Car accidents can often lead to debilitating and sometimes permanent injuries for drivers and passengers alike. Many victims wonder how they will cover their medical bills or other expenses that piled up while they recovered from their injuries. Some victims will have ongoing injuries and expenses for the rest of their lives with no extra funds to cover their costs and losses.
If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from another driver’s negligence, your attorney can pursue settlement compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Never take the first settlement offer that the insurance company adjuster places on the table. That is because these offers are routinely low and far below the actual settlement value of the claim.
One of the best ways to maximize your settlement compensation is to retain an experienced Bakersfield Car Accident Lawyer to represent you throughout your car accident case. A lawyer can file a personal injury claim on your behalf and handle all settlement negotiations with insurance company adjusters.
Your lawyer can also let you know the actual value of your case and advise you on whether or not you should accept a particular settlement offer from the insurance company.
Moreover, if the insurance company does not make you a fair settlement offer, your lawyer may recommend litigation, handle your case in the court system, and represent you at all litigation proceedings, including your discovery deposition or civil jury trial.
Every step of the way, your attorney will advocate strongly for your legal interests to pursue the monetary recovery you deserve for your injuries and other accident-related losses.
Common Causes of Local Car Accidents
When people drive in a careless or otherwise negligent manner, they significantly increase their chances of causing a traffic accident. Driver error can take many different forms, but it usually involves one or more road-rule violations.
For example, another driver may speed excessively, tailgate, weave in and out of heavy traffic, fail to use their turn signals, or fail to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle at the proper time.
Unfortunately, all of these negligent driving maneuvers can potentially result in a car crash, leaving another driver and their passengers with serious injuries.
At other times, motor vehicle accidents occur when people drive in a highly reckless manner, such as by exhibiting various forms of road rage. Drivers show road rage when angry and impatient with other drivers, usually because they are not traveling fast enough.
An annoyed driver might aggressively honk their horn, cut other vehicles off in traffic, speed excessively, or weave around busy highway traffic. In the process, however, they might negligently bring about an accident that leads to injuries.
Other car accidents happen when drivers drink and drive. An intoxicated driver may not fully see or appreciate other nearby vehicles, causing a severe car crash. Alternatively, a drunk or drugged driver might experience delayed reflexes, limited concentration, and other mental impairments. Consequently, they may not drive their vehicle safely or may experience limited reaction time while behind the wheel.
Many car accidents result from distracted and inattentive driving. When drivers do not watch the road closely, they may not see an approaching vehicle, causing a severe accident.
Common distracted driving scenarios involve drivers:
- Sending text messages or making phone calls, even with a Bluetooth-equipped device
- Programming a GPS navigation system
- Using other devices or in-car entertainment systems
- Tending to kids in the back seat
- Roughhousing with vehicle passengers (common for younger drivers)
- Doing their hair or makeup
- Eating and drinking
- Daydreaming or focusing on an audiobook or podcast
When a driver engages in any of these reckless activities, they are less likely to focus their full attention on the road. Consequently, they might fail to see an approaching vehicle and cause a severe car accident.
If you recently sustained injuries in a car crash involving one of these driver errors, you are not alone. An experienced car accident attorney can review the circumstances of your accident with you and assemble a settlement demand package to send to the insurance company.
An attorney can handle all written and oral communications with insurance company representatives on your behalf and work to secure the favorable settlement compensation you need and deserve.
Injuries in a Car Crash
The injuries that a car crash victim sustains often depend on various factors, including the type of car accident that occurs, the speeds of the vehicles, the force of the collision, and the accident victim’s bodily movements inside their car during the crash.
For example, if a driver hits their head on the headrest or steering wheel in an accident, they may sustain a traumatic head or brain injury such as a concussion. At other times, drivers may hit their front torso on the steering wheel, causing one or more rib fractures.
Other potential injuries that accident victims may suffer include:
- Bone fractures
- Internal organ damage
- Open cuts
- Spinal cord damage
- Full or partial paralysis
- Soft tissue contusions to the neck or back
Following a car accident, your top priority should be getting initial medical treatment and following through with any additional treatment your healthcare provider recommends.
By following through with his treatment, you increase your chances of making a full recovery and recovering favorable monetary compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company in your case.
While you receive treatment for your injuries, a car accident lawyer in your area can begin assembling a settlement demand package to forward to the insurance company adjuster on your behalf.
After your medical treatment concludes or doctors give you a plan for future medical care, your lawyer can send this demand package to the adjuster and begin negotiating a fair settlement offer in your case.
Possible Monetary Damages Following a Car Accident
Following a car accident, accident victims who can prove the necessary legal elements of their case may be eligible to recover various damages. In general, the more serious an accident victim’s injuries and the more serious their accident, the higher the settlement compensation they might recover. Insurance companies often examine property damage as a sign of a crash’s severity, which can increase an initial settlement offer.
Other factors that may influence the amount of monetary recovery you receive for your injuries include the nature and extent of your medical treatment, the specific injuries you suffered, the total cost of your medical care, and whether or not your injuries are permanent.
A permanent injury will affect the accident victim for the rest of their life and cause ongoing pain and suffering. A car crash victim who suffers a permanent injury may also need ongoing medical treatment or physical therapy for the foreseeable future.
Some of the most common types of monetary damages that car crash victims can recover include compensation for their past and future medical care, lost earnings, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of spousal consortium, loss of the ability to use a specific body part, lost enjoyment of life, lifetime care costs, and permanent disability.
Your attorney can point to the necessary medical records and bills in your case to pursue a high settlement offer from the insurance company. Your lawyer can also threaten the insurance company with litigation if the adjuster fails to offer you sufficient monetary compensation for your injuries.
Negotiating with the At-fault Driver’s Insurance Company
To begin the settlement negotiation process following a car accident, your attorney will submit a settlement demand package on your behalf. This package will include a settlement demand letter that demands monetary compensation within the at-fault of driver’s available insurance policy limits.
The demand package also includes copies of pertinent documents, including medical bills, medical records, injury photographs, property damage photographs, and lost income documentation, if you missed work after your car accident.
The insurance company adjuster assigned to your case will typically review these documents and offer an initial settlement. However, you should generally not accept initial settlement offers from insurance company representatives. Adjusters are not likely to offer you top dollar early in the case. In fact, adjusters want to see if you will accept a small amount of money to resolve your claim.
Adjusters want to save their insurance companies as much money as possible and hope you are in a hurry to settle. After all, insurance companies do not make money when they must pay out large car accident claims or jury verdicts.
A car accident attorney can estimate your case’s true value and tell you whether to accept or reject a pending settlement offer from the insurance company.
Your lawyer can also negotiate on your behalf and gradually reduce your initial settlement demand as the insurance company gradually increases its settlement offer. If the insurance company adjuster will not take your case seriously and offer you fair monetary damages, your attorney can file a lawsuit in the court system for you and handle every step of the litigation process.
Even after filing a lawsuit, most car accident claims settle. However, if your case must go to a litigation proceeding, such as a civil jury trial, your attorney will represent you throughout the process, introduce evidence on your behalf, and pursue a favorable monetary award from a jury. The parties may consider mediation or another type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as an alternative to trial.
Speak with a Car Accident Attorney in Your Area Today
Car accident victims have only two years from the date of their accident to seek settlement or litigation compensation for their injuries. Unless some exceptional circumstance applies, an accident victim who files their lawsuit after the deadline expires will not recover monetary damages. Therefore, you always need an experienced car accident attorney handling your case as quickly as possible.
Your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf well within the statutory time frame. Your lawyer will also aggressively negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and work to maximize your total settlement or litigation compensation.