Auto Accidents

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Understanding Your Auto Accident Case

Auto accidents are one of the most common personal injury claims in the United States. Over 2.3 million people are injured every year in auto accidents. Between doctor visits, medical bills, time off from work and unpaid bills stacking up, auto accidents can wreck havoc on your life.

Table of Contents

Here are the three questions clients always want to know:

Everybody has a case because it only takes a few hundred dollars and some time to file a lawsuit. The real way to answer this question is to understand what your case is worth, then the question changes from “Do I have a case?” to “Do I have a case worth pursuing?” That is the most important question.

This is an easy answer because it will cost you nothing upfront. But you do have to pay if there is a recovery, so I break down how that works so you have a better understanding of what to expect.

Cases take as long as they take. I dive into the factors that will determine how long your case will take to resolve. While some of the factors are within your control, or your lawyer’s control, a majority of them are not in your control.

Types Of Auto Accident Injuries Handled In The Past

Our bodies often do a good job of disguising injuries during the immediate aftermath of an accident. Sometimes injuries are not known for days, weeks or even months after the accident. You should always seek medical attention immediately and allow a doctor to make the determination of how to proceed with your medical care.

  • Back and Spinal Cord Injury

Auto accidents are typically violent events, and the forces of the accident have to go somewhere. Auto manufacturers have done a great job in attempting to minimize the forces exerted on the passengers, but they have not eliminated.

The forces of an auto accident are often absorbed through the spine causing injuries to the neck, back and sometimes the spinal cord. These types of injuries can be long-lasting, and can often leave you with pain and discomfort for the rest of your life. Sometimes a pre-existing condition can make you susceptible to even a slow speed accident causing devastating injuries. I was recently the Bakersfield auto accident lawyer in a case where a 10 mph accident in a parking lot left a woman disabled due to her pre-existing condition.

Losing a loved one in an auto accident is very difficult because it can almost always have been avoided. My role as an auto accident lawyer in a wrongful death case is to dig deep into the facts of the case and answer all of the questions about why this loss had to occur. Sometimes it is a simple answer – a drunk driver ran a red light – but sometimes the answer is more complex – a car was rear ended at a speed that should not have caused death, but some part of the vehicle failed. Read more about who is entitled to compensation, and what type of compensation they are entitled to at the link above.

Some auto accidents can result in brain injuries. These injuries are often called traumatic brain injuries. An often less discussed fact is that a concussion is a brain injury. For many years people have handled concussions differently than other brain injuries, but with all the recent developments that have come to light through the NFL helmet concussion research, it is clear that concussions should be treated as any other brain injury. While sudden and severe brain injuries are not as common in most auto accidents, a concussion is often diagnosed following auto accidents.

Burn injuries are not all that common in auto accidents, but when they do occur they are usually the result of a devastating accident where the occupants are either unconscious or otherwise pinned inside and unable to escape before being burned.

  • Amputations

Amputations are typically the result of very severe auto accidents, such as a rollover accident or a smaller vehicle colliding with a much larger vehicle. However, amputations can also result from less severe accidents but instead be due to a bad orthopedic injury or infection that will not resolve.

Common Causes Of Auto Accidents

  • Speeding

Speeding is probably the number one cause of auto accidents in San Diego, Ca and Bakersfield, Ca, the two places where I primarily focus as an auto accident lawyer. Speeding leads to the inability to stop in time, resulting in rear end accidents. It also causes other driver’s to misjudge the amount of time they have to make otherwise safe maneuvers like changing lanes, crossing a street or making u-turns. It is believed that nearly one-third of all auto accidents are caused because one or more driver’s involved was speeding.

  • Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a new buzzword that has caught on in recent years, mainly with the advent of new technology. But people have been driving distracted since the beginning of time. Whether somebody is texting, talking on their cellphone, putting on makeup, changing the radio station, eating fast food, or just daydreaming out the driver side window, if they are not paying attention to what is happening around them on the road, and they cause an accident they are at fault and should be held accountable. A lot of research has been conducted recently showing that texting and driving is comparable to drunk driving. And you are seeing the texting and driving cases being prosecuted criminally. Texting and driving is the new drunk driving, and the civil penalties should be the same. Courts often allow punitive damages against a person that was driving drunk, but they are less inclined to allow punitive damages against somebody texting and driving. That needs to change.

  • Drunk Driving

Drunk driving often results in some of the more devastating auto accidents. Studies show that people that are drunk are more inclined to take risks, and their reaction times are slower. If somebody is perhaps speeding, driving recklessly and isn’t able to react in time to avoid a collision, that is a recipe for serious injuries.

  • Defective Products

Sometimes the cause of an auto accident is the result of a product defect. For example, there were recent problems with unintended acceleration where the automobile would continue to go forward despite the driver’s attempts to break. Since the beginning of time there have been problems break failures causing accidents, although often times the fault of the failure is due to the owner not maintaining the breaks.

But in addition to the cause of the accident, defects can also be the cause of the injuries. For example, there could be an airbag failure in rear end auto accident that results in the occupant slamming their hear into dash and suffering a spinal cord injury rather than hitting an airbag. The same thing could happen if the seatbelt fails. Many parts that are not supposed to fail, may fail and those failures may cause significant injuries.

  • Fatigue

Fatigue is often the cause of trucking accidents. The trucking industry places substantial demands on their driver’s to get loads of product moved from point A to point B in a certain allotted time. Missing times often means missing money, for both the business and the drivers. Driver’s often push themselves to the edge, even sometimes pushing themselves past the allowable driving time under the law, and they become fatigued. Studies show that certain levels of fatigue can cause a person to operate a truck in the same manner as a person that was intoxicated.