A personal injury can be summarized as an injury to the mind, body, or emotions as a direct result of another person’s actions. In terms of a car accident, it usually involves some sort of negligence or wrongdoing on the offending driver’s part. Personal injury claims are often referred to as “tort” (French meaning “at wrong”) claims in the court system. When you are injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you may have to file a claim against the negligent driver and his insurance company to recover your losses.
Car Accidents: By the Numbers
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there are over 3 million personal injuries and 41,000 deaths each year as a direct result of automobile accidents. That means the average person has around a 1 in 100 chance of being injured in a car crash in any given year. That is a staggering figure. A lot of these accidents will end up being litigated through auto accident lawsuits. Because the average person is not familiar with the insurance industry or the legal system, it is almost always a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney who handles car accident claims to represent you when you are injured in a car crash.
What to Do If You Are the Victim of an Automobile Accident
If you are involved in a car accident, it is understandable that you will probably not be thinking clearly. It helps to have an idea in your head of what you should do in this situation. We recommend the following steps if possible:
- If you are conscious and able to move around at the accident site safely, try to get contact information from any witnesses.
- When you are calm and thinking clearly, take the time to put down on paper everything you remember about the accident. When you have been injured and traumatized, your memory may be unreliable. It helps to take notes right after the accident to help keep the events clear in your mind.
- Present any evidence you have that may support a future claim to the police or try to preserve it for the future.
- After the accident, talk about what happened as little as possible. You may have to give the police a statement, and you certainly want to answer any questions that medical personnel has if they are treating you for an injury.
- You may want to contact your attorney for advice as soon as possible or give serious thought to hiring an experienced auto accident lawyer.
- If you are contacted by a representative of the person you feel was at fault in the accident or their insurance company, do not discuss anything with them. Immediately refer all questions to your attorney.
What Kind of Damages Can I Recover?
Depending on the type of accident and the extent of your injuries, you may be entitled to damages for the following:
- Medical expenses. This can be anything from minor or major injuries as a result of an accident you were the victim off. Often it includes such things as ambulance fees, surgeries, physical therapy, prosthetics, examinations, prescriptions, and both in-patient and out-patient services.
- Permanent disability or death. This is compensation for critical injuries, such as losing a limb, having a traumatic brain injury, or becoming paralyzed, which are permanently life-altering. In the case of car accident fatalities, surviving family members have the right to sue on behalf of the deceased.
- Pain and suffering. This is when you are the victim of an accident where it has affected the overall quality of your life. Examples of this are repeatedly painful migraine headaches as a result of a head injury or emotional damage that is directly associated with the accident.
- Lost wages. This can be wages lost while you were receiving treatment as a result of being a victim of an automobile accident or your potential for future earnings having been reduced as the result of auto accident injuries.
- Loss of affection or companionship. This is one of the more difficult aspects of a claim to prove. It can be a result of such things as the emotional loss of the death of a companion who is the victim of an accident. It can also include the loss of your ability to give and receive affection in your personal relationships because of injuries you sustained in an accident.
The Law Office of Raúl A. Guajardo offers caring, dependable representation from an honest attorney. Our McAllen auto accident lawyers believe in working hard for our clients to ease the stress and burden that a car accident brings. Contact us today to schedule a FREE, confidential consultation and get the auto injury help that you deserve.