Car Accident Attorneys
Fighting to Recover Compensation for Car Accident Victims
A car accident can quickly turn your life upside down. Many car accident victims go through a range of emotions after a traumatic experience, including disbelief, anger, confusion, denial, and frustration. They are also overwhelmed by having to deal with uncooperative insurance companies, costly medical bills, the consequences of missed work, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Many victims inevitably feel like they are alone and that no help is available.
At Potts Law Firm, you are never alone. We empathize with the stress you are experiencing and understand what needs to be done to make things better. Our primary goal is to force the at-fault driver’s insurance company to accept responsibility for the accident and provide you with the compensation you need to cover losses and get back on your feet. Our respected car accident attorneys have recovered over a billion dollars for clients in personal injury cases and are ready to put our experience and skills to work for you. Let us handle the legal process so that you can focus on getting better.
If you have suffered injuries due to the actions of a negligent driver, call (888) 420-1299 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. Our firm offers same-day appointments and services in English and Spanish.
Common Types of Car Accidents
A car accident is an incident in which a motor vehicle collides with another vehicle, a pedestrian, an animal, a stationary object, or even overturns. Car accidents can result in a wide range of consequences, from minor property damage and injuries to severe injuries or even fatalities. They can occur on roads, highways, streets, and in various driving conditions.
Some common types of car accidents include:
- Rear-End Collisions: These occur when one vehicle strikes the back of another. They are often caused by tailgating, distracted driving, or sudden stops.
- Head-On Collisions: In these accidents, two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide with the front ends of their vehicles. Head-on collisions are typically very dangerous and often result in severe injuries or fatalities.
- Side-Impact (T-Bone) Collisions: These occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another, often at intersections. T-bone accidents can result in significant injuries, particularly if the side-struck vehicle lacks proper protection.
- Sideswipes: In a sideswipe accident, two vehicles traveling parallel to each other make contact with their sides. These accidents can happen when changing lanes without proper signaling or checking blind spots.
- Roll-Over Accidents: These accidents occur when a vehicle tips over onto its side or roof. This type of accident is often associated with SUVs, trucks, and other high-profile vehicles.
- Single-Vehicle Accidents: These involve only one vehicle and may result from various factors like losing control due to weather conditions, mechanical failures, or driver error. Single-vehicle accidents can lead to rollovers, collisions with fixed objects, or running off the road.
- Multi-Vehicle Pileups: These are often large-scale accidents involving multiple vehicles, typically on highways or in low-visibility conditions. A chain reaction of collisions can occur, leading to extensive damage and injuries.
- Parking Lot Accidents: These typically involve low-speed collisions, such as fender-benders, while vehicles are entering, exiting, or maneuvering in parking lots.
- Hit-and-Run Accidents: In a hit-and-run, one driver leaves the scene of the accident without stopping or providing information, often leaving the other party without recourse for damages.
- Pedestrian and Cyclist Accidents: Accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists can occur when a vehicle strikes a person walking or biking. These accidents can result from a driver failing to yield or not noticing the pedestrian or cyclist.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents can happen for a wide range of reasons. The most common reason is driver negligence. All licensed drivers are obligated to follow the traffic laws and operate their vehicles in a safe manner. Failure to do so means you could be held liable in the event of a collision.
Common causes of car accidents include:
- Distracted Driving: One of the leading causes of car accidents, distractions like texting, using a smartphone, eating, or adjusting the radio divert a driver's attention from the road.
- Speeding: Driving at speeds above the posted limits or too fast for road and weather conditions can reduce a driver's ability to react to unexpected events and stop in time to avoid collisions.
- Impaired Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs a driver's judgment, reflexes, and coordination, making accidents more likely.
- Reckless Driving: Aggressive and reckless behaviors such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and disregarding traffic rules can lead to accidents.
- Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, ice, fog, and heavy winds, reduce road traction and visibility, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Running Red Lights and Stop Signs: Disobeying traffic signals and signs can lead to intersection accidents.
- Fatigue: Drowsy or fatigued driving impairs a driver's alertness and reaction times, making accidents more likely.
- Inexperienced Drivers: Inexperienced or young drivers may lack the skills and judgment needed to avoid accidents.
- Failing to Yield Right of Way: Failing to yield the right of way to other vehicles or pedestrians at intersections can lead to collisions.
- Tailgating: Following too closely to the vehicle in front reduces reaction time and can result in rear-end collisions.
- Aggressive Behavior: Road rage and aggressive behaviors, such as confrontations with other drivers, can escalate into accidents.
- Fatigue: Drowsy or fatigued driving can impair a driver's alertness and reaction times, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
- Poor Road Conditions: Potholes, uneven surfaces, and poorly marked roads can contribute to accidents.
- Vehicle Defects: Mechanical failures or defects in a vehicle's brakes, tires, steering, or other systems can lead to accidents.
- Animals: Collisions with animals, such as deer or livestock, can lead to accidents, especially in rural areas.
- Medical Conditions: Sudden medical episodes, like seizures or heart attacks, can incapacitate a driver and result in accidents.
Fault-Based vs. No-Fault Auto Accident States
In the United States, car accident insurance claims are typically handled differently in at-fault and no-fault states. These terms refer to the way in which responsibility for a car accident is determined and how insurance claims are processed.
The following are the main differences between at-fault and no-fault states:
- Fault Determination:
- At-Fault States: In at-fault states (also known as traditional or tort states), the driver responsible for causing the accident is held liable for the resulting damages. Insurance companies investigate the accident to determine who is at fault, and the at-fault driver's insurance pays for the damages of the other party (the non-fault driver). The non-fault driver may also sue the at-fault driver for additional damages, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering.
