Almost everyone either owns a car or travels in one on a daily basis. We live in a very car-centered society and, unfortunately, that means car accidents are incredibly common. From simple fender benders to head on collisions, thousands of car accidents occur in the U.S. every single day.
Fortunately, if you’re hurt, or your vehicle was damaged in an auto accident, you’re not alone. Our personal injury lawyers handle dozens of car accident cases each year and have helped thousands of individuals in Ohio and West Virginia get compensation for their damages and injuries.
Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer
When deciding whether or not to hire a car accident lawyer, there are several things to consider. Do you know how to get the largest settlement possible from insurance companies? Do you have the time to fight a legal battle on your own if the insurance refuses to pay what you deserve? Do you have the financial resources to fight a large insurance company in court?
If the answer to any one of these questions is no, you should seriously consider working with the car accident lawyers at Colombo Law. Even if you are without insurance, and are in an accident, a car accident lawyer may be able to help. Colombo Law has many locations throughout West Virginia and Ohio and will assist you until your claim is completed.
Why Do Car Accidents Happen?
By far, the number one cause of car accidents is driver negligence. This can be because the driver is distracted, under the influence, or careless. In addition to negligence, some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
- Unsafe or damaged roads
- The driver’s failure to control their vehicle
- Debris covered roadways
- Failure to obey traffic signals and signs
- Failure to properly use turn signals
- Extreme weather events
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to yield
- Manufacturer defects
- Animal crossings
- Tire blowouts
- Drugs and alcohol
- Teen drivers
- Vehicle defects
It is important to be aware of these common causes of car accidents so that you can do your best to avoid them. Not all causes of car accidents are avoidable, and we understand that, but the more aware you are of the dangers of the road, the more prepared you will be.
Car Accident Injuries
Whiplash is the single most common physical auto accident injury we see as attorneys. Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are violently thrown forward as the result of a sudden impact. This occurs most often in rear-end collisions but can happen during head-on or side-impact collisions as well. Whiplash can leave the victim in severe pain for a few days or several months.
Physical Injuries Caused By Car Accidents
- Broken bones
- Severe bruising
- Organ damage/internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck/back injuries
Psychological Issues Caused By Car Accidents
Experiencing a car accident can also be emotionally traumatizing. Stress and anxiety are common, but you may suffer from additional emotional anguish such as:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fear of driving
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Compensation for Car Accidents
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to your accident. The car accident lawyers at Colombo Law will be able to help you pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company depending on your fault percentage.
Factors that Affect Compensation for a Car Accident
Many factors could end up influencing the amount of compensation you receive after a car accident. These factors include:
- The specifics of the police report that was filed for your accident.
- Whether or not you needed medical attention, and how quickly you sought medical attention after your accident.
- This could include emergency room visits and doctor visits.
- Pre-existing injuries that you may have that have become worse due to your car accident.
- Ask your doctor to take new x-rays and other examinations of the specific areas. These will allow for easier pre- and post-accident comparisons of the injuries.
- Any DUI/DWI charges that may have been handed out in your accident.
- Statements that you make to other people involved in your accident. Keep in mind that anything you say can be used against you in your case. You should completely avoid making any statements until you have first spoken to a personal injury lawyer at Colombo Law.
- Witness testimonies.
- Photographs of the scene of the accident.
- Records that validate the number of days missed and the amount of wage that you have lost as a result of your accident.
- Personal injury limits stated in insurance policies.
Damages for a Car Accident Case
Two main types of damages are available in a car accident claim. “Economic” damages are those that compensate the victim for his or her monetary losses. These can include:
- The cost to repair damaged property
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future wage loss
These damages must be proven with specific documents such as bills, receipts, and others.
“Non-economic” damages are those that represent the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
These damages vary widely on a case-to-case basis and are often very difficult to quantify.
When and Who Can You Sue After a Car Accident?
Most car accident claims operate on the basis that an individual caused the accident because they were acting negligently. This could be because they were distracted, drunk, or because they were driving recklessly. Regardless, you and the attorneys at Colombo Law will need to prove negligence to reach a successful verdict.
Additionally, there are certain circumstances where you may be able to sue someone besides the driver of the other vehicle.
For instance, some car accidents occur because of manufacturer defects. If a vehicle malfunction caused your accident, you might be able to sue on the basis of either negligence or strict liability. In the case of negligence, you would have to prove that the manufacturer sold a vehicle that was known to be unsafe and dangerous to consumers. Under strict liability, you would have to show that a vehicle defect existed, that the defect caused an injury, and that the manufacturer was liable for the defect.
Finally, if the person who caused your accident was working, you may be able to sue their employer for the damages. For example, if you were sideswiped by an 18-wheeler, you might be able to bring a case against the trucking company.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
The way you handle yourself after an accident is extremely important for your safety and the safety of others. Your actions after a car crash can also affect the outcome of your settlement or the verdict of your case if it goes to trial. It’s difficult, but you must do your best to keep calm and remember the following steps:
- Check yourself and those around you for injuries. If there are serious or life-threatening injuries, call 9-1-1 right away.
- Determine whether the vehicles involved are drivable. If they are, move them, along with any debris, to the shoulder or as far off the road as possible. If they are unsafe to drive, are on fire, or are leaking oil or gas, do not move the vehicles.
- If you have not already done so, contact emergency services. They will send police to file a report and may send other emergency responders to clean up the road or tend to injuries.
- Next, exchange insurance and contact details with the other drivers involved. You should also take this time to make some notes about the accident, including the date, time, location, and weather conditions at the time of the crash.
- Contact your insurance company, as well as the insurance company for the other parties involved, and file a claim. Be sure only to give the facts and not discuss details, opinions, or give a recorded statement until you have an attorney present.
- See if any people have witnessed the incident, and ask if they’d be willing to exchange contact information and make a statement to the police.
- While you wait for police to arrive, it may be tempting to argue with the other driver or place blame on them for the accident. This could negatively affect your case, so it’s best to keep your opinions to yourself until you can speak to a car accident lawyer at Colombo Law.
- After you have spoken to the police, you should be free to leave the scene of the accident if your car is safe to drive. If not, call a tow truck or take advantage of your insurance’s towing services (if applicable) and have your car taken to a mechanic.
Injured in a Car Accident? Get a Free Initial Case Evaluation With Colombo Law
If you have been injured in a car accident in West Virginia or Ohio that was not your fault, it is important to call the experienced personal injury lawyers at Colombo Law. Our lawyers know what it takes to carry out a successful claim, and will use this knowledge to conduct your case.
Our car accident injury attorneys work on a contingency basis and only charge for our services if we win your case. That means when you work with us, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation consultation and find out how we can help you at 888-860-1414.