What to Do After a Car Accident Checklist

A vehicle crash becomes more than an unexpected pause in your day. It initiates a chain of events that often leaves you feeling out of control. You need a “what to do after a car accident checklist” to minimize any post-accident chaos. Unfortunately, when conflicting emotions seize the moment, you will not always think rationally.

A crash often triggers instantaneous tension, anxiety, and stress. You struggle with uncertainty and doubt as you rethink those last few seconds behind the wheel. If you sustain injuries, you feel immediate pain and suffering. Even if the other driver clearly caused the crash, you sometimes wonder… is it my fault? You deal with many emotions as you view your damaged vehicle and meet the other driver face-to-face. Until a law enforcement officer intervenes, you often respond based on instincts.

What to Do After a Car Accident Checklist: 9 Tips

You cannot always prevent emotional responses after an accident, but you can maintain some control. Our car accident checklist provides fifteen tips that help you navigate the post-accident chaos.

1. Dial 911

Most states require mandatory police reports for accidents with severe damage and/or injuries. As soon as the vehicles stop, you should dial 911. If you are injured, let the emergency operator know. You will save time waiting for an EMT.

Police do not determine fault,  but they do investigate accident scenes and document the facts. Insurers rely on an officer’s opinion about alcohol, drugs, traffic violations, pavement conditions, and other details. Without a police report, every critical fact becomes your word against the other driver’s.

2. Never admit fault or say anything that sounds like you are admitting fault

While waiting for a police officer, be careful what you say. Bystanders listen and remember, and they often share what they heard. Impulsive, emotional post-accident comments do not usually affect you immediately. They often resurface during liability investigations and settlement negotiations.

If you file a lawsuit against the responsible driver, sometimes you must deny or confirm what you said during a deposition or in court testimony.

  • Do not say you are at fault, even if that is what you believe. Let someone else sort out the liability issues.
  • Show concern for injured passengers in both vehicles, but never say you are sorry.
  • Do not apologize for being involved in the accident. Any apology sounds like you are admitting fault.
  • Res gestae is the legal term for these types of spontaneous statements. Courts often consider them truthful.

3. Give just the facts

In the 1960s, TV police officer Joe Friday often used the expression, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Consider his wisdom when another driver crashes into your car. Facts, that is what real-life police officers, lawyers, insurance companies, and court officials need. When you talk to a police officer, never answer questions they did not ask. Do not provide your opinions and theories.

Better yet, call a car accident lawyer, and let them give the insurance company the facts.

  • Your speed
  • What happened
  • Your vehicle make and model
  • The weather and illumination
  • The pavement condition
  • Traffic control devices, etc.

4. Take steps to document the evidence

Within moments after an accident occurs, the evidence you need to prove your case begins to fade. Witnesses leave, and so do drivers sometimes. The lighting and weather change and traffic usually moves accident debris down the road. When an officer begins an investigation, you are standing at a slightly different accident scene. Document what happened before these changes occur.

Use your smartphone and capture the scene immediately.

  • The Driver: Sometimes, the other driver simply hops back into their car and drives away. Capture their information before they do. Take a picture of the driver, driver’s license, vehicle license plate, and insurance card. Also, confirm their current address.
  • The Vehicles: Capture the vehicle year, make, model, points of impact, license plate, current and old damage.
  • The Scene: Take a photo of the entire accident scene with separate close-ups of the pavement, skid marks, debris, and traffic control devices.
  • Witnesses: Ask bystanders if they saw the accident. If so, ask for their contact information.

If you are hurt and cannot leave your car, ask someone for help.

5. Get immediate medical evaluation and treatment

Injuries do not always show up immediately. If you withstood a severe impact during your accident, get a medical checkup and make sure you do not require treatment. A powerful impact often causes serious injuries, especially for young children and older adults.

Conditions such as traumatic brain injury and organ damage require immediate attention. Unfortunately, you will not always feel the symptoms right away. Visit an emergency room and be sure before telling a liability insurer that you are okay.

6. File a report with your insurance company

Your insurance carrier requires a report even if you think the other driver caused the accident. Sometimes the other driver feels the same way you do. If they sustain serious injuries, they will not simply go away. Your insurer must complete an investigation and decide if they owe damages on your behalf.

Also, if the other driver has no insurance and you have uninsured motorist coverage, your own insurance company must determine if they owe you an injury settlement.

7. Follow your doctor’s orders

Doctor visits, diagnostic tests, and medical follow-ups take time and energy. If you plan on making an injury claim, you must follow your doctor’s orders anyway. When the liability insurer evaluates your claim, they see your treatment as an indication of your injury severity. If you do not keep your doctor appointments, participate in rehabilitation or therapy, or take your medication as ordered, it affects your claim’s dollar value.

8. Track and document your pain and suffering

When you are seriously injured, a lot of time usually passes before you consider settling your claim. By then, you will have lost track of the day-to-day inconveniences, the problems you encountered, and even your pain and suffering. When your pain, suffering, and difficult experiences fade away, it is actually a good thing, but you want to document them so you don’t forget how they felt. Those details add value to your claim.

When you keep an injury journal, you capture your experiences as you move through treatment and recovery. Your journal provides written memory triggers. It helps you explain your day-to-day recovery issues long after the pain fades away.

Track the following details beginning on day one.

