If You Have an Accident in Which Someone Is Injured, What Should You Do?Auto Accidents
Car accidents are a common occurrence across the United States. They can be a fender bender or a catastrophic crash. No matter the severity of the accident, you can suffer serious injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 9,560 people lost their lives in car accidents across the country in the first several months of 2022. After a devastating loss or injury, you may have the right to monetary recovery.
Getting hurt in a car accident can mean long hospital stays, lengthy recovery, lost work, and missing out on family events. If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a car accident, you might be entitled to financial compensation.
Sometimes getting the money you need to fully recover after a car accident can be challenging. If you suffered an injury in an accident, you need to take advantage of the experience of a skilled car accident attorney in your area. There is no reason to go after financial recovery alone after a car accident. Contact a car accident attorney in your area immediately after a car accident.
If you were involved in an accident where someone was injured, there are some things that you should know. The most important thing is how to react after an accident happens. To learn more about the most important next steps after a car accident where someone was hurt, continue reading and reach out to a Charleston car accident lawyer.
Get Medical Treatment Immediately
Your priority after an accident should be getting medical treatment. Even if you do not think your injuries are serious, you should still see a doctor. Getting proper medical care after a car accident is one of the most important things you can do to care for yourself or others that suffered an injury in a car accident.
Why Should I Get Medical Treatment After an Accident?
It is vital to get medical care after a car accident. Proper and prompt medical care can save your life and your car accident case. The following are some reasons that you should seek medical treatment right away after an accident.
Take Care of Your Injuries
The first is to ensure that you are okay. Many injuries cannot be self-diagnosed, so you need a physical examination after a car accident. Some injuries are common in a car accident with no symptoms or symptoms that do not show up until weeks or months after the car accident happens.
You may put yourself in danger of further injury if you delay treatment. Part of taking care of yourself and getting back to normal after a car accident is seeing a doctor. Do not delay medical care after getting into a car accident.
Start Building Your Case
Every car accident victim that pursues litigation must prove that they were harmed and suffered injuries because of the car accident. Getting immediate medical attention is the best way to connect your injuries to a car accident. Your case gets weaker if too much time passes between the accident and you getting medical attention.
Insurance companies look for any hole in your case. If it discovers that you delayed medical treatment, it will use that to prove you are not as badly hurt as you claim. To build your case and improve your chances of success, get to a doctor immediately after the accident.
Comply With Your Car Insurance Policy
Check the terms of your car insurance policy because you may be required to seek medical treatment after a car accident under your agreement. Further, you may be required to see a doctor within a specified time under the terms of your insurance policy. If you do not seek treatment, you may void your policy and lose your car insurance coverage in the future.
Always Follow the Doctor’s Orders
You must follow your doctor’s orders. An insurance company can take anything you say and use it against you, so an insurance adjuster can try to use medical noncompliance as proof that you are not as hurt as you claim. Going back and forth to the doctor can be frustrating, but it is essential to your health and case to stay the course and complete your treatment plan.
Common Injuries That Happen After Car Accidents
Every car accident is unique, and depending on the severity of the crash, you can have injuries ranging from mild and temporary to severe and permanent.
Some examples of injuries that occur in car accidents include:
- Compound fractures
- Concussions/traumatic brain injuries/other brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Neck/back/spinal cord injuries
- Bruising and contusions
You may be entitled to compensation for any of the above injuries or for injuries that are not listed. An experienced car accident attorney can help ensure you receive the money you need to recover fully and do so in peace. If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a car accident, contact a car accident attorney in your area to learn more about your right to compensation after a car accident.
Special damages are economic damages. These kinds of damages have a specific dollar amount associated with them and are reasonably straightforward in many cases. A settlement offer should include past and future economic damages.
Examples of special damages include:
- Current and future lost income
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost earning capacity
- Funeral and burial expenses
General damages are non-economic and intangible. These damages do not have a specific dollar amount attached to them. Recovering general damages is difficult because of their non-concrete nature.
You need an experienced car accident attorney to assist you if the accident left you with:
- Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering damages are awarded to car accident victims for the inconvenience of being in a car accident. An experienced car accident attorney can help you prove pain and suffering damages.
- Loss of consortium: A loss of consortium claim is for a car accident victim’s spouse. This cause of action is available to compensate the spouse for the loss of the companionship of their loved one. An experienced car accident attorney can help you and your spouse claim your loss of consortium.
