Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident T-Bone?

A T-bone car accident, also known as a side-impact collision, is a dangerous situation that happens when one vehicle violates the right-of-way of another. Traffic engineers design the rules of the road to avoid these crashes, which means there is almost always an illegal maneuver involved.

While T-bone accidents tend to damage the people in the car getting broadsided more than the one that does the broadsiding, either party could sustain terrible injuries.

But who is at fault? An experienced car accident attorney can examine the evidence to prove negligence and help you pursue compensation from the liable driver.

Why T-Bone Accidents Tend to Be Serious?

T-bone collisions can have devastating consequences for all cars involved, but there is a particular danger for the vehicle that gets a forceful side blow. This is mainly because, compared to other crashes, there is less of a buffer zone between the point of impact and the car’s occupants. Side airbags are also both less common and less effective, which can also exacerbate serious injuries.

Most T-bone accidents will happen at intersections where one vehicle has to yield to the other vehicle’s right-of-way, such as at traffic lights and Stop signs. Considering transit laws, something has to go terribly wrong to cause a side-impact collision.

The leading cause is negligence, which can constitute:

  • Not properly signaling before making a turn
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving through a red light or ignoring a Stop sign
  • Any form of distracted driving, especially texting
  • Driving at reckless speeds and losing control of the vehicle

How Do Lawyers Prove Fault in a T-bone Car Accident?

After a T-bone collision, it is very common for both drivers to insist they had the right-of-way, and it will take a review of the evidence to establish who was at fault.

An experienced car accident attorney will build a case for liability using resources like:

  • The Police Report: Police officers called to the scene of a T-bone accident will write their preliminary assessment of what caused the crash, including whether the drivers were speeding or under the influence of alcohol. The report will also document important information like contact details for witnesses, a diagram of how the cars were situated right after the crash, and any important physical evidence found at the scene.
  • Video of the crash: Footage of the point of impact is often available from traffic cameras, dash cams, or even the exterior security cameras of local businesses.
  • Witnesses: When there is a hotly disputed argument about who had the right-of-way, the statements from bystanders or fellow motorists can help resolve what happened in the lead-up to the collision.
  • Forensic Car Accident Experts: Your car accident lawyer can hire accident  reconstructionist to analyze the evidence and provide expert testimony about the causes of the crash and who should be liable.
  • Data from on-board devices: The monitoring recorders that come standard with modern vehicles will preserve crucial information about the car’s behavior immediately before a crash. Your car accident lawyer can download, analyze, and use this data to establish key facts about the collision.

When the Parties Dispute Fault, a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You?

The question of who had the right-of-way can get very contentious after a T-bone accident, especially if the accident led to major injuries and property damage. Having an experienced attorney handling your case can help you prove the liable party’s negligence, navigate the insurance process, and recover fair compensation for your damages.

To strengthen your claim, a car accident attorney can:

  • Review all the available evidence: Your attorney’s team will analyze the police report, interview witnesses, try to find footage of the crash, and hire forensic experts that can substantiate your claim about having the right-of-way.
  • Document and prove the extent of your damages: An attorney will determine the fair value of your T-bone accident claim, like medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and intangible losses, to help you fight for maximum compensation.
  • Negotiate with insurers: The liable party’s insurance company is likely to begin the negotiation with a lowball offer that does not account for the car accident victim’s damages. Having an attorney negotiate on your behalf will make a huge difference in receiving a reasonable settlement offer.

Hiring a Car Accident Attorney

A severe T-bone accident is a scary experience that creates a range of physical and financial costs that can turn your life upside down.

If the insurance company disputes responsibility for the crash, talk to a skilled car accident legal team as soon as possible. The right attorney understands the system and can represent your best interests, whether you pursue a settlement with the insurance company or take your case to trial.

What Do I Need to Know if a Tanker Truck Crash Injured Me?

Tanker trucks are larger than other trucks and often carry hazardous materials, presenting a bigger risk for accidents on the road. If motorists or others sustain injuries in an accident involving a tanker truck, they may qualify for compensation with the help of an experienced tanker truck accident attorney.

There are certain aspects to understand about tanker truck accidents and how they occur.

What Are Tanker Trucks?

Also known as tank trucks, tanker trucks haul cylindrical trailers. While some tanker trucks feature a separate trailer that enables the truck to pivot, other models include a trailer attached to the cab, which doesn’t allow for pivoting.

Trailer trucks may feature refrigeration, insulation, or pressurization to accommodate various cargo types. They typically feature stainless steel, aluminum, or carbon steel construction for ample durability.

What Materials Do Tanker Trucks Carry?

Tanker trucks may carry a wide range of cargo. Most tanker trucks in the U.S. carry gasoline and diesel fuel when transporting them to gas stations, but they may also contain many other substances. These materials are flammable or hazardous in many cases, making it necessary for tanker truck drivers to practice caution when operating these vehicles.

Some of the cargo that tanker trucks may carry include:

  • Alcohol and alcoholic beverage items such as beer and wine
  • Ethanol
  • Sand
  • Food oils like canola, olive, and vegetable oils
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Corn syrup
  • Dairy products like cream and milk
  • Dyes and paints
  • Radioactive materials such as isotopes and ores
  • Grain and flour
  • Peroxides and other oxidizing chemicals
  • Acids and other corrosive materials
  • Tar and oil

Causes of Tanker Truck Accidents

Many of the same factors that cause commercial truck accidents contribute to tanker truck accidents. Many truck accidents involve these trucks, with one report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) finding that tanker trucks caused 3,505 accidents in a single year. Additionally, the report concluded that tanker trucks contributed to 372 collisions resulting in eight percent of all truck accident fatalities.

Some of the leading causes of tanker truck accidents include the following:

Fatigued Driving

Truckers often travel across the country over long periods to make efficient deliveries. As a result, many of these truckers experience fatigue. While rules require rest periods and work hour limits, drivers may not follow them.

