When people drive negligently and carelessly, serious accidents may result in debilitating injuries. If you suffered injuries due to another driver's negligence, you must speak with a local car accident attorney as quickly as possible to explore your legal options to recover the monetary damages you deserve.
A skilled car accident attorney in Santa Barbara will stand by your side throughout every stage of the process. Your lawyer can gather important documents, including lost-wage documentation from your employer, medical treatment records, and medical bills, to support your personal injury claim.
They can also handle all written and oral communications with insurance company representatives and aggressively negotiate on your behalf.
Finally, if the insurance company does not offer you the monetary damages you deserve to recover, your lawyer can litigate your case in court to achieve a favorable result.
Throughout the process, your attorney can answer all your questions so you can make intelligent and informed decisions about how best to proceed with your case.
How Do Car Crashes Happen?
Car crashes usually happen when other people drive carelessly and irresponsibly. When drivers fail to observe the road, drive drunk, or violate traffic laws, they significantly increase their chances of causing a traffic accident. Many car accidents happen when drivers ignore or deviate from prevailing traffic laws.
Common road-rule violations that lead to traffic accidents include:
- Tailgating other vehicles
- Failing to yield the right-of-way at the appropriate time
- Failing to use mirrors and different types of vehicle technology, including backup cameras and lane-change warning devices
- Failing to use turn signals when executing a turn or making a lane change.
In addition to violating traffic laws, traffic accidents can happen when individuals drink and drive. A driver is legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 percent or higher. Commercial drivers and underage drivers must abide by more stringent legal standards. Drunk driving is a common cause of traffic accidents because alcohol can significantly affect a driver's mindset.
For example, a driver who is under the influence of alcohol may experience:
- Blurred vision, preventing them from seeing other vehicles that are nearby
- Delayed reflexes and reaction time, preventing them from stopping their car in time to avoid an accident,
- Limited concentration, preventing a driver from focusing all of their attention on the road
- Dizziness and disorientation, causing a driver to weave in and out of traffic lanes and swerve while on the road
Besides drunk and drugged driving, some drivers cause accidents when distracted while behind the wheel. Distracted driving can take several forms, but it always involves a driver failing to observe the road.
Instead of watching the road, a driver might be looking at their GPS navigation system, roughhousing with vehicle passengers, reaching for something in the backseat of their car, adjusting the volume on their stereo system, or responding to a text message on a cellular phone or tablet.
All these activities may cause a driver to turn their eyes away from the road, preventing them from seeing another vehicle, thus causing a severe accident.
Finally, many car accidents happen when drivers exhibit road rage.
A driver may become angry when other vehicles are moving too slowly. As a result, the driver might aggressively honk their horn, weave in and out of traffic without using their turn signals, tailgate other vehicles, or attempt to pass another car in a no-passing zone. They may bring about a single accident or a series of collisions that leave multiple drivers and passengers with severe injuries.
You are not alone if you suffered injuries in a motor vehicle crash resulting from one of these types of driver negligence. By seeking experienced legal counsel as quickly as possible, you increase your chances of recovering favorable damages for your injuries. Your lawyer knows how to seek the compensation you need to become whole again after your car crash.
Categories of Car Accidents
When drivers behave negligently or recklessly, they may cause several different types of car accidents. First, if they drive too fast for the road or weather, they may cause a rear-end accident, where the front of their vehicle hits the back of another car.
Similarly, if they fail to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle, especially at a traffic intersection, they may cause a broadside or T-bone accident. In this scenario, the front of the negligent driver's car hits the side of a vehicle traveling on an intersecting roadway. At other times, negligent drivers may cause sideswipe accidents, where the side of their car hits the side of another vehicle traveling in the same direction.
These accidents commonly occur on busy, multilane highways, where a driver becomes distracted and inadvertently causes their car to drift into another travel lane.
Finally, head-on collisions occur when the front of a negligent driver's vehicle strikes the front of an oncoming vehicle, often leading to severe injuries and fatalities. These accidents may happen when a driver attempts to pass other cars in a no-passing zone or otherwise causes their vehicle to drift into an opposing travel lane, possibly because they are distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you suffered injuries in one of these types of car accidents that a negligent driver caused, you need to seek the legal representation you need as quickly as possible.
A car accident attorney can seek the monetary damages you need via a favorable settlement offer from the at-fault driver's insurance company or a favorable litigation result in state court.
