Following a car accident, injured drivers and passengers may file a claim under their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy or a third-party personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, depending on the circumstances.
In either situation, an accident victim or their lawyer will typically need to deal with insurance company representatives, including adjusters.
Adjusters want to resolve claims for as little monetary compensation as possible. After all, insurance companies may stand to lose a lot of money if they have to pay out a large personal injury settlement in a car crash case. In short, they are not in the business to pay accident victims the full and fair monetary award they deserve for their injuries.
Having an experienced attorney on board in your case is one of the most important steps you can take following your car accident. A car accident lawyer can handle all written and spoken communications with insurance company representatives on your behalf.
Your lawyer can also negotiate with adjusters and pursue the fair monetary award you deserve to recover, depending on your injuries and other accident-specific factors. Your lawyer can also help you litigate your third-party case through the court system if the insurance company does not offer you a favorable monetary award.
Whatever you decide, your lawyer will aggressively assist you with every step of the process and work to obtain the maximum amount of monetary damages you need in your case.
Car Accident Injuries
Injuries that car accident victims may suffer are extremely accident-specific. They usually depend upon the number of vehicles involved in a crash, the force of the collision(s), and how their body moves in the vehicle during the crash.
For example, an accident victim’s head might strike the vehicle’s door frame, window, or steering wheel, resulting in a traumatic head injury, like a concussion. A driver or passenger might strike their knee or elbow on the door frame, resulting in a painful broken bone or soft tissue injury.
Other common injuries that car crash victims frequently suffer include rib fractures, internal bleeding, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, full or partial paralysis, eye injuries, open lacerations, and bruises.
If you suffered one or more of these injuries in a car crash that another driver caused, your lawyer can help you explore your legal options and decide the best course of action for your case.
Specifically, your attorney can file a PIP insurance claim on your behalf or pursue a third-party personal injury claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. Your attorney can then start negotiating favorable settlement compensation in your case.
Typical Car Crash Causes
Car crashes are usually the direct result of another driver’s reckless or negligent behavior. For example, a driver may cause an accident when they violate one or more traffic laws, such as by speeding excessively, failing to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle, failing to use their rearview and side view mirrors, or failing to use a turn signal when switching lanes on a busy highway or executing a turn on the road.
Car crashes can also occur when drivers exhibit road rage or reckless driving maneuvers. When drivers exhibit road rage, they may speed, cut off motor vehicles at highway merge lanes, tailgate other vehicles, or zealously weave around traffic to get ahead.
However, due to these aggressive driving maneuvers, serious accidents can occur and leave other drivers and passengers with serious injuries.
Car accidents may also happen when drivers do not use the technological safety features of their vehicles, including backup cameras and lane change alerts.
Moreover, when a driver fails to use their backup camera, rearview mirror, or side view mirror when backing out of a parking space, they might fail to see another vehicle or hit a pedestrian behind them, causing serious injuries. Drivers must also use their mirrors and other devices on their vehicles when driving in heavy traffic.
Additionally, car accidents may happen when someone drives while distracted. They may turn their head away from the road or look down at some point while driving, such as when reading a text message on a phone or smartwatch.
Many other electronic and non-electronic distractions can cause crashes, including eating and drinking, grooming, navigating, and more. When a driver fails to focus their attention on the road, they may not see another vehicle and crash into it.
Finally, some car crashes result from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). Alcohol can blur a driver’s vision, causing them to lose control of their vehicle and strike another. In addition, impaired driving may lead to delayed reflexes and reaction time, preventing a driver from stopping in time to avoid hitting another vehicle or pedestrian.
Drivers who incur a criminal DUI conviction may have to pay monetary fines, serve jail time, and incur other criminal penalties. Additionally, a drunk driver may have to pay civil damages through their insurance company if they negligently cause a traffic accident that injures another driver or pedestrian.
If you sustained injuries in a recent car crash, immediately seek legal help. Your attorney can recover the full monetary damages you deserve by bringing a timely claim or lawsuit. Your attorney can also handle all settlement negotiations for you and work to secure the favorable damage award you need to recover in your case.
Examples of Common Car Crashes
When drivers behave negligently while behind the wheel, they may cause several different types of car crashes.
