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Auto Accidents and Personal Injury Claims

Whether you're in a truck, car, or even on a bicycle, automobile accidents are terrifying. If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident, chances are good that more than your car was damaged. If you’ve sustained injuries due to an auto accident, you may have an auto accident case and may be entitled to compensation.

A car accident lawsuit can be filed against the insurance company of the individual at fault for the accident. If you win your claim, you could win a hefty settlement. First, you need to determine if you have Car Accident Personal Injury lawsuit, in the case of an auto accident.

As many factors go into an auto accident case, you need to understand all scenarios and situations where you may be able to receive compensation for your damages.

In car accident lawsuits with insurance companies, you and your personal injury attorney must prove the other driver was at fault for the accident. In other words, you must prove the other driver failed to take “reasonable care” when operating a vehicle or caused the accident because he or she was not paying attention.

Types of Auto Accidents

Nearly any type of accident can cause serious injuries. Here are some of the most common types of personal injury auto claims:

Failure to Take Reasonable Care

There are many legal arguments you need to use to prove that another driver did not take reasonable care when the accident occurred.

The first argument you should use is that every driver has a legal duty to use reasonable care when operating a vehicle. This is relatively easy to establish, but it must be discussed in the case, as you must prove that the other driver was in violation of that duty. Reasonable care includes stopping at stop signs or red lights, not driving while distracted, and driving sober.

In addition, you must be able to prove a direct relationship between the accident in which you were involved and the injury that resulted from it. You cannot file a personal injury claim against another driver for a back injury that occurred months before the actual accident. You will need to have recent medical evidence that shows your injuries came directly from the accident.

Auto accident claims typically focus on whether the other driver met his or her “duty of care” responsibilities in operating a vehicle. Under the legal definition, a driver is expected to specific standards when driving in order to meet the duty of care. These include:

  • Driving at a reasonable speed,
  • Controlling the vehicle, and
  • Being aware of situations that could cause accidents.

Auto accident lawsuits need to address whether a driver’s actions created “unreasonable risk”. Unreasonable risk is legally considered a risk which any reasonable individual should be able to anticipate and avoid. An example of "unreasonable risk" would include speeding past a park where children were known to play.

There are also many circumstances for a car accident to occur, from being rear-ended to making a left turn. In all Car Accident Scenarios, you must determine who is at fault for injuries.

Cause of Injuries

In order for another driver to be found responsible for your injuries that occurred during an auto accident, he or she must have used poor judgment and negligent conduct. His or her actions must be clearly linked to your resulting injuries.

  • Example: Let's say you are making a left-hand turn and are struck by a driver in the oncoming lane. You must prove that you did not cause the accident, and that the actions of the driver resulted the accident and the subsequent injuries you suffered. You can do this if you are able to prove that you had the right-of-way or if the driver was using his cell phone or was otherwise distracted. If however, your own behavior was reckless and was the reason for your injuries, then the driver of the vehicle cannot be held liable for any resulting injuries. This may be the case if you turned left when you did not have a green light.

In any auto accident personal injury case, you must prove that a reasonable person could have anticipated the risk of harm to others and should have acted accordingly to avoid causing harm.

  • Examples:

    Driver at Fault: If a car hit you while you were using a crosswalk, the driver of the vehicle should have been aware of the potential for pedestrians crossing the street.

    You at Fault: If you ran out in front of the vehicle and did not have a crosswalk, then the accident may not be the driver’s fault, especially if you did not give him enough time to react to you crossing. In a case like this, the driver could not be held liable for resulting injuries.

Intervening Causes in Personal Injury Auto Accidents

A factor to keep in mind when dealing with any auto accident personal injury lawsuit is the concept of "intervening causes." This means that another incident or party is at fault for the accident. It also means that the driver who struck you could not have avoided the incident and is not at fault for your injuries.

An example of an intervening cause could include a multiple car accident in which a two other motorists have an auto accident, leading to another driver striking your vehicle. So long as the other driver is able to prove that he was unable to stop himself from hitting your car, he would not be at fault.

However, if the driver who hit you was speeding, driving erratically, driving while distracted, or was in some other way not meeting his responsibilities while operating a vehicle, he or she may still be liable and you may have a personal injury case against them. This could be true even if the accident was started by a third driver.

Factors of Auto Accident Personal Injury Claims

Other Traffic Accidents

Auto accidents don’t always involve two or more cars. In many occasions, a bicycle or motorcycle, or even a truck can be involved.

If you’ve been involved in a bicycle or motorcycle accident, you will need to determine who is at fault for your injuries. You will also need to understand laws and scenarios and how best to proceed immediately following an accident.

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured in an auto accident and wish to file a claim, it is always a wise idea to contact a licensed personal injury attorney in your area. He or she can help you determine whether or not you have a case, help you write a demand letter to the other driver's insurance company, and help defend your case in court if need be.