​How to Get Paid After a Car Accident

Following an accident, most people first focus on recovery. Second, they think about paying for bills, especially if the accident caused severe injuries. House payments, car payments, replacing the damaged vehicle, and putting food on the table are all concerns following an accident. If the accident victim suffered catastrophic injuries, a family member must focus on these issues. Let an experienced car accident attorney assist you with the legal and financial matters of your case.

First Steps After an Accident

In some cases, an accident can cause minor injuries. If the accident victim can take action at the scene, they should call first responders and check on others involved.

Then, they can:

  • Take photos of the accident scene. Be sure to get photos from all angles capturing the damage, including damage to the road and nearby property.
  • Obtain contact information from witnesses.
  • Obtain the other driver’s license, registration information, and phone number.
  • Give the police officer your version of what happened.
  • Allow emergency medical technicians to check you over—this is the first step in documenting injuries, regardless of how minor.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as the police release you from the accident scene.
  • Contact a car accident lawyer.

If the accident victim cannot move or is unconscious, they will be unable to take any of these actions. The victim or their family needs to contact a car accident lawyer immediately so that the attorney can start the investigation before the evidence disappears.

Why an Accident Victim Needs an Attorney

Insurance companies do not like to pay claims because they cut their bottom lines. They will find any reason to deny a claim. Barring that, they will offer the least amount possible to”make you go away. Often, the accident victim gets tired of fighting the insurance company and accepts the lowball offer—an offer that does not cover all of the accident victim’s medical expenses.

A car accident lawyer investigates the accident to determine whether the other driver was at fault and just how much their actions contributed to the accident. For example, if the other driver was speeding, the court could hold them responsible for the accident victim’s medical expenses and other damages.

However, if the other driver was grossly negligent—speeding on a sidewalk full of people—the court could order the at-fault driver to pay the victim punitive damages.

Steps a Car Accident Lawyer Takes to Help You Recover Compensation

After an accident victim retains a car accident lawyer, the lawyer investigates the case and reviews the medical records to determine what might be a fair and reasonable settlement. If doctors expect the injuries to result in long-term or permanent disabilities, the victim could recover additional damages in the form of non-economic damages.

Once the attorney reviews the case, they will contact the insurance company via a demand letter. The demand letter gives the insurance company the basic facts of the accident, an outline of the injuries, and the amount of compensation the victim likely deserves.

The insurance company can accept the demand and pay, submit a counteroffer to the victim’s attorney, or deny the claim.

Your attorney will take the appropriate steps to move forward, including preparing for trial if the insurance company denies the claim or refuses to pay a fair and reasonable amount.

How Long Before an Accident Victim Gets Paid

One of the most common questions attorneys hear is: “How long before I get paid?” There is no answer, and no attorney should provide a definite answer because no one can see into the future or correctly anticipate what an insurance company will do, especially early in the case.

Settlement negotiations could go back and forth several times before the insurance company agrees to a fair and reasonable amount. If the insurance company refuses a fair and reasonable settlement, your attorney must prepare for court.

Once you file a complaint with the court, you are at the mercy of scheduling. After the discovery process, including your attorney deposing the other person, the court files a pre-trial motion to request a hearing.

After a Settlement Win

Many cases settle without going to court.

After the insurance company agrees to a fair and reasonable amount, the victim must take several steps before receiving payment:

  • One of the attorneys, usually the insurance company’s attorney, drafts a settlement agreement.
  • You and your attorney review the settlement.
  • If acceptable, you sign the agreement, and your attorney sends it back to the insurance company’s attorneys.
  • The insurance company processes the settlement, then cuts a check for the appropriate amount to your attorney.
  • Your attorney deposits the check into an escrow account and waits until it clears.
  • Your attorney then pays your outstanding medical expenses and reimburses your insurance companies (health and auto) if you use them to cover medical expenses and other damages until you receive your settlement.
  • The attorney deducts their fees and costs.
  • The attorney then cuts you a check and mails it to you, at which time you deposit the check.

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car wreck, contact a vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.

How Much Will I Get for Pain and Suffering From a Car Accident?