- Mental and emotional distress: You may recover compensation for the mental and emotional trauma that results from experiencing a car accident.
- Reduced quality of life: Your car accident attorney will help you build a case for reduced quality of life. This claim is for intangible damages because there is no way to objectively measure whether your quality of life has decreased. However, despite the lack of concrete proof, your car accident attorney will help you prove your damages.
Punitive damages are awarded to car accident victims to punish a defendant and deter similar actions in the future. Courts award punitive damages in only rare cases. Depending on the state, punitive damages may have a cap at a certain dollar amount. A car accident attorney in your area can help you understand whether you have a right to punitive damages and how much money to expect if a jury awards these damages.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help Me?
If you were involved in a car accident and someone was hurt, you need a car accident attorney immediately. A car accident attorney is your best resource to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Ways that car accident attorneys help injury victims win their cases include:
Negotiate With the Insurance Company
Car accident attorneys work as a shield against the tactics of insurance companies. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses with a singular goal- protecting the bottom line.
Insurance adjusters will employ various tactics to keep the business from paying out your claim to protect the business’s profit margins. The insurance company uses tactics that include downplaying your injuries, attempting to shift the blame for the accident from the other driver to you, etc. Your car accident attorney will help you protect yourself from falling into the trap insurance adjusters set.
Settlement and Trial
Car accident cases begin by trying to settle with the insurance company. Still, sometimes insurance companies are not willing to play ball. You should never accept a limited settlement offer. A limited settlement offer does not account for all of your damages, including future lost wages and medical bills.
However, there are some circumstances when insurance companies fail to act reasonably and do not offer a satisfactory settlement. When that happens, it is essential to have an experienced advocate on your side. Your car accident attorney will help you with all phases of pre-trial litigation. When your day in court comes, you can rely on your car accident attorney to help you get the best result possible.
There is a lot of work that goes into pre-trial litigation. If your case cannot settle, your attorney will file a lawsuit within the appropriate time limits created by law. This deadline is a statute of limitations and is one example of various procedural rules you must follow in a civil lawsuit.
Don’t worry. An experienced car accident lawyer will ensure that the court does not dismiss your case on technical grounds.
As the case continues, you will participate in other stages, including discovery, depositions, etc., that will be easier to complete with a skilled car accident attorney. You will also be prepared for trial by your car accident attorney.
A car accident attorney typically prepares you for trial by asking you various questions the defense team will likely ask you. Your car accident attorney will prepare you for all anticipated defenses you may face as they attempt to get you the best results.
Help You Access Medical Treatment
Sometimes, car accident victims face challenges when they try to get medical care following a car accident. This happens because some doctors, even sometimes primary care physicians, are hesitant to take on car accident victims. However, a car accident attorney can help you access the care that you need.
Car accident attorneys typically have relationships with medical providers that regularly treat car accident victims. If you hire a car accident attorney, they can help you get connected with a doctor that treats car accident victims as a part of their medical practice. Getting a car accident attorney can help you continue on the road to recovery.
What if I Cannot Afford an Attorney?
Many injured people are discouraged from seeking compensation because they fear the cost of a civil lawsuit. Fortunately, most car accident attorneys across the country perform legal work on a contingency fee basis.
A contingency fee is a payment structure that allows a client to acquire legal representation and only pay the attorney if a settlement is reached. Contingency fee payment structures are advantageous for car accident victims that do not have the means to hire an attorney.
Too often, getting justice depends on the wealth of the person seeking relief. Contingency fee structures help bridge the gap between wealth and access to justice. If you suffered an injury in a car accident, contact a car accident attorney in your area immediately.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney as Soon as Possible
To protect your legal rights after a car accident, you need an experienced car accident attorney. Insurance companies, adjusters, defense attorneys, and defendants will all work to protect their interests. You need a team on your side that is working harder to ensure you get the money you deserve after a car accident.
Settlement negotiations and lawsuits are tough. There is no reason to go after the compensation you deserve alone. After a car accident, contact a Charleston personal injury lawyer immediately for help.
Nathan Hughey, an attorney and fourth-generation South Carolinian, founded Hughey Law Firm in 2007. Before that, he spent five years defending nursing homes and insurance companies. Leveraging his experience, he now advocates for those injured or wronged by such entities, securing over $220 million in verdicts and settlements.