Car accidents are notoriously one of the leading causes of death in the USA. Every year tens of thousands of people die in car accidents while millions more suffer serious or permanent injury.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death as a result of a car accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your losses and suffering. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and plan a course of action.
Some Sobering Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, someone in the U.S. is involved in a car accident every 10 seconds .
Approximately one third of all car accidents result in injury and nearly one percent result in death .
More than half of fatal car accidents occur on roads with speeds limits of 55 mph or greater, and more than one third of fatal crashes involve alcohol .
Negligence in Car Accidents
Determining negligence in the case of a car accident, while not always clear-cut, is usually legally necessary.
This is especially true if a police report is filed or legal claim pursued. Under the law, drivers are required to exercise “reasonable care” and practice car safety in the operation of a motor vehicle.
A driver who fails to exercise “reasonable care” is considered negligent and can be held responsible for damages. However, the law requires the injured party to prove that someone else's negligence caused the accident. This is called burden of proof.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents are often the result of driver negligence and less often due to factors unrelated to the driver. Driver negligence can lead to a car accident when the driver:
Drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Drives above or below the speed limit
Fails to obey traffic signs or signals
Fails to use turn signal or malfunctioning equipment
Drives recklessly - Speeding - Passing - DWI
Non-driver related factors may contribute to a car accident including:
Malfunctioning traffic signals
Poorly maintained roads or other highway defects (for example, inadequate design, lighting, construction, or signage)
In these cases, automobile manufacturers or the government may be held liable for damages. Please be aware claims against the government have special rules that apply.
Car Accident Injuries
The most common injury people sustain in a car accident is whiplash. brain and spinal cord injuries, which have a tremendous impact on the survivor's, are most commonly the result of serious car accidents. Car accident injuries may also include bruises and abrasions, concussion, broken bones, loss of appendages, permanent disability, or death or dismemberment.
What To Do If You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident
Stay at the scene of the accident unless medical exigencies require you to leave.
Call the police to file a report.
Seek prompt medical attention.
Make sure to preserve evidence (for example, take photos of damages if possible and keep copies of all important documents including medical records).
Do not admit fault or enter into negotiations with the other driver, insurance company, police department or agency involved.
Contact an attorney to make sure your legal rights are protected.
You have the right to pursue a legal claim if you have been injured due to someone else's negligence. Because a statute of limitations applies to all car accident cases, it is wise to seek legal advice as soon as possible. This may be during hospital stay.