  • Your painful experiences, beginning with your accident
  • Your medical treatment, surgery, and recovery issues
  • Your pain, suffering, and discomfort
  • Activities you could not perform
  • Events you missed
  • Changes in your family
  • Psychological issues from dealing with your injuries
  • How your scars affect you
  • Any information that reminds you of your treatment and recovery difficulties

9. Contact a Car Accident Attorney Immediately

When a car accident hurts you, you need more than a car accident checklist. To protect your legal rights, you must consult with a car accident attorney as soon as possible. Attorneys become involved in your case immediately. They intervene with responsible parties and deal with their insurers. They investigate your claim and resolve any liability issues.

When you are ready, they negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf. If necessary, car accident attorneys file a lawsuit and represent you throughout the litigation process.

When you contact an attorney, you discuss your injury claim during a free consultation. You learn more about your legal rights and your damage recovery options. Contact a car accident attorney today to get started.

How Long After an Accident Can You Claim Injury?

Not only are car accidents terrifying, but they cause serious injuries. Whether its whiplash, a broken rib, a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury, or something else, you’re sure to suffer severe consequences in your daily life.

It helps to know how long after an accident you can claim an injury. Claiming an injury will allow you to gain compensation from the person responsible for your accident, regardless of how it occurred. However, if you wait too long to claim an injury, you could be stuck without a chance of compensation. It’s essential to speak with a car accident lawyer about claiming an injury as soon as possible after an accident.

How Long Do You Have to Claim an Injury Caused by a Car Accident?

All states carry a statute of limitations for bringing charges against others in civil or criminal suits. The length of a statute of limitations will vary depending on the severity of the crime or negligent action and the consequences that the victim endures.

In many states, including West Virginia, you must bring a claim for injury within two years to gain compensation.

While filing a claim within two years may seem easy, it can be more challenging than you think. You may have to meet several deadlines to file a proper personal injury claim. In addition, you may have to enter into negotiations before you can file a claim. If so, you’ll need help from a personal injury lawyer to make sure that you follow all legal procedures before filing a claim.

How Long Should You Wait Before Calling a Lawyer?

If you have two years before you need to file a claim, you may think you should wait at least a year or more before calling a lawyer. However, this is not necessarily the case. Everything involved in a personal injury claim takes more time than you expect.

First, of course, there is the time that you will need to deal with and recover from your injuries. If you suffered pretty severe injuries, you may need to spend weeks or months in treatment or the hospital. You’ll probably need surgery or an operation, and you may need even more than one! Plus, you’ll have to start taking medication or attending therapy to get as quickly as possible on the road to recovery.

Then there’s the time that it will take to collect evidence. You can’t file a claim and simply prove it because you believe it’s true. You will need evidence that the at-fault party caused the accident and that you are not responsible for the injuries you suffered.

You’ll need evidence, including:

  • Medical records
  • Medical bills
  • Receipts for repairs to damaged property
  • A police report
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Expert testimony from medical professionals
  • Testimony from your family and friends
  • Photos or video footage from the accident scene

It takes time to gather such evidence, and you’ll likely need legal help. That’s why it’s so important to call a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. They’ll work hard to gather the evidence you need to win your personal injury claim. They’ll also ensure you don’t miss any critical deadlines while recovering from your injuries.

What Do You Do After a Car Accident?

To file and pursue the most effective personal injury claim possible, you must start the case right.

This means that you need to take a few important steps to ensure your claim goes well.

  1. Seek medical attention. Immediately seek medical attention from first responders. You must know what injuries the accident caused and treat them.
  2. Call the police. If they are not already at the scene, do be sure that you call the police to get their support. It’s helpful to have a police report on hand when you’re creating a complaint as police reports usually have very specific details on the accident and how it occurred.
  3. Talk to witnesses. While you’re at the accident scene waiting on the ambulance and police, speak with others who witnessed the accident. Ask for their contact information and, if you have time, for a written statement of what they saw.
  4. Take photos. Use your phone to take pictures of obvious injuries, damage to vehicles, and other relevant evidence such as skid marks or damaged guardrails.
  5. Call your insurance company. As required, call your insurance company to report the accident. Be sure not to offer an apology or admission of guilt since that could work against you in a personal injury claim.
  6. Exchange insurance information. You will need this information from the other driver to seek compensation from their insurance company.
  7. Call a personal injury lawyer. As soon as you have time, get on the phone with a lawyer who offers a free consultation to begin the next steps toward your personal injury claim.

You must take these steps after an accident if you want to fight for your claim successfully. Your lawyer can calculate what damages you suffered from economic and noneconomic losses and pursue compensation for them.

Remember that the most important step you can take is to get medical attention right away to ensure your successful recovery. Once you’re on the way to health, a personal injury law firm’s lawyer can help you sort out everything else.

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.

Common Causes of Semi-Truck Injuries and Your Legal Options

Semi-trucks constitute dangerous pieces of large machinery. They can prove deadly if not operated properly. Thousands of people die each year in semi-truck accidents. Most of the time, the victims are drivers and passengers of smaller private-use vehicles that can’t handle a collision with something several times their own weight and strength.

Statistics show that semi-truck accidents result in around 5,000 deaths each year in the United States. Approximately 700 semi-truck drivers and their passengers died in these large-scale accidents

Common Causes of Semi-Truck Injuries

Of course, many things cause semi-truck accidents. It is not only because they have a lot of blind spots and can’t always see other vehicles beside them, or that they overcorrect or undercorrect when making turns and changing lanes.

Let’s go through several more common reasons for these accidents:

  • Driver fatigue plagues truck drivers. Truck drivers can drive thousands of miles in only a few days, as they usually receive payment based on the number of miles that they drive. As a result, many truck drivers want to get as many miles per paycheck. This can serve as a dangerous goal, however. Despite federal regulations that limit the hours a driver can work in a day, this is still a serious, widespread problem. Everybody wants a big paycheck, but when truck drivers decide to put their paycheck ahead of the safety of other motorists, accidents can happen. Public safety should always be the highest priority.
  • Semi-truck maintenance constitutes another common reason behind these deadly situations. Because these are extremely large and deadly vehicles, many regulations require these vehicles to remain safe when out on the road. A lot of things can go wrong with a semi-truck, like tires, for example. You can drive down any stretch of highway and see tires from a big rig shredded on the side of the road. Sometimes, when a tire blows out, it causes the driver to lose control of the truck momentarily. A lot can happen in that short amount of time. Not to mention, if a piece of tire rubber comes flying off of the truck and hits another car, all sorts of damage could occur that will likely result in a serious crash. Therefore, truck companies have to remain compliant with federal regulations. Some of the other issues regarding semi-trucks include problems with the brake system, unsafe use of trailers, and engine trouble.
  • Improper loading of a semi-truck can prove a deadly mistake. If the cargo was improperly loaded because the workers wanted to rush through the process to get back on the road to earn money for miles completed, it could distribute the weight of the merchandise unevenly. Improperly loaded cargo can cause a truck to jackknife, or it can become extremely difficult to maneuver through traffic.
  • Inadequate training of semi-truck drivers constitutes another reason that some drivers may struggle to effectively operate their semi-trucks safely. Countless companies rely on shipping out their products to various stores. You can see advertisements for trucking companies that are everywhere. It is an important industry that is vital to our economy. Sometimes, companies hire inexperienced drivers and put them on too many tasks that may prove difficult to handle, or the drivers may have inadequate training, so they cannot make a rational and educated decision when faced with an emergency. Truck drivers new to this position will generally charge less per mile to deliver the goods. Many companies will look to cut costs and hire people that should stay off the road until they have completed all of the training necessary to safely drive a semi-truck. This constitutes negligent hiring on the part of the trucking company.
  • A distracted driver in any situation constitutes a hazard to other motorists. Truck drivers who get distracted because of long hours and tedious routes create a recipe for disaster. Many times a day, truck drivers check their GPS systems, typing addresses where they need to deliver goods and searching for restaurants where they like to eat. Trying to eat while driving also constitutes a common distraction. When semi-truck drivers engage in these activities, they are distracting themselves. A large-scale vehicle, such as a semi, causes an extremely unsafe environment for all other roadway users when the driver drives while distracted or impaired.
  • For long-haul truck drivers that deliver products year-round, the weather may seem ever-changing as they go from one end of the country to the other. A person can see several types of atmospheric conditions in only a few days. If drivers fail to adjust their driving to the proper weather conditions, drivers can put themselves and other drivers at risk of an accident.
  • Drugs and alcohol constitute the most well-known, accident-causing factors. However, sometimes truck drivers stop to eat and have a drink or two, or they may be under the influence of a stimulant to help them stay awake, which will only impair their ability to effectively maneuver in certain situations.

Semi-truck drivers are in control of an extremely deadly machine. Therefore, they must go through proper training and keep the vehicle in proper running order to drive safely. Anytime a truck driver fails to do everything required to ensure their truck’s safety, they create a potentially deadly environment. Unfortunately, very few people survive semi-truck accidents.

If you or someone you know has sustained injuries or died in a trucking accident, contact a highly skilled, experienced lawyer who can make sure you receive compensation for your injury or loss as soon as you can. You don’t have to go through this alone.

What You Need to Do to Move on From a Head-on Collision

Head-on collisions are not common, but the sheer amount of damage caused by a head-on collision can cause irreparable damage, injury, and even death. When a head-on collision injures you or a loved one, you need to understand how head-on collisions occur, how fault is determined, and whether you can sue for damages caused by another party.

This guide outlines these basics, so you can determine how to move forward with your claim. For more information, contact a car accident attorney near you today.

What Is a Head-On Collision?

A head-on collision, also known as a frontal collision, refers to a vehicle accident where two vehicles traveling in opposite directions strike each other. Unlike other accidents where the primary damage takes place on the side or rear of a vehicle, head-on collisions occur when both vehicles impact at the front. Head-on collisions can occur with any vehicle, including cars, motorcycles, trucks, airplanes, trains, subways, and even ships.

You can usually identify a head-on collision by looking at the vehicle damage. If the front sections of both vehicles have evident damage, the accident was likely a head-on collision. Head-on crashes often cause extreme financial and physical injury due to the combined force of both vehicles colliding at speed, at a single point.

Injuries That Occur in Head-On Collisions

The high level of force involved in a head-on collision frequently causes serious injury and fatalities.

Common injuries that occur in this type of accident include:

  • Whiplash and neck pain
  • Back pain, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis
  • Abdominal injury
  • Chest, rib, and pelvis fractures
  • Head injury, concussion, and traumatic brain injury
  • Foot, ankle, and leg fractures
  • Hand, wrist, and arm fractures

Causes of Head-On Collisions

The main cause of head-on collisions is a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction on the road. This can occur for many reasons, from crossing the middle line to driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

Below are some of the most common causes of head-on collisions:

  • Intoxicated driving
  • Aggressive driving
  • Inattentive or distracted driving
  • Unfamiliarity with the area
  • Medical emergency
  • Loss of mechanical control
  • Poor road construction
  • Missing or insufficient road signs
  • Inclement weather and poor visibility
  • Animals, people, or obstructions in the road
  • Another vehicle pushed the driver into the opposite lane

How Fault Is Determined in Head-On Collisions

With so many potential causes, determining fault in a head-on collision can be complicated. The most reliable evidence comes from examining the exact location of the collision. If one vehicle was moving in the wrong direction when the collision occurred, the driver of that vehicle is usually at fault.

To determine fault, authorities must also consider the conditions under which the collision occurred. If the driver who was going the wrong way was negligent (which is to say they did not use reasonable care while driving), the injured party may sue that driver for damages. In the case of frontal collisions, a driver exhibits reasonable care if they drive in the correct lane, in the right direction, and with appropriate attention to the road and road signs.

If the driver exhibited reasonable care while driving but another driver, an obstruction, or a medical emergency forced them into oncoming traffic, determination of fault becomes more complicated. If you wish to pursue damages for a head-on collision, determining fault is the first step in the claim process.

What to Do if You Are in a Head-On Collision

If you are in a head-on collision, seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Even if you feel fine at the time, be sure to have yourself evaluated by a medical professional. Often, shock and adrenaline will mask severe injuries and you may not feel them until later.

Do not admit fault or sign a waiver without consulting your attorney. The other driver and their insurance company will be working to mitigate their responsibility. Although some drivers immediately admit fault, more often drivers will have different perspectives or memories about what occurred. They may lie to avoid being sued for damages, or all parties may be so injured that nobody remembers how the accident occurred.

Since the drivers may be unreliable or unavailable as witnesses, you may need to gather physical evidence. When rescue teams and law enforcement arrive, they are more concerned with cleanup and medical assistance than with preserving the accident scene. By the time you seek legal assistance, evidence at the accident scene may have disappeared.

If you can, obtain evidence from the site and contact a car accident attorney right away. They can collect eyewitness statements, gather evidence, and even reconstruct the accident scene so you can file a compelling claim against the at-fault driver.

Suing for Damages

When submitting a claim for damages in a head-on collision, you will need to prove that the driver you are suing is at fault due to negligence or breach of duty of care. You must be able to show that their failure to drive responsibly directly caused the accident. In addition, you will need to prove that you suffered financial, physical, emotional, and mental damage due to the accident. This evidence can consist of medical bills, doctor statements, and quantified property damage information, such as a repair estimate.

If you can, take photos and videos of the accident site, including the damage to both vehicles, skid marks, debris locations, and final vehicle locations. Obtain contact information from eyewitnesses, including their names, phone numbers, and addresses. Your attorney can analyze the photographic evidence, driver statements, and witness statements to determine who was at fault. From there, they can help you decide whether you have grounds to pursue damages.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one were in a head-on collision, reach out to a personal injury attorney. A team of compassionate attorneys and legal professionals can work with you to help determine the best way to proceed with your injury suit. Contact a car accident attorney near you today to get started.

Did an Inattentive Driver Not See You in Their Blind Spots?

Blind spot refers to the areas that a driver cannot see in their rearview or side mirrors. All vehicles have some type of blind spot, whether it’s a moped, a car, or a semi-truck.

Some newer vehicles come equipped with blind-spot monitors. While these monitors can enhance safety, they’re not a replacement for manually checking blind spots.

Many blind spot accidents happen when an inattentive driver merges or switches lanes, then strikes a pedestrian or another vehicle.

Do I need an attorney to pursue a blind spot accident claim?

You could attempt to negotiate with the insurance company by yourself.

However, individuals without legal representation may encounter several hurdles.

  • First, the insurance company could determine that you are responsible for the accident, when in fact you are not. As a result, you could end up being sued.
  • Or, the insurance company might offer you a settlement that is a fraction of what you deserve. Don’t be fooled into thinking your injuries are worth much less than they actually are. When needed, personal injury law firms may partner with economic and medical experts to properly evaluate an injury claim.

It also takes a lot of time and energy to handle a personal injury claim. When you hire an attorney, they do the hard work. You can rest and focus on your recovery.

What does a blind spot accident settlement pay for?

A personal injury settlement or award will pay for compensatory damages. These damages are often categorized as either economic or noneconomic.

Economic damages incurred in a blind spot accident

Economic damages are those that have a hard monetary value.

These expenses include:

  • Medical bills for your accident-related injuries
  • Current medical bills such as the ER visit, ambulance ride, diagnostic tests such as X-rays and CT scans, hospital stays, surgery, and physical therapy
  • Any future accident-related medical costs that you will incur for the rest of your life, such as ongoing doctor visits, therapy, and medication
  • Lost income while you recover from your injuries
  • Compensation for any future lost wages, if you can’t return to work at all or can only work in a diminished capacity (fewer hours or less money)
  • Professional services, if you have to hire someone for tasks you normally performed, such as child care, lawn care, and cleaning
  • Necessary modifications to your home or vehicle if you are now in a wheelchair
  • The repair or replacement of any personal property

After an accident, you and your family should not have to worry about money.

Noneconomic damages incurred in a blind spot accident

Noneconomic damages don’t have an objective monetary value, but they still affect your life.

You could recover compensation for:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional suffering
  • Loss of consortium, if your injuries impact your relationship with your spouse
  • Permanent disfigurement and scars
  • Amputation
  • Loss of sight or hearing

While a settlement can’t undo your injuries, it can make life more comfortable. Many injured individuals feel a sense of closure when they receive compensation for their noneconomic damages.

Will I have to go to court to win a settlement?

Many accident injury lawsuits successfully settle out of court. Personal injury attorneys are skilled negotiators. They can often anticipate what the insurance company will do next, and can stay one step ahead of them.

A personal injury court case is full of uncertainties, for both you and the insurance company. It is difficult to predict how a judge or jury will react to a case. While it may take some time, many insurance companies will agree to a fair settlement.

And as the injured party, it is ultimately your decision to pursue a trial or not. Your lawyer will advise you of your rights and what the trial process would look like. However, your case won’t end up in court unless you want it to.

How much does a car accident lawyer cost?

The cost of hiring an attorney will vary. Many personal injury law firms offer a free consultation. During this meeting, you can ask about attorney fees and other expenses.

When you discuss payment, here are some questions you may want to consider:

  • Do you charge any upfront fees to get started on my case?
  • If I am awarded a settlement, when is payment due?
  • Do you charge a percentage of the settlement, hourly fees, flat fees, or any combination of the three?
  • If I’m not awarded a settlement, what costs would I be responsible for?

Before you hire an attorney, you must understand their fee structure and your responsibilities.

How long does a blind spot accident lawsuit take?

A motor vehicle accident lawsuit can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more. If you’re injured and have bills that need to be paid, that can seem like an eternity. However, a fast settlement may not be a fair one.

You need every penny that you deserve. When you agree to and receive a settlement, you cannot pursue more money later on. Your payout should cover not just your current accident-related expenses, but any future costs as well.

Certain factors can affect how long your case could take:

  • The severity and nature of your injuries
  • Disputes over which party is responsible for the accident
  • If the crash involved three or more parties
  • You decide to go to trial

Personal injury attorneys are on your side. They work hard to negotiate and pursue a settlement on your behalf.

Do minor injuries qualify for a lawsuit?

It’s a myth that only catastrophic or fatal injuries will qualify for a lawsuit. If your injuries require any medical care, time off from your job, or impact your ability to work or live your life, you should speak with an attorney. That is the only way to know if you have a legal case.

And keep in mind that the term “minor injury” is subjective. A single broken bone can still require multiple surgeries, months of therapy, and keep someone out of work.

Also, it is not fair to compare similar injuries between two individuals. How a specific injury impacts one person can be very different from how it impacts another. Recovery time, medical costs, and appropriate treatments will vary.

Get Legal Help After a Blind Spot Accident

Motor vehicle occupants aren’t the only ones who can be injured in a blind spot accident. Pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and mobility scooter riders can sustain injuries when a driver does not check their blind spots.

Motorcycles are particularly susceptible to blind spot crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 41 percent of all motorcycle crashes occur when a driver fails to see the motorcycle.

If you or a loved one were injured in a crash, contact a car accident attorney near you to learn about your legal rights.

Truck Driver Fatigue

Commercial trucks are essential in the transportation and distribution of consumer goods across the United States. However, the sheer size and weight of large commercial vehicles can create a serious risk to other drivers on the roadways. Poorly trained or unqualified commercial truck drivers, as well as those who fail to abide by state and federal laws and regulations, increase the risks of devastating accidents.

Drivers who operate commercial trucks while drowsy or fatigued are particularly dangerous to other drivers. The trucking industry requires traveling long distances to meet strict deadlines, which commonly leads to driver fatigue. Below you can find more information related to statistics and risks associated with truck driver fatigue, as well as how a Morgantown truck accident lawyer can help you after an injury caused by a truck crash.

Commercial Truck Accident Statistics

In one recent year, more than 120,000 large trucks or bus crashes in the United States resulted in injuries or fatalities. Commercial vehicle accidents accounted for more than 5,000 fatalities and 170,000 injuries. A study of causes of large truck crashes performed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that fatigue is a major factor contributing to motor vehicle accidents.

Driver fatigue can greatly increase the likelihood that an accident will occur. The study found that fatigue contributed to causing 13 percent of all commercial truck accidents.

Because trucking companies are pressured to deliver products as quickly as possible, it is not uncommon for drivers to experience fatigue while driving regularly.

FMCSA’s Hours of Service Regulations

To decrease commercial truck accidents, the FMCSA has established strict rules and regulations to govern the behavior of commercial truck drivers. Federal regulations include restrictions and requirements aimed to address and reduce driver fatigue.

Recent revisions to the FMCSA’s hours of service regulations are designed to provide more flexibility for truck drivers while eliminating the type of drowsiness that can contribute to an accident.

New regulations include the following restrictions:

  • A driver must not work for more than 14 consecutive hours. The time period begins when a driver begins any kind of work related to their employment, not just the act of driving a truck. Off-duty time, utilized as a rest break, does count towards the 14-hour time limit.
  • A driver can only drive for 11-straight hours in the permitted 14-hour work window.
  • Once a driver reaches the 14-hour limit, they must be off duty for ten consecutive hours.
  • A 30-minute rest break is required after eight hours of consecutive driving time (rather than on-duty time). On-duty time that is not spent driving qualifies as the required break.
  • A driver cannot drive more than 60 hours for every seven days they are on duty or more than 70 hours for every eight days they are on duty. This time limit is not tracked based on a seven-day week is based on a rolling seven or eight-day period—meaning that the oldest day’s driving time drops off the calculation. The 60 to 70-hour time calculations reset after 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty, in a sleeper berth, or a combination of both.

The exemptions to the hours of service requirements include:

  • The adverse weather exception: Drivers can extend their drive time by up to four hours if an adverse weather event causes unexpected delays, such as those caused by traffic accidents or congestion. However, inclement weather is not always an excuse to extend a driver’s driving time. If the driver can safely stop and layover within the 11-hour limit or make it back to their home terminal within the authorized time, the exception is not applicable.
  • The short-haul exception: A driver can be on duty for 16 hours if the driver begins and ends at the same terminal.

The hours of service rules are complex but important. Every truck driver should know the rules to maintain compliance.

Penalties for Violations

Failure to abide by the hours of service requirements may have negative implications for the driver and their employer.

Penalties can include:

  • Driver shut down, which prohibits a driver from driving until they have accumulated sufficient off-duty time to comply;
  • State and local fines;
  • Civil penalties levied by the FMCSA ranging from $1,000 to $11,000 per violation;
  • Downgrading the carrier’s safety rating after a pattern of violations; and
  • Federal criminal penalties for carriers who knowingly and willfully allow or require violations by employees or against drivers who knowingly and willfully violate the regulations

Given the significant risk of deadly accidents caused by driver fatigue, the FMCSA does not take violations of the hours of service regulations lightly.

Responsibility for an Accident

Any party whose negligent or intentional acts contributed to causing the accident will be liable for the resulting injuries and damages. Failure to comply with the federal hours of service regulations may be clear evidence of negligent driver behavior.

Drivers’ employers may also share liability for a commercial truck accident. Trucking companies are responsible for monitoring drivers and ensuring their compliance with regulations. If a company encourages, allows, or negligently supervises compliance with the hours of service requirements for a driver who causes an accident, they may share liability for any accident-related losses.

Some states require truck drivers to keep track of their driving hours in an electronic logbook. Logbook data may be an important piece of evidence in a commercial truck accident case.

As additional evidence, victims should make an accurate record of the driver’s actions at the time of the accident. Was the truck driver swerving out of their lane? Was the truck’s speed erratic?

One helpful way to document the events of the accident is to secure a law enforcement accident report. An officer’s report will describe the accident scene, record witness statements, and note any citations issued for failure to follow traffic regulations.

Work With an Experienced Attorney

A personal injury attorney can work with you to analyze the strength of the evidence, determine additional areas for investigation, and prepare a case strategy. An experienced lawyer can be critical in calculating and assessing the damages you incurred because of the accident.

A claim for damages should include the costs of all injuries sustained and the impacts of those injuries on your daily life. Damages may include medical costs, lost wages, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. A truck accident lawyer can also evaluate whether the case qualifies for punitive damages under the state laws.

The team at Wagoner Desai is dedicated to helping injured commercial truck accident victims seek the compensation they are entitled to. We approach each case with a client-first mentality, making sure our clients feel supported throughout the stressful process of recovery. Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation.

Wagoner Desai, PLLC
(304) 470-2056
265 High Street, 3rd Floor
Citizens Bank Building
Morgantown, WV 26505

Drivers Are Responsible for Road Rage Injuries

Undoubtedly, at some point in time, every driver has become frustrated while driving. Whether frustrations stem from other drivers’ behavior, traffic congestion, or roadway conditions, drivers remain responsible for keeping their cool while operating a motor vehicle. Sometimes, unfortunately, drivers’ anger may get the best of them, leading to aggressive or angry driving behaviors that put everyone on the roadway in danger.

If a driver’s road rage contributed to an accident that resulted in injuries, injured victims may recover compensation. If this happened to you, contact an experienced car accident lawyer today for a free consultation and case evaluation.

What Is Road Rage?

Road rage, also referred to as aggressive driving, is a broad term encompassing any heightened anger experienced by a driver while operating a motor vehicle.

Drivers may exhibit road rage through a wide range of behaviors, including:

  • Rude and offensive gestures;
  • Verbal insults;
  • Physical threats;
  • Physical attacks, including shooting; and
  • Dangerous driving behaviors targeted at other drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists.

Road rage is surprisingly common among drivers across the United States. In fact, nearly 80 percent of drivers admit they have experienced significant anger, aggression, or road rage while driving at least once a year.

Reported instances of driver aggression manifested itself in the following ways:

  • 51 percent purposefully tailgated;
  • 47 percent yelled at another driver;
  • 45 percent honked to show annoyance or anger;
  • 33 percent made angry gestures;
  • 24 percent tried to block another vehicle from changing lanes;
  • 12 percent intentionally cut off another vehicle;
  • 4 percent got out of their vehicle to confront another driver; and
  • 3 percent bumped or rammed another vehicle on purpose.

