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Can You Sue Someone For a Minor Car Accident?

If you have recently been in a car accident, you know firsthand the overwhelming emotions associated with the aftermath of a collision. Although your heart may be racing with anxiety after the initial impact, the moments following the collision are some of the most important. 

Even a minor car accident can result in significant injuries and property damage. According to the National Safety Council, in 2019 more than 10.4 million car accidents involved serious property damage, 30,107 were fatal and 4.5 million involved physical injuries. Furthermore, the NSC estimated $463 billion in car crash injury costs stemming from medical expenses, vehicle damage, loss of wages and productivity and employer costs. 

What Causes Driver Negligence?

All drivers have a responsibility to follow the rules of the road. When motorists act in a negligent manner, they may be directly responsible for any damages that occur. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that car accidents injure more than 400,000 people each year. These preventable collisions often involve distracted, drunk, drowsy and enraged motorists. 

Distracted Drivers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2019, more than 3,100 people died in distracted driving car accidents throughout the U.S. Drivers who are not fully focused on the road often have a delayed response time when reacting to other drivers, objects or animals in the road, traffic lights, construction sites or bad weather conditions. Common distractions include texting or talking on a cellphone, changing the radio station or setting up music, eating or drinking, handling children in the back seat or even talking with other passengers in the car. 

Drunk Drivers

Every two minutes someone is injured as a result of a drunk driving accident, according to MADD. Intoxicated drivers and those driving under the influence of drugs are not in full control over their actions. Alcohol can impair a person’s ability to react to situations, see clearly, concentrate, make rational decisions and track other vehicles. 

Drowsy Drivers

The NHTSA confirmed that driver fatigue played a role in 100,000 police-reported accidents. Furthermore, a National Sleep Foundation Poll discovered that 37% of people admit to having fallen asleep while behind the wheel. Those who do not get a full night’s sleep endanger everyone on the road. 

Enraged Drivers

Enraged motorists often display aggressive driving behaviors that put others at risk. This includes:

  • Speeding
  • Following too close
  • Swerving between lanes
  • Passing on the shoulder
  • Failing to yield to other drivers

People who get angry while driving may follow other drivers or intentionally cause an accident.

What About Auto Insurance Coverage?

Depending on the type of insurance coverage you have, you may get reimbursed for damage to your vehicle and medical expenses. If you leave your case in the hands of the insurance company, though, you may come up short when it comes to paying off expenses and making ends meet. Since insurance companies are out to make money, they often short-change clients when reimbursing them for an accident claim.

The insurance company will likely conduct an investigation to determine your compensation amount. An attorney can also evaluate the situation to determine if you get fair compensation. 

If the other party does not have insurance coverage, your insurance company may cover the damages or you can file a lawsuit against the negligent driver. You must have uninsured motorist coverage for your insurance to cover the damages. 

When Should You Sue? 

Whether you are in a minor fender bender or a serious collision, you have the right to compensation for damage. 

Medical Expenses

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accident deaths and injuries resulted in more than $75 billion in medical expenses and loss of productivity throughout the country in one year alone. The sudden impact of a crash can cause significant injuries, some of which may not present symptoms for days, months or even years after the incident occurred. You may suffer from traumatic brain damage, broken bones, whiplash or lacerations from the impact. Some damage may result in ongoing trauma, such as herniated discs, spinal cord damage, nerve pain and bone pain. 

The cost of medical care can compile, leaving some people unable to make payments. Possible medical costs include:

  • Prescription medications
  • Doctor’s office visits
  • Physical therapy
  • Continued medical treatments
  • Rehabilitation

While you may not feel instant pain right after the accident, it is important to get checked by a medical professional. You never know what injuries may appear years later as a direct result of the crash. 

Quality Of Life

In addition to property damage and physical damage, you may experience pain, suffering and mental anguish. This can contribute to a reduced quality of life. The injuries sustained in a car accident may keep you from engaging in your favorite recreational activity or performing everyday tasks. It is not unusual for accident victims to experience depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress following a collision. You may require counselling to help you adapt to any life changes and cope with the trauma you experience from the accident. 

Vehicle Damage

Many Americans rely on vehicles to provide vital transportation to work, school and other important places. Damage from a car accident can make it impossible to continue driving. Even minor car accidents can result in costly repairs. After being hit in the wrong area, the cost of repairing your vehicle may be more than the car is worth. 

It is critical to get an accurate evaluation of your vehicle’s damages. You may want to get several quotes of how much it will cost to repair your vehicle, then compare the results. 

Loss of Wages

If you are unable to work for a length of time, you may go that period without a paycheck. This means you may not be able to make mortgage or car payments, pay for food or gas or have money for other life necessities. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be able to return to work full time, or you may need to retire early because of your trauma. Damages calculated should take into account the loss of wages now, as well as in the future if you have a limited ability to continue working or are forced to take a job that pays less than what you were making.

How Can You Benefit From a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

When you enlist the help of a qualified personal injury attorney, you have the advantage of experience. An attorney fully understands how the legal process works and knows how to build a strong case to maximize your compensation. Once a legal professional has taken over the case, you have more peace of mind that the aftermath of your car accident will be taken care of.

Get the Help You Deserve

If you are the victim of driver negligence, consider the benefits of partnering with an attorney. The team at Fielding Law is ready to assist you with your case. They can work to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries, damage and suffering. After listening to the specific details of your situation, a qualified personal injury attorney can help to determine the best route of action. Get started right away. Call today.