Being injured in an accident that someone else’s careless, negligent, or reckless actions caused may mean you are eligible for a personal injury claim. A settlement award can compensate you for medical bills and other expenses and the impact your injuries have had on your life.
Car accident claims require experienced legal representation to achieve the best results. An auto accident attorney can help you recover compensation to help you recover from your injuries and meet your goals.
An experienced auto accident lawyer at the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can explain this process to you. Call us today.
- Do I Need an Auto Accident Attorney?
- Schedule A Free Consultation
- Types of Auto Accidents
- Causes of Auto Accidents
- Common Injuries Associated with Auto Accidents
- What Type of Lawyer Handles Car Accidents?
- Are Auto Accident Attorneys Worth It?
- How Do I Find a Reputable Car Accident Lawyer Near Me?
- How Much Is My Car Accident Settlement Worth?
- Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Crash That Wasn't My Fault?
- How Long Does a Car Accident Lawsuit Take?
- How Much Does a Car Crash Lawyer Cost?
- How Long Do I Have to Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
- How Can I Maximize My Car Accident Settlement?
- Call Our Auto Accident Attorneys After a Car Crash
Do I Need an Auto Accident Attorney?
Some general truths apply to all motor vehicle accidents. No matter the wreck's details, every car accident victim is vulnerable to insurance company tactics when a competent attorney does not represent them. Insurance carriers like State Farm, GEICO, Progressive, and many others are all mega-corporations that got that way by effectively keeping costs low and profits high. They offer as little as possible in car accident settlement negotiations by employing skilled claims adjusters and attorneys who can poke holes in what may otherwise appear to be a clear-cut insurance claim.
Insurance companies are aware of which attorneys and law firms are known to go to trial instead of settling quickly and not getting full compensation. To properly protect yourself against the insurance companies' deep pockets and experienced lawyers, it is essential that you hire a car accident lawyer that is experienced in car accident cases.
Assigning fault after an accident has happened is not always easy. For example, National Transportation Safety Board officials ruled that the Tesla lithium-ion traction battery was partially responsible for a fiery crash that killed two teenage boys. The crash occurred when the 18-year-old driver of the Tesla lost control of the vehicle while driving at 116 miles per hour. The crash resulted in the death of the driver and his teenage front-seat passenger. Both boys were days away from graduating from high school at the time of the accident.
The NTSB ruled that the high speed that the boy was driving at was the primary cause of the crash—but that the battery contributed to the severity of the crash, as it caught on fire due to damage.
While this is an extreme case, it illustrates that you can’t assume you are not eligible to recover compensation after an accident injuring you or a loved one. Instead, call the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. Let us listen to you, investigate, and see how we can protect your rights and recover the compensation you deserve.
Types of Auto Accidents
Different types of car accidents each pose a risk of injury or even death, depending on the circumstances. These include; how fast the vehicles were going, whether the occupants were wearing seat belts, whether the collision involved a truck accident, pedestrian accident, or a motorcycle accident, and the size difference between the cars and objects involved in the collision. Some of the more common types of accidents include:
Head-on collisions: While head-on collisions account for a very small number of accidents across the nation, they are over-represented in the number of fatalities resulting from those accidents. The danger of head-on collisions lies in the speed at which each vehicle is traveling. The forward motion of the vehicles when they collide increases the energy of the impact.
Rear-end accidents: Rear-end accidents are commonly caused when the following vehicle is traveling too close to the lead vehicle and is unable to stop safely when the lead vehicle suddenly stops or slows. While rear-end accidents are often considered minor, there are around 1.7 million rear-end collisions in the U.S. each year, accounting for around 1,700 deaths and half a million injuries.
T-bone collisions: This accident most commonly happens at intersections when one vehicle fails to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle. T-bone collisions tend to be particularly dangerous for occupants sitting on the side of the struck vehicle due to a lack of protection on the sides of its structure.
Sideswipe accidents: Sideswipe accidents occur when a vehicle fails to maintain its own lane, drifting or swerving into another traffic lane, or when one driver attempts to change lanes without ensuring that the lane he or she is merging into is clear.
Chain reaction crashes: Often, a two-vehicle crash occurs, and the impact of the collision causes one of the vehicles to crash into a third vehicle. Many vehicles may be involved in an accident on interstates, commonly known as a pileup.