Car accident victims can recover three types of damages: Economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. The amount and type of damages depend on several factors, including the severity of your injuries and whether the at-fault driver’s actions or inactions were negligent or grossly negligent.

It is often difficult to obtain all of the damages you deserve unless you retain a car accident lawyer experienced in handling complex claims that involve severe or catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, and various degrees of negligence.

Non-Economic Damages: Pain and Suffering

If doctors expect an accident victim’s injuries to result in long-term or permanent disabilities, or if the accident caused the death of a loved one, the accident victim or family of the decedent could recover non-economic damages.

These types of damages do not have a monetary value and include:

Pain and Suffering

A victim that suffers long-term pain because of an accident could recover compensation for pain and suffering. However, if doctors do not expect the pain to last long, the court will not allow for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering could be physical or emotional.

An accident victim might feel physical pain for years because of crushed bones that doctors can never completely repair or even real and phantom pain from an amputation.

Emotional distress is a form of pain and suffering. If you lost a loved one, you could recover compensation for the emotional distress of losing a loved one. Emotional distress also covers psychological issues caused by a car accident. For example, a mother might have minor injuries, but when she realizes the truck is going to T-bone her on the side where her toddler, strapped in a car seat, is sitting, all she can think is that she is going to lose her child.

It takes only a split second for that thought to significantly affect a parent. That split second could cause weeks, months, or even a lifetime of anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Other Intangible Losses

Non-economic damages also include certain losses, including:

  • Loss of consortium if you can no longer enjoy a physical relationship with your spouse. Someone who lost a spouse can also recover compensation for loss of consortium.
  • Loss of companionship if you can no longer take part in family activities and events, especially if you have children who will not have the benefit of you being active in their lives.
  • Loss of quality of life. Often, an accident causes life-long changes, such as using an ambulatory aid or taking prescriptions. If you have to make these or other changes because of injuries you suffered in an accident, you could recover extra compensation.
  • Loss of use of a body part or bodily function. Sometimes, accident injuries cause paralysis, which affects the use of limbs, digits, and bodily functions such as bladder control or eyesight. An accident victim can recover compensation for these life-changing losses.
  • Cleaning, home repairs and maintenance, lawn maintenance, and even grocery shopping, injuries that prevent activities cost money. The injured person has to hire someone, and it also causes emotional distress since the accident victim often feels useless.
  • Amputation, excessive scarring, and disfigurement often cause physical pain and discomfort but could also cause depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

These items do not have a monetary value, making them difficult to price. An additional difficulty is determining whether any of these losses affect a person in other ways. For example, an up-and-coming athlete or musician could be well on the way to fame when the accident causes loss of use of a hand.

While the injured person also recovers compensation for loss of future earning capacity through economic damages, lawyers have to determine a fair amount for losing the ability to do something you love to do. The activity was not only your livelihood, but it was what you lived for. You deserve compensation because someone’s negligence caused you to lose a career and an activity you loved.

Economic Damages

Special damages, or economic damages, are much easier to figure out since they have a monetary value. Economic damages might include medical expenses, replacement or repair of your vehicle, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and funeral-related expenses.

However, figuring out economic damages when accident injuries turn into permanent disabilities is difficult. Lawyers discuss your injuries and expected prognosis with experts, including your doctors, to get a good idea of how much medical care you might need. Like everything else, this is an estimate based on several factors.

Punitive Damages

In severe cases, the court orders a defendant to pay punitive damages. It is very difficult to recover punitive damages as you have to prove gross negligence or intent. Ordinary negligence is not enough since the court orders punitive damages to punish the defendant’s actions or inactions.

While punitive damages are difficult to win, it is often worth the extra time and steps it takes to ask the court for punitive damages. An accident victim can use the money for anything they wish.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

Insurance companies will try anything to get out of paying the compensation you deserve because it affects their bottom lines. They will try to deny your claim and, barring that, will offer you the least amount possible to “make you go away.” They realize that the average person does not know the intricacies of the law and will use that to lower your payment—sometimes so low that it doesn’t cover medical expenses, never mind other losses and damages.

Insurance companies know that a lawyer will not hesitate to file a lawsuit if they do not offer a fair and reasonable amount to cover the damages you suffered. If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident, contact a car wreck lawyer for a free case evaluation.