Truckers also frequently drive overnight, interfering with their normal sleep cycle, leading to mild drowsiness to exhaustion. If drivers experience fatigue, they may fall asleep at the wheel, potentially causing an accident.

Fatigued driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence, according to data from the FMCSA. Research shows that individuals who experience 18 or more hours of sleep deprivation exhibit the same level of impairment as a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08, which is the legal limit in the U.S.

Distracted Driving

Truck drivers, including tanker truck drivers, must not use their cell phones or other hands-on electronic devices when operating a vehicle. However, truckers can use hands-free devices such as headsets to make calls or perform other tasks. If a trucker uses their phone, even a hands-free device, they could cause a distraction that leads to an accident.

In addition to using cell phones, other activities cause distractions and increase the risk of an accident. For example, truckers may eat or drink on the road, adjust radio volume or change stations, observe objects and events outside of the truck, engage in personal grooming, or adjust cabin temperature controls.

Poor Maintenance

Truckers and trucking companies must consistently maintain tanker trucks to prevent them from experiencing mechanical failures that can contribute to an accident. Tanker trucks must undergo preventative maintenance and safety checks to ensure these vehicles are in good condition. Failure to adequately maintain tanker trucks renders vehicles and individual parts more likely to fail, causing drivers to lose control of their vehicles.

Driving Under the Influence

As mentioned, the national legal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol is a BAC of 0.08, at which point a driver’s blood contains 0.08 percent alcohol content.

However, the legal limit is even lower for drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), with the limit being 0.04 percent for these individuals. This limit means that CDL holders must avoid drinking and driving to minimize the risk of impairment. Additionally, truck drivers may choose to take prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal drugs that lead to intoxication and increase the risk of a collision.

Factors That Make Tanker Truck Accidents More Dangerous

Tanker trucks are more dangerous than other commercial vehicles because of their combined mass and potentially dangerous materials they transport. Depending on the type of tanker truck and its cargo, several factors can contribute to tanker truck accidents.

#1. Fires

Tanker trucks may transport flammable substances that can catch fire. In other cases, pressurized tanks could ignite in an accident. The resulting fires could lead to serious burn injuries or fatalities.

#2. Explosions

Trucks containing flammable substances could also explode in high-impact collisions at fast speeds. Similar to fires, victims may sustain serious burns and other injuries. Additionally, many victims of explosions suffer injuries from shrapnel.

#3. Rollovers

Like other semi-trucks, tanker trucks may experience rollovers that severely damage nearby property and cause catastrophic injuries. Indeed, tanker trucks are more likely to roll over than other trucks because of the movement of their cargo.

#4. Sloshing

Over time as tanker trucks make deliveries, the supply within the tank decreases. Lower levels of liquid materials could lead to sloshing as the truck moves, potentially changing the vehicle’s center of gravity. This weight change increases the driver’s chance of losing control of the vehicle.

#5. Spills

Failure to properly load and secure tank trucks or maintain tank parts contributes to partial or complete spills. If a spill occurs, other motorists may lose traction on the road, and hazardous materials could cause injuries to motorists or pedestrians.

Connect with a Truck Accident Lawyer to Discuss a Case

The nature of tanker truck accidents can make them more severe than those involving other types of trucks. If you or a loved one sustains injuries in a tanker truck accident, you may seek compensation.

To find out whether you have a viable case, contact a truck accident attorney near you today.

How Can I Get Compensation After a T-bone Accident?

A T-bone accident happens when another vehicle hits your vehicle in the side. T-bone accidents could cause extensive injuries or even death, depending on the size of the vehicles and the speed they are traveling. T-bone accident settlements and lawsuits are often difficult because of the victim’s severe damages. If the defendant is a commercial driver, the complexity increases, as more than one individual or entity might share liability for your damages.

Common Places for T-bone Accidents

In most cases, T-bone accidents happen at intersections when one driver runs a stop sign or a red light. However, T-bone accidents could also occur when someone leaves a driveway or parking lot.

T-bone accidents could also happen where they are seemingly impossible. If a vehicle strikes another vehicle on the highway, causing the first vehicle to spin out, the spinning vehicle’s front could hit your vehicle in the side a T-bone accident.

Causes of T-bone Accidents

Someone’s negligence almost always causes T-bone accidents. These accidents usually happen when someone ignores a traffic control signal. However, a T-bone wreck could also happen when:

  • Someone is driving under the influence.
  • A driver loses control of their vehicle and spins out, hitting you in the side. Debris on the road, a tired driver, or snowy and icy roads could cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle.
  • A driver hits a second driver who spins out and hits you. In this case, the driver who hit you might not share responsibility for your injuries but might also have a claim against the driver who caused him to spin out.
  • A vehicle’s brake system, steering, or suspension malfunctions.

Injuries Caused by a T-bone Accident

In a T-bone accident, one vehicle hits the other in the side, usually crushing the doors. Passengers sitting near those doors often suffer severe and catastrophic injuries or even death. Newer vehicles have side airbags and steel beams on the sides to minimize injuries.

However, older vehicles do not have these protections. Additionally, the at-fault driver could hit your vehicle with the corner of their vehicle and miss the steel beams.

Accident injuries common in T-bone crashes include:

  • Bumps, bruises, cuts, and scrapes.
  • Face and eye injuries.
  • Road rash if the crash throws the victim from the vehicle.
  • Thermal and chemical burns.
  • Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
  • Strains and sprains.
  • Simple and compound fractures.
  • Crushed bones and other crush injuries.
  • Internal injuries.
  • Traumatic brain injuries.
  • Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries, including paralysis.
  • Amputation of a digit or limb.

Accident victims could also suffer from secondary injuries, such as an infection in an open wound. Even if the wound is from surgery to repair accident injuries, the at-fault driver is liable for the medical expenses and additional damages caused by the infection or other secondary injury.

Additionally, accident injuries could exacerbate existing injuries or illnesses. The at-fault driver is also liable for medical expenses, additional pain and suffering, and other damages the victim suffers for pre-existing injuries and illnesses.

