Many people are fortunate enough to avoid major auto accidents. But if you are looking for information about car accidents, you, a loved one, or friend likely are one of the unfortunate who have. Tips concerning what you should do following a major car accident are listed here. This page provides some pointers for dealing with insurance companies after a car accident.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents. Drivers don’t see a developing situation in time to react because they are distracted by talking or texting on their phones, eating, grooming or applying makeup, or looking for some elusive item in their car.
Speed and aggressive driving are also common causes of car accidents. Drivers lose control after aggressive maneuvering, taking a corner too fast, or not slowing for water on the road. Car crashes can also result when a motorist can’t react in time to an approaching automobile or other hazard because of driving too fast.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 40% of auto accidents are rear-end collisions. These type of accidents result from a driver following too close or inattention. A rolling right turn on a red light, where a driver is concerned about traffic coming from the left and may not see a pedestrian or bicyclist to his right as he is turning, is another common type of auto accident. Falling asleep at the wheel is another cause of automobile accidents.
Drunk driving is a perennial cause of car crashes. In additional to alcohol, many types of medications, both legal and illegal, may impair a driver’s ability to operate an automobile, either on their own, or in combination with another medication or with alcohol.
Typical Injuries in Car Accidents
In a head-on collision, the occupants of the vehicle typically suffer chest and lower limb injuries, such as injuries to the knees from striking the dashboard. T-bone collisions can cause serious injuries at relatively low speeds, because of the side-to-side movement of the occupants. Rollover collisions can cause injuries to the head, arms and chest. The most common injury from a rear-end collision is whiplash. Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain and stiffness, headache, shoulder pain and stiffness, arm pain, and back pain.
Types of Compensation Available in Auto Accident Cases
If you are injured in a car, motorcycle or pedestrian accident as a result of the negligence or recklessness of another party, you are entitled to compensation from them for your injuries and damages from the crash. This compensation may include:
- Property damage. This includes damage to your vehicle and any personal property caused by the crash. If your car cannot be repaired or the cost of repairs is more than your car is worth, you car will be totaled. A Washington regulation sets out the rules an insurance company must follow if your car is totaled. If your car is repaired, you may still be entitled to its diminished value, if its fair market value after repairs is less than immediately before the collision.
- Medical bills. You are entitled to reasonable and necessary medical expenses for treatment of injuries resulting from an accident caused by the fault of someone else. These expenses include hospital visits, surgery, visits to a medical or chiropractic doctor, physical therapy, and all other costs associated with your treatment by approved medical professionals. Keep a record of who you treat with and all medical bills you receive.
- Lost wages. When you are injured because of someone else’s negligence and those injuries are significant enough to cause you to miss work, you may also be entitled to compensation for your lost wages. Insurance companies will usually require documentation to support a lost wages claim, including a note from your doctor that you were unable to work due to your injuries and a record or report from your employer showing the days you missed.
- Pain and suffering. Washington law also provides for the recovery of noneconomic damages in a personal injury case. These damages included compensation for your pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, disability or disfigurement, emotional distress, and loss of consortium.