Single-vehicle accidents: A study revealed that—while most drivers worry about being killed in an accident with another vehicle—the most common type of car accident, which results in more than half of all traffic-related fatalities, is the single-vehicle crash.
Causes of Auto Accidents
There are also many reasons why car accidents happen, mostly related to human error. Here are some of the top causes of collision:
Speeding: In one recent year, speeding killed more than 9,000 people nationwide, making it one of the most deadly causes of car accidents. Speeding involves not only exceeding the posted speed limit, but also driving too fast for the conditions of the roadway. Speeding is dangerous as it reduces the time a driver has to perceive a danger on the roadway, increases the distance that the vehicle requires to come to a safe stop, and reduces the effectiveness of the vehicle’s protective features, such as seat belts, airbags, and the steel frame.
Distracted driving: Distracted driving poses a major hazard to others on the roadway. There are three types of distractions:
- Manual distractions cause the driver to take their hands from the wheel.
- Visual distractions draw the driver’s eyes from the road.
- Cognitive distractions take the driver’s attention away from the task of driving.
Texting is of particular concern, as it results in all three types of distractions. Other common causes of driver distraction include other types of cell phone use, such as email or social media; eating or drinking; adjusting the vehicle or stereo controls; visiting with other occupants in the vehicle; or external distractions, such as billboards, people in other cars, or rubbernecking past other accidents.
Alcohol impairment: Drunk driving results in more than 10,000 deaths a year. In the U.S., a person dies in an alcohol-related crash every 48 minutes, and the cost to society of alcohol-related accidents is around $44 billion a year. Alcohol impairment produces deficits in many skills a person needs for the safe operation of a motor vehicle, including the ability to track moving targets, steer and brake effectively, respond appropriately to emergency driving situations, and concentrate.
Fatigued driving: Drowsy driving presents many of the same impacts on a person’s skills needed for driving. While any driver is at risk of drowsy driving, long-haul truck drivers, shift workers, and those who suffer from sleep apnea are especially prone to the hazards of driving while fatigued. The effect of this condition is often extreme drowsiness, even if the person gets a healthy amount of rest.
Confusion/getting lost: Drivers who are lost or who have missed their turn tend to make more errors, such as changing lanes without ensuring that the lane they’re changing to is clear or turning the wrong way onto a one-way road.
Defective car parts: In the above article regarding the 2018 Tesla accident in Florida, the battery on the vehicle was found to have increased the severity of the crash. Manufacturers and distributors of auto parts are required to ensure that those parts are safe for use when used as instructed on the product’s label. Those who fail to do so can be found liable for the injuries and deaths that result from the part’s malfunction.
Lack of maintenance: A poorly maintained vehicle is a dangerous vehicle. Certain parts can malfunction due to a lack of maintenance and cause the driver to lose control of their vehicle. Tires are one of these parts. When a tire blows, it causes the vehicle to pull dramatically to the side where the blowout occurs. Additionally, the tire pieces can create a hazard to other drivers by either striking other vehicles or producing debris on the roadway. Disabled vehicles on the side of the road are also hazardous, as they distract other drivers.
Common Injuries Associated with Auto Accidents
Nearly every part of the body can become injured in a car accident, depending on the circumstances of the crash. These serious injuries can be life-threatening, if not life-altering.
Brain injuries: Motor vehicle accidents are one of the top causes of traumatic brain injury due to a sudden jolt or blow to the head. Brain injuries can result in death or permanent, life-changing injuries. Depending on the severity of the injury and the portion of the brain that was damaged, those living with brain injuries may experience deficits in memory, coordination, communication, and movement.
Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries, along with brain injuries, are among the most serious and consequential. The spinal cord extends from the base of the skull all the way to the lower back, near the waist. The higher up the injury occurs, the more serious the injury.
Damage to the cervical spine may result in tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, which is loss of sensation and function to all limbs, the chest, torso, and pelvis. Injuries occurring lower on the spine, in the thoracic or lumbar region, may result in paraplegia, which is loss of function and sensation to the legs and pelvis. Currently, there is no cure for spinal cord injuries. Prompt medical attention and thorough treatment are key in retaining as much function below the injury as possible.