How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take?

A car accident settlement normally takes anywhere between a month and a year, depending on various factors discussed below. Also, some car accident cases do not settle but go to trial. Cases that do not settle frequently take more than a year to resolve.

Here’s a brief primer on the auto accident settlement process from our experienced car accident lawyers.

What is a settlement?

A settlement is an agreement to resolve a car accident claim.

The parties to a settlement usually are:

  • The injured car accident victim.
  • The party at fault for the accident.
  • The at-fault party’s liability insurance company.

In the typical settlement, the at-fault party and its insurer agree to pay money to the injured victim in exchange for the victim agreeing to release those parties from further liability for the injuries and losses the victim suffered.

Settlements are final. Once agreed upon, they end the injured victim’s legal claim against the at-fault party and that party’s insurer.

The Basic Settlement Process

As we explain above, the amount of time it takes to achieve a settlement can vary, and some cases do not settle. But despite the variations in the timeline, most car accident cases follow a basic process for getting to a settlement if one occurs. Here’s an overview of that process.

First Steps

The car accident victim takes the very first step in the settlement process by hiring a car accident lawyer. The sooner the victim takes this step, the sooner the rest of the process can begin.

Once hired, an attorney usually starts by investigating the accident, gathering evidence of what happened, who is to blame, and the scope of the crash victim’s damages. A lawyer needs that information to know where to pursue compensation and how much compensation to demand on a client’s behalf. This process may vary in time depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of the evidence and information the lawyer seeks.

Demand for Payment of Damages

In the next step of the settlement process, the car accident victim’s lawyer prepares a demand for payment of the victim’s damages and sends it to the party at fault (and, if known, that party’s insurance company). The demand usually comes in a written letter explaining the factual and legal basis of the victim’s claim for damages and requesting compensation. Alternatively, a demand may start as a formal complaint that starts a lawsuit in court.

A demand, in a nutshell, puts the at-fault party and that party’s insurer on notice of the claim and gets the ball rolling on potential settlement discussions. Preparing a demand usually doesn’t take more than a week or two (and often less) once the lawyer for the car accident victim has the information needed to back it up.

Response and Settlement Offer

The at-fault party, through its attorney and/or insurance representative, then responds to the demand. A response will typically state whether the party accepts or rejects the demand, and will explain the basis for any disagreement. The response may also contain an initial settlement offer if the demand was made informally (rather than in a court filing). A response usually comes within a few weeks of receipt of a demand.

Negotiation

Once the parties have staked out their starting positions, their respective lawyers and insurance representatives usually enter into settlement negotiations. This is the most variable phase of the process regarding when and how negotiations occur. It is difficult to predict how long it might last.

Car accident settlement negotiations may take place through correspondence or in person. They may begin immediately after the initial exchange of the demand and response, or the parties may delay until they have gathered additional evidence and information to help them evaluate their positions. The lawyers and representatives may negotiate directly or with the assistance of a neutral mediator. And negotiations may occur before or after the filing of a formal lawsuit.

Throughout this process, the lawyers for both sides must report back to their clients on the progress of negotiations. They must tell their clients about any offers made by the other party and advise them on whether to accept or reject them.

Importantly, lawyers do not get to decide whether to agree to a settlement offer. Only the clients have the authority to make that decision.

Settlement Agreement and Payment

If the parties reach an agreement on a settlement, the lawyers formalize it in writing (in consultation with their clients), and their clients sign it. Drafting a settlement agreement usually happens within days of the parties agreeing on its basic provisions.

Once signed, the settlement agreement is a binding contract, and the parties must comply with its terms. This usually means payment of a settlement amount to the victim, delivery of a formal release to the at-fault party and its insurer, and (if necessary) formal termination of any pending lawsuit.

Typically, payment of settlement money accompanies or follows immediately after signing a settlement agreement in a car accident case. That money goes into the trust account of the lawyer representing the car accident victim. The lawyer deducts any fee from that amount and pays the remainder to the victim. This process usually takes only a week or two, if not less.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today

Did you or a loved one suffer injuries in a car accident? Do you have questions about the potential settlement of your car accident claim? If so, contact a car accident lawyer in your area today for a free consultation about your rights and options.