Injuries in a Car Crash
Victims of car accidents can suffer extremely serious injuries that may affect them for the rest of their lives. The injuries that a car crash victim suffers depend largely on the force of the collision and the type of accident. In general, head-on accidents are the most likely crashes to cause permanent injuries and fatalities.
Another common factor that affects an accident victim's injuries is how the accident victim's body moves inside their vehicle during the crash. Some crashes are so forceful that they cause a part of the accident victim's body, such as their head, knee, or elbow, to strike something inside the vehicle, leading to serious injuries.
Some of the most common injuries that car crash victims suffer include traumatic head and brain injuries, broken bones, soft tissue contusion, rib fractures, internal organ damage, internal bleeding, open lacerations, spinal cord damage, complete and incomplete paralysis injuries, mouth and teeth injuries, eye injuries, and death.
If you suffered one or more of these physical injuries in your recent car accident, always obtain the legal service you need as quickly as possible. Your attorney can gather important documents and file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company. Your lawyer can then pursue the monetary recovery you need for your accident-related losses.
Successfully Proving Your Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit
No matter what types of car crash happened or the nature of your injuries, the process of seeking compensation from liable parties is generally the same. This begins with one or more insurance claims and possible litigation in civil court.
You must satisfy your legal burden of proof to recover monetary compensation and damages in a car accident claim.
First, you must show that the other driver deviated from the standard of care, usually by violating one or more traffic laws. For example, the other driver might have been speeding or driving while distracted.
Next, you must demonstrate that your accident and injuries occurred as a direct result of the other driver's negligent behavior.
Your attorney can retain important experts in your case to satisfy your legal burden of proof. For example, if the insurance company is disputing fault for the accident, your lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist to testify in your case.
The accident reconstructionist can visit the accident scene, speak with witnesses, review police reports and other documents, and provide opinion about how the accident likely occurred and who caused it.
An expert accident reconstruction can also testify at a discovery deposition or civil jury trial. Additionally, a medical expert can help satisfy the element of medical causation in your case.
Specifically, a medical expert can testify that you suffered one or more physical injuries as a direct result of your involvement in the subject car accident. A medical expert can also establish, based upon a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that you suffered at least one permanent injury in your car accident. Your attorney can determine which experts to retain to testify in your case to satisfy your legal burden of proof.
Recovering the Monetary Damages That You Deserve in Your Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit
The ultimate goal of any car accident claim or lawsuit is to recover monetary damages, either through a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company or litigation result in state court.
The total damage award you receive in your case will depend upon various factors, including the nature and extent of your injuries and the cost of your medical treatment. In general, car crash victims who suffer a permanent or disabling injury will recover higher monetary damages than those who suffer a less serious injury.
First, accident victims can recover monetary damages for their related medical expenses, both past and anticipated. If they had to take time off work to attend medical visits to make a full recovery from their injuries, they might be eligible to recover their lost income.
Similarly, if they had to switch to a lower-paying job because they can not complete their work duties due to their injuries, they may pursue compensation for loss of earnings capacity.
Besides recovering economic damages in a car accident claim or lawsuit, accident victims can recover compensation for their intangible losses, or non-economic damages.
These damages include monetary compensation for
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of spousal consortium and companionship
- Loss of the ability to use one or more body parts
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Ongoing or lifetime care costs.
A skilled car accident lawyer can determine which damages you may be eligible to recover as part of your claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer can also aggressively negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf and pursue the highest possible settlement offer in your case.
If the insurance company refuses to take your case seriously and will not offer you the fair monetary recovery you deserve, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the state court system and, if necessary, take your case to a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding, such as binding arbitration or mediation.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer in Your Area Right Away
If you recently sustained injuries in a car crash that another driver caused, time is of the essence. Accident victims have only two years from their car accident to file a personal injury lawsuit for monetary compensation of damages.
Absent a few extremely limited circumstances, accident victims who fail to file a timely lawsuit will forever waive their right to recover the monetary compensation they deserve.
In fact, if they file a lawsuit with the court after the deadline expires, the defense attorney will probably file a motion to dismiss the case, which the court will subsequently grant. Given the potential consequences of failing to file a timely car accident lawsuit, retain an experienced attorney to represent you as quickly as possible.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area can handle every aspect of your case, including gathering important documents, negotiating with insurance company adjusters, and litigating your case through the court system.
Your attorney will stand by your side every step of the way, answering your questions, guiding you to make informed decisions, and aggressively advocating for your legal rights and interests.