- No-Fault States: In no-fault states, fault is generally not considered when it comes to paying for accident-related expenses. Each driver's own insurance company pays for their medical expenses and, in some cases, other accident-related costs, regardless of who caused the accident. This is done to expedite claims processing and reduce the need for legal proceedings.
- Insurance Requirements:
- At-Fault States: In at-fault states, drivers are typically required to carry liability insurance to cover potential damages they may cause to others in an accident. This insurance pays for the other party's losses if the insured driver is found at fault.
- No-Fault States: In no-fault states, drivers are generally required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which covers their own medical expenses and related costs regardless of fault. Liability insurance may also be required, but it is typically used to cover property damage and is not related to fault determination.
- Legal Threshold for Lawsuits:
- At-Fault States: In at-fault states, a driver who sustains injuries in an accident caused by another party can sue the at-fault driver for additional damages, such as pain and suffering, if the injuries meet a certain legal threshold, such as significant and permanent impairment.
- No-Fault States: In no-fault states, the ability to sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering is limited. Lawsuits against the at-fault driver are generally allowed only in cases of severe injuries or when specific thresholds are met.
- Premium Costs:
- At-Fault States: In at-fault states, insurance premiums may be influenced by a driver's history of accidents and claims, as well as their driving record. If you are found at fault in an accident, your premiums are likely to increase.
- No-Fault States: In no-fault states, insurance premiums may be affected less by the number of accidents and claims because each driver's own insurance pays for their medical expenses. Premiums may still be influenced by other factors, like driving record and coverage limits.
What You Should Do After a Car Accident
There are several steps a car accident victim should take to protect their rights after an accident. These guidelines only apply if you do not require emergency medical attention. Do not hesitate to go to the nearest hospital if you have sustained critical injuries.
If you can stay at the scene of the car accident, you should:
- Call the Police Department. It may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised by how many people do not report vehicular collisions to the police. All this does is give the defendant and their insurance company an opportunity to dispute the facts and blame you for the accidents. Keep in mind that many states require drivers to call the police and stay at the scene until they arrive if a collision causes any injuries. Police officers must be trained in “accident reconstruction” as part of their hiring process. Most officers investigating a crash scene will have investigated hundreds (if not thousands) of incidents. The first thing a defendant’s insurance company will do after learning of an accident is order the police report to ensure their driver is listed as “at fault” for the collision. Unfortunately, the majority of defendants lie about their culpability in an accident. In other words, it is never their fault. This makes the police’s accident report a critical piece of evidence that our car accident attorneys often leverage to silence the defendants’ lies. Insurance companies rarely argue the findings of an investigation, which is why it is paramount that you call the police and make sure fault is accurately established.
- Collect Witness Names and Contact Information. It may surprise you, but a witness statement can sometimes carry even more weight than a police report. Why? Unlike the police officer who shows up after the accident to try to put the pieces together, a witness can testify to exactly what happened in front of them. If there is a dispute between what a witness and the police report say, the witness often wins out. It could be difficult to obtain witness information given the circumstances of the collision (including where the crash occurred and whether anyone stopped), but you must make every effort to get their names, addresses, and phone numbers if you can. You will also need the contact information of the other driver involved in the accident, including their license and insurance information.
- Seek a Medical Evaluation. An unfortunate mistake many car accident victims make is not getting medical attention for minor injuries under the belief they will get better on their own. Even seemingly less-serious injuries may require medical intervention, and there may also be injuries that are not obvious to the naked eye. The only way you can catch every consequence, link them to the crash, and get the resources you need to get better is to see a doctor. Active treatment and therapy for your injuries can minimize inflammation, adjust spinal abnormalities, and relieve pain. Additionally, promptly getting medical care will help prevent any “gaps in treatment” arguments that are likely to come from the defendant’s insurance company.
- Contact an Attorney. It is always a good idea to consult with legal counsel after a car accident so that you can learn more about your rights and options, including the potential value of your claim. At The Potts Law Firm, we will listen to the facts of your case and give you an honest assessment of whether we can represent you. No case is too big or small. If we can represent you, we start immediately. If we cannot take your case, we will still give you tips and advice on how to handle things yourself so that you are not taken advantage of by the insurance company. Remember, the insurance company is not your friend, and they will do everything they can to avoid liability or pay you as little as possible.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Car Accident Lawsuit?
You only have a limited amount of time to take legal action after a car accident. The statute of limitations varies by state: You could have as little as one year, or you might have more time. Surviving relatives of a car accident victim who was fatally injured will get additional time from the date of their loved one’s passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
These deadlines are strict, so you will be unable to recover any damages if you miss them. Therefore, you should get legal advice as soon as you can after a crash to ensure you do not file too late.
In a car accident lawsuit, you can potentially secure compensation for monetary and non-monetary damages. Monetary damages represent out-of-pocket expenses, while non-monetary damages do not have dollar amounts associated with them and can be more challenging to calculate. A trial may not necessarily be required if the defendant agrees to a just settlement, and our team will work to negotiate a swift resolution whenever possible.
Our car accident lawyers will fight to recover compensation for all losses, including:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Do not wait to discuss your car accident injuries with a legal professional. Call (888) 420-1299 or contact us online today!
If you are unsure if you have a case, don’t hesitate to call us today for a free consultation. Our team of experienced attorneys are ready to review your claim and fight for you.
“They were able to complete it in a timely manner and were great at keeping me up to date with communication throughout the entire process. I highly recommend using this law firm if the need arises.”- Stephen P.
“Michael Bins has been extremely helpful in helping us to navigate a situation with an insurance claim on a commercial property. He’s gone above and beyond in moving our case toward a positive resolution that we’re satisfied with.”- Theo C.
“They know the law from every angle, dig deep, and will not accept anything less than what was asked in the original suit. The Potts team never backed down until the case was settled in full.”- Molly H.