We all do our best to stay safe on the road. However, we can’t account for every situation. Other drivers may be negligent, roads can be unsafe, and vehicle breakdowns and malfunctions can occur. That’s why car accidents can happen to even the safest drivers.
In the state of South Carolina alone, an average of over a hundred people are killed each year in car accidents, and many more are injured. And while we cannot always prevent accidents, there are actions we can take once an accident has occurred.
If you were involved in a car accident, be sure to call a reliable Lancaster car accident lawyer.
Causes of a Lancaster Car Accident
There are many factors that can cause a car accident to occur. These include the following:
Distracted Driving: Distractions come in many forms: screaming children, the radio, road signs or scenery, the cell phone, a DVD player … and the list goes on.
Drunk Driving: Despite raising awareness of the dangers of drunk driving, there are still many people on the road who drive under the influence.
Speeding: This can be especially dangerous in hazardous conditions like rain, fog or icy roads.
Disobeying Traffic Signals or Other Traffic Laws: Drivers often disobey traffic signals and laws, whether by accident or on purpose.
Defective Equipment on the Car: If car parts are defective, they can cause a car to malfunction and increase the risk of an accident.
Fatigue: Many drivers drive when they did not get enough rest, causing them to lose concentration or fall asleep at the wheel.
Common Lancaster Car Accident Injuries
There are several types of car accident injuries that can occur, but these are some that are most common and tend to be more severe:
Brain Injuries: The movement of the car stopping suddenly can cause your brain to continue forward and smash into your skull. Brain injuries can be mild or severe and may not be noticeable immediately. It’s always a good idea to seek medical attention to play it safe.
Facial Injuries: These are common because there is nothing to protect the face from glass and flying objects. Facial injuries can result in cuts, bruises, fractures, disfigurement, and scarring.
Neck and Back Injuries: These occur when the head snaps forward and back due to impact and abrupt stops. The strain and nerve damage due to the spine twisting and absorbing too much shock is commonly called whiplash. Injuries may seem mild at first but could worsen in time, which is why it’s important to seek medical health sooner rather than later.
Chest Injuries: These are also common and can occur if the driver hits the steering wheel upon impact. This can result in bruised or broken ribs, punctured lungs, and other internal injuries.
What to Do in the Case of a Lancaster Car Accident
If a car accident occurs, it may be difficult for you to follow the recommended procedures if you are hurt or in pain. However, these will help you to build a strong case while increasing personal safety. With that in mind, do your best to take the following actions:
Look for Injuries: Do your best to assess your physical condition. Remember, you may have internal injuries that are not visible, so be sure to report everything to a medical professional. For instance, if you hit your head, you may have a serious concussion and not realize it.
Call 911: The police will help create and complete an accident report. Paramedics and medical professionals may also be on hand to give you the help you need and document any injuries.
Move to Safety: Depending on the extent of vehicle damage and personal injury, you may be able to move yourself and your car to safety. If you are blocking traffic, this will be a good step in preventing another accident from occurring. If possible, try to take photos of the accident scene before moving your car.
Document the Scene: If you are in good enough shape to take pictures, be sure to include photos of the car from all angles and property damage and injuries that may have been sustained. It can also be useful to jot down any recollection of what may have happened to cause the accident or actions taken while the accident occurred. Memories can change over time, so it is best to do this while details are fresh in your mind.
Collect contact Information: Do your best to collect contact information from the other drivers and pedestrians involved, as well as eyewitnesses.
Seek Medical Attention: It is best to seek medical attention at the scene of the accident, but if you did not do this immediately, it is a good idea to get checked out by a professional at some point, and the sooner the better. As previously stated, a lot of injuries are not visible right away and some may worsen over time. A medical professional will be able to document your condition and keep track of new developments.
Call a Lawyer: It can be difficult to take all the recommended actions if you’ve been hurt or injured in an accident. That’s why it’s a good idea to call a reliable Lancaster car accident lawyer as soon as possible. He or she will help you gather the necessary evidence to build a strong case.
Legal Steps to Take Once a Lancaster Car Accident Has Occurred
Once you have a lawyer on board, he or she will do what is required to help you get the compensation you deserve. In addition to helping you gather evidence, your lawyer will help you to establish fault.
The at-fault party can be a negligent driver, a car or parts manufacturer if faulty equipment is to blame, or the city if the accident was caused by hazardous road work.
Your lawyer will also help assess your injuries, so they can determine the type and amount of compensation that is owed to you. Compensation may cover things like:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Emotional and physical suffering
Once your lawyer has a good assessment of what you are owed, they will file a demand letter. This letter will demand that your injuries and losses will be compensated by a certain amount. The defendant can respond with a denial or counteroffer.
The final step will be a settlement. A settlement is a good way to reduce stress and legal fees keeping both parties out of court. However, oftentimes, insurance agencies and at-fault parties will make a lowball offer in a settlement.
A good Lancaster car accident lawyer will make sure you get the compensation you deserve. If a fair settlement can’t be reached, the case may have to be taken to court. Here, your lawyer will do his or her best to represent you in front of a judge and jury.
Time Frames Involved in Lancaster Car Accident Claims
If you are involved in a car accident, there are certain deadlines you should be aware of. A lawyer will help you to stay aware of these deadlines, which is why it’s important to get a good Lancaster car accident lawyer on your side.
If a car crash resulted in death, injury or property damage of over $1000, it must be reported to the DMV within 15 days of the incident. If the crash was investigated by law enforcement, you will receive an FR-10 form at the scene, which will need to be turned in. If the crash was not investigated by an officer, an FR-309 form will need to be completed.
There is a three-year statute of limitations for filing a claim on a car accident. However, your insurance company may have a specific time frame for you to report an accident in order to provide coverage. It’s a good idea to check with your provider to see if they have any sort of time limit that they adhere to.
Finding the Right Lancaster Car Accident Lawyer
Being involved in a car accident is never pleasant, but getting the legal help you need is an important step to take in moving on.
The Elrod Pope Law Firm has several experienced attorneys on hand that can help you get the compensation you deserve. They will gather evidence, communicate with at-fault parties and fight to make sure all your expenses and losses are taken care of. Best of all, they offer free consultations and will come to your location if you can’t come to them.
If you have been injured in a car accident, taking legal action is a necessary step. The Elrod Pope Law Firm has experienced Lancaster car accident lawyers on hand to see to it that justice is served. No matter what type of car accident you were involved in, call them first!