Recovering Damages After a T-bone Accident

In many cases, the accident victim recovers damages from the person (or insurance company) that hit her. However, in some cases, others might share whole or partial responsibility for your damages.

Those might include:

  • Another driver who caused the person that hit you to spin out.
  • A commercial trucking company.
  • A commercial dispatcher.
  • An auto technician.
  • A commercial truck inspector.
  • A parts manufacturer.
  • A vehicle or trailer manufacturer.
  • A truck owner, if they lease the truck out.

As part of their investigation, your lawyer should determine if more than one person or entity shares liability for damages and other losses you suffer after a wreck.

Types of Damages an Accident Victim Could Recover

The amount and type of damages an accident victim could recover depend on the severity of the injuries.

Economic Damages

Most accident victims receive economic damages. These damages have a monetary value. The court orders at-fault drivers to pay economic damages to make the victim financially whole again.

Economic damages, sometimes called special damages, include:

  • Medical expenses, including doctors’ visits, surgeries, home and nursing home care, physical therapy, cognitive therapy, occupational therapy, psychological therapy, prescriptions, over-the-counter prescribed medications, hand controls for your vehicle, wheelchair ramps, grab bars, widened doorways, and other upgrades to your home to make it accessible.
  • Lost wages for the time from the date of the accident through the time you settle or win a trial award.
  • Future loss of earning capacity if accident injuries cause long-term or permanent disabilities that prevent you from working.
  • Replacement or repair of destroyed or damaged personal property.
  • Death-related expenses, including funeral and burial expenses, cremation expenses, probate attorneys, and certain probate expenses.

Non-Economic Damages

Certain accident victims might recover non-economic damages. Usually, the court orders non-economic damages when accident injuries cause severe and catastrophic injuries or the death of a loved one. As with economic damages, the court orders a defendant to pay non-economic damages, sometimes referred to as general damages, to make the victim whole again.

Non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
  • Loss of quality of life if you have to make life changes, such as taking prescriptions or using ambulatory aids for the rest of your life.
  • Loss of companionship if your injuries do not allow you to enjoy time, activities, and events with your family.
  • Loss of consortium if your injuries prevent you from having a physical relationship with your spouse.
  • Loss of use of a body part such as a leg or a hand.
  • Loss of use of a bodily function such as your eyesight, hearing, or bladder.
  • Excessive scarring or disfigurement.
  • Amputation of a digit or limb.

Should you find yourself saddled with bills, pain, and suffering, call a car accident lawyer near you to recover the compensation you need to recover and put your life back in order.

Three Car Accident: Who Pays?

When two vehicles are in an accident, determining liability is usually very clear-cut about who broke the law and should be held responsible. But what happens in a chaotic crash that involves three or more vehicles? This scenario is often referred to as a “chain reaction event” because there’s likely to be one initial collision that triggers subsequent crashes.

If you were in a severe accident that involved three cars, the most important question will be who pays to cover your damages. There are many factors to consider when determining fault in a three-car accident, and it’s also possible for more than one of the drivers to be considered liable.

The Causes of Three-Car Accidents

Car accidents with three or more vehicles tend to be very dangerous, especially in heavily-transited areas like a highway or freeway. The root cause for these crashes is likely to be a traffic violation or act of negligence that creates the conditions for a collision to unfold and then spin out of control in a way that involves a third vehicle.

Some examples of illegal driving behaviors that can cause a three-car accident include:

  • Running through a red light or Stop sign
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Tailgating, or not adhering to a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front
  • Making an illegal turn or not properly signaling
  • Being distracted while driving, such as using a smartphone
  • Breaking the speed limit and losing control of the vehicle
  • Driving erratically while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

There are also many scenarios where the actions of more than one driver may have contributed to the accident.

For example:

  • Scenario A: Three vehicles are arriving at a stoplight at night, and the first vehicle has broken tail lights, making it harder for the second vehicle to notice the car in front has stopped. Meanwhile, the third vehicle is tailgating the second vehicle. The sequence of events for the accident is Vehicle 2 rear-ends Vehicle 1 and then gets rear-ended by Vehicle 3. Vehicle 1 is liable for not properly maintaining their vehicle and Vehicle 3 is liable for not leaving an appropriate gap while following.
  • Scenario B: The first vehicle changes lanes unsafely without properly signaling. The driver of the second vehicle is distracted by their smartphone. Vehicle 2 slams into Vehicle 1, which pushes the car to swerve into Vehicle 3. For this sequence of events, the first vehicle is liable for violating traffic rules and the second vehicle is liable for distracted driving.
  • Scenario C: Vehicle 1 runs a red light and slams into Vehicle 2, which was driving well past the speed limit. Vehicle 2 suddenly stops and gets rear-ended by Vehicle 3, which couldn’t brake in time to avoid the collision. In this case, the first two vehicles are liable for negligent driving.

How West Virginia Handles Liability After a Three Car Accident?

West Virginia is an at-fault state, meaning the driver who caused a collision is responsible for paying the damages of everyone affected. The legal threshold for liability is essentially whoever broke the law or committed an act of negligence that led to the accident.

Under West Virginia’s modified comparative negligence laws, liability can break into percentages of fault based on which actions were most irresponsible. According to this system, driving while intoxicated is likely considered more serious than making an illegal turn, and using a smartphone is more negligent than running a stop sign.

The Process for Investigating a Three-Car Accident

After an accident that involves multiple vehicles, there are likely to be conflicting accounts of what happened and who was at fault. Lawyers and insurance companies use several different resources to determine who contributed to the crash and how to distribute liability.

The evidence that gets reviewed as part of the investigation of a three-car accident can include.

  • The police report: Law enforcement officers called to the scene of an accident with multiple vehicles will document and preserve important information about the crash, such as how the cars were positioned right after the collision, and whether any drivers were intoxicated. Crucially, the police report also has statements from any bystanders that witnessed the accident and can shed light on the surrounding circumstances.
  • Videos and photos from the accident scene: Some video may show the impact from a 3-car accident, often from dashcams, traffic cameras, or the surveillance systems of nearby businesses. Photos of physical evidence like skid marks or the damage caused to each vehicle can also help investigators figure out what happened.
  • Expert testimony from car accident reconstructionists: Forensic experts use various tools to interpret the evidence, reconstruct how the accident happened and determine liability.

