ANSWERS TO COMMONLY ASKED CAR ACCIDENT QUESTIONS
What are the first steps to take following a car accident?
The moments and days immediately after a car accident can be confusing, stressful, and full of pressure for the victim. In the midst of the chaos that follows an accident, there are several things that you should remember at the scene of the accident. Following these steps will protect yourself, and will help the claim process to come much less complicated.
- Call 911 so that you can receive emergency medical treatment.
- If you are able, exit your car and sit or stand safely away from the road.
- If you are dizzy or in pain, stay still until help arrives.
- If you feel able, help those who need assistance.
- Immediately begin to document the scene. Take photographs of as much as you can, such as the vehicles involved, and scenery surrounding the accident from all angles. The photos may later be invaluable to proving fault in the accident.
- Gather important information. Ask the other drivers for their contact and insurance information. Take down their license plate numbers. Ask any witnesses for their contact information.
- Call the local law enforcement so that you can report the accident.
My injuries from the accident are permanent. What can I do?
Unfortunately, car accidents often cause life-altering injuries for the victims involved. Permanent injuries change the nature of a personal injury case as a whole, because not only are you as the victim suffering in the present and near future, but the quality of your life may be forever affected.
In this case, you absolutely need comprehensive compensation, which covers the past and present costs incurred from the accident, but it also ensures that the injured victim will receive the necessary care for the rest of his or her life. In order to receive this type of compensation, the case must be started at the appropriate time frame. Permanently injured victims may need to wait until they have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). This means that the victim has received thorough medical care, and the analysis of the victim’s condition is that he or she will not get any better from this point. This state requires patience and guidance as to when the appropriate time to file the claim arises. Because of the complexities of claims for permanent injuries, it is vital to have experienced and skilled representation.
How would fault be determined in a car accident?
There is no exact formula to prove that another driver is at fault for a car accident. The ability to determine fault is an art rather than a process. Multiple factors must be evaluated, such as if the law was broken by a driver at the time of the accident (was the driver exceeding the speed limit? Was the driver drunk or under the influence of drugs? Did the driver make an illegal turn?). However, providing proof for these factors is not an easy accomplishment. But if proof is established, it could easily determine fault.
Another factor that must be considered is determining what kind of car accident took place. For example, in most rear-end accidents, the driver in the back is often the one at fault. But this is not always the case; the driver behind might have been cut off, or the driver in front might have reversed the car. In areas that can appear “gray” or difficult to determine, it is critical to have a highly qualified attorney giving you legal counsel.
What are some of the most common causes of car crashes?
The majority of car accidents occur because of human error. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Florida drivers are ranked as the worst in the nation regarding distracted/careless driving. This category of driving includes:
- Texting while driving
- Talking on the phone/to other passengers while driving
- Using navigation systems and media while driving
- Eating while driving
Other causes for car accidents include: disregarding traffic signals, driving the wrong way, turning or passing improperly, driving drunk or drugged, and failing to yield the right-of-way. However, not all crashes are caused by drivers. A malfunction of auto parts is the fault of the manufacturer or distributor. Dangerous roads, inclement weather, and animals can also cause car accidents to occur.
What is whiplash?
Whiplash is a common result of car accidents. It takes place when the neck is over-extended past its normal range of motion. If a person is hit from behind, the impact can cause the next to extend forward, but when the driver’s body hits the seatbelt, the neck is then immediately thrust back. More than a million people experience whiplash each year, making it the most common nonfatal injury resulting from car accidents. This is because a car accident does not have to be severe for whiplash to occur. Impact from speeds as low as 15mph can cause whiplash, and while the injury may be minor, it can still cause severe pain and discomfort.
What if I was partially at fault for the car accident? Can I still recover?
Florida Statues §768.81 (2012) explains contributory fault. This section of the law states that if you have been negligent in your driving and have been found to be partially at fault for an accident, you may still be able to recover damages. However, the economic and noneconomic damages awarded will be diminished proportionately. For example, if you are deemed responsible for 20% of the accident, and you would have recovered $100,000 in damages, you would only recover 80%, or $80,000 due to the proportion of your fault.
Contact us today if you want one of our attorneys to begin working for YOU. We are ready to offer you a free consultation where we can discuss your case with you, as well as the possibility of representing you as you seek the compensation you deserve. Call us to schedule your consultation today, or send us an online message.
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