Car Accidents: Making the Case for Your Personal Injury Claim
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015 over 2.4 million people were injured in car accidents. From fender-benders to massive collisions, car accidents can leave lasting injuries. Handling the situation properly immediately following the accident will help strengthen your claim in the long run.
Proving Your CaseIn order to be compensated for your injury following a car accident, you must demonstrate that the other driver was negligent, and that their negligence caused your personal injury or property damage. Negligence is simply when a driver fails to use care while driving – either doing something that he should not have been doing, or failing to do something that he should have been doing – causing injury to another person. To establish negligence, you must prove four elements:
1. That the other driver owed you a legal duty under the circumstances- the law requires drivers to be careful. This element is a given in car accident cases that a driver use reasonable care.
2. That the other driver breached that legal duty by acting or failing to act in a certain way- if the other driver, for example, was texting while driving, failed to stop at a stop sign, ran a red light, was speeding, failed to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, etc.
3. That the other driver’s actions or inaction caused your injuries- you must demonstrate that your injuries were a result of the driver’s actions and not some other action or intervening event.
4. That you were actually injured or harmed in some way as a result of the other driver’s actions or inaction- injuries or damages are a crucial part of establishing a claim of negligence. Without proof of an injury, there is no monetary recovery for negligence, even if the other driver was at fault.
Preserving Your CaseSometimes with car accidents, you may not feel the effects of the accident or recognize that you have injuries until the next day or even a few days later. Accordingly, even if you do not think you’ve been injured seriously, consider taking an ambulance to the hospital from the scene of the accident to be safe. One benefit of taking an ambulance is that the ambulance report includes a description of your injuries and the medical care that you were given at the scene.
If you believe that you have been injured as a result of a car accident, you will need to see a doctor to get treatment for your injuries. It is crucial that you go to all of your appointments, including specialists, and document every appointment and every expense. To make a strong case, you must have credible, independent medical documentation. You want to make sure you only make a claim for the injuries that were the result of the car accident. Some doctors and clinics specialize in “personal injury” and have a reputation for extending the length and cost of treatment; such doctors can lack credibility and can actually damage your case if it goes to court.
Your NegligenceIn some states, there is a defense to negligence claims that is referred to as “contributory negligence.” “Contributory negligence” exists when your negligence contributed to causing the accident.
In Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia, if the person bringing the suit is even 1% at fault for the accident, he or she may be barred from compensation entirely. “Comparative fault,” which is the phrase used to describe a partial defense to negligence claims and applies in most states, reduces the amount of damages someone bringing suit can recover based on the percentage of fault he or she is attributed for causing or contributing to the accident. In many states, if the person bringing suit is found to be more than 50% responsible for causing the accident, he or she is barred from recovering damages entirely.
If you have been injured in a car accident, find an experienced, reputable personal injury lawyer by quickly posting a short summary of your legal needs on www.legalserviceslink.com, and let the perfect lawyer come to you!
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