How To Handle Auto Accident Injuries


How To Handle Auto Accident Injuries

By R. Ludwig

Being involved in an auto accident is not how anyone wants to start or end their day. An auto accident injury can range from receiving a small strain or bruise to being seriously disabled, having a life threatening medical condition, loss of body parts or even death. Damages to your vehicle are considered minor when the repair costs are less than your deductible insurance amount. But, a minor automobile accident injury is something else. What might appear at first to be a minor injury can result in multiple doctor visits, tests, time off work, and therapy, along with doctor fees.

Even if you are not the one injured, someone else in your vehicle may be hurt. Their wellness and medical expenses need the same level of attention as those of the driver. After attending to emergency medical care, or your primary care physician, it can be beneficial for you to consult with an automobile accident injury attorney. You want an attorney who is a member of the State Bar Association to ensure he or she is licensed and able to represent you in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. There are certain triggers where you will know that you should retain a lawyer.

Hiring an Attorney

How to hire an attorney can be challenging. An experienced personal injury attorney who knows the governing state laws and has experience with auto accidents will also has extensive experience with insurance companies, collision repair facilities and their regulatory entities.  It is important that you ask your attorney how many cases they have had over the years they have worked as an accident attorney and what the outcome was for their clients, including how long it took to achieve that outcome. Don’t be afraid to ask for references. The more detailed evidence and documents you can provide to your attorney during the initial consultation, the stronger your case becomes. Evidence can be pictures of vehicle damage taken at the accident scene, police reports and witness statements. Documents will include hospital and doctor reports, a statement of lost wages from your employer, estimates for vehicles repairs and any correspondence from the other party and their insurance company or their lawyer. Your collision repair facility can provide you with detailed photos the vehicle estimate.  It is advisable to keep a notebook and write down everything you remember from the accident and document conversations and events going forward, for example, date, time, phone number and conversations with the insurance companies, doctors appointments, etc.

Can Accident Injuries Can Be Minor to Life ThreateningAs your legal representative, an auto injury lawyer is able to communicate directly with the other party, their insurance adjusters, witnesses to the accident, doctors, police, and with the other party’s lawyer, if there is one. In a case where your injuries require extended, or even life-long medical attention, an experienced attorney will know exactly how to recover and seek appropriate compensation for you and for those dependent on you for daily support.

The sooner you are able to employ a lawyer, the sooner you will know your rights as the victim and the less stress you will have as you attempt to work your way through all the legal issues while recovering from your injuries. Your attorney will handle all the necessary paperwork, negotiate with the other party’s adjuster’s  on your behalf, and file the proper documents in court in the event your case requires a hearing before a judge or it ends in a trial. Your attorney works for your benefit and wants to help you restore order to your life. Your accident injury lawyer will advise you if you are entitled to more compensation than the other party’s insurance company offers. Your lawyer can determine if the situation was because of negligence or another contributing factor and what monetary figure that may result in for you. There are times when a third party accident investigator may be hired to dispute or corroborate the exact particulars of the accident, as police reports are not always 100% accurate and further investigation may be needed.

Don’t Wait To Get Treatment

For auto accident medical damage to qualify as a personal injury, the situation needs to be classified as physical, mental or emotional. Not all accident injuries are immediately apparent, such as cases of whiplash. Whiplash is an injury that generally occurs from rear ended vehicle accidents. Most whiplash injuries are able to heal on their own in a short period of time. The majority of whiplash cases will not materialize immediately and may manifest days or weeks after an auto accident. Some of the typical symptoms of whiplash may include headaches, pain and stiffness during neck movement, upper and lower back pain, arm and hand movement pain or numbness, blurred vision or dizziness and emotional symptoms. If you have been in an auto accident, don’t wait to seek medical attention or you may be denied a legitimate claim. It is better to be safe than to endure the pain and wait too long to get help. It is also important to understand that the few days following the accident are worse due to swelling that often occurs, so don’t get frightened, just get checked out by your doctor. Ice on the injured area and drinking water can also assist the healing process.

When a person’s head is quickly snapped backwards or sideways due to an impact or a deploying airbag, it may result in head injuries such as a concussion or brain trauma. Concussions are generally relatively short lived and not severe, however in some cases they can last weeks or longer and affect your daily activities. Traumatic brain injuries can occur if the head is struck by or on a hard surface such as a steering wheel, a head rest, a side window or the windshield. A brain injury can affect someone’s thinking and functioning skills, their personality and bodily function controls. A blood clot can form and create pressure on the brain after weeks of an accident, so if you are not feeling any better, you know your body and be insistent with your health professional in getting a thorough check, which may include and MRI or CT scan. A good attorney can assist you with this if necessary.

Other Types Of Injuries

A seatbelt recoiling during an impact helps to keep someone in place. This sudden tightening can cause cracked ribs. It is also common for someone to experience a fractured or broken bone during an auto accident. Most of these types of injuries require medical attention and will heal over time. More serious bone injuries may require corrective surgery to reset bones or have metal plates, pins or screws implanted. There is also the chance that some broken bones can culminate into permanent damage or lose of motor skills.

Spinal cord damage, a broken neck or back are types of injuries that can create paralysis. Where the spinal cord is damaged will determine how severe the injury may be. The higher the injury occurs up along the spinal cord, in the neck and upper back area, the higher the risk that a person may lose the use of their arms and legs. The lower the injury occurs along the spinal cord, in the waist area, the risk exists for a person to lose the use of their legs. Any spinal cord injury presents a scenario that could disable a person for a lifetime.

Other Considerations

An auto accident does not always involve another vehicle. Sometimes an auto accident injury may be the result of a non-driver malfunction or defect in the manufacturer’s equipment such as airbags, brakes, or steering. Another non-driver situation that can result in injuries is when the accident is due to unusual road conditions such as deep pot holes or difficult landscaping of the road. In such cases, your attorney can determine if there is cause for punitive damages and compensation, who the responsible party is, and how to pursue a claim against that party.

Your attorney understands that while you are recovering from your injuries you may not have sufficient finances for daily living. Personal injury attorneys generally take these types of cases on a contingence basis. This means that your lawyer will only receive payment after you have received a settlement or a financial judgment in court. Make sure you communicate with your attorney and you are clear on the terms of service and percentages you are giving in the settlement. Your personal injury attorney is your most valuable asset when someone else has caused you pain and suffering because they did not act in a responsible manner. Your attorney will work to see you receive a fair settlement.

No one wants to be a victim of an auto accident and no one wants to go through the pain and inconvenience of having an auto accident injury. Accidents do happen and people are injured. If you have been injured in an auto accident, you will need all the help you can get to restore you and your property to pre-accident condition, or as close as possible. That is what a good experienced auto accident personal injury lawyer can do for you. If you have been involved in an auto accident and you were injured, call an attorney today. If you are not able to call, have a trusted relative or friend call for you. You do not have to suffer one day more.