Car accidents are known to be one of the most common causes of physical injuries; therefore, finding a skilled car accident lawyer is of utmost importance. Although most collisions are minor, many accidents are not and these can cause serious or catastrophic injuries, permanent disability, or even death.
However, any injury suffered in a collision, large or small, can result in pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, medical expenses. If you are injured in a collision and the collision is due to the negligence of another, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses and damages.
Unfortunately, many vehicle accident victims never collect the full amount of damages. Every injury claim is different and there are many factors that play into the valuation of every claim. Truly, the facts of every injury claim are different. Everything about you and about your claim can add to the value of your claim or detract from the value of your claim. An experienced car accident lawyer will help accentuate your “positives” and minimize your “negatives” to get the most out of your claim. Unrepresented claimants often believe that insurance representatives – claims adjusters – are there to treat them fairly. Insurance adjusters are there for one reason and that is to minimize the amount their insurers have to pay. Hence, if you want to be adequately compensated, you should choose an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Read on to know more about automobile accidents and how an experienced attorney like Thomas M. Hunter, Attorney at Law, can assist car accident victims in receiving the compensation they deserve.
6 Things to Know About Car Accident Claims
1. Who can bring a claim or file a suit?
Adults who are injured are eligible to prosecute claims on their own behalf. Minors must be represented by a recognized guardian to have claims adjusted of claims prosecuted. Generally, state statutes dictate who can act on the minor’s behalf. A guardian may be a natural guardian, like a parent, or a person appointed by a court to serve in that capacity. In some cases, someone who was not physically injured may be able to prosecute a claim. Examples of such instances include wrongful death claims, survival actions and claims involving a loss of consortium. When a family member is injured or killed, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine who may have a claim and who the proper party or parties may be to bring any claims.
2. Statute of Limitations
Various circumstances influence a person’s capacity to pursue a car accident lawsuit. First, time is always a consideration and claims must be brought within the time provided by law. Use it or lose it. If you wait too long to bring a suit, you may lose the right to seek compensation. Generally, in the state of Georgia, you may file a lawsuit up to two years after the date of the accident, but some circumstances exist that are deemed to “toll” the running of the statute. There are various statutes and case law rulings that affect the statute of limitations, so it is always important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer, especially when the “clock is ticking” and that two-year period is about to expire! Some example of circumstances that might affect the running of the statute of limitations might be the age or competence of the injured person, the disposition of a criminal charge related to the subject matter of the injury, statewide mandates, like those imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic, that affected public mobility, or even the discovery of a injury that took time to discover, as sometimes occur in medical malpractice cases.
3. Other Considerations
Anything and everything that happens following a car accident is potential evidence in the claim. What you do and say, where you go, what eye witnesses, police investigators and medical providers report and how you act from the moment of your collision until the ultimate resolution of your claim, by settlement or verdict, can figure into your claim. States have differing rules when fault, or blame, for the collision is apportioned between or among various parties, including the plaintiff. And, of course, there are different considerations when dealing with liability adjusters and with uninsured motorist carriers.
4. Causes of Common Automobile Collisions
Many factors might lead to car accidents, but the most common cause is careless or inattentive driving. When a driver’s carelessness results in a collision with another vehicle, the injured party may be entitled to compensation. If you or a loved one has been harmed in an automobile accident, an expereinced attorney can assist you in determining whether the occurrence was caused by careless driving.
The following are the most common causes of car accidents:
- Driving While Distracted
- Driving under the influence
- Road and Weather Conditions
- Aggressive or Reckless Driving
- Mechanical Error
5. Crashworthiness of Vehicles
Crashworthiness refers to a vehicle’s capacity to protect its occupants in the case of a collision. Airbags, seatbelts, roll bars, and headrests are safety features designed to limit injury and to prevent fire and ejection from the vehicle. However, if these features fail, substantial harm can occur, raising questions about crashworthiness.
6. Choosing a Crashworthy Vehicle
Crashworthiness cases are focused on the “second collision,” in which the driver and passengers collide with the vehicle’s interior. In most cases of crashworthiness, the cause of the accident is of secondary importance. However, if liability is apportioned between a negligent third party and a vehicle manufacturer, the ability to collect on a judgment will be affected by the apportioned negligence. Crashworthiness cases are expensive to litigate, so only cases with significant damages will justify such actions.
