Car Accident Lawyer Few experiences create the mix of confusion, stress, and anxiety that results from a car accident. So much happens in the moments and days that follow a collision, and amidst the chaos of it all, you have to make significant decisions that can affect you for years to come.
What you do at the scene of the accident and the days after can dramatically affect your ability to recover compensation for your damages. Car Accident Lawyer Figuring out the right course of action can overwhelm a person on the best of days—never mind a person who suffers from the pain of their injuries and the anxiety of how they will pay for the expenses headed their way.
- 1 Car Accident Lawyer
- 2 Car Accident Lawyer Fees
- 3 What Should You Do Immediately After a Car Accident?
- 4 How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?
- 5 What Happens if I am At Fault for a Car Accident?
- 6 How Is Fault Determined in a Multi-Vehicle Car Accident?
Car Accident Lawyer
The good news is, if another party’s negligence caused your car accident, you should not have to worry about bearing the burden of these costs. A car accident lawyer can explain your legal rights and options for how to recover your losses.
Also Read: Best Auto Accident Law Firm
Ben Crump Law, PLLC does not shy away from tough cases. We have offices in many states, and we are ready to help you with your claim. We charge you only when and if you receive compensation, and your initial consultation is free. Call us today at (800) 598-7557.
Stay at the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene of the accident could qualify you as a hit-and-run driver. If an individual suffered injuries or death from the collision, and you leave the scene, you risk facing criminal charges and serious penalties.
Car Accident Lawyer Fees
Instead, if your physical condition permits, check on the other people involved in the accident. If someone needs medical help, call 911. Do not move any individual who expresses they experience back or neck pain, unless a hazard exists that puts the person in imminent danger.
Call the police so they will send someone out to write and file a police report. You will need this report later when you file your insurance claim.
What Should You Do Immediately After a Car Accident?
You should exchange basic information (your name, driver’s license number, insurance information, and license plate number) with other parties. Behave in a polite and civil manner, but do not say you are sorry or express any knowledge of wrongdoing on your behalf, as doing so will lay the groundwork for your legal liability.
If possible, talk to witnesses about what they saw and get their names and contact information so your lawyer can later talk to them about what happened and use their accounts to build your case for compensation.
Call your insurance company and give them the basic facts of the incident. Cooperate and be truthful; otherwise, they could later deny your claim.
You can also call a lawyer, especially if you suffered an injury in the car accident. Some personal injury law firms offer free initial consultations.
How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?
Many factors can enter into the determination of fault for a car accident; however, when certain elements prove to be true, the question of who bears the fault becomes easier to answer.
If One Party Violates a Traffic Law
Traffic laws vary from one state or locality to another. A lawyer can review the events the lead up to your car accident and let you know whether someone broke the rules of the road. Many laws remain consistent across locales, and you will easily identify when someone violates them. Examples include running a stop sign or red light, driving over the speed limit, or driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Although not true 100-percent of the time, the fault for rear-end collisions usually lies with the rear driver. Most laws support the rule of leaving several car lengths between a driver and the car in front of them. This distance gives the rear driver ample time to the lead driver’s sudden braking or stopping. However, if the lead driver failed to maintain their brake lights, giving the rear driver no warning of a stop or brake, insurers may find the lead driver—at least partially—at fault.
Often, the damage done to the vehicles in a car accident tells the story of how the collision occurred—and who holds the blame.
Police Accident Report
The investigating law enforcement officer will officially note in their report any traffic violations that occurred before the accident, as well as the officer’s opinion on what caused the crash. The police reports weigh heavily in an insurer’s assessment of fault. If the police do not show up, call the nearest police station to have someone come out. Be sure to check the report for any inaccuracies.
What Happens if I am At Fault for a Car Accident?
If you cause a car accident, this may or may not impact your ability to collect compensation, depending on the state where you live. In so-called “fault” states, the individual who caused the accident assumes liability, which usually means their insurance company pays for damages. In “no-fault” states, the injured party seeks compensation from their own insurance provider via the policyholder’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, even if they caused the collision. PIP coverage will pay for your medical expenses and select economic losses.
As the at-fault party in a car accident, the other parties involved in the collision might file a third-party claim against your insurance auto liability policy. Even in no-fault states, the other parties may demand that your insurer cover damages that exceed their own PIP coverage.
Some states follow comparative negligence rules that can affect how much you are able to recover when you share some fault for a car accident. Under a “pure comparative negligence” doctrine, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of your responsibility for the collision. In states that implement “modified comparative negligence” rules, you will receive any compensation if you are deemed to be 50 percent or more at fault for the crash.
Still, other states follow contributory negligence rules where you will be barred from any recoverable damages if the jury finds that your fault for the accident is one percent or higher.
How Is Fault Determined in a Multi-Vehicle Car Accident?
Multi-vehicle accidents can prove particularly tricky when it comes to determining fault. The chain reaction began with one vehicle rear-ending another vehicle. The rear driver’s fault may solve itself rather easily. But what if the driver that the rear driver hits then collides with the next driver?
Generally, the first driver whose actions served as the catalyst still bears responsibility. If the second driver positioned their car too close to the third driver, thereby enabling that collision, the second driver might also carry some responsibility for that segment of the multi-vehicle pile-up.
The more vehicles that enter into the chain-reaction accident, the more difficult it is to determine who was at fault—and to what extent. Typically, one must untangle this type of collision by pulling gently at various strings to find the collision of origin. Several sources can help with isolating each action, sequencing the order of the various crashes, and determining who was at fault.
Of course your account, as well as those of other passengers and motorists who witnessed the collision, factor into the task of determining who did what. Vehicle damage can offer an objective view of the events that transpired, as can skid marks, vehicle debris, and other evidence from the accident scene. Finally, the police report will contain valuable information regarding traffic law violations and other insights from the investigating law enforcement.