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Car Accident Basics

People are injured and killed in traffic collisions every day. Still, following a car accident, many drivers are left wondering what to do.

Since car accidents are such a common occurrence, there are many laws in place to help the victims of these crashes to mitigate their losses. Filing a personal injury lawsuit, for example, can help an injured victim get the compensation that can help pay for the costs of recovery.

Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Common car accident claims involve drivers who are:

  • Alcohol-impaired
  • Drug-impaired
  • Tired
  • Distracted (such as texting while driving)
  • Reckless

People who drink and drive have a decreased reaction time, make poor decisions, and have poor vision because of the effects of alcohol on the body. Drowsiness has a similar effect and makes drivers more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel.

Distracted driving such as talking or texting on the phone is another major cause of collisions. However, other forms of multitasking while driving, such as adjusting the radio, can be equally dangerous. Switching from the road to the radio causes a delay in focus, reducing response time to potential hazards.

Car Accidents and the Law

car accident victim who has suffered injuries can choose to file a civil lawsuit against the driver at fault. This is also called a personal injury claim and is within the larger umbrella of civil law.

A civil suit is separate from a criminal case, and it often allows the victim to collect compensation from the other driver's insurance company. This money will generally cover any medical expenses, property damage, and lost income due to missed work.

Each state has its own laws providing what compensation can be awarded. In some states, for example, the victim can collect compensation for pain and suffering.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

If a loved one dies in a crash caused by another driver's negligence, the surviving family members can file wrongful death lawsuits seeking compensation for their losses.

The types of damages that can be sought vary by state. They often include funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial contributions, and loss of companionship. If they have medical bills between the accident and passing away, those may be covered as well.

Negligence

Negligence serves as the basis for most personal injury suits. Motorists owe a duty of care to other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and anyone else sharing the road. Negligence occurs when a driver breaches this duty of care. Some examples of negligent behavior include distracted, drowsy, and drunk driving.

The police report and insurance claim you file will help determine who is at fault for negligence. These documents have a lot of weight in a case, but your car accident attorney can make sure your side of the story is heard if you are partially at fault.

Product Liability

In some car accident cases, the fault lies with someone other than the drivers. For example, if a vehicle malfunctions and causes an accident, liability for the accident might instead fall on the car's manufacturer.

The laws involving product liability vary by state, but parties that can be held liable include:

  • Assembly or installation companies
  • Parts manufacturers
  • Product manufacturers
  • Distributors
  • Retailers

Consulting a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you don't fully understand what to do after a car accident or the laws regarding car accidents, a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer can give you a better idea of the options available.

A lawyer can help you determine who should be held liable and assist you with filing the case. They can also help with negotiations and settlement agreements.

If a case goes to trial, a lawyer can represent you in court to prove negligence, helping you to maximize compensation.

Speak to an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney Today

This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified auto accident lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local auto accident attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

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