Broken bones: Broken bones can lead to loss of function in a limb and chronic pain. They can even place the patient at risk of infection if the bone protrudes through the skin, or internal damage, if the jagged fragments of bone contact internal organs, as is often the case with broken ribs.
Burns: Hot metal, caustic chemicals, and the potential for a vehicle to catch on fire following an accident all make burns a common injury for car accident victims. In addition to producing scarring, which may require skin grafts to repair, burns also increase the risk of infections and can cause impaired breathing if the burn is located near the airway.
Soft tissue injuries: Whiplash is a type of soft tissue injury that is often considered “minor.” However, patients who suffer whiplash and other soft tissue injuries often struggle with chronic pain long after healing.
Amputated limbs: In severe crashes, an individual may lose a limb torn or crushed by jagged, heavy metal. Limb amputations may also occur when treating the injury medically, in cases where the limb is too damaged to repair.
What Type of Lawyer Handles Car Accidents?
Any licensed attorney in your state can technically take on a car accident claim. However, a lawyer focusing on personal injury cases involving injuries from an auto accident will be your greatest asset after a devastating crash. A personal injury lawyer with lots of experience understands the complexities of getting the most money for your injury.
Are Auto Accident Attorneys Worth It?
Yes, particularly following an automobile collision resulting in severe injuries such as fractured bones, disfigurement, limited use of a body part or function, or disability. Such injuries can be compensated to the maximum degree by a personal injury attorney.
A car accident injury attorney advocates for clients injured in car accidents and protects the client's legal interests against individuals and entities who might try to deny or impede their rights. For example, the responsible driver's insurer and aggressive defense attorneys usually hope to pin “fault” on the accident victim instead of admitting their own blameworthy client was responsible.
During what can be a difficult and confusing period for car crash victims and their families, attorneys provide an impartial, rational perspective. They can help their clients make informed decisions in a timely manner, despite the emotional and financial challenges posed.
Finally, an experienced car accident attorney acts as the client's representative in pursuing the client's legal right to justice and a fair outcome. Whether through negotiated settlements or verdicts after jury trials, dedicated injury lawyers are committed to the best possible resolutions for their clients. The sooner you hire a car accident lawyer for help after an accident, the sooner they can start protecting you and your right to receive the compensation you deserve.
How Do I Find a Reputable Car Accident Lawyer Near Me?
Although you can never truly find anything online that will tell you whether a car wreck lawyer is reputable, you can make some assumptions by searching for their licensing information. Car accident lawyers are licensed by a state agency where they practice, and this is who grants the lawyer their bar license. In most states, the licensing is managed by the state bar or the state bar association.
In 44 states and Washington D.C., you can search the online database to more easily determine whether an attorney is licensed and active, has any past infractions, and is in good standing. You can search the American Bar Association's database as well.
Consult an Auto Accident Attorney, Even if Your Car Accident Was Minor
Even if your car accident was minor, you can't know that you're getting the best settlement offer from your insurance coverage without the help of an experienced attorney.
Additionally, you should still see a doctor as soon as reasonably possible, even if you do not feel or see an immediate injury. Your adrenaline rises during an accident; thus, you may not feel pain until that excitement has died down.
Take advantage of a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. Attorneys offer free consultations so that prospective clients are aware of all their available options and can make the best decision without anyone’s time being wasted.
Hire an Attorney From a Reputable Firm, Not a Settlement Mill
Take the time to find the best car accident attorney for your legal process. Do your research and be diligent. Some firms make money by accepting a large volume of smaller cases and settling them as quickly as possible. These are known as settlement mills, and you can spot them by their flashy advertising.
Instead of relying on ads, do some research, read reviews, check the firms' results, and call around to find the best car accident lawyer for your needs. Finding a reputable personal injury attorney is the first step to obtaining the settlement you need to move forward.
Settlement mills do not rely on current or former clients to refer their friends and family to them, so they can afford to employ a “mill mentality” in handling their cases. Most personal injury attorneys at these firms take very few cases to trial, even if the situation calls for it. Settlement mills tend to leave money on the table at the time of settlement because they are more concerned with resolving a volume of personal injury cases each month to pay their expensive advertising budget.
