No matter how defensively you drive, it only takes a second for a reckless driver to change your life. A violent crash can have devastating impacts on injured victims’ lives. Victims may suffer catastrophic injuries, which prevent them from returning to work. In the most unfortunate circumstances, a car accident may cause a loved one’s death, creating a permanent void in their families’ lives. If you experienced serious harm or a loss due to the negligence of another driver, consider contacting a car accident attorney.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Many factors may cause a car accident, but most commonly it’s driver behavior. Reckless drivers often engage in risky behaviors on a pretense that an accident will not happen to them. However, no one is invincible and a driver’s license is a privilege, not a right.
A few common driver behaviors that are likely to lead to an accident include:
- Distracted driving – Distracted driving refers to any action that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off driving. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 78 percent of those surveyed believe that texting behind the wheel is a significant danger to their personal safety. Despite this finding, nearly 35 percent of drivers in the study admitted to sending or reading a text while driving. Drivers who text while operating a motor vehicle are up to 8 times more likely to become involved in a crash.
- Drunk driving – According to the Arizona State University (ASU) Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, one-fifth to one-fourth of drivers admit to driving after drinking. While most drinking takes place at bars or restaurants, 25 percent occurs in vehicles, commonly in cases involving underage drivers.
- Road rage – Aggressive driving, such as running red lights or tailgating, can quickly escalate into dangerous road rage. Road rage typically occurs when drivers are under stress in other areas of their lives. Traffic congestion can add to that stress, and if a susceptible driver perceives another driver’s behavior as aggressive, they may react with reckless behavior. An enraged driver may try to run you off the road or throw objects at your vehicle, causing you to lose control. Failing to share the road in a responsible manner can result in serious life-changing injuries for you and your passengers.
- Drowsy driving – The National Sleep Foundation reports that approximately 60 percent of drivers admit to driving while drowsy. Additionally, one-third of drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel. The effects of drowsy driving are similar to those of drunk driving, including impaired judgment and slow reaction times. Drowsy driving is of particular concern for semi-truck drivers. Drivers are typically required to work long hours causing unusual sleep patterns. Others may have an undiagnosed sleep disorder making traveling long-distances dangerous.
Always drive defensively, but sometimes another driver’s behavior makes it impossible to avoid an accident. It is difficult to predict how other drivers will behave or react to circumstances on the roadways. Experiencing serious injuries due to the careless actions of another person isn’t fair, and responsible parties must be held accountable.
Injured victims may consider contacting a car accident attorney to learn about the process of filing a personal injury claim. A licensed and experienced attorney can review your case and determine if you may be eligible to seek compensation for your injuries.
Serious Injuries Associated With Car Accidents
The force of impact when vehicles collide is typically violent, even at relatively low speeds. You may suffer severe injuries when stopped at a traffic light if a distracted driver causes a rear-end collision. Dangerous drivers surround us every day, and those who do strike innocent drivers can cause serious injuries, including:
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) define a traumatic brain injury as a bump, blow, jolt, or penetrating head injury that disrupts normal brain function. A TBI can affect the following:
- Cognitive function: memory skills and the ability to process information
- Motor function: balance and muscle weakness
- Sensation: vision, hearing, taste, and touch
- Behavior: depression and anger outbursts
If a loved one experiences a severe TBI, they may never return to the person you once knew. Despite your best intentions, the care your loved one requires may far exceed what you can provide. Deciding to place our loved one in a skilled nursing facility is both difficult and expensive. The average skilled nursing facility costs an average of $8,365 per month.
Spinal cord injury – The spinal cord performs an essential function in brain-body communication. The consequences of spinal cord injuries may include limited or no movement or sensation below the point of injury. Injured victims often require mobility chairs, home modifications, and accessible transportation. Mobility chairs and specialized vehicles must be periodically replaced throughout the patient’s lifetime. The costs associated with a spinal cord injury can reach into the millions of dollars per year.
Broken bones – It is not uncommon for car accident victims to sustain multiple bone fractures. Depending on the severity of the break, victims may miss time from work and require future surgeries, extensive physical therapy, or a caretaker. Breaking one or more of your limbs can limit your mobility and result in a slow recovery process.
Burns – When a fire erupts after an accident, the risk of experiencing dangerous burns is very high. Burns vary in degree of seriousness, and some burn patients require emergency transportation to a specialized burn trauma center. Painful skin graphs and plastic surgery are often included in burn victims’ treatment plans. Burn patients are also at risk of infection.
These are just a few examples of serious injuries that can result from a car accident. If you have been injured, due to no fault of your own, you may have options for pursuing justice. A civil action against the responsible party has no bearing on any criminal proceedings. Injured victims who plan to pursue compensation for their injuries should secure the services of a car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Why You Need a Car Accident Attorney
The aftermath of a serious crash in which you experienced serious injuries is no time to speak with insurance representatives. It is not uncommon for a representative to reach out to you soon after the accident with a settlement offer.