Some of the most common types of car accidents that negligent drivers cause include:
- Sideswipe accidents, where the sides of two or more vehicles strike one another
- Broadside accidents or T-bone collisions, where one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle, usually because the first driver failed to yield the right-of-way at the appropriate time
- Head-on crashes, where the fronts of two vehicles strike one another
- Rear-end (or tailgate) accidents, where one vehicle hits the back of another vehicle
If you suffered injuries in one of these types of accidents, quickly retain legal counsel to handle your case. Your attorney can file the correct insurance claim and pursue the full monetary compensation you deserve to recover for your injuries.
Filing a No-fault or Third-party Claim after a Car Crash
Following a motor vehicle crash, accident victims in New York can file a PIP claim with their own insurance carrier.
PIP damages compensate accident victims for their medical expenses, lost income, and other out-of-pocket losses stemming from their accident.
However, in certain situations, they may file a third-party personal injury claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company, such as where the accident victim suffers a disabling or permanent injury or where their total damages exceed their PIP insurance coverage.
Your attorney can file a claim for PIP insurance benefits and determine if you can also file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This determination depends on the severity of your injuries and the specific cause of your crash.
Negotiating a Favorable Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company in Your Case
Negotiating favorable settlement compensation for car accident injuries can be a complicated task. The negotiations for car accident settlement may take several weeks or even months before the claim fully resolves.
In a third-party claim, an accident victim’s attorney might need to file a personal injury lawsuit in the court system before the insurance company takes the case seriously and offers reasonable settlement compensation.
During settlement negotiations, the accident victim’s attorney typically makes an opening settlement demand. The insurance company adjuster then makes an offer far below the actual value of the case.
The parties may continue negotiating until the case either settles amicably or the parties reach an impasse. During these negotiations, a car accident lawyer may point to favorable documentation in the case, including car accident’s police reports, medical records, medical bills, and lost income documents from the accident victim’s employer.
If the insurance company still refuses to compensate the accident victim fairly, the accident victim’s lawyer may recommend litigation.
Litigation Options in Car Crash Cases
If you file a third-party claim for monetary damages and the insurance company refuses to offer you the fair monetary compensation you deserve, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in your case.
Even after you file a lawsuit, your case may still settle at some point along the way. The majority of car crash claims do settle because litigating a case to trial can be time-consuming and costlier for all parties involved.
During litigation, the parties may:
- Exchange documents
- Answer written questions, called Interrogatories
- Take one another’s discovery depositions
- Attend settlement conferences with the court
If the parties can’t resolve their case, they may take it to a jury trial and let the jury decide on the appropriate amount of compensation to award the injured accident victim. The parties might also decide to resolve their case at an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding, such as mediation or binding arbitration.
Your attorney can help you decide on the best option for your case and aggressively fight for your interests every step of the way.
Monetary Damages Following a Car Accident
In a third-party personal injury claim or lawsuit stemming from a car accident, the accident victim can recover various monetary damages, depending on their circumstances, the nature and extent of their injuries, the medical treatment they underwent, and the total cost of their medical treatment.
For example, the accident victim might have needed surgery, physical therapy, or other ongoing treatment for their injuries. All of that treatment can lead to high medical bills, not to mention lost income if the accident victim had to miss time from work to treat their injuries.
Victims of car crashes who file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company can recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost earnings, loss of earning capacity, loss of life enjoyment, loss of the ability to use one or more body parts, mental distress, pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of spousal companionship, and lifetime care costs.
A skilled car accident attorney in your area can determine which damages you can recover in your case. Your lawyer can also establish a settlement range for your case and maximize the total compensation you receive for your injuries.
Speak with a Car Crash Attorney Near You Right Away
Accident victims have a short time to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit following a car crash. Specifically, in many states, they must file a personal injury lawsuit within two or three years of their accident. Otherwise, absent extremely limited circumstances, they cannot recover compensation for their injuries.
An experienced car accident attorney in your area can help you file your car accident claim or lawsuit in a timely manner and work to recover the highest amount of monetary damages available to you in your case.
Once you consult a lawyer, you no longer have to worry about your legal rights or compensation you deserve. They can advise you of your options as an injured accident victim and begin the process of exercising those rights. You can focus on your physical recovery and trust that someone is working for your best interests and financial future. Once you hire a personal injury attorney in Bronx, you will not need to fight an insurance company alone.