Car accidents can have serious consequences for everyone involved, whether due to distracted driving, speeding, or other negligent behaviors. The details of car accident injury law can be complicated and challenging for those not experienced in this area. Having seasoned Lakewood Ranch car accident lawyers from Luhrsen Goldberg by your side can dramatically increase your chances of establishing liability, proving your case, and obtaining Law Powered by Women® legal assistance.
Mistakes to Sidestep Following a Motor Vehicle Collision
One of the critical aspects to be mindful of following a car accident is avoiding certain mistakes that could exacerbate the situation. While often made innocently, these errors can have far-reaching consequences, affecting your physical health, insurance claim, or any subsequent legal proceedings. Here are some notable mistakes that you should strive to avoid in the aftermath of an accident:
- Neglecting to pursue immediate medical attention: It is in your interest to receive medical attention right after a car accident, regardless of how you might feel. The adrenaline rush in your body can mask the severity of physical harm you might have incurred. Some injuries, such as internal bleeding or concussions, may not show symptoms immediately. Therefore, a comprehensive medical examination is indispensable to diagnose and treat any such underlying conditions. Neglecting this critical step may jeopardize your health and can also impact any potential legal claims. Medical reports documenting your injuries are important evidence substantiating your symptoms and injuries stem from the motor vehicle accident and thus obtaining appropriate compensation.
- Overlooking the importance of gathering information: After an accident, it is wise to be proactive and collect as much information as possible from the accident scene. This data collection process should include exchanging contact details with the other driver(s) involved. Capture as many photographs of the accident scene as you can, including the positioning of the vehicles, the extent of damage to the involved vehicles and other property, and any visible injuries. Additionally, collecting the names and contact information of any onlookers who could serve as witnesses may benefit your case. This amassed information can prove invaluable when filing insurance claims or initiating legal proceedings, as it could help establish the truth of what transpired and determine who was at fault.
- Inadvertently admitting fault: It is vital to maintain caution when communicating about the accident, particularly in the context of admitting fault. Discussing the accident's specifics should ideally be limited to factual accounts shared with the police officers documenting the event and your legal advisor if you choose to hire one. Even seemingly innocent statements made in the moment's chaos, such as an offhand apology, can be misconstrued as an admission of guilt. This can later be leveraged against you, potentially impacting your claim and your ability to receive appropriate compensation. Therefore, it is wise to reserve any conclusions, offer opinions or speculations about the incident until all the facts have been reviewed and considered.
By being cognizant of these potential missteps, you can navigate the post-accident process more effectively, protecting your rights, safeguarding your health, and increasing the chances of receiving the compensation you might be entitled to.
Common Injuries in Car Accidents
Car accidents, an unfortunately common occurrence, can lead to a broad spectrum of injuries, encompassing a variety of forms and varying degrees of severity. The physical trauma endured during these incidents can manifest in numerous ways, affecting different body parts and causing long-term complications.
This injury frequently occurs during car accidents, particularly those involving rear-end collisions. Whiplash is a type of neck injury caused by the neck’s rapid, forceful back-and-forth movement, akin to the cracking of a whip. Such a sudden jolt to the head and neck can cause whiplash, leading to neck pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. It can also trigger headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and even cognitive issues like memory problems. These symptoms may not present immediately but could appear hours or days after the accident. Treatment begins with physical therapy and other conservative therapeutics, including chiropractic. It may also involve in some instances wearing a neck brace for support. Often, interventional pain management is helpful and in some instances, surgery may be needed to better address the injuries suffered.
The intense impact of a car collision can exert substantial force on the human body, often leading to fractures in various regions. These could include the arms, legs, ribs, or pelvic area. Depending on the severity of the fracture, victims might experience sharp pain, swelling, bruising, or an inability to move the affected area. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to realign the broken bones and insert supportive devices like rods or plates in more serious cases.
Accidents are known to cause significant back damage, resulting in various injuries ranging from spinal cord damage to herniated discs. Spinal cord injuries are particularly concerning, as they can result in partial or complete paralysis. Herniated discs, on the other hand, can cause chronic back pain and limited mobility. Sometimes, these injuries can affect the nerves, leading to numbness, tingling, and limb weakness. As with neck injuries, often the healing process begins with conservative therapies but may also involve interventional pain management care and at times require surgical repair.
