Car accidents are a fact of life, but no amount of anticipation can prepare you to face the aftermath of a serious crash that results in injuries or worse, fatalities. The period of time that follows a car accident can be overwhelming not just for the victims of the crash, but also for their family members who must care for their loved one and deal with the financial burdens that come with hospitalization and lost income.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, please understand that you have legal rights and avenues for compensation that can be fully explored. The car accident claim process can be intimidating and tricky to navigate. An experienced Montgomery County PA car accident lawyer will be able to help you stay on top of the accident investigation and help you secure maximum compensation for the losses you have suffered as a result of the car accident.
Actions to Take After a Car Accident
If you have been involved in a car accident, it is crucial that you take a number of steps to make sure that your rights are protected.
- Make sure you move to safety. If possible, get your vehicle out of harm’s way. If you are unable to get out of the car or move your vehicle, flash your hazard lights to warn other drivers that your car has stalled.
- Check on your passengers and others who are involved. If anyone is injured, call 911 right away. Often times, the speed with which people get medical attention after a car crash could make the difference between life and death.
- Be sure to call the police to the scene. File a report and get a copy of that report for your own records. Such accident reports have basic information about the incident such as the date, time, location and a narrative about what happened. It would be a good idea to talk to the responding officer and include your perspective.
- Try to gather as much information as possible after the accident including the names of drivers and passengers involved, license plate numbers, auto insurance information for other parties, the makes and models of all vehicles involved, contact information for anyone who witnessed the car accident and the names and badge numbers for responding police officers.
- Get prompt medical attention and treatment. If treatment is available at the scene, do not refuse it. Even if you don’t feel injured, make sure you get checked out by your doctor. Some injuries such as whiplash don’t surface until several days after the car accident.
- Take photographs of the accident scene including the position of the vehicles, your injuries, your passengers’ injuries, any tire marks or debris on the roadway, etc. Shoot video as well if possible. If you are injured and are unable to document the scene, ask a friend or family member if they could do that for you.
- Contact an experienced Montgomery County PA car accident lawyer who will help you compile the evidence, build your case and help you secure fair compensation for your injuries, damages and losses
Common Car Accident Injuries
Injuries sustained in a car accident could range from relatively minor to catastrophic or even fatal. Some of the most common injuries suffered in a car accident include:
Head injuries: These are some of the most severe injuries one might suffer in a car accident. It’s also one of the most common. A head injury might be a concussion from which recovery may be relatively quick. It could also be something way more severe such as a skull fracture or a brain bleed that might require surgery and extensive treatment and rehabilitation. Head injuries require medical attention right away. Never ignore a head injury regardless of how “minor” you might believe it is.
Whiplash: This is an injury that causes strain to the neck. During a whiplash injury, which is often caused by the jerking motion of the head during a car crash, the joints, discs and ligaments or even nerve roots in the neck and upper back could become damaged leading to chronic pain.
Spinal cord injuries: Back and neck injuries are also quite common in a car accident. Victims may suffer anything from a herniated disc to a spinal fracture that could result in partial or complete paralysis.
Broken bones: Bone fractures are often seen in the aftermath of a car accident. Some victims sustain multiple bone fractures. While broken bones are not considered life-threatening, they do have the potential to leave victims with permanent disabilities. They also require extensive rehabilitative treatment, which could prove costly.
Amputations: Limb amputations are also quite common in car accidents. This is an example of a catastrophic injury, which means the victim suffers a lifelong disability. Those who have their limbs amputated may require prosthetics and may not be able to return to their jobs or earn a livelihood.
Damages and Compensation
The value of your car accident claim depends on the nature and extent of your injuries as well as the degree of negligence on the part of the other driver. Pennsylvania has comparative negligence laws, which means you can recover compensation for damages even when you are partially at fault for the accident. You will, however, be able to recover damages depending on the degree of fault. A majority of car accidents do involve one motorist who is at fault. Some common scenarios include a driver who is impaired, distracted, driving while drowsy or failing to follow the rules of the road such as not yielding the right of way or running a stop sign or red light.
In such cases, the at-fault driver can be held financially responsible for the losses caused. Injured car accident victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical costs, loss of income, hospitalization expenses, rehabilitation costs, and pain and suffering. The experienced Montgomery County PA car accident lawyers at KaplunMarx understand what you are going through in the aftermath of a car accident. We will fight hard for your rights and help you get the compensation you rightfully deserve. Call us for a free consultation and comprehensive case assessment.