While the initial offer may seem like a lot of money, it is likely insufficient to cover your future medical needs. Insurance representatives are aware of your situation and may try to take advantage of your need to cover medical costs. Don’t fall for the pressure representatives may apply to get you to accept and sign a settlement agreement. By doing so, you may lose the chance to pursue future civil action should your condition worsen.
Insurance companies aim to settle accident claims for the lowest amount possible and they are very skilled at what they do. It is in your best interest to avoid communicating with representatives directly. Rather, contact an attorney who may help you determine how to proceed. Anything you say to an insurance company representative may hurt your case later. Representatives may trick you into admitting fault for the accident or get you to sign something you don’t understand.
Experienced car accident attorneys regularly look out for the best interests of injured victims. Most attorneys offer free case evaluations, leaving you nothing to lose by discussing your case with them.
If you need legal representation during this difficult time, the sooner you contact an attorney the better. Your financial future is too important to risk pursuing a car accident claim on your own. When appropriate, a highly-skilled car accident attorney may negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Experienced attorneys have helped many people recover the compensation they were entitled to. If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, an attorney should be ready and willing to go to trial, if necessary.
The Statute of Limitations
Time passes quickly when you experience a serious injury. Your condition occupies your mind as you focus on your treatment, recovery, and family. You may desire to pursue a civil action against the responsible party but think that you can “get around to it later.”
Under Washington law, the statute of limitations determines the time period within which injured victims must file a car accident claim. The Washington statute of limitations allows injured victims to bring a claim within three years of the date of the accident. While 36 months may seem like a long time, it can pass in the blink-of-an-eye.
It is heartbreaking when victims of another driver’s negligence allow the statute of limitations to expire, missing the opportunity to pursue possible compensation. Don’t let this happen to you. Gather your evidence and begin the legal process to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.
Should you decide to secure legal representation, an attorney can help handle the legal complexities of your case, so that you can concentrate on your recovery.
You Need an Attorney as Soon as Possible
In the aftermath of a traumatic car accident, you may feel overwhelmed and confused by your circumstances and that’s understandable. The realization of what happened and how it will affect your life may take some time to set in. When reality sets in, you may find that discussing your case with an attorney can ease your mind about your future.
Pursuing justice takes time and is best left to legal professionals. An experienced car accident attorney will strive to secure the best possible outcome for injured victims. Most attorneys know that their clients are eager to know the status of their case. Frequent updates and open-door communication are important so you stay informed.
The sooner an attorney reviews a case, the sooner they can get to work. When appropriate, your attorney may review police reports, interview witnesses, and gather accident scene photos to prepare the best case possible.
If you experienced serious injuries, you may not feel well enough to travel to an attorney’s office or to discuss your case over the phone. When contacting law firms, inquire whether the attorney is willing to visit you in the hospital.
No matter how you contact or meet with an attorney, the important thing is to reach out as soon as possible. Having someone by your side, protecting your best interests can decrease the stress associated with pursuing legal action.
Your injuries were not your fault. While you recover and adjust to the changes in your life, you must learn to accept the help of others. Friends and family are often vitally important support systems. By adding a licensed car accident attorney to your list of supporters, you can have better peace-of-mind about your future.
Avoiding contact with insurance representatives and other drivers involved in the collision may be imperative for protecting your rights. Limit what you say to others to prevent misinformation from reaching social media channels.
You have a right to remain guarded with who you trust after an accident. Do know that a licensed car accident attorney will treat your case with the confidentiality required.
Your Car Accident Was Not Your Fault
You may share the road, drive defensively, and still become injured due to another driver who failed to do the same. When another driver neglects to use the same standard of care in the same circumstances, their conduct is negligent. However, determining liability for an accident is best left to a car accident attorney.
You have enough battles to fight with your health. From broken bones to a loved one with a serious head injury, life is never going to be the same. This thought, and others, can occupy your mind as you take your life one day at a time.
Consider giving careful thought to contacting a car accident attorney without delay. While no one knows what the future holds, you may need extensive medical care for the rest of your life. As medical costs continue to climb, the financial burden can become a serious challenge for you and your family.
You deserve quality care for your injuries. Depending upon the severity, you may never return to work or to a career you once loved. Your quality of life may diminish and lead to bouts of depression. Injured victims have a right to recover the compensation they deserve.
If a drunk, distracted, drowsy, or angry driver caused your harm, a car accident attorney may be able to help you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by scheduling a free case evaluation. Consider reaching out to a trustworthy attorney in your area as soon as possible.
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