When you get behind the wheel, you expect to put the car in drive and simply go—arriving at your destination without a second thought. Of course, life isn’t this simple and neither is driving. Operating a vehicle is, in fact, a very complex task given its many components: cognition, alertness, attention, safety, and the law. When any one of these aspects go awry due to the hundreds of reasons a car accident may occur, innocent people are left searching for an answer: What happens now?
While the following list of car accident scenarios tend to be fairly common, your case may be completely different or have nuances that only an experienced attorney can understand. Speak to a personal injury attorney who specializes in unique cases outside of these circumstances.
TWO-VEHICLE CAR ACCIDENT
Two-vehicle accidents include head-on collisions, side-impact (or “T-bone” accidents), or rear-end accidents. If only two vehicles were involved in the car accident – you and the other driver – usually the claim is filed against the driver who hit you. Claims are most often filed with the other driver’s insurance company.
A police report may help you determine fault. However, determining fault may not ultimately be as straightforward as a police report given that responsibility can be multifaceted.
Collect any pictures, written documentation, witness accounts, medical bills, or other important documentation that can help you prove fault. Finally, consult with an attorney. An experienced attorney can review your case and help you file a strong claim against the other responsible party.
You may be able to claim damages that account for:
- Medical bills. Medical bills that were incurred due to the accident can be included in a personal injury claim.
- Loss of earnings. Claims can be filed to recover lost earnings. In some cases, permanent work loss may result from a person’s injuries. Loss of potential earnings may be included in your personal injury claim.
- Pain and suffering. A car accident is undoubtedly a harrowing experience. Innocent individuals can experience pain and suffering following an accident and filing a claim can hold the responsible party accountable.
- Property damage. Vehicles are important to us because they are a daily part of our lives. We become attached to them and they often transport our most precious cargo: children, pets, and the family we care so dearly about. So, when an accident occurs, we expect our damaged vehicles to be sufficiently repaired. Unfortunately, insurance companies may refuse repairs. Or, insurance companies may offer too little when a vehicle is considered a total loss. In addition, valuable belongings may have been destroyed or lost as a result of the accident. Financial compensation can be recovered when filing a claim.
MULTIPLE VEHICLES INVOLVED
Multiple-vehicle or chain-reaction car accidents can be extremely dangerous. From pile-ups to intersection crashes, multi-vehicle accidents can cause serious injury due to the high impact of colliding vehicles.
Police officers and accident investigators will often look at the source of the accident to determine fault. After review, an individual may be cited as the cause of the crash. However, finding one responsible party in a multi-car accident is rarely this simple given the fact that multiple people can be held responsible. A police report may not fully reflect these nuances.
Some individuals may even need to dispute inaccurate police reports—and an experienced attorney can help.
It’s still important to review your documentation and look for any citations that may include:
- Driving recklessly
- Failure to stop
- Failure to yield
- Failure to carry insurance
- Failure to drive with a current driver’s license
- Following too closely
- Distracted driving (e.g., texting, cell phone use)
- Open containers (e.g., alcohol or drugs)
Citations can sometimes help an innocent party determine fault along with pictures of the car accident, witness accounts, and other supporting documents.
DISTRACTED BY A PASSENGER
A driver could have been distracted by another passenger in the vehicle. Finding the responsible party becomes more complex in cases like these because blame is harder to pinpoint. It is possible that the passenger responsible for distracting the driver could be found at fault.
Alternatively, a driver may swerve into a vehicle, causing a secondary vehicle to swerve and hit you in order to avoid the collision. Even though the first driver caused the chain-reaction, they may not be the individual who is ultimately found responsible for your car accident because their vehicle technically did not hit yours.
An experienced personal injury attorney can analyze the details of your crash and help you identify the correct individual to file a claim against.
In the event you are filing your claim against the government, your claim needs to be filed six months from the date of your collision. If the government entity denies your claim, you must respond within six months of initial denial. Remember, just because your claim was denied by a government entity doesn’t mean your rights to your case are entirely dismissed. You may still have a valid case.
Government claims can arise due to:
- Unsafe public areas. Potholes, uneven pavement, debris-cluttered roadways, poor signage, poor lighting, faded roadway paint, or another faulty element could have contributed to or caused your car accident. Government entities can be held responsible.
- Car accidents with government employees. If a government employee crashed into you during his or her time on the job, the government entity associated with the driver may be held accountable for your car accident injuries.
- Cases of complex nature. Some businesses may not appear to be government-owned. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you find information about the responsible party that self-investigation would otherwise not reveal.
FILING YOUR CLAIM
Act quickly to ensure all of your legal rights are preserved. Filing a claim does NOT have to be a difficult process. In fact, a personal injury attorney with a track record of diligence and success can make the process easy—with NO upfront costs involved.
CALL SAN DIEGO’S MOST TRUSTED LAW GROUP
Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC are experts in car accident law. Call today and speak to us for FREE: 1-858-551-2090. We don’t charge anything unless we win your case.
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines