How Should Drivers Handle Car Accidents in Montgomery County?
Car accidents occur every day, and they should be dealt with as swiftly as possible. Motor vehicle accidents can occur due to the negligence of a driver, someone else on the road, a large truck, a motorcyclist, a bicyclist, a pedestrian, or a construction crew. These accidents can be broken down into several different categories, and all accident victims should reach out to us when they need help with their cases.
We hope to help our clients understand what to do when they are hurt in an accident. Many of these accidents were caused by a reckless disregard for the duty we all have for one another on the road. Drivers and passengers should take immediate action when they are forced to recover from injuries they did not cause.
Car accidents can injure passengers, cause disability, and even kill someone who is involved. Clients are urged to reach out to the Montgomery County car accident lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates, P.C. Reviewing the case will help us understand what can be done to help our clients, and we will fight aggressively for their rights. People who have been hurt deserve to receive compensation for their injuries, pain and suffering, and even loss of life.
What Causes Car Accidents?
Most motor vehicle accidents are the result of another’s negligence or recklessness. The more severe the crash, the more likely that the driver and passengers are to suffer from injuries or face other troubling consequences. Car accidents are the most common type of motor vehicle accident and are often caused by the following:
Aggressive driving. Driving in an aggressive manner is one of the most dangerous things that anyone can do on the road. Driving in an aggressive manner can be tied to or result in road rage. It has been reported that seven percent of road rage incidents result in a physical confrontation.
Distracted driving. This includes texting and taking phone calls while driving. Distracted driving might cause a situation that leads to road rage, or the driver might swerve and cause an accident.
Drowsy driving. Driving while tired is a major issue in the trucking industry when drivers are operating outside of standard federal regulations. There are rules governing how long truck drivers can drive before they must take breaks. When drivers do not take breaks, they can fall asleep at the wheel. Their employers might have even forced these drivers to work when they could not do so safely.
Drowsy driving is also an issue for drivers who are on the road early in the morning, late at night, or after a long day at work.
Drunk or impaired driving. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or other substances has long been a problem that has been addressed by public service campaigns and advertising from private groups. Drunk drivers do not have the reflexes necessary to drive safely, but other substances can cause similar impairments. Drivers who are under the influence of illegal drugs or prescription drugs may also be pulled over by police and charged.
Failure to signal. A driver failing to signal may seem of little consequence. Signaling, however, prevents other drivers from crashing into a car that is changing lanes or turning. Motorists should show their intentions to other drivers by using their turn signals.
Weather conditions. Poor weather conditions can cause accidents as cars or trucks slide on the road. Heavy winds can knock over big vehicles, and snow or ice could cause drivers to lose control. Even if a driver believes they can proceed safely, they might have little to no visibility because of inclement weather.
Reckless or careless driving. Driving in a reckless or careless manner often occurs when drivers are distracted or simply do not show courtesy to other motorists. Reckless driving might rise to a level that would allow us to petition for criminal charges to be filed.
Speeding. Driving too fast is a factor in almost one-fourth of all accidents. Because speeding happens every day, some drivers think that it is acceptable. However, speeding reduces reaction time, makes it more difficult to drive, and can cause rollovers or rear-end crashes. A driver who is moving too fast might realize they need to stop, but their car might not stop moving before they strike another vehicle. Speeding in large vehicles is even more destructive because large trucks, boat haulers, cargo trucks, or box trucks are extremely heavy.
Product defects. Part or vehicle defects can also cause crashes when drivers lose control or the vehicle malfunctions. We can investigate how the vehicle was defective, if it should have been recalled, and which company is responsible for the defect. We may be able to trace these defects back to parts manufacturers or the automotive manufacturer.
In all these cases, our lawyers will collect all the evidence and determine who should be held liable for the crash.
What Types of Car Accidents Might Occur?
Serious injuries can result from all types of car accidents, such as hit and run accidents, rear-end collisions, and multi-vehicle crashes. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The most common crashes include the following types of accidents:
Hit and run accidents. Hit and run accidents involve an accident in which the guilty party leaves the scene. These drivers often do not exchange personal information with their victims, and they might drive away while the accident is happening. Although it might be difficult to do, noting the driver’s license plate number is helpful. We can try to find this driver and hold them accountable for their actions.
Rear-end accidents. These accidents occur due to lack of attention. If a driver is changing lanes and does not realize they need to stop, they could crash into the car in front of them. These accidents are easy to prevent when drivers are alert. If necessary, a driver may be able to pull into another lane or onto the shoulder to avoid a crash.
Multi-vehicle accidents. Accidents involving several vehicles occur when a driver sets off a chain reaction. Large trucks might jackknife and strike several vehicles. Drivers might rear-end each other as the crash occurs. We will help untangle the liability in these cases. For example, someone who is hit by the driver behind them can file an insurance claim. In these crashes, however, that driver might have hit the car in front of them. This means that the driver can file a claim and also have a claim filed against them. We can help determine who caused the crash and how insurance claims or lawsuits should be filed.
Sideswipe accidents. Sideswipes occur when drivers change lanes without knowing that another car is there. These accidents occur most often when drivers cannot see other drivers in their blind spots.
T-bone accidents. A T-bone accident often occurs at an intersection when drivers are not paying attention or do not follow local traffic signals and signs. Drivers must stay alert to avoid making critical or even fatal mistakes.
It is important to remember that with some injuries, the severity of physical damage may not manifest immediately, so what appears minor in the aftermath of the accident may become worse and leave drivers or passengers with unexpected medical complications. In some car accident cases, one of the drivers is liable; in others, it may be roadwork or defective car parts. Regardless of the nature of the crash, our skilled lawyers are here to help our clients receive the treatment and compensation they deserve for their injuries. We will guide each client through every step of the case.
How can Drivers Avoid Car Accidents?
We recommend that our clients do a few things to avoid car accidents. Drivers should follow these rules:
Remain focused on the road. Drivers must also consider actions they do behind the wheel that seem benign. A driver who is talking to their passengers needs to remain focused on the road. It only makes sense that the driver would naturally turn to look at their passengers or talk with their hands. Drivers should remain focused on the road and allow someone else in the car to lead the conversation.
Avoid distractions. If a driver needs to reply to a text, make a phone call, or send an email, they should pull over, wait, or hand the phone to someone else. Drivers can use hands-free systems that allow them to dictate texts or emails when needed.
Use a ridesharing service when drinking. No one should operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other substances. A ridesharing service is a wise choice to get home safely. A group of friends can always have a designated driver. It is never worth it to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Pull over during low visibility. The weather might be bad or there might be fog in the area. Some drivers cannot see because it is too dark, or they might believe the dark environment is making them tired. Sleeping in the car is safer than driving those extra few miles.
Our lawyers know that some accidents can occur even when drivers are extremely careful. We will help our clients understand who caused their accidents and ask about any precautions our clients have taken. It helps to show that our clients took every precaution, while other drivers did not.
What Should Be Done After a Car Accident?
A car accident can be traumatic for all those involved. We ask our clients to remain calm so that they can make wise decisions. The following steps will help our clients gather evidence for the case, protect themselves, and proceed wisely. If the driver or passengers are injured, they may need someone at the scene to help:
- Call 911. No matter how severe the crash, it is wise for everyone to be checked by a medical professional. An EMT will tell drivers and passengers if they need to go to the hospital and receive further medical attention. If accident victims are released by EMTs at the scene, they should go to their doctor the next day for a checkup.
- Report the accident to the insurance carrier. The insurance carrier requires that all accidents be reported. However, the insurance company does not need to know the details. Insurance companies will try to misinterpret what is said or get a full statement. Drivers should allow a lawyer to help with the claim.
- Get out of the roadway. Drivers and passengers should get out of the roadway as quickly as possible. The vehicles involved should be moved off the road if it can be done.
- Take pictures of the scene. Someone should take photos or videos of the accident scene. We need this information so that we can reconstruct the claim. Plus, we cannot obtain this information from the accident report. A police officer is required only to determine fault and write up a cursory report. More details are needed for a successful case.
- Ask for the personal and insurance information for all involved drivers. We need to know who insures the other drivers so that the driver can file a claim. If another driver does not have insurance, victims should mention that to the police officer who is writing the accident report.
- Find eyewitnesses. It can be difficult to start an investigation at the accident scene, but we need to know as much about the accident as possible. Eyewitnesses can also provide details about the accident.
When our clients are involved in a car accident, they might be in shock and overwhelmed by the severity of the crash. Although it is understandable that accident victims may not function at their best after this type of trauma, it is extremely important to document the accident as accurately as possible. With enough evidence to support our case, our lawyers will be able to recover the optimal compensation to cover injuries, medical expenses, the loss of income our clients may experience, and the pain and suffering accident victims may endure. Clients should retain any medical bills received, as well as car repair receipts for the attorney.
What If Other Vehicles are Involved in the Accident?
Car accidents can be caused by a wide range of people and vehicles on the road. We recommend that our clients are careful around other vehicles. Our clients must be alert while on the road, and we also understand that certain people will cause accidents as a result of their carelessness. It is important to be aware of the following situations, and reach out to us when liability in these accidents becomes confusing:
Ridesharing accidents. Accidents involving ridesharing vehicles can be complicated because the ridesharing service requires the driver to have insurance. The ridesharing company might not have insurance to protect passengers, and that means that the passenger must file a claim against the driver, even if the driver is not at-fault. We also recommend filing a claim against the guilty driver if they crashed into a ridesharing vehicle.
Bicycle accidents. Bicycle accidents can occur when bicyclists are riding on roads where bicycles are not allowed. Drivers should be alert while on the road because bicyclists might try to share the road in uncomfortable spots. For example, drivers might want to go around bicyclists, but the driver must look more than once before passing. An accident could occur if another driver is coming the other way. Bicyclists might also dart across intersections or cut through traffic leaving car drivers no room to correct. Many bicyclists do not obey stop signs or red lights.
Motorcycle accidents. Motorists should also be alert for the presence of motorcycles. Motorcycles are smaller and harder to see than other vehicles. Also, some motorcycles like to weave in and out of traffic or travel between lanes.
Pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians might step into the road where there is no crosswalk, jog across the intersection because they think no one is coming, or they might stand too close to the road as a driver tries to turn. Motorists should be alert to the presence of pedestrians, especially those who jaywalk, and remember that pedestrians have the right of way in marked crosswalks.
Truck and bus accidents. Accidents with trucks or buses can occur when drivers of these vehicles are impaired, drowsy, distracted, or lose control of their vehicles. We can show that the driver was negligent, the owner of the vehicle did not maintain the vehicle correctly, or the vehicle was loaded improperly.
Trailer and carrier accidents. Sometimes a leasing company does not maintain the vehicles that they rent. A company that is responsible for loading trucks could be held liable if they improperly loaded a truck that tipped over. Also, drivers of these vehicles can be held liable if they are speeding, driving recklessly, or driving aggressively.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries range from very mild to the severe. These common injuries should be addressed immediately. We also recommend that victims not be moved at the accident scene if they seem to be badly injured or they cannot move. Common car accident injuries include the following:
Broken bones. Broken bones are common in severe car crashes. Although someone injured might believe they will recover, some of their severe bruising might cover broken bones. Therefore, we recommend that our clients go to the hospital or seek immediate medical care.
Cuts and scrapes. Cuts and scrapes need to be treated in case they become infected. As mentioned, we ask our clients to call 911. The EMTs on the scene can treat these wounds, and the client will receive a bill for medical care. We can use these medical bills when filing a lawsuit for damages against the guilty driver.
Head injuries. Head injuries are often more troubling and hidden than other injuries. A driver might have experienced a head injury that they do not notice right away, or they might have experienced whiplash. When drivers have head injuries, they might experience headaches and extreme mood swings.
Whiplash. Pain from whiplash can move from the neck into the shoulders. These victims might have trouble sleeping and focusing during the day. In these cases, it is important to go to the hospital or see a doctor. Any medical facility would want to run tests to ascertain the extent of the victim’s injuries. We need to know precisely what happened so that we can calculate damages for the case.
Burns. Victims who receive burns as a result of a car accident can experience a good deal of pain and suffering. Surgery may be required for recovery. A competent car accident lawyer can assist in securing appropriate compensation.
Internal bleeding. Bleeding internally is often hidden behind the aches and pains that victims feel after a crash. When victims go to the hospital or doctor, they can have imaging performed that will show internal bleeding. This needs to be addressed quickly because an accident victim could die of extensive internal bleeding. Additionally, internal bleeding might be a sign of organ damage that must be repaired immediately.
Leg trauma. Injury to the leg is common in car accidents because vehicles crumple during a crash. Drivers and passengers should be examined to make sure that they do not have torn ligaments, tendons, or muscles. Although bones might not be broken, leg trauma can cause a lifetime of discomfort.
Herniated disks. Herniated disks can occur at the same time as whiplash. The driver or passenger will feel intense back pain that will not simply go away. Therefore, imaging must be done by a doctor or hospital to determine the extent of the damage to the disk.
Car accidents can result in serious injuries, such as those listed above and even wrongful death. We know that some injuries do not seem serious, but we ask our clients to seek immediate medical attention. Additionally, these injuries could cause our clients to miss work, take on a good amount of medical debt, and even go on disability. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations in which to file an accident claim is two years, in most cases. Clients should not delay contacting a lawyer for assistance.
How Do We Recover Damages for Our Clients?
When we file a claim for damages on behalf of our clients, we are requesting several levels of compensation. We understand that someone’s life could be turned upside-down by an accident, and we will carefully calculate the damages to ensure that the court understands why we have asked for such a large amount of money. When we attempt to recover damages, we are looking for the following compensation:
Medical bills. Anyone who is injured in a car accident should have their medical bills paid for by the guilty party. The injured driver or passenger should not be made to file a claim through their health insurance, and their car insurance carrier should not pay for those damages. We will petition for all medical expenses to be paid, but we will also calculate the cost of future medical care.
Continuing medical care. We will work with medical experts or our client’s doctor to determine how much it will cost to recover from a serious injury. Some victims need months or even years of physical therapy, surgeries, or medication. We will present this information to the court to show that we have calculated a fair amount of compensation. When the case is over, our clients might spend years recovering, and they need money that will pay for their recovery.
Lost wages and lost earning potential. If our client cannot work any longer, we can calculate their lost earning potential. We determine the trajectory of their career and how much they would have made up to a reasonable retirement age. If our clients are not allowed to reach their full potential, they deserve to be compensated.
Pain and suffering. We will file a claim for pain and suffering because the psychological and emotional turmoil caused by the accident can change a client’s life. These types of non-economic damages draw on a loss of quality of life, loss of companionship, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that is experienced after the accident.
Punitive damages. In the state of Pennsylvania, punitive damages are capped at $250,000 per occurrence. We can build a case that reaches the maximum allowed by law, but those damages will be awarded at the discretion of the judge or jury. Punitive damages are not guaranteed.
Wrongful Death Suits
When someone has been killed in a car accident, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. The suit must be filed within two years of the date of death, and it can be filed by the following individuals:
- Spouses, children, parents, or grandparents of the deceased
- Extended family members who may have depended on the deceased
- Heirs or administrators or the deceased’s estate
We ask our clients to approach us as soon as possible to ensure that they receive the compensation that they deserve. We need to work within the confines of the statute of limitations, and we need to show that someone else’s negligence caused the death. Wrongful death suits will pay for final expenses, burial costs, medical expenses, and even lost earning potential on which the family depended.
Montgomery County Car Accident Lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates, P.C. Help All Accident Victims
If you or a family member experienced an injury in a car accident, the Montgomery County car accident lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates, P.C. can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses, wage loss, and pain and suffering. Call us today at 215-569-9100 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.