Remember that even an average trial lawyer is better than a settlement mill because the insurance carrier must spend money defending a trial or a case that has advanced far in litigation. The goal of any insurance carrier is to save money, and forcing them to run up costs gets their immediate attention.
What to Expect at Your Initial Consultation
Trustworthy car accident attorneys offer a free consultation where they will explain how your state's PIP system works and how they will approach your own insurance company and the at-fault driver's insurance company.
At a minimum, you should be informed about the process of filing an accident claim in the state where the accident happened and the appropriate timeline and deadlines that affect your particular situation.
Of course, there are practical limitations to that advice — you will most likely not be able to call an attorney while still at the scene of the accident or while dealing with acute injuries in the emergency room. While seeking medical care should always be your first priority, calling a skilled lawyer as soon as possible will almost always benefit you.
Factors to Consider in Selecting the Best Auto Accident Attorney
Some factors to consider when determining how to select the best car accident attorney for your case include the following.
- Does the law firm have a reputation for taking cases to trial? A law firm or individual attorney who rarely tries cases before juries and does not aggressively litigate their cases is admitting the insurance company offer is fair – and we know this is rarely true. Thus, it is essential to retain a law firm known for litigating cases, not one that poses a minimal risk to the insurance company and will often leave money on the table.
- Does the law firm have the financial resources to retain the best experts? At Dolman Law Group, we devote significant financial resources to our biggest and most complicated cases. To thoroughly understand and demonstrate the harm and losses our clients have sustained, we retain nationally recognized experts to level the playing field with the biggest insurance carriers and corporate giants. Our firm has litigated car accident lawsuits against some of the biggest companies in the world, and we have the financial means to take on any corporation, regardless of size.
- Has the law firm handled and litigated catastrophic injury claims?Many law firms lack experience handling catastrophic injury claims such as traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs/amputations, burn injuries, and other life-altering tragic events. If you have suffered a serious accident with severe injuries, you need to know whether the law firm is operating out of its comfort zone and whether it has the necessary financial resources to handle your case. Look at the lawyers' prior experience to know whether they can truly maximize the compensation for clients who will likely require lifetime care.
How Much Is My Car Accident Settlement Worth?
Car accident victims receive varying settlement offers, depending on several factors:
- The severity of the injury (including a settlement for a back and neck injury)
- Past and future medical expenses
- Other damages, such as lost wages and pain and suffering
- Witness testimony and the circumstances surrounding the accident
- Suggested fault
- The age of the injured party
- The effects the injury has on your everyday life
Insurance companies use an algorithm to compute their suggested case value and settlement amount. Based upon this number, the company will use an insurance adjuster or attorney to offer your attorney a certain sum to settle your case.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Crash That Wasn't My Fault?
Absolutely. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney following an auto accident resulting in personal injury is imperative in receiving the greatest possible compensation for your untimely injuries. When a third party is at fault for your accident, you should seek compensation through a third-party insurer (the at-fault party's insurer).
Without an attorney, a third-party insurer may attempt to settle your claim by offering you less than the actual value of your case. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney provides legitimacy to your claim and forces the third-party insurer to properly evaluate your claim and fairly compensate you for your injuries.
How Long Does a Car Accident Lawsuit Take?
Each auto accident lawsuit is factually different, so the time to resolve them varies depending on various factors:
- The insurance carrier(s) and adjuster(s) involved
- Past and future medical treatment
- Any witnesses involved
- Whether liability is determined or admitted
Depending on the factors above, your lawsuit may take anywhere from several months to one or two years.
How Much Does a Car Crash Lawyer Cost?
Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not pay your attorney until and unless you are compensated for your loss. Guidelines regarding contingency fee agreements are typically outlined by the State Bar Association in the state where you make your personal injury claim. Such contingency fee agreements are discussed at length with your personal injury attorney before you ever commit to the prospective attorney's representation.
How Long Do I Have to Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
In personal injury cases, time is of the essence when hiring a personal injury attorney because doing so is imperative to maximizing the value of your case. Much of your case comes down to the timing and nature of the treatment you received and identifying witnesses of the accident. By quickly hiring a personal injury attorney after your accident, you provide your attorney with the greatest opportunity to achieve the best possible compensation for your personal injury claim.