Defects in crashworthiness are the responsibility of the manufacturer and considerations might include a failure to warn, design defects, and manufacturing defects.
Have an experienced attorney examine your case and decide whether a defective crashworthiness feature was to blame for your injuries and who may be responsible.
What to Do If You’ve Been in a Car Accident
Do not jeopardize your opportunity to collect the compensation you deserve from those who caused the accident. Even if your claim is valid, the insurance companies for the other driver involved will try to refute or minimize your claim. Therefore, it’s crucial to follow the basic guidelines described below in the case of an accident so that vital evidence is preserved and your right to full compensation is not jeopardized.
At the Scene of an Automobile Collision
First and foremost, any injured party should receive medical assistance at the scene of an auto collision. If you need to be transported to the hospital, get treatment there, too. All parties must provide their names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information, as required by law. Take photos, if you can without putting yourself in jeopardy of injuring yourself further.
Do not accept responsibility or fault for the collision under any circumstances and do not provide extraneous information to anyone. Instead, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney immediately to ensure that your rights are protected, if you have been harmed.
Following a Car Accident
In the days after a car accident, you should do the following:
- Continue with medical care. If you wait or delay in getting treated, the insurance carrier will contend that you must not have been hurting during the delay.
- Keep track of the medical treatment you receive for your injuries.
Notify your Insurance Provider
Once the car accident occurs, notify your insurance company immediately. This is important, especially if it turns out that the other driver is uninsured or underinsured and you need to access your own UM coverage to pay all or part of your claim. Let your lawyer contact the other insurance carrier for you. Remember that what you say may be evidence in your claim and you don’t want to say the wrong thing inadvertently.
Reports that are Required to be Filed
If you feel any pain or discomfort at the scene of a collision, be sure to notify the investigating police officer of your complaint. A competent officer will document your complaint on the accident report. If the pain or discomfort is significant, or if the injury is at risk of getting worse unless treated immediately, e.g., a head injury, loss of consciousness, etc., you should request an ambulance to take you to the hospital. Generally, parties to a collision exchange insurance information which enables prompt contact with insurance providers.
Maintain Thorough Records
Make a note of everything that transpired during the accident as soon as possible. Also, keep track of any medical attention you received due to the accident. On a daily basis – religiously – keep a journal of how your injuries have affected your daily living. This will help refresh your memory down the line, if a suit is necessary and your case goes to trial one day far off in the future.
Immediately Retain the Services of a Car Accident Lawyer
An experienced auto accident attorney can help you protect your rights from the start and manage and position your claim for maximum value. Gathering evidence while it is still fresh and available can often make a substantial difference in your claim.
You are strongly advised to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your vehicle accident to ensure that your rights are protected and that you get fair compensation for your injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the First Thing You Should Do in a Car Accident?
The first thing to do when you or someone is injured in a car accident is to call 911 as soon as possible. If you can’t, ask someone else in the car to do it for you or ask a bystander to do it for you.
Is There a Difference Between a Car Crash and an Accident?
The words “car crash” and “accident” are used interchangeably, but they are subtly different. The term “accident” suggests that a collision occurred through no one’s fault. The statement “it was merely an accident” exemplifies this. The word “crash,” on the other hand, simply denotes that a collision and does not embody any notion of fault.
What are the 3 Most Common Types of Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, three types of collisions occur more frequently than others: rear-end collisions, angle collisions, and sideswipes. Likely, driver distraction is the most prevalent underlying component in all of these..
Trusted Car Accident Lawyer
Thomas M. Hunter is a trusted car accident lawyer. In the 42 years that he has been practicing law, he has been committed to providing his clients with the information they need to make good decisions on their cases.
Mr. Hunter will represent you well and seek full compensation for your injuries, including your medical bills, lost earnings, other injury-related expenditures and your general damages, including your pain and suffering.
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Contact Thomas Hunter Law Firm at (912) 231-1116!
Thomas Hunter Law Firm
7505 Waters Ave, A1 Savannah, GA 31406