When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney?

If you were in a serious three-car accident with disputed liability, the sooner you can speak to an attorney, the better. A crash with multiple vehicles has a very high chance of injuries and property damage.

With each driver trying to lower their liability burden to cover their expenses, the at-fault parties can blame you for the accident even if you’re actually a victim.

Call a skilled West Virginia car accident attorney who can help protect your legal rights, maximize the value of your claim, and provide support throughout the entire process of filing for compensation.

Where Do Broadside Collisions Most Commonly Occur?

Have you noticed roundabouts on some of the streets you travel? Cities and states strategically place those round structures in intersections because they change the usual traffic flow.

Broadside collisions commonly occur at intersections. Inattentive, distracted, and reckless drivers zoom through without paying attention. They crash into other vehicles, causing serious damage and injuries. Roundabouts don’t eliminate those risky behaviors, but they prevent drivers from causing broadside collisions by slowing them down and modifying their path.

Intersections: The Perfect Setting for Broadside Collisions

The Federal Highway Administration acknowledges the intersection dilemma. People need them, but they create unavoidable conflicts among drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. When each person approaches an intersection, they all have the same simple goal. They just want to get from one side of the road to the other. Unfortunately, variations in driver behavior, traffic controls, and other factors often encourage accidents.

A broadside collision occurs when one driver crashes into the side of another driver’s vehicle. Some people call them “T-bone” accidents because the crashing cars often form a T configuration.

Broadside accidents commonly occur at intersections and other locations where paths intersect.

  • Uncontrolled Intersections: Some drivers simply take control.
  • Red Lights: An FHWA study determined that some drivers consistently run red lights as part of their normal driving patterns.
  • Stop Signs: Accidents happen at four-way stops, often because some drivers don’t understand (or care) who has the right of way.
  • Parking Lot Exits: Drivers often back from parking lots or driveways and crash into vehicles driving down the street.
  • Parking Lots: Drivers sometimes cause broadside collisions when backing from parking spaces or driving through parking lots

Broadside Accidents and Passenger Injuries

An Injury Epidemiology article on side-impact crashes explains how rear-seated passengers often sustain more serious injuries than front-seated passengers. This injury dynamic usually occurs during an impact on a vehicle’s right side and at or near the passenger door. As minimal space separates passengers from the impact point, the force heightens the potential for injuries and fatalities.

The FHWA’s national statistics consistently show that approximately one-half of all traffic injuries and one-third of all traffic fatalities occur at intersections. Damage and injury extent vary due to the striking vehicle’s speed, distraction, lack of braking, and other contributing factors. As with other accidents, passengers sustain greater injuries when a larger vehicle strikes them broadside.

An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analysis of the most recent national crash data found:

  • SUVs and Pickup truck passengers sustain fatal injuries less frequently in multi-car accidents than in single-vehicle crashes.
  • Passengers in cars died from side-impact, multi-vehicle crashes more frequently than passengers in other vehicles:
  • Cars, 3,397 side-impact fatalities
  • SUVs, 994 side-impact fatalities
  • Pickup Trucks, 730 side-impact fatalities

The Role of Safety Restraints

IIHS research and vehicle testing confirm that, traditionally, smaller vehicles haven’t had the same protective structures as larger vehicles. Consequently, when a broadside collision occurs, small vehicle’s passengers absorb more of the crash’s impact energy. A striking vehicle more easily pushes the vehicle’s metal side into the passenger compartment.

The metal intrusion pushes against passengers, causing serious injuries or fatalities. Rear seat passengers’ heads become particularly vulnerable during a broadside crash with a larger vehicle. Seat belts help prevent some serious injuries and fatalities, but they can’t prevent them all.

Vehicle Safety Improvements Reduce the Potential for Broadside Collision Injuries

In response to the vehicle size/injury connection, the IIHS and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration changed their side-impact testing process. Current tests more closely simulate real-life accidents that often involve small vehicles versus large vehicles. Their research led to new side-impact safety rating systems and a demand for additional passenger crash protection.

Manufacturers now design and build vehicles with more impact protection for front and rear passengers. They provide enhanced structural support and better restraint systems. Some vehicles install front and rear side curtains for greater broadside impact protection.

Under NHTSA Federal Rule 49 Part 571 Standard 214, side-impact protection, manufacturers must meet side-impact safety testing standards:

  • Door crush resistance
  • Moving deformable barrier test
  • Vehicle-to-pole test

When IIHS tests new cars for side-impact protection, their safety ratings provide additional insight into vehicles’ side-impact protection.

Tests compare vehicles to those rated poor for left side-impact safety.

  • Rated Good: A passenger is seventy percent less likely to die in a left side-impact crash than in a vehicle with a poor rating.
  • Rated Acceptable: A passenger is sixty-four percent less likely to sustain fatal injuries in a left side impact.
  • Rated Marginal: A passenger is forty-nine percent less likely to sustain fatal injuries in a left side impact.

Do Roundabouts Prevent Broadside Collisions at Intersections?

The FHWA includes roundabouts on its list of Proven Safety Countermeasures for reducing fatalities on the road. By channeling drivers into a circular pattern, they minimize conflict points that allow vehicles to crash into one another.

Their statistics show:

  • An 82 percent reduction in fatal and injury accidents after transforming two-way stops into roundabouts.
  • A 78 percent reduction in fatal and injury crashes after a roundabout transformation.
  • Lower speeds and reduced conflict also create a better walking environment.

Do I Need An Attorney For My Broadside Collision Injuries?

If you sustain injuries in a vehicle accident, you need a car accident injury attorney to protect your rights as soon as possible. When you work with a law firm, they investigate your accident immediately and resolve any liability issues. They deal directly with the responsible party, their insurer, and their attorneys while you focus on getting better. When you’re ready to resolve your claim, attorneys work to produce the best results possible. When necessary, they file a suit on your behalf.