Studies show that aggressive driving may be a contributing factor in more than 50 percent of all fatal car accidents. Some behaviors associated with road rage, e.g., yelling at another driver, are less likely to lead to injury than others. However, driver actions like tailgating or intentionally cutting off another vehicle can greatly increase the risks of an accident. Extreme road rage behavior can lead to deadly physical altercations involving firearms.

Who Is Responsible for My Injuries?

When evidence clearly demonstrates that another driver was acting with road rage at the time of injury, the driver will likely be responsible for any accident-related damages they caused.

Drivers who engage in negligent or intentionally dangerous behaviors may harm others on the roadway.

  • Negligence: When tailgating or preventing others from changing lanes contributes to causing an accident, it may be difficult to prove that the other driver’s intentional misconduct led to the accident. However, there may be evidence demonstrating that the other driver was behaving negligently. Drivers have a legal obligation to use reasonable care to avoid harming others on the roadway. Legally, any behavior that puts other drivers at danger or risk of harm falls below the standard of care and is considered negligent driver behavior. Negligent behaviors may include drivers’ failure to obey traffic laws and regulations, like following too close, for example.
  • Assault and battery: The definitions of assault and battery will vary depending on the laws of the state where the incident occurred. The most common definition of assault is any action that causes a victim to experience fear of imminent harm. Battery refers to the unauthorized use of physical force against another causing them harm. Both assault and battery are crimes subject to criminal prosecution. On the other hand, assault and battery are intentional behaviors that may entitle injured victims to recover compensation for the resulting injuries in a civil action. When demonstrating intentionally harmful behavior, the law provides a low burden of proof, and only requires evidence that the intentional acts occurred and victims were harmed as a result.

Look for a personal injury firm with experience handling road rage accident cases, and dedicated to working with their clients to build the strongest case possible to maximize their recoveries.

Recovering Compensation for Injuries

The perpetrator of the road rage will be responsible for any accident-related losses stemming from an accident caused by their aggressive behavior.

A victim may suffer a wide range of losses directly caused by a road rage incident, including:

  • Medical expenses: Injured parties may be entitled to compensation for all medical expenses related to the accident. For example, a demand for damages may include the costs of doctors’ visits, hospital stays, emergency transportation, and prescription medication. When calculating medical expenses, victims must consider future and long-term medical needs, including in-home care and rehabilitative therapies.
  • Lost income: When accident injuries prevent victims from returning to work, require them to work at a reduced level or salary, they may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. In addition, injuries that cause permanent limitation or disability may permit injured victims to seek compensation for future lost earning capacity.
  • Property damage: Damage to a vehicle or personal property inside the vehicle at the time of the accident may be included in a demand for damages. Injured parties may be compensated for the costs of repair or replacement of damaged property.
  • Emotional distress: A road rage incident can be an extremely traumatic experience for all parties involved. Road rage victims commonly experience anxiety, depression, or PTSD following an accident. Victims who experience extreme emotional distress as a result of a road rage accident may be entitled compensation for the impacts caused by their mental anguish.
  • Loss of enjoyment: Many injuries limit victims’ ability to participate in activities that were previously a meaningful part of their life. If you have suffered a loss of enjoyment of life after a road rage accident, you may be entitled to recover compensation.
  • Punitive/exemplary damages: Punitive damages do not compensate victims for their injuries but rather they are intended to punish particularly wrongful behavior. To seek an award of punitive damages, most states require victims to demonstrate another’s egregious misconduct. In cases of road rage, there is a high possibility that the wrongful driver’s behavior will rise to a level of misconduct warranting an award of punitive damages.

Injured victims should consult with an experienced road rage accident attorney to ensure all accident-related losses are included in their demand for damages. Calculating the true value of a claim is critical for assessing the adequacy and fairness of settlement offers provided by the other driver.

Be cautious of quick settlement offers, as they typically offer an amount that is insufficient to cover the full amount of damages incurred. An attorney can help advise injured victims on whether a settlement offer is fair based on the strength of the evidence in their case.

Be sure to avoid taking any action that might put your recovery at risk, including posting on social media. For example, a victim may submit a post on social media stating, “I was really on edge and angry today, and this accident just made it worse!”

The other may then discredit a claim for compensation by demonstrating that the victim’s mental state contributed to the accident.

Alternatively, victims may claim damages for lost wages by asserting they can’t stand on their feet for a full day. If the victim then posts photos of a family hike on social media, the photos could undermine their claims that they can’t work. It is best to refrain from posting anything on social media, even on a private account, because the information may come out during settlement negotiations or should the case proceed to trial.

One of the most important things you can do after an accident is to contact an experienced car accident attorney to assist you throughout the process.

Wagoner Desai, PLLC
(304) 470-2056
265 High Street, 3rd Floor
Citizens Bank Building
Morgantown, WV 26505

What Is My Claim Worth?

In valuing your claim for purposes of settlement, what we are really doing is making an educated guess as to what a jury is likely to award. Typically, juries are asked to determine whether the other side was at fault and if so, what measure of damages they award to compensate the victim. Damages are essentially the money value of the injuries you have suffered. They fall into two broad categories- special damages and general damages.

Special damages are the readily quantifiable components of an injury. Medical expenses and lost wages are the typical items of special damages. General damages are monies awarded for things like pain and suffering, embarrassment, loss of enjoyment of life, and annoyance and inconvenience. These damages are more difficult to quantify because different people, and consequently different juries, place different values on these items. Moreover, different clients may respond differently to similar injuries.