Head and Brain Injuries
Perhaps the most serious is traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), occurring when the head strikes an object or experiences rapid acceleration or deceleration during an accident. These injuries can be subtle, with no visible signs on the outside, yet profoundly impact the victim’s cognitive function. Depending on the severity of the injury, TBIs can result in headaches, confusion, slurred speech, and even more severe issues like coma or chronic seizures. They can also cause psychological effects such as depression or personality changes, significantly impacting the victim’s overall quality of life.
The injuries mentioned earlier are not exhaustive of the potential harm one might sustain from a car accident. Instead, they represent some of the most frequently observed injuries resulting from such incidents. This fact emphasizes the importance of prompt and comprehensive medical assessments after any car-related accident, no matter how minor it initially appears. This ensures all injuries are quickly identified and suitably addressed.
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
In the aftermath of a car accident, victims may have the right to claim compensation for the losses they have endured, both tangible and intangible. These are typically classified into two main categories: economic and non-economic damages. Understanding these terms can be crucial when seeking justice and ensuring you are appropriately compensated for the many impacts a car accident can have on your life.
Economic damages, sometimes called special damages, represent a quantifiable monetary loss incurred due to the accident. They encompass a wide range of financial burdens that can be documented and calculated:
- Medical Expenses: This is often the most substantial component of economic damages. Medical expenses include the cost of your emergency care immediately following the accident, hospitalization, surgeries, medication, therapies as well as other necessary medical procedures and treatment you receive for the injuries you suffer in the crash. It also includes the projected costs of your future medical care due to injuries sustained in the accident.
- Lost Wages: If the accident results in you missing work, you can claim compensation for the income lost during this period.
- Rehabilitation Costs: Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may require physical therapy or other forms of rehabilitation. These costs can be significant and can be included in economic damages.
- Other Measurable Financial Losses: These might include transportation costs related to medical visits, expenses related to modifying your home to accommodate a disability resulting from the accident, and the cost of hiring help for household tasks you cannot perform due to your injuries.
- Property Damage: This covers the expenses incurred for repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other personal belongings damaged in the accident. Typically property damage claims are handled separately via corollary (to bodily injury and/or uninsured motorist) insurance coverages specifically intended to pay for damaged property arising from a car accident.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are more abstract and cannot be easily quantified in monetary terms. These, often referred to as general damages, include:
- Pain and Suffering: This pertains to the physical pain and discomfort that you endured and may continue to endure due to the accident. Corollary concepts to pain and suffering also include loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, etc.
- Emotional Distress: Accidents can have a significant psychological impact, leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or sleep disorders.
- Loss of Consortium: This refers to the accident's impact on your relationship with your spouse or family, including loss of companionship or the inability to maintain a sexual relationship.
- Impact on Quality of Life: If your injuries have led to permanent disability or disfigurement, it can substantially impact your quality of life. This might encompass the loss of enjoyment of activities you once participated in or significant lifestyle changes due to your injuries.
Given the complex nature of non-economic damages and the challenge of assigning them a monetary value, they often require the expertise of skilled legal representation to ensure a fair evaluation.
The Importance of Gathering Evidence After an Accident
Collecting comprehensive evidence plays a pivotal role in building a robust and compelling claim for compensation. Each piece of evidence gathered can contribute significantly to accurately portraying the incident and demonstrating the extent of the losses incurred. This can help establish liability and support your claim for damages.
Visual evidence can be incredibly powerful in a car accident claim. Taking clear and detailed photographs of the accident scene is crucial, capturing different angles and aspects. This should include pictures of your damaged vehicle from all sides, any other vehicles involved, and any damage they sustained. Document the road conditions, weather, lighting elements, and relevant road markings or signs, like stop signs or traffic lights. Skid marks or debris on the road can indicate the direction and force of the collision. Additionally, photograph any visible injuries you or your passengers sustained. These images can provide a compelling snapshot of the immediate aftermath of the accident and the damage incurred.
Law enforcement that respond to motor vehicle accidents compile official police reports upon completion of their investigation. This report captures the officer’s observations, diagrams of the accident scene, conditions and details about the accident scene, statements from involved parties and witnesses, and other pertinent details including whether traffic citations were issued. Typically, at the scene, you and the other involved parties will be given some limited basic information (a “Driver Exchange of Information”) with the full, detailed crash report becoming publicly available a short time later.