When you consult with a car accident injury attorney, you discuss your accident and injuries and learn more about your legal options. You decide if and when you file a claim against the person who harmed you.

What Is a Contingency Fee?

Lawyers provide victims of negligence several important benefits during a lawsuit. They handle most legal matters, allowing you to save time and focus on your recovery. Additionally, a lawyer alleviates the pressure insurance companies often put on victims.

However, a common concern people have is how much an attorney will cost. Your personal injury lawyer may tell you they operate on a contingency fee. What are contingency fees, and how do they work?

How to Locate the Right Lawyer?

Over 200,000 people in the United States suffer from unintentional injuries per year. In many cases, these injuries lead to a lawsuit. If you are injured in an accident and need to file a claim, an attorney increases the chances of fair compensation.

Law has many fields, and finding a lawyer specializing in personal injury is important for success. Personal injury lawyers typically list their specific practice areas or areas of expertise. You should look for an attorney familiar with the type of accident you endured.

Get a Referral

Lawyers can refer clients to other firms in the area if a case is outside their practice. You may know an attorney personally, or they might have represented you in another legal case. The attorney could know what lawyer has the skill set to help you in court.

Ask Friend or Family Member

The people you know may have insight into lawyers that can help you. A friend or family member might have been in an accident and had a qualified attorney win their case. Listen to their experiences and add the firm’s name to your list of prospects.

Browse the Internet

The online space provides multiple avenues to locate a personal injury firm. Any search engine can produce a list of eligible lawyers and connect you to their websites. You can visit the sites to see what areas of personal injury they cover and possible case results. You can check reviews using the search engine and the attorney’s websites to determine how satisfied other clients have been before committing to a lawyer.

Can You Find a Different Attorney?

You do not need to hire an attorney even if you have an initial consultation. You can visit multiple offices to discover which lawyer fits your needs. You can choose the right lawyer by weighing factors like personality, experience, and level of communication.

Remember, not every attorney will accept a prospective client. Even if a case has the potential for a high settlement, the possibility of winning it could be low. The odds or work required could cause a lawyer to reject a case. Create a shortlist of lawyers you are interested in and reach out until you get the help you need.

What Is a Contingency Fee?

The cost of litigation can be high, and people might ultimately spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer. This aspect is usually a significant concern when weighing the benefit of legal services. If someone has never filed a lawsuit before, they may be unaware of how personal injury attorneys typically charge clients.

A contingency fee is the most common payment method among personal injury attorneys. A contingency fee means you do not pay your lawyer until they win your case. You pay a portion of the settlement for their services when they succeed.

The percentage of the settlement a lawyer receives depends on several factors. The complexity of a case generally influences the percentage they charge. In some instances, the length of the legal process affects how much you pay a firm, particularly if they know the lawsuit will be lengthy.

Most lawyers set the contingency fee anywhere from 33 percent to 40 percent. Usually, the percentage remains fixed throughout the process. However, some attorneys might use a sliding scale based on the stage within the litigation process. They may charge more as the case progresses and they meet certain benchmarks.

Some firms have combined contingency fees with other types of fees. For example, you might agree to an hourly contingency arrangement. Under this agreement, you still only pay once you receive compensation, but the attorney bills you for hours worked.

All attorneys should discuss payment before you agree to hire them. They will elaborate on the fee agreement they implement and can address any questions or concerns you have. Be sure you fully understand the fee agreement before signing anything.

Additional Litigation Costs

Court Costs

Personal injury cases have additional costs beyond lawyer’s fees. Court costs are among the additional expenses you have to pay during litigation. When you file a complaint in civil court, the average price is between $100 and $400. You will also need to pay for the service of your filed lawsuit to the defendants.

Court costs may also include hiring a court reporter and paying for transcripts of in-court testimony. A transcript can cost up to $400 per copy.

Your lawyer usually covers these fees upfront and bills you for them later. These and other additional fees are often not included in your contingency agreement and must be paid whether you win or lose.

Deposition Expenses

Depositions exist to record witness testimonies outside of the courtroom. You need to pay for a court reporter or stenographer for any depositions taken. A copy of this transcript has a cost as well. The expense of a deposition increases the longer the event lasts.

Expert Witnesses

Many attorneys hire expert witnesses to support their arguments. The type of expert depends on the circumstances of your accident. The individual may have an hourly rate and need compensation for the time spent reviewing your case and preparing a report.

A complex case with multiple expert witnesses could cost thousands of dollars.

Attorneys need to balance the expenses of a lawsuit to keep a strong case cost-effective. You can discuss the additional costs with your lawyer to make informed decisions about your claim. You are the ultimate decision-maker, and if costs seem to be too high, you can express your concern to your lawyer and see if other avenues exist.

Questions to Ask During a Consultation

Before you hire a lawyer, you should meet with them for a free consultation. Consultations offer you an opportunity to ask questions and get a feel for the attorney’s practice and demeanor. You can ask about the specifics of their fee structure and how they will bill you during or after your case.

It is wise to discuss if there are any potential issues with your case. A complicated lawsuit may experience a multitude of difficulties throughout the litigation process. If issues are sufficiently apparent, your attorney can point them out and suggest solutions.

Another common question has to do with the attorney’s level of experience. You can inquire how long they have practiced law and their level of expertise with your particular accident type. A lawyer should be prepared to give you a clear picture of their history and instill confidence in their ability to handle your case.

The benefits of having an attorney far outweigh the costs, and most attorneys are ready to work with you to make legal services accessible. If you have been in an accident and need legal assistance, contact an experienced attorney prepared to get you the compensation you deserve.

Can a Lawyer Help Me After All Types of Car Accidents?

Car accidents happen every day and are rarely as simple as the front of one car crashing into another. When drivers lose control, they cause sideswipes, rear-end collisions, and many other types of car accidents. When a large truck collides with a smaller vehicle, it often generates horrific damage and devastating injuries.