When we assess the settlement value of a claim, we primarily take into consideration the amount of special damages, what we believe the probability of success to be, the severity of the injuries, the jurisdiction where the claim is pending and the egregiousness of the other parties’ conduct. We base our assessment on what we have seen ourselves and we also keep up to date on developments in cases handled by other attorneys locally and nationally through membership in organizations like the American Association for Justice and the National Trial Lawyers.

At the end of the day, neither we, nor any lawyer can guarantee an outcome or prospectively value your injury case with absolute certainty. What we at Wagoner & Desai, PLLC strive to do is to provide our clients with our best estimation based on our experience, the reasons for our determination, our recommendation, and the options before the client. While past results do not in any way guarantee future outcomes or success, you may be able to glean additional information from our case results page.

Wagoner Desai, PLLC
(304) 470-2056
265 High Street, 3rd Floor
Citizens Bank Building
Morgantown, WV 26505

The Injury Claim Process

Your case begins with building a relationship between the client and the attorneys. We like to meet face to face with our clients. This can be in the office or at our client’s home, workplace or hospital room. When an in-person meeting is not possible, we will discuss your case virtually or by telephone. In one of our first meetings, we have our clients enter into a written fee agreement and provide us with a medical release to obtain their records.

After our initial meetings, we obtain the accident report, statements from any potential witnesses, your medical records and bills, as well as any lost wage statements. We also obtain any available information on the other side’s insurance policies and any subrogation liens or amounts you must pay back to your health insurer.

Once we have obtained the applicable records and bills and conducted a preliminary investigation, we will discuss our opinions as to your case with you, how we value your case based on the known information and the best path forward. Based on the facts of the case, we may proceed to make a pre-suit demand on the other side’s insurance company or we may proceed directly to filing a lawsuit. This will not be a unilateral decision by the attorneys. We will discuss this with you prior to filing or making any monetary demand.

If we have made a pre-suit demand and the case is less complex, we may be able to negotiate with the insurance company and resolve your case. This is, however, getting more and more difficult as insurance carriers are emboldened by captive state legislatures, such as that in West Virginia and laws aimed to punish injury victims. Again, the decision to accept any settlement is yours and yours alone. We will make recommendations. We will not tell you what to do.

If the case does not settle pre-suit or we do not make a pre-suit demand, the lawsuit begins by filing a complaint, which is just a formal document setting forth the facts of your claim, the legal theories behind it and a general description of the sort of injuries you claim. The other side will then have 20-30 days to answer the complaint.

Once the lawsuit is filed and the attorneys for the defendant make an appearance and answer, the attorneys on both sides typically engage in discovery. This is a formal investigative process undertaken in compliance with the applicable court rules. Parties exchange written discovery (questions, request to produce copies of documents, etc.). We will be in touch with you at this point to gather information that we do not have and to formulate responses to written discovery.

The attorneys will also take depositions, which is testimony under oath before a court reporter. Depositions typically take place in an attorneys’ office. This is rarely as confrontational or formal as you may see on TV. The other side wants to ascertain what your medical condition was before the accident, how you believe the accident happened, and what your injuries are now and how they impact your life. This is the insurance company’s only chance to talk directly to you prior to trial, so they will be exhaustive in their questioning.

A plaintiff’s deposition can last from one hour to all day. Do not fret. We will prepare you in advance of your deposition and we will be sitting right next to you the whole time. In some cases, the attorneys will need to hire retained experts on medical or accident causation issues. This may result in additional depositions of those experts, but rarely impacts the client.

Once discovery has significantly advanced the parties will often engage in mediation. In some jurisdictions, mediation is ordered earlier in the case. It may also be done by agreement before suit is filed. In any event, a mediation is an opportunity to settle the case, and many cases settle at that point.

Typically, the parties agree upon a mediator who is usually an experienced attorney with a reputation for helping parties resolve their difference. The mediator is not on our side or their side. Her only goal is to get the case settled. In the process, the mediator will often play devil’s advocate, highlighting the weaknesses in our case in the strengths in the other side’s to us and doing the opposite when she is in the other room.

If the case does not resolve at mediation or thereafter, the judge will typically hold a pre-trial conference, where any final motions are argued, jury instructions are often discussed or determined and the case is prepared for trial. Unlike other motions hearings earlier in the case, if any, you will need to be at the pre-trial. This is because the judge will likely again try to convince the parties to settle their difference.

Sometimes, there are just too many differences in the way both sides view the case and a trial is necessary. This may be because the parties dispute the facts, for instance both drivers contend they had a green light, or because the parties simply value the plaintiff’s injuries differently. When that is the case and the parties cannot compromise, the case heads to trial.

Unlike in the movies, the attorneys are required to disclose their witnesses and exhibits prior to trial. There are, therefore, few surprises as in Perry Mason. The plaintiff (injured party) puts on his or her case first and then the defense puts on their case. (Note: The order is the opposite in Pennsylvania.) The plaintiff is permitted to present rebuttal evidence thereafter.

Once the parties have presented their evidence, they argue the case to the jury, the judge will instruct the jury on the applicable law and the case will be given to the jury to decide. The jury will deliberate and return a verdict as to any disputed factual issues such as fault and amount of damages.

Wagoner Desai, PLLC
(304) 470-2056
265 High Street, 3rd Floor
Citizens Bank Building
Morgantown, WV 26505

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