Which Incidents Result in the Most Personal Injury Claims?
Nearly any type of accident, from slips and falls to dog bites, can cause a personal injury.
Personal injuries refer to harm inflicted on an individual’s body, emotions, or reputation. If the incident was due to another person’s negligent actions, the injured victim may be able to bring a personal injury claim to recover damages for their losses.
While defective products, medical errors, and premises liability accidents account for many personal injury claims, the most common claims by far involve motor vehicle accidents. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates there are more than seven million car accidents in the US every year, with over two million crashes resulting in injuries. That means, on average, there are nearly 5,500 injury-causing collisions daily. A knowledgeable Tacoma personal injury attorney can explain what you need to know about motor vehicle crashes and what you can do if you are injured in a collision.
Why Are Auto Accidents So Common?
Motor vehicles are a vital part of life for many Americans. Over 278 million personal and commercial vehicles were registered to US drivers in 2021. Drivers rely on their vehicles to get to work, school, and events. Businesses utilize trucks and other commercial vehicles to transport goods and people nationwide. Ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have also grown dramatically in the last decade by providing transportation alternatives to individuals who do not have vehicles or would prefer someone else to drive them.
Unfortunately, with so many people on the roads, the number of car accidents has increased in recent years. Driver error is the leading cause of crashes. When drivers do not pay attention to the road ahead of them, ignore the rules of the road, or fail to drive according to the weather and traffic conditions, crashes are much more likely to occur.
What Types of Injuries Can Result From a Motor Vehicle Crash?
The force transferred to a human body when a vehicle strikes another car or object can lead to significant damage. Even low-speed accidents can cause harm that may require long-term treatment and cause the victim to miss work or become disabled. Injuries caused by a car crash may include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Back, head, and neck injuries
- Head trauma
- Internal bleeding
- Severed limbs
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
If the victim’s injuries are severe enough, coma or death may occur. Survivors of crashes can also experience mental health effects, such as PTSD, nightmares, anxiety, and phobias.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Personal Injury Lawsuit Following an Auto Accident?
If your car accident has resulted in injuries and the at-fault party’s insurer is unwilling to pay you a fair settlement amount, or the insurance coverage is insufficient to cover your expenses, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. Even if the insurer has made a settlement offer, you should always consult with a skilled car accident attorney to ensure you understand your claim’s full value. If you sign a settlement agreement that is too low, you cannot seek more compensation later if you have further expenses.
Damages that victims of car accidents can seek in a civil case can be broken into two categories, with a separate third category for individuals who have lost family members in a crash. In some states, victims may also seek punitive damages in their cases. However, Washington is one of four states that does not allow punitive damages.
Economic damages compensate you for the financial losses you’ve incurred due to your injuries. Receipts, bills, and pay stubs can provide proof of these losses. Examples of economic damages for which you could receive compensation may include:
- Lost income.
- Medical expenses, including costs for ER care, surgeries, medications, follow-up doctor’s appointments, therapy, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care.
- Property damage replacement or repair.
- Loss of earning capacity if your injuries have disabled you.
- Accessibility modifications to your home and vehicle.
These damages cover a crash’s less obvious, but equally devastating, non-monetary impacts. The exact nature of these losses varies based on the person, the extent of their injuries, and how long the injuries are anticipated to last. Non-economic damages may provide compensation for:
- Pain and suffering.
- Decreased quality of life.
- Emotional anguish.
- Disfigurement and scarring.
Wrongful Death Damages
Unexpectedly losing a loved one in a car accident is a tragedy that can have lasting emotional and financial consequences. If your close family member would have been eligible to bring a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived, you likely have grounds for a wrongful death case. While no settlement can undo the pain you’re experiencing, it can help ensure you do not struggle financially while grieving the loss. Damages that financially impacted family members may recover include:
- Burial or cremation costs.
- Funeral expenses.
- Loss of consortium.
- Lost income and support.
- Medical bills incurred by the decedent prior to their passing.
How Can an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Assist You?
Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of modern life. It’s estimated that each adult driver in the US will experience an average of four motor vehicle accidents. Although some of these accidents may be minor, others can cause significant harm and severe financial hardship.
Paying for your expenses can be particularly difficult if you’ve been unable to work due to your injuries. While people tend to believe that their insurance will cover their damages, the reality is that insurance companies are for-profit businesses that often actively try to avoid paying out settlements to protect their bottom line.
Personal injury claims allow victims of motor vehicle collisions and other accidents to seek fair compensation from the liable parties. Our skilled car accident lawyers at South Sound Law Group will advocate for your rights and provide the legal services you need. Contact our law office today at 253-383-3328 to schedule a free consultation.