When you report an accident to your insurer, the first thing they want to know is how the accident occurred. They talk to both drivers about impact, speed, damage location, and other factors. They evaluate passengers’ positions to understand how their injuries occurred. Frequently, two or more drivers involved in the same accident provide conflicting stories. It is your job to figure out what happened based on your perspective and report the crash as accurately as you can.

This blog discusses the most common types of car accidents to help you figure out what happened. No matter what type of crash someone caused you, a car accident lawyer near you can help.

Single-Vehicle Crashes

Single-car crashes happen for many reasons. They often occur due to risky driving behaviors such as speeding, DUI, and distracted driving. Mechanical issues, defective tires, improper repairs, unrestrained animals, and other negligent acts also cause single-vehicle crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association Traffic Safety Facts Annual Report Tables show that 1,817,000 single-car crashes caused:

  • Collisions with fixed objects: culverts, shrubbery, trees, bridges, etc.,
    • Fatalities: 9,512
    • Injuries: 281,000
    • Property damage: 657,000
  • Collisions with non-fixed objects: pedestrians, animals, trains, bicyclists, etc.,
    • Fatalities: 7,747
    • Injuries: 214,000
    • Property damage only: 648,000

Rollovers

The NHTSA categorizes rollovers as a distinct type of single-vehicle accident category. They occur when a driver loses control of the vehicle and rolls over. Past research determined that vehicles with center-of-gravity design flaws rolled more frequently. Weather is often a factor as well.

The most recent national NHTSA statistics show that 87,000 rollover accidents caused 2,498 fatalities, 51,000 injuries, and 33,000 property damage cases over one year.

Frontal Crashes

Front-end accidents occur when one driver leaves their lane and crashes head-on into an oncoming vehicle. Risky behaviors like speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence frequently cause these accidents. The NHTSA’s most recent national data shows that front-end accidents caused 3,613 deaths, 91,000 injuries, and 86,000 cases of property damage in one year alone.

The vehicle’s size and ability to withstand a severe impact can affect how badly people in front-end collisions get injured. The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety tests vehicles for crashworthiness and crash avoidance: its Vehicle Rating page provides vehicle-specific information for front-end crashworthiness and other factors.

Rear-End Accidents

The NHTSA has documented that rear-end collisions occur more frequently than any other type of collision. In most cases, the driver who strikes the other vehicle in the rear is blamed for these accidents.

These types of accidents often occur when one driver fails to maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of them. Rear-end accidents also happen when one driver suddenly slams on the brakes, making a collision unavoidable. A crash is usually inevitable in this situation, even if the rear driver maintains space between the cars.

The NHTSA national statistics show that rear-end accidents caused 2,346 deaths, almost 600,000 injuries, and over 1.5 million property damage cases in a year.

Staged Accidents

Con artists sometimes orchestrate fraudulent injury schemes by staging fake auto accidents with an innocent victim. The National Insurance Crime Bureau calls one of these moves the swoop and squat.

This is a common staged accident where two vehicles work together. The squat vehicle pulls in front of the victim in traffic. The swoop vehicle pulls in front of the squat vehicle and stops suddenly. The squat vehicle driver also stops suddenly, and the victim crashes into their rear. The swoop vehicle then leaves the scene unidentified; all of the passengers in the squat vehicle report whiplash and other injuries. The victim gets left on the hook for damages unless an investigation takes place.

Side-Impact Accidents

People use several terms when describing a side-impact crash. The NHTSA’s national crash data lists these accidents as angle crashes. You may also hear people call them T-bone accidents. In one year alone, the NHTSA documented over 1.4 million side-impact accidents, which caused 6,039 deaths, over 500,000 injuries, and almost one million cases of property damage.

Side-crash casualty statistics demonstrate how the point of impact and passenger location contribute to injury severity. When one vehicle crashes into the side of another, the impact occurs close to the passenger. Rear passengers, in particular, have fewer protective barriers than front-seat passengers. The potential for injury increases when a larger vehicle or truck crashes into the side of a much smaller car.

Sideswipes

Sideswipe accidents cause more damage than the name implies. They happen most frequently when one driver attempts to change lanes and the side of their vehicle scrapes another. They also occur when a driver drifts out of their lane.

Damage and injury severity depend on the vehicles involved, the differences in size and mass, and the speed of impact. When a large truck without side underride guards sideswipes a car, it sometimes lodges the car beneath the truck.

In one year, sideswipe accidents caused almost 1,000 deaths, injured over 100,000 people, and damaged over 700,000 pieces of property.

Non-Contact Crashes

Every year, thousands of non-contact crashes occur. These accidents sometimes occur when a vehicle loses control while avoiding a collision with another vehicle. They also happen when a driver loses control due to weather, pavement, or traffic conditions. Since they involve a single vehicle, drivers do not always report these crashes to local authorities.

Multi-vehicle crashes

Multi-vehicle accidents occur most often during adverse weather and heavy traffic. A speeding, aggressive, or reckless driver often loses control, affecting all the drivers and vehicles in the immediate area.

A chain reaction is another type of multiple car accident. Claim investigators usually try to pin down a single driver as the initiator. When an accident involves a chain of rear-end collisions, liability is unclear. When a driver starts a chain of rear-end accidents, insurers often blame other drivers for inappropriate braking or acceleration during a crash.

Discuss Your Accident With a Car Accident Attorney

When another driver seriously injures you, focus on your recovery. Connect with a car accident attorney who can handle the legal case on your behalf. Car accident lawyers deal with the responsible parties, insurers, and their lawyers. An attorney knows how to represent you and take the right steps to collect your compensation after a car accident.

Car accident law firms offer free consultations, which give you a chance to discuss how your accident happened and what compensation you can expect. Contact a lawyer to learn more.

Tow Trucks: Causing Accidents While Transporting Heavy Cargo

Transporting vehicles requires the strength of a tow truck and the skills of a professionally trained driver. Safety is paramount for all road users, whether the car towed suffered damage, mechanical issues, or someone is repossessing it.

