Most car accidents are not “accidental” at all, as human error accounts for over 90 percent of vehicle collisions. Of course, we all make mistakes, but we all must accept the consequences of the mistakes that we make. In these cases, these consequences can have far-reaching effects.
While dealing with the fallout from a car crash, the insurance company often calls almost incessantly, demanding a settlement. That excess pressure makes the physical and other injuries seem even worse.
For all these reasons, it’s very important to make the call to an injury attorney when in a car accident. That is the best way to ensure fair compensation for all your injuries and a fair resolution to all your claims.
Car Crash Injuries
Post-accident hospitalization alone can cost an average of $75,000. In severe injury cases, such as head injuries, physical rehabilitation may cost upwards of $2,000 a day. There are other economic losses as well, such as property damage, necessary physical alterations to living spaces, and lost wages.
Most families simply do not have the financial resources to pay these costs. Moreover, many health insurance companies will not cover these costs, due to legal liability issues.
An attorney can connect victims with the medical care they need without upfront cost, thanks to a legal tool called a letter of protection. This letter not only promises payment when the case is resolved but also allows the attorney to negotiate with the provider for a lower final cost.
Not all injuries are tangible. There are invisible ones as well, such as loss of enjoyment in life, general pain and suffering, loss of consortium (companionship), and emotional stress. In most cases, victims are eligible for compensation for these injuries as well.
Theories of Recovery
Depending on the facts of the case and other circumstances, there are two main legal theories that victim/plaintiffs may pursue in court:
- Negligence: If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) breached the duty of care — perhaps by driving while distracted or drowsy — and that breached caused physical injury, the tortfeasor is liable for damages.
- Negligence Per Se: If the careless driving involved a violation of a safety statute, such as speeding or driving while intoxicated, the tortfeasor may be liable for damages as a matter of law.
In court, victim/plaintiffs must establish negligence or negligence per se (negligence “as such”) by a preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely than not.
Insurance Company Defenses
To reduce or deny compensation to the victim/plaintiff, insurance company lawyers can assert a number of defenses. Contributory negligence is probably the most common one.
Essentially, contributory negligence involves shifting the blame for the accident away from the tortfeasor and onto the victim/plaintiff. For example, if the victim was speeding and the tortfeasor was drunk, the jury may conclude that both drivers were partially at fault.
Each state’s laws are a little different in this area. For example, Kentucky is a pure comparative fault state, so the judge divides damages strictly according to the percentage of fault. Many other states have either a 50 or 51 percent cutoff, so the tortfeasor must be mostly responsible for the crash if the victim is to collect a proportional share of damages.
Contact an attorney today to ensure maximum compensation in a car crash case.
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