Some accidents are so severe – and the property damage is so significant – that an accident victim’s vehicle is totaled. In addition to dealing with a destroyed car, many accident victims have to worry about other life expenses, including medical bills and mortgages – not to mention finding a way to get to and from work daily, assuming you do not work from home. What can an accident victim do in this type of situation?
Fortunately, an experienced St Louis car accident attorney can assist. Your lawyer can obtain a vehicle and pursue monetary compensation for property damages on your old vehicle.
If you suffered injuries in your accident, your lawyer can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit, seeking the monetary recovery you deserve for your physical injuries and limitations.
Your attorney can file a claim, negotiate with insurance company adjusters, and, if necessary, litigate your case to a full resolution in court.
Essential Steps to Take Following a Motor Vehicle Crash
After a motor vehicle accident, there are specific steps you should always take when it comes to pursuing monetary compensation for your property damage and physical injuries.
First, take care of yourself. If you believe you might have suffered an injury in your accident, seek medical help right away.
Next, find the best possible local car accident attorney you can. Even if you did not suffer any physical injuries in your auto accident, you can file a claim for your property damages, in addition to a claim for your vehicle’s diminished value.
By filing one of these claims, you may light a fire under the insurance company’s feet, so to speak, pressuring the insurance company and its adjusters into acting more quickly.
Third, you should figure out exactly how your accident occurred, who was at fault for the crash, and who should be paying the damages. In most cases, car accidents result from the negligence of other drivers. However, notify your own insurance company and place them on notice of a potential claim in case of a problem later.
Find out if your insurance policy has rental coverage that allows you a certain amount of compensation per day, up to a total maximum. In some cases, the at-fault driver’s insurer will pick up the tab for rental coverage.
Fourth, if you have had your rental vehicle for several days, you might need an extension, something your car accident lawyer can assist with.
How do Motor Vehicle Accidents Frequently Occur?
In most situations, motor vehicle crashes occur when other drivers are reckless, negligent, and inattentive to the road. Some accidents result from other drivers’ failure to observe the road.
Distracted driving can take multiple forms, but it may involve:
- Fiddling with a cellular phone or tablet while driving
- Programming a GPS navigation system
- Roughhousing with a vehicle passenger
- Listening to loud music in the vehicle
- Personal grooming, such as combing one’s hair, shaving, or applying make-up
All of these activities may force a driver to take their eyes off the road and miss seeing another vehicle or pedestrian.
Car accidents also frequently happen when people drive while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For example, an intoxicated driver may experience impaired depth perception, preventing them from accurately judging distances. They might also experience numerous physical symptoms, including nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision, preventing them from seeing nearby pedestrians and other vehicles.
An intoxicated driver can also exhibit impaired reflexes, preventing them from hitting the brakes on their car in time to avoid a crash. In addition to receiving criminal penalties for a DUI conviction, a drunk driver who causes a traffic accident that leads to injuries may also have to pay civil damages.
Another common cause of traffic accidents in the area is traffic law violations. For example, a driver might speed excessively, fail to use their turn signal at the appropriate time, or fail to yield the right-of-way to opposing traffic at an intersection.
Finally, motor vehicle crashes may occur when drivers exhibit aggressive driving and road rage. Some drivers become upset when other drivers do not drive fast enough.
An enraged driver might display various aggressive driving maneuvers, like tailgating other vehicles, honking their horn in a threatening manner, attempting to weave around traffic, or cutting other cars off in traffic. As a result, the angry driver may negligently cause a severe collision or series of separate crashes, leading to debilitating injuries for all involved.
If you sustained injuries in a motor vehicle crash that another driver negligently caused, reach out to a car accident lawyer in your area as quickly as possible.
Your lawyer can evaluate your case and file a claim against the responsible driver's insurance company. Your lawyer can then handle settlement negotiations and pursue the highest monetary award possible in your case.
What are the Most Common Accident-related Physical Injuries?
In addition to severe property damage, car accidents frequently lead to severe physical injuries that require intense medical treatment, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
The injuries that an auto accident victim suffers will depend upon various accident-related circumstances, including how their body moves in the vehicle at the crash time, whether a part of their body makes contact with a vehicle component, the force of the collision, and the total number of vehicles involved.