If you suffered severe injuries due to a tow truck accident involving negligence, you may want to contact a West Virginia tow truck attorney today.

Types of Tow Trucks

Sharing a West Virginia highway or city street with a tow truck is sometimes an intimidating experience. The sheer size and weight of the truck and the vehicle it tows outnumber that of a car, truck, motorcycle, or bicycle.

There are four types of tow trucks most motorists encounter during their travels:

  • Hook and chain tow truck: use a large hook to secure a vehicle’s bumper or axle and chains to wrap the vehicle frame
  • Flatbed tow truck: a hydraulic lift raises a car onto the bed of the truck; sometimes referred to as a rollback
  • Wheel lift tow truck: use a yoke under the front or back wheels of a car and hydraulic lift; fast use makes the truck common among repo companies
  • Integrated tow truck: extra axles allow integrated tow trucks to tow such items as motorhomes or busses

Each tow truck requires a dedicated focus on the road and a safely secured load. If you suffered severe injuries from a tow truck accident caused by one of the trucks listed above, a lawyer can help you fight for compensation.

Common Causes of Tow Truck Accidents

A tow truck accident can occur due to operator error, mechanical issues, or both. The same problems that can affect drivers of passenger vehicles can cause a tow truck driver to lose control of their truck and load.

Among the most common causes of tow truck accidents include:

  • Driver fatigue: A tow truck driver is often on-call and can work varied shifts. Drifting to sleep behind the wheel of a tow truck can result in life-changing injuries for other drivers.
  • Drunk driving: Tow truck drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.04 percent face severe consequences for their actions. An impaired tow truck driver experiences such issues as delayed reaction times and reduced coordination.
  • Aggressive driving: A tow truck driver may speed or dangerously—yet purposely—change lanes without warning. Acts of road rage by a tow truck driver can result in serious harm for those around them.
  • Distracted driving: Smartphones are sometimes a contributing factor in West Virginia accidents. For a tow truck driver, other forms of distraction are navigational devices, communication radios, and activity outside the cab.

West Virginia law sets strict requirements for obtaining a commercial driver’s license. When a tow truck driver engages in one or more of these behaviors behind the wheel, losing their license is a real possibility.

A tragic tow truck accident can also occur due to a poorly secured load or mechanical issues. No matter what the cause, accident victims who suffer damages due to the negligence of a reckless tow truck driver deserve justice.

Tow Truck Accidents: Injuries and Liability

In a tow truck accident, the injuries you suffer can prevent you from working. As your medical bills climb, your income can decline or disappear forever if you cannot return to your job.

A West Virginia tow truck accident lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your damages. In addition, depending upon the severity of your injuries, you or a loved one may require medical care on an ongoing basis.

Tow truck accident claims and lawsuits typically include such damages as:

  • Medical expenses: immediate, current, and ongoing
  • Wages: temporary loss of income or loss of potential future earnings
  • Pain and suffering: the overall impact on your physical, psychological, and emotional health

Sadly, some West Virginia tow truck accidents result in a fatality. If your loved one did not survive their injuries, you may want to pursue a wrongful death case against those responsible.

If your loved one provides financially for your family, their death can devastate you financially. While compensation cannot replace your loved one, it can, if successful, ease your financial stress. Typical damages in a wrongful death case include final medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost earnings.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You

Investigating a tow truck accident for a civil case demands a dedicated focus. The injuries you experienced leave you with no time for the complex legalities of your case.

While there is no way to predict the outcome of your case, a truck accident lawyer will work hard to obtain the best result possible. Most civil cases settle out of court as insurance companies do not want the time and cost of a trial.

A lawyer can help you, but you must act quickly. The West Virginia statute of limitations for civil lawsuits is two years, with no second chance if you do not file your case promptly.

Consider Seeking Help for Your Tow Truck Accident

No road user expects to suffer life-altering harm due to a negligent tow truck driver. The traumatic impact of your crash or the devastating loss of your loved one forever impacts your quality of life, and that is not fair.

To protect your best interests, you may want to contact a West Virginia tow truck accident lawyer for a free case consultation. Discussing your case with someone knowledgeable about state civil laws can help you learn more about your options.

Twenty-four months to pursue legal action is not much time. The lawyer you hire needs time to investigate the accident, gather evidence, and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.

You can start protecting your best interests by refusing to speak with an aggressive insurance adjuster. Contact a Morgantown tow truck accident lawyer instead. It is the best way to guard yourself against accepting less than you deserve.

How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer?

When you are recovering from a severe accidental injury, you need quality medical care and time for healing. A dependable support system also helps simplify your recovery. You need a network of friends and loved ones who willingly take care of your personal needs. If someone caused your injuries, you also need a personal injury attorney looking out for your legal interests. When you find the right personal injury law firm, they work to recover your legally owed compensation while you focus on recuperating.

Before your accident, you probably only thought about lawyers when you saw their billboards or heard their aggressive TV commercials. If you had an accident that became part of a public record, multiple attorneys have had access to your personal information. They have probably begun soliciting you by phone and by mail.

As an informed consumer, you need more than billboards, ads, phone calls, and mass-mailed letters to help you find a personal injury lawyer. First of all, you need to know what to expect when an attorney represents you. You also need guidelines that help you choose the best attorney for your injury claim.

Consult an Attorney as Soon as Possible

When recuperating from serious injuries, it is easy to simply rest and wait for time to pass. If you want to recover damages from the person who harmed you, you must act immediately. While you are recovering, you need an attorney working on your behalf.

Consult an attorney as soon as possible after your accident for several reasons.

  • Accident scenes (vehicle crashes, slip and falls, etc.) begin changing immediately.
  • People misplace or destroy evidence.
  • Witnesses change their minds and evade contact.
  • Drivers begin losing track of accident details.
  • Property owners repair premises defects.
  • Negligent vehicle drivers and owners stop cooperating.
  • Vehicle owners alter evidence when they repair their damaged vehicles.
  • Cars push debris out of the street and wear away skidmarks.
  • Local governments repair or replace defective traffic control devices and clean up accident scenes.

