Calculated?
Attorneys seek pain and suffering compensation based on the severity of their client’s injuries and any permanent effects those injuries will have on the client. It’s common for attorneys to use their clients claimed medical expenses as a starting point for calculating pain and suffering damage. For example, a plaintiff claiming $50,000 in medical expenses for a severe injury that will entail months or years in recovery could expect to receive $100,000 or more in pain and suffering damages.
For less severe injuries that still result in pain, victims may secure “per diem” pain and suffering compensation instead of a multiplicative amount suitable for more severe injuries. With per diem pain and suffering, the plaintiff receives a set amount of compensation each day until they reach maximum medical improvement. “Maximum medical improvement” is the legal term for the point at which a victim’s injury has healed as much as is physically possible.
How Much Should I Settle for After a Car Accident?
Every car accident victim must understand the risks of settling too quickly after their accidents. A car accident can cause expensive medical bills that compound into additional damages such as lost income and pain and suffering. It’s vital to accurately assess the full scope of claimable damages in a car accident before accepting any settlement.
This is especially crucial for any injured driver who intends to file an insurance claim after a car accident. Insurance carriers tend to coerce claimants into settling for as little as possible to minimize their losses, typically relying on desperation to compel the claimant into signing off on a lowball settlement offer.
Whether you intend to pursue an insurance claim, a personal injury case against the person who hit you, or both, it is essential to secure legal counsel as soon as possible before accepting any settlement. Your attorney can help you review the full extent of your claimable damages, so you know exactly how much to expect from your claim if you are successful.
How Long Does a Car Accident Claim Take to Settle?
The vast majority of car accident claims settle outside of court and typically do so relatively quickly. It is in the best interests of any party involved in a car accident to seek a speedy resolution of the issue. For the victim, a swifter settlement means compensation for their losses more quickly, alleviating the financial pressure that a car accident can easily cause. For at-fault drivers, quick settlement allows them to put the issue behind them as soon as possible and secure release of future liability for any future claims related to the incident in question.
While a settlement is much faster than litigation in personal injury cases, the actual settlement process may take several weeks or even months to complete. If you must take your car accident claim to trial, the court case may take even longer, possibly even more than a year, before you will resolve the matter.
Should I Get a Lawyer If I Was in a Car Accident?
Some car accidents result in only minor cosmetic damage to the vehicles involved and cause no physical harm to the drivers. However, any vehicle accident has the potential to cause injuries. If you are unsure whether you need legal counsel after a car accident, it is generally best to err on the side of caution and speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible to review your case and discuss your legal options. At the very least, you should expect to file an insurance claim after the accident and have an attorney assist in the drafting of your initial claim letter to the insurance company. This will encourage the insurer to process your claim as expediently as possible and minimizes the chances of encountering undue pushback against your claim.
An attorney will be crucial if you intend to take legal action for your accident, even if you pursue an insurance claim against the driver responsible for causing it. Your insurance claim payout may be insufficient for covering the full scope of your damages, especially if the at-fault driver only had a minimum insurance coverage policy.
How Do I Get the Most Money From a Car Accident?
If another driver caused an accident with your vehicle, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for all damages resulting from the incident. Working with an experienced car accident attorney offers the best chance of maximizing your compensation after a car accident. Your attorney will carefully review the details of your case and help you secure compensation for damages, including:
- Medical expenses, both the immediate costs following the crash and long-term medical expenses you incur from severe injuries. For example, you can claim compensation for an emergency room bill and the cost of physical therapy required for months or years into your recovery.
- Property damages, such as repair costs for your vehicle or the total cash value of your car if it was destroyed in the accident. You can also claim the cost of fixing any property the accident damaged or replacing anything destroyed in the accident.
- Pain and suffering. This type of compensation exists to help you recover from your physical pain and mental anguish resulting from a car crash. Your attorney can help you determine an appropriate amount to claim.
- Lost income. Your injuries can prevent you from working for an extended time, and your attorney can help you secure compensation for the income lost during your recovery. Additionally, if you developed a permanent disability that prevents you from working, your attorney can help you secure compensation for the income you would have reasonably expected to earn in the future.
- Punitive damages. While you cannot claim this type of compensation directly in your car accident case, a judge may award you punitive damages if the defendant in your case was egregiously negligent or engaged in any criminal activity when they caused the accident. You can also secure punitive damages or restitution if another driver deliberately hit you with their vehicle.
Ultimately, the total recovery from your accident may be much greater than you initially expect. Working with an experienced car accident lawyer is the best way to ensure you receive the most compensation allowable under state law, and your attorney will guide you through each phase of your case with greater confidence.
What Should You Do Immediately After an Accident?
The first steps you take following a motor vehicle accident are critical if you intend to secure the maximum recovery possible for your claim. First, you should report any car accident resulting in injury, death, or significant property damage to the police. If you are unsure whether an accident qualifies for a call to the police, it is best to be safe and report it so there is a police report on file, and you avoid potential accusations of hit-and-run. Once the police respond and allow you to leave, make sure you seek medical care immediately. If you suffered severe injuries, it is likely that first responders will arrange ambulance transportation to take you to the hospital. If you are well enough to leave on your own, visit a doctor immediately and have yourself checked for injury.
It’s a good idea to take photos of the crash scene if at all possible. Photograph your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, the positions of your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle in the road, and nearby landmarks. These photos will help a future insurance claim or car accident lawsuit against the other driver. If your car is not in drivable condition after the accident, it will require towing to a nearby auto repair center, and you will need to find a ride home from a friend or family member.
Once you have handled the initial requirement of reporting your accident to the police and seeking medical care, contact an attorney as soon as possible to start working on your case. You may be able to secure much more compensation than you initially realize with the help of an experienced lawyer. While you cannot always avoid being hurt in a crash, you can avoid being hurt by the long-term financial problems such an accident can cause for you and your family. If you have recently suffered injuries in a vehicle accident and are unsure of how to proceed with your legal options, contact the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal to schedule a complimentary review of your car accident claim with our team.