Car Accident Scenarios: Who’s at Fault?

While car accidents happen every day, you can only hope that you are not in one of those accidents. If you are, you should know who is at fault.

In some cases, it’s difficult to determine who is at fault, such as in a rear-end wreck or when one driver causes another driver to hit you. Since insurance companies will do anything to get out of paying a claim so they can put more money into their own pockets, you should at least have a good idea of who is at fault. A car accident lawyer can help you determine who is at fault and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Running Traffic Control Signals

Red lights, yield signs, stop signs—drivers running any traffic control signals endanger others. If these accidents do not cause severe or catastrophic injuries, they cause fatalities. Running a traffic control sign often causes T-bone accidents, though this action could cause sideswipes and other accidents, depending on the circumstances.

T-bone accidents are often severe or deadly because that part of the vehicle does not have as much protection—at least in older vehicles. Some newer vehicles have enforced steel beams and airbags to help protect the vehicle occupants.

The driver that runs a traffic control signal is usually the at-fault driver. However, if a driver is waiting at a traffic control signal and another driver rear-ends the driver at the light, pushing him or her into another driver in the intersection, the fault typically lies with the second driver.

Rear-End Accidents

Many people assume that when one person runs into another from behind, the trailing driver caused the crash. However, that is not necessarily the case. Either party or a third driver could be at fault.

In some cases, the leading driver could be at fault. For example, if the leading driver brake checks the trailing driver, the leading driver is usually at fault. Or, if a third driver hits the trailing driver who then hits you, the third driver must pay for your injuries and other damages and those of the driver behind you.

If you are the trailing driver and the front driver caused the crash, whether by brake checking or because of car trouble that caused a stall, a car accident investigation should find that you were not at fault.

Rear-end wrecks can happen anywhere, including in parking lots, at traffic control signals, and even while traveling down a highway.

Parking Lot Crashes

Parking lot accidents rarely cause fatalities because of the lower speed. However, if someone speeds through a parking lot, either to avoid the police or beat a red light, they could kill someone. Additionally, if a vehicle hits a bicyclist, motorcyclist, or pedestrian, even at a slow speed, the accident could result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.

Some common parking lot accident scenarios include:

  • Someone hits a driver backing out of a parking spot. Usually, the driver backing out is at fault since the driver moving forward has the right of way.
  • A driver pulls through one space into another instead of backing into or out of a space. The driver in the parking spaces is usually at fault. If the driver is pulling through an empty space in front of them to leave, technically, the driver is going the wrong way. If a driver pulls into a space and then pulls through to the space in front and another driver pulls in because the driver pulling in didn’t see the driver pulling through, the driver pulling through is usually at fault since they are going the wrong way.
  • When two drivers wreck trying to beat each other into a space, the person who did not have the right-of-way is at fault.
  • Wrecks at the end of an aisle. This is akin to T-boning someone because the driver did not stop at a traffic control signal. The driver in the aisle must treat the intersection as an intersection with no signals. Since the driver in the aisle is the one pulling into the main throughway, the person in the aisle who did not stop is usually at fault.

It’s hard to determine fault in parking lot accidents, so seek legal advice right after a car accident. If injuries prevent you from contacting a car accident lawyer, your spouse or another close relative can contact the attorney for you.

Accident Variables

Even though the rules of the road state that one driver is at fault, that is not always the case. For example, in a rear-end crash, if the leading driver is distracted by a text, happens to look up, and slams the brakes on because he thought he saw something out of the corner of his eye, causing the trailing driver to rear-end him, the first driver is more likely at fault.

You just never know in certain circumstances who is at fault. Thus, never admit fault, even if you believe you are at fault for an accident. Contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible and let the attorney’s investigative team determine who is at fault.

Other circumstances can put another driver at fault, even if the accident looks like your fault—for example, if the other driver was under the influence or driving while drowsy or distracted. The other driver’s vehicle might malfunction, causing an accident.

Let accident investigators determine fault, especially if your injuries are severe or catastrophic or if the accident caused the death of one of the drivers.

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident, contact a vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.

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 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.

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