Automobile accident claims are by far the most common type of civil tort litigation pending in our court system today. Except in those states where legislation has been passed doing away with fault as an issue ( no-fault laws ), these cases are litigated under general negligence principles.
The injured plaintiff files a law suit in court and is required to prove that the defendant was negligent, that the negligence was a proximate cause of the accident, and that the accident caused the plaintiff's injuries. Not only may the defendant contest these issues, but under common law the defenses of contributory negligence and assumption of risk may also be raised to defeat the liability portion of the claim. Damages may be attacked on the basis that they were not proximately caused by the accident (causation) or on their severity.
Car crashes & automobile accidents on our Nation's roadways pose a significant risk to the traveling public. In fact, auto accidents are the leading cause of death for those under the age of thirty-four. Each year there are approximately five million motor vehicle accidents, in which more than 40,000 people are killed. Many of these accidents involve children and teens. In 2002 alone, almost 43,000 people were killed in highway accidents nationwide, equating to more than 115 traffic fatalities every day.
Traffic accidents cost the public more than $150 billion per year, and statistics indicate that every American is likely to be involved in at least one auto accident during his lifetime. If you're involved in an auto accident, it is imperative to know what actions to take in order to ensure your well being and protect your legal rights.
If you have been seriously injured in an accident, the car insurance companies may owe you large sums of money for lost income, treatment, pain and suffering from your injury. Depending on your car accident and injury, you may be entitled to tens of thousands or millions of dollars for your peace of mind, suffering and to help with treatments.
If there is a negligent driver responsible for your accident, the insurance company of the driver may owe you compensation. Getting the highest possible compensation requires an experienced car accident attorney
How do I get compensation for my injury for treatment, lost income and suffering?
Your car accident claim may be based on two forms of compensation:
a) Your insurance will compensate may compensate you for your injury. Some states have a no-fault policy where your insurance company covers the cost of the injuries. Check your insurance policy or have an attorney evaluate your policy to determine what your coverage is and the relevant laws in your state.
b) Find a negligent party. If someone's driving error or negligence is responsible for your accident, your attorney may file a claim for compensation with the driver's insurance company. A passenger in a car may have a claim against the driver of the car (even if it is a family member).
Steps to Filing a Car Accident Injury Claim what an Attorney will do)
1. Review police reports and other records of the accident.
2. Gather medical records of injuries from your medical doctors for damages & treatment compensation.
3. Gather financial records showing the car accident victim's lost income and damages.
4. Negotiate with insurance companies. Typically most claims are resolved by negotiations between your attorney and the attorney of the negligent driver's insurance company. The attorneys will use similar cases with similar injuries and losses as the basis of fair compensation for your injuries.
You should consider finding an attorney if the damages are severe or you have lost over $2,000 in lost income, treatments or pain and suffering. The accident or diagnosis of your injury should have occurred within the last three years. A victim's right to compensation may expire after a few years depending on your state's laws. Your amount of time to file a case varies from state to state. In general, you should try to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
Motor Vehicle Accidents Resource Links
Federal Trade Commission
Provides consumer education materials on automobiles.
Federal Citizen Information Center
Features consumer information on cars.
Insurance Information Institute
Includes information on auto safety, auto insurance, teen drivers and more.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety / Highway Loss Data Institute
Features vehicle ratings, safety facts, publications and more.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Provides crash statistics and articles about automobile accidents, product safety, and child passenger safety.