What A Personal Injury Attorney Does for You

When you work with a personal injury attorney, they perform several professional tasks to move your case forward.

  • Learn more about your accident by obtaining your version and conducting a thorough investigation.
  • Review legal issues and relevant statutes.
  • Place any responsible parties on notice of your claim.
  • Deal directly with liability insurers, their investigators, and their attorneys.
  • Present your damages and negotiate your settlement.
  • Obtain your medical information and evaluate your injuries.
  • Take definitive action before your statute of limitations runs.
  • Negotiate or mediate your case, or file a lawsuit if necessary.
  • Perform professional services for a contingency in compliance with the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.5, Fees.

When a law firm represents you, they work closely with you and handle several critical legal issues on your behalf. Establishing a trustworthy relationship is an essential part of that process.

Find the Attorney That Is Right for You

Any time you need important work done, you hire the best person for the job. Rely on the same high standards when you choose an attorney.

You Need a Personal Injury Attorney

When you sustain an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you need a personal injury attorney to handle your case.

Consider these points as you make your decision.

  • Never let an attorney handle your case when they rarely (or never) handle injury claims.
  • Most law firms focus on specific types of cases. That is how they become good at it.
  • A few attorneys will agree to handle your case even if they have never handled personal injury cases before.
  • You need to know if an attorney has experience with personal injury cases. That is why you must ask.
  • Some big law firms take injury cases then hand them off to a junior associate as a learning experience.

Work With A Personal Injury Attorney Who Handles Your Type of Claim

In states that do not have lawyer specialization certification, attorneys still focus on specific cases.

When you talk to a personal injury attorney, find out what personal injury cases their law firm handles.

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Large truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Premises liability
  • Dog bites
  • Medical malpractice
  • Product liability
  • Slip and fall incidents
  • Wrongful death cases
  • Accidents with catastrophic injuries: traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, multiple trauma, etc.

Organize Your Search

You must approach your search for an attorney just like an employer looking for the perfect job candidate.

If necessary, ask a friend to help you so you can find an attorney quickly.

  • Make a list of possible personal injury attorneys: Get referrals from your friends or family members. Visit Super Lawyers or other attorney search websites. Call the attorneys from the mailers you receive. If you prefer one of the lawyers on a billboard or a late-night TV commercial, you also have that option.
  • Visit Attorney Websites: When you check out a law firm’s website, you find lots of information. You will see their location, the cases they handle, and the judgments they have won. Most attorneys post their bios and show the law firm’s professional awards.
  • Read Online Reviews: If you see a law firm you like, check out their online reviews. Both happy and unhappy clients post reviews to Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other sites. They talk about their experience and rate attorneys using a one-to-five-star system.
  • Schedule a consultation: If you feel comfortable with or enthusiastic about an attorney on your list, give them a call. Most personal injury attorneys schedule free consultations. You talk about your case, and they give you a chance to ask questions. Many law firms offer several consultation options:
    • Video conferences
    • Phone consultations
    • Online chats
    • In-patient at a hospital
    • In-home meetings
    • Office consultations

Ask Your Most Important Questions

When you choose a personal injury law firm, you will be working together for a long time. Once you find one who meets your specifications, you need an idea of how the relationship will hold up over months and possibly years. When you schedule a consultation, be prepared to ask questions to help you find out.

Pay close attention to the responses. Are they too busy to answer your questions? Do you like their communication style? Did they answer your questions or politely dismiss them? Once you talk to an attorney, you will be in a more decisive frame of mind.

Here are a few questions to consider.

You will probably find some answers on the law firm’s website.

  • What type of cases do you handle?
  • How long have you been handling personal injury claims?
  • How often do you handle serious injury claims?
  • May I see your case results?
  • How often do you negotiate injury settlements?
  • Do you ever mediate injury claims?
  • If your firm must try my case, will you represent me in court?
  • How much do I pay you for handling my case?
  • Can I reach you when I need to talk about my case?

Trust Is Important

No attorney will answer all of your questions perfectly, and that is okay. If you do not feel a sense of trust, that is completely different. So much of an attorney/client relationship depends on mutual trust. Contact the next attorney on your list if your consultation triggers trust issues. You can always reconsider your decision.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer to Handle Your Injury Claim?

Although personal injury lawyers have customarily produced better results, some injured victims handle their own claims. Attorneys understand complicated liability and damage issues. They know how to manage insurance companies and their defense attorneys. They handle complex legal issues on your behalf so you can focus on healing.

When you call for a consultation, a personal injury attorney spends time with you and answers your questions. You decide if and when to make a claim or file a suit. Contact Wagoner Desai, PLLC for a personal injury attorney to get started today.

COVID Outbreaks in Nursing Homes

COVID-19 was unprecedented and, in many respects, beyond our collective control. We are now two years into this pandemic, however. Our public health officials and healthcare workers have learned a great deal about the Sars-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes. They have developed new therapies, learned a great deal about mitigation through vaccines and most importantly, how to prevent its spread. With COVID-19, an ounce of prevention is truly worth many pounds of cure, as this CDC data demonstrates.

Despite this wealth of knowledge, nursing homes, such as these in West Virginia, continue to experience severe COVID outbreaks. Some measure of COVID-19 community transmission, including in nursing homes, is unavoidable. Some, however, is the result of corporate nursing homes placing profits over patients and failing to take appropriate preventative measures to arrest or mitigate outbreaks. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer points out, this greed has led to at least 84 unnecessary deaths in Ohio nursing homes alone.

Nursing homes have failed their residents by:

  • Failing to appropriately test staff and residents;
  • Failing to isolate infected residents;
  • Allowing infected staff to care for residents;
  • Backdating or mislabeling test samples or results.

If your loved one died as a result of a nursing home COVID outbreak in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Maryland, message us at Wagoner & Desai or call or text 304-470-2056 for a free consultation.

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