How Can I Maximize My Car Accident Settlement?
You can maximize your personal injury claim by working with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can:
- Find witnesses
- Document your injuries in great detail
- Keep all documents (medical records, hospital bills, insurance information, police report, witness information, etc.)
- Help you document the limitations your injury imposes on your daily life
It is equally important that you follow your medical provider's treatment plan and that you always attend scheduled appointments because doing so decreases the legitimacy of your claim to the adjuster evaluating the same.
A Car Crash Attorney Can Negotiate With the Insurance Company From a Position of Strength
One option for seeking accountability and compensation available to car accident victims and their lawyers is to negotiate with parties with legal liability for the crash (which usually also includes those parties' insurance carriers). Collision attorneys frequently give careful thought to how to enter into these negotiations to give a client the best chance of recovering the most money possible. Perhaps the most significant consideration in that regard is the lawyer's assessment of when the client's case has reached peak strength since that is usually the most advantageous moment to press the other side for maximum payment.
An Attorney Can Defeat the Underhanded Tactics Used by Insurance Carriers
Car accident lawyers and their clients cannot always dictate the terms of negotiations. Insurance companies have a bag of tricks they often deploy in hopes of minimizing the amount of money they need to spend to escape liability for an accident. One such tactic is negotiating directly with a victim before the victim has a chance to hire a car accident lawyer.
The insurance companies hope to catch accident victims at a vulnerable moment and convince them to jump at what is almost always a lowball settlement offer. Underhanded tactics like this illustrate why we believe it is crucial for accident victims to retain experienced car accident injury counsel immediately.
Dealing with aggressive insurance adjusters is much easier when all you have to say is, “talk to my lawyer.” Letting a collision attorney take over discussions with the insurance company levels the playing field and gives you the power to decide when your case is strong enough to press your advantage.
You May Need a Skilled Trial Advocate
Car accident victims and their lawyers can also take legal action against the parties responsible for causing the accident. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the crash, the lawyer and client may decide to file a lawsuit right away or to give negotiations a chance to play out before suing. They may also need to collect more evidence before deciding on a course of action.
The most important factors in taking legal action can be the skill, experience, and reputation of the car crash law firm the victim hires to file the case. Not all attorneys who advertise for car accident cases can take a case to trial and win. A victim cannot hope to recover maximum compensation without an experienced trial lawyer by their side.
Most car accident cases settle before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. However, unless the other side knows the victim's lawyer can take a case to trial and win, they and the insurance representatives will try to settle to avoid going to court. A lawyer can win a higher-value settlement for their clients simply by having a reputation as a trial lawyer to be feared.
Of course, some cases do not settle. In those instances, a victim always benefits from having an attorney who wasn't bluffing in telling the other side they'd “see them in court.” No lawyer can guarantee the outcome of a trial or settlement negotiations. But victims give themselves the best chance of winning when they retain legal counsel who always looks at a case with an eye toward how to win.
Not Hiring a Car Accident Attorney Costs You Money
We would be remiss not to mention one other consideration when hiring an attorney after a car accident: waiting can cost you money – potentially lots of it. The older a case is when an attorney takes it, the more evidence can become stale, and the investigation will be more difficult.
Witnesses' memories fade, first responders move on, and accident scenes get cleaned up. The passage of time steadily eats away at the money an accident victim might hope to recover.
Then, there is the statute of limitations, a state law that sets the deadline by which an accident victim can file a lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, you lose your legal rights to compensation altogether. Most car accident lawsuits must begin no later than four years after the accident and just two years if the victim dies in the crash.
In other words, if you wait too long to get a good auto accident attorney after a car accident, your claim will be worth zero. A lawyer can ensure you complete all deadlines and are more than aware of how time can play an integral role in a car accident lawsuit. Placing your case in a lawyer's hands as soon as possible also comes with the benefit of giving your legal team the additional time they need to stay ahead of the curve.
Call Our Auto Accident Attorneys After a Car Crash
A car accident generally occurs in a matter of seconds. However, the consequences of injuries suffered in a car accident may last a lifetime.
Talk to a car accident lawyer about your accident to discover if compensation is available to help pay for the enormous expenses your injuries have caused. You can easily reach Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) or by contacting us online. We look forward to helping you.
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765