Bagen Law Firm | January 11, 2023 | Car Accidents
When a negligent driver causes a serious car crash, debilitating personal injuries along with extensive property damage may result. In addition to seeking the medical treatment that you need for your physical injuries, you should talk with a knowledgeable car accident attorney right away.
Accident victims can seek financial recovery from liable parties after their crash. Compensation should cover not only injury-related losses but also property damage. This includes compensation for the reduced value of a vehicle because of the damage. You have limited time to file your claims, so the sooner you retain legal counsel to represent you, the better off you will be.
A car accident attorney can review the circumstances of your accident and help you file a claim for personal injuries or diminished property value with the appropriate insurance company. Your car accident lawyer can also help you evaluate your options, decide the best way to move your case forward, and help you maximize your injury and property damage compensation.
Ways That Car Accidents Frequently Happen
In most instances, car crashes happen when other people drive carelessly and negligently. Accident victims may have serious personal injuries and extensive property damage to their vehicles. Some of the most common causes of car crashes that lead to injuries and property damage include road rule violations, intoxicated driving, distracted driving, and road rage.
When drivers fail to follow the rules of the road, they increase their chances of causing a crash.
Typical traffic violations that lead to traffic accidents include:
- Failing to yield the right of way at the appropriate times.
- Exceeding the posted speed limits.
- Failing to use turn signals.
- Following other vehicles too closely.
At other times, car crashes happen when drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A passenger vehicle driver is legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent, while the BAC limits for commercial drivers and underage drivers are significantly stricter. A police officer may use a portable breathalyzer device to measure a driver’s BAC.
When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may experience physical symptoms, like blurred vision, that prevent them from operating their vehicle safely. In addition, they may experience limited concentration and delayed reaction time, preventing them from stopping in time to avoid hitting another vehicle or a pedestrian.
In addition to incurring criminal penalties upon conviction for DUI, and offending driver and their insurance company may also be subject to civil damages if the driver causes a crash that leads to personal injuries and property damage.
In addition, some car accidents result from distracted driving. A driver is distracted when they fail to observe the road. Instead of watching the road, they might be looking at an electronic device, such as a cellular phone or tablet, or programming a GPS navigation system. At other times, drivers become distracted when they engage in “horseplay” with other vehicle occupants or listen to loud music in their vehicle. Even a one-or-two-second distraction is enough time for a driver to miss seeing an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian.
Finally, some car accidents result from road rage, where a driver overreacts to a real or imaginary circumstance that arises on the road. For example, a driver may become angry with a slow-moving driver and aggressively tailgate their vehicle, inadvertently causing a crash.
If you sustained personal injuries or property damage in a car accident that resulted from one of these types of negligence, you have legal options available. A car accident attorney in your area can explain those options and help you select the best one for your case.
What are the Most Common Car Crashes that Lead to Physical Injuries and Property Damage?
When people drive negligently, serious accidents can cause physical injuries and property damage. The most common car crashes include rear-ending collisions, head-on collisions, sideswipe accidents, and broadside accidents.
A rear-end collision happens when the front of a car or truck hits the back of another vehicle, often causing rear-end damage to the front vehicle and whiplash injuries to the vehicle occupants. These injuries typically result from an abrupt forward and backward jerking motion, or from hitting something inside the vehicle, like the headrest, steering wheel, door frame, or window.
On the other hand, a head-on collision occurs when vehicles travel in opposite directions and one driver negligently crosses the center line or median strip. When these vehicles occur at high speeds, it can lead to permanent personal injuries and sometimes fatalities. Head-on crashes often cause severe damage to the fronts of the two vehicles and more.
A sideswipe accident occurs when the sides of two vehicles that are traveling in the same direction strike one another. These accidents are common on multi-lane roads where the at-fault driver negligently causes their vehicle to cross over into another travel lane.
Finally, broadside accidents, or T-bone collisions, happen when the front of one vehicle hits the side of a vehicle traveling on an adjacent road. The force of these collisions may cause the second vehicle to spin around rapidly or overturn, causing significant property damage and physical injuries.
If you suffered injuries or sustained property damage to your vehicle in one of these accidents, you should reach out to an experienced car accident attorney right away. Your lawyer can help you file the proper claim with the appropriate insurance company and pursue the monetary damages you deserve.
How do I File a Claim for My Accident-Related Physical Injuries?
Accident victims can sustain severe physical injuries, depending on what kind of collision happens, how their body moves in the car, and the force of the collision. Some of the most common accident-related injuries include soft tissue contusions, open lacerations, bruises, traumatic head injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and internal organ damage.