Witnesses can provide an independent perspective on the accident, making their testimonies particularly valuable. At a minimum, do your best to obtain contact information from witnesses; if possible, seek more information from them, including a detailed statement from anyone who saw the accident happen. These accounts can corroborate your version of events and provide additional insights into the cause of the accident. A witness may have noticed something you didn’t or provide a different vantage point that proves critical to establishing the facts of the case.
A comprehensive collection of your medical records is vital to demonstrate the physical impact of the accident. These records should include initial emergency room reports, doctors’ notes, diagnostic imaging results, surgical reports if surgery was needed, and any physical therapy or rehabilitation records. As your attorney, we will typically obtain your records and bills. Nevertheless, keeping a detailed account of your medical treatment – from diagnosis to prescribed medications to recommended treatment options and procedures to prognoses for your recovery, is helpful and useful information that you can provide. Similarly, it is important to track all of your related expenses,both large and small, including medical bills, pharmacy receipts, and costs related to travel for treatment. This documentation helps establish the correlation between the accident and your injuries as well as the cost of the resulting treatment you required.
Income and Employment Records
If you have lost wages due to missed work or reduced capacity to work because of your injuries, document this as well. Pay stubs, direct deposit records, tax returns, and a letter from your employer detailing your normal pay rate, hours, and the time you missed from work can indicate your lost earnings.
Every piece of evidence adds depth and detail to the narrative of your accident and its effect on your life. A comprehensive and meticulously cataloged evidence collection can be pivotal in obtaining the rightful compensation you’re entitled to. It is vital to engage proficient car accident attorneys who can steer you through this process, ensuring that all essential evidence is collected and showcased.
How an Attorney Can Help Prove Liability
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, seeking legal representation from an experienced car accident attorney, particularly one well-versed with the local laws in Lakewood Ranch, FL, can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Here’s how our auto accident attorneys can assist you in this challenging journey:
- Conducting a Comprehensive Investigation: Our skilled auto accident attorneys bring a wealth of resources and experience to bear on behalf of accident victims. They procure and analyze all types of evidence, such as police reports, traffic surveillance footage, witness statements, and medical records. They might collaborate with accident reconstruction experts to recreate the incident scene, helping to clarify the sequence of events leading up to the collision, the actions of all parties involved, and, ultimately, determining who was at fault. This comprehensive investigation aims to construct a clear, convincing narrative of the accident, which is critical to your claim.
- Applying Legal Expertise: Our car accident attorneys have specialized knowledge of personal injury laws, traffic regulations, and insurance policies. They can expertly navigate the intricate labyrinth of the legal system, understanding and maneuvering around and through procedural rules, filing deadlines, and documentation requirements. Protecting your rights and ensuring compliance with all legal stipulations aid in preventing any legal missteps that could potentially jeopardize your claim.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: It's well-known that insurance companies, driven by profit motives, often aim to minimize payouts or shift blame onto the victims. Their adjusters are skilled in tactics designed to lower the settlement value or deny claims altogether. Our auto accident lawyers manage communications with these adjusters, leveraging their experience to rebuff lowball offers and press for a fair settlement that fully compensates your losses given the unique facts and circumstances of your case. They ensure you are not exploited and your best interests are represented throughout the negotiation process.
- Building a Strong Case: Equipped with a detailed understanding of personal injury law and the specifics of your case, our auto accident lawyers know how to assemble a persuasive case. They meticulously gather the necessary evidence, interview witnesses, consult with medical and accident reconstruction experts, and employ their legal acumen to draw logical conclusions. They present a comprehensive argument highlighting the other party's negligence or recklessness, demonstrating your innocence and emphasizing the significance of your damages.
- Representing You in Court: While many car accident cases are settled out of court, there are instances where a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations. Our car accident lawyers are prepared to escalate the case to court in such situations. They will advocate and marshal their litigation skills to fight tenaciously on your behalf. They are experienced in crafting compelling arguments and presenting the necessary evidence to advocate for your rights and seek the maximum compensation possible.
Contact Luhrsen Goldberg for Lakewood Ranch Car Accident Lawyers
Engaging Lakewood Ranch car accident lawyers from Luhrsen Goldberg can provide immense support, alleviating the stress associated with post-accident procedures and legal complications. Our woman-owned and led boutique law practice has the experience, skills, and dedication to give you the confidence and peace of mind to focus on your recovery. Contact us today so we can learn more about your unique situation and determine the best path forward.