Common accident-related injuries may include:
- Mouth and teeth injuries
- Soft tissue contusions
- Eye injuries
- Open lacerations
- Rib fractures
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Paralysis injuries
While you focus your attention on receiving the medical treatment that you need after suffering injuries in an accident, your attorney can gather the necessary documents, assemble those documents into a complete settlement demand package, and forward your claim to the insurance company adjuster in a timely and efficient manner.
How Do I File a Property Damage and/or a Personal Injury Claim?
When presenting a property damage or diminished value claim to the insurance company, you will need to have good pictures of the vehicle damage. You will also likely need a vehicle appraisal to figure out exactly how much your car’s value diminished due to the accident.
In a personal injury claim, your lawyer can submit additional documents to the insurance company, including photographs of your injuries, medical treatment records, medical bills, camera footage of the accident, witness reports, and lost income documentation.
The insurance company will review the settlement demand package, along with your attorney's demand letter, and determine whether or not they are going to accept fault for the accident. If the insurance company accepts fault, then the adjuster handling your case may decide to put a monetary settlement offer on the table.
These initial offers are routinely low, and they do not reasonably compensate accident victims for all of their losses. Insurance companies make these low offers for many reasons, but their primary concern is to pay you as little money as possible while keeping more money for themselves. After all, insurance companies really have no incentive to fairly compensate accident victims for their injuries since they might stand to lose a significant amount of money in the process.
Your car accident lawyer can negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf by downplaying any weaknesses in your case, highlighting the strengths of your case, and pointing to pertinent expert reports and medical records.
Moreover, if the insurance company adjuster still refuses to make you a favorable settlement offer, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and begin the litigation process on your behalf.
Your attorney can then represent you at all legal proceedings and, if appropriate, take your case to a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding for a resolution.
Your attorney will answer your questions and help you make important legal decisions in your case, including whether or not to accept an insurance company settlement offer or file a lawsuit in court for monetary damages.
Recovering the Damages You Deserve Following Your Car Accident
After sustaining property damage and suffering physical injuries in a car accident, the law may entitle you to receive various types of monetary damages.
First, you can recover financial compensation for the property damage that your vehicle suffered in the accident, as well as for any diminished value of your car. Additionally, you might get rental coverage, depending on your own insurance policy and the at-fault driver's policy.
More importantly, accident victims who suffer injuries due to someone else's negligence can recover monetary damages for their physical losses. First, accident victims can pursue compensation for all of their related medical expenses, both past and anticipated.
If they had to switch jobs and take a pay cut due to their injuries, they could bring a successful claim for loss of earning capacity. Similarly, if they had to take a certain amount of time off work, pursuant to a medical provider's treatment recommendation, they could bring a successful claim for lost income.
In addition to economic damages, an injured auto accident victim can pursue monetary recovery for their intangible losses, including compensation for their pain and suffering, loss of spousal companionship, mental anguish, loss of use of a body part, inconvenience, loss of life enjoyment, permanent disfigurement, and long-term care costs.
Your attorney can evaluate your case and determine which of these damages you can recover based on the prevailing facts and circumstances. Your attorney can also handle every part of filing your claim or lawsuit and successfully pursuing the monetary compensation you need for your injuries.
Talk with a Car Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
To recover monetary compensation and damages for rental expenses, property damage, and physical injuries, accident victims do not have an unlimited amount of time to file a lawsuit.
For example, when bringing a claim for their personal injuries, they only have five years, beginning on the date of their accident, to file a lawsuit in the court system. Otherwise, the court will dismiss their case and prevent them from recovering any monetary damages for their related medical expenses and other losses.
Given the time constraints, accident victims must involve a skilled car crash lawyer in their area as quickly as possible.
A skilled and compassionate car accident attorney can handle every stage of your case, fight for your legal rights against the insurance company, and pursue the maximum monetary damages you deserve for your losses.
Most importantly, when you hire a lawyer to handle your legal battles for you, it gives you peace of mind knowing you have given yourself the best chance for full financial recovery.