If you recently suffered injuries in a car crash, you should go to a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility right away. The medical provider on duty there can physically examine you and order the necessary imaging tests to diagnose your visible and invisible injuries. The doctor can also recommend follow-up treatment if you require it, and you should always follow your treatment plan to the letter. Doing so can help your health and your claim.
A skilled car accident lawyer can then begin handling your case while you focus your attention on getting better. For example, your lawyer can gather property damage photographs, diagrams of the accident scene, police reports, lost wage statements, medical records, and medical bills. Once you complete your medical treatment, your lawyer can submit these documents to the appropriate insurance company adjuster and pursue the monetary compensation you deserve—both for your accident-related property damage and personal injuries.
What is a Diminished Value Claim?
Different states handle property damage claims differently. For example, Florida is a diminished value state. This means that following a car accident that someone else caused, you may be eligible to recover monetary compensation that represents your vehicle’s diminished value.
In general, diminished value amounts to your vehicle’s approximate loss in market value that occurs when you have to seek repairs after an accident or when the accident totals your vehicle. Diminished value claims are necessary because reasonable consumers will not pay the same amount for a vehicle that has no accident history as they might for a vehicle that was previously involved in an accident.
Under Florida’s statute of limitations, an accident victim has two years to bring a claim for diminished value. Moreover, if you sustained damage to your vehicle for some reason other than a collision, you will be unable to file a diminished value claim and recover monetary compensation. The same is true if you were the driver who caused the subject accident.
When it comes to diminished value claims, there are three types. The first type is repair-related diminished value. These claims compensate accident victims for the loss of their vehicle’s value stemming from a repair facility’s inability to repair their vehicle perfectly. In this scenario, the vehicle is worth less money post-repair than it was worth before the subject motor vehicle accident.
Accident victims may also be eligible to recover the immediate diminished value of their vehicle. This type of claim represents the difference between the vehicle’s value before the accident and damage occurred and the vehicle’s resale value after the accident and damage but before making repairs on the vehicle.
Finally, inherent diminished value is the amount by which a car accident reduces the repaired vehicle’s resale value.
For you to recover monetary compensation for your vehicle’s diminished value following an accident, you will need to satisfy the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit. First of all, you must show that the accident resulted from someone else’s negligence. If the insurance company finds that you are at fault for the accident, you will not be eligible to recover monetary damages for diminished value.
Next, you must file your property damage claim or lawsuit within the four-year statute of limitations. If you file your claim even one day after the deadline expires, you will not be eligible for monetary compensation.
In addition, you must obtain the proper vehicle appraisals that show your vehicle’s value before the subject accident and its value after a repair facility made the necessary repairs. A knowledgeable appraiser will use various standards to determine the approximate value your vehicle lost due to a crash. Some of these standards include the specific damage to your vehicle, how your vehicle’s history of damage impacts its depreciation, and the automobile market for your particular geographical area.
Finally, you may need to submit various documents to prove your claim, either informally to the insurance company or as evidence during a trial. Helpful evidence in a diminished value claim may include copies of work orders that detail the parts that a repair facility used to fix your vehicle, along with photographs that show aesthetic differences, gaps in seals, and mismatched paint.
In a Florida diminished value claim or lawsuit, the responsible driver or their insurance company is responsible for paying the diminished value damages. An experienced car accident lawyer in your area can help you file the necessary claim with the insurance company and pursue the maximum monetary damages you deserve.
What Damages Can I Recover for My Personal Injuries in an Accident?
In addition to recovering monetary compensation for the diminished value of your vehicle, you may also be eligible to recover monetary damages for your accident-related personal injuries. The types and amounts of damages you may recover will depend upon the circumstances surrounding your accident, your injuries, the cost of your medical treatment, and other related factors.
Accident victims may be eligible to recover monetary damages for their lost earnings, loss of earning capacity, inconvenience, pain and suffering, permanent disability or disfigurement, loss of life enjoyment, loss of use of a body part, and loss of spousal companionship.
Your lawyer will fight for your right to recover the monetary damages you deserve in your case, both for your physical injuries and property damage.
Call an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer About Your Accident Today
If you have injuries or property damage from a recent car accident, you should contact an experienced injury lawyer right away. It is the best way to ensure you receive the financial compensation you deserve while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
Your lawyer can assist you during settlement negotiations with the insurance company and, if necessary, litigate your case in the court system and represent you at all legal hearings.
Your lawyer will be by your side every step of the way, advocating for you and pursuing the monetary damages you need. Having legal representation can ease your stress and assure you that someone is fighting for your rights while you undergo treatment.
Initial case evaluations are free with no obligation, so you have nothing to lose by reaching out for a consultation. Protect your finances and future by taking action today.