Motor Vehicle Accident Injury Evaluation Form
Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident ? – Important Info You Need to Know
If you or a loved one suffered a serious bodily injury in a motor vehicle accident, there is a risk you could be left significantly damaged physically, financially, and emotionally. In some instances, a motor vehicle accident victim can have their life turned upside down and forced to confront a debilitating, permanent injury, a potential lost career, and thousands of dollars in medical expenses. This is why it is so important to understand what steps need to be taken to pursue financial restitution for your harms and losses.
Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents
When someone hears the term “motor vehicle accident” their mind may immediately jump to two sedans involved in a fender bender. However, a motor vehicle accident can involve an array of different vehicles and circumstances that potentially increase the risk of the motorists, and any passengers, suffering serious bodily injuries. Examples of motor vehicle accidents include:
- A collision between two automobiles such as sedans or SUVs (e.g., car accidents)
- A collision between a car and a tractor-trailer (e.g., truck accidents)
- Motorcycle accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Accidents caused by a distracted motorist who was texting on their phone
- A collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian crossing the street
- Uber accidents and Lyft accidents
- A collision between a motor vehicle and a bicyclist
- A collision between a motor vehicle and someone on a scooter
Motor Vehicle Accident Statistics
Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents are quite common in the United States. For example, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that nearly three million people suffer serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents each and every year.
Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents
The information below summarizes the most common causes that lead to motor vehicle accidents in the United States:
- Distracted Driving – State and federal accident data indicates that distracted driving is the most common cause of motor vehicle accidents in the United States today.
- Traveling over the speed limit (i.e. speeding)
- Operating a vehicle while intoxicated (i.e. drunk driving)
- Drowsy driving
- Operating a vehicle recklessly or with a complete disregard for the safety of others (e.g., racing, road rage, etc.).
- Ignoring traffic signals and stop signs
- Making an unsafe lane change
- Vehicle defect (e.g., tire blowout, brake failure, etc.)
No matter the cause of the motor vehicle accident, you may be able to pursue financial restitution for your harms and losses from one or more of the parties involved in the accident. This generally means filing a legal claim against the at-fault motorist, but you may also be able to file a claim against a related party such as an automobile manufacturer.
Common Injuries in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Some of the most common injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents include the following:
- Whiplash and other neck trauma
- Significant bruising around the body
- Facial lacerations
- Fractured bones
- Torn ligaments
- Head trauma or a traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Internal bleeding
The trauma and harm inflicted on a motor vehicle accident victim are not limited to bodily damage. In many instances, motor vehicle accident victims also suffer from bouts of depression, intense anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, loss of sleep, etc.
Steps to Take After a Motor Vehicle Accident
In the wake of a serious motor vehicle accident, there are certain steps you should take to protect yourself (along with anyone else involved in the collision) and to ensure your legal rights are not negatively impacted.
Check yourself for any significant injuries and check any passengers who may have been in the vehicle with you to determine if they suffered any injuries– This self-check should be fairly quick to assess whether you suffered any visible injuries (such as cuts, bruises, lacerations, etc.).
- Contact the police and request an ambulance – If you were involved in a serious motor vehicle accident where you or a passenger suffered an injury, then it is important to contact the local authorities and request an ambulance. Calling the police is also important for any potential legal action since you could use the accident report as evidence to establish the other motorist was responsible for causing the collision. This is why you should remain at the scene of the accident until the police arrive.
- Document the accident scene. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle(s) involved, as well as the injuries you and your passengers have sustained. You should also document the area around the scene, including street signs, traffic lights, and nearby landmarks, as well as lighting and weather conditions. If you see skid marks or debris in the road, take pictures of these as well.
- Receive medical care – Paramedics who arrive at the scene of a motor vehicle accident will typically assess you, any passengers, and the other motorist for bodily injuries and provide a preliminary level of treatment. Nevertheless, if you suffered a serious bodily injury like a broken bone, head trauma, spinal cord injury, etc. you may need to be transported to the emergency room for further care.
- Exchange information with the other motorist – If possible, secure the contact and insurance information of the other motorist involved in the motor vehicle accident. Also, if you are able, try to take notes related to the other vehicle (e.g., any visible damage) and the license plate number of the vehicle.
- Get the contact information of any witnesses – If you are aware of anyone who witnessed the accident, do your best to get their name and contact information (e.g., phone number). If possible, try to ask them to describe what they saw when the accident occurred. This is important because eyewitness testimony can help bolster your potential personal injury case against the other motorist.
- Contact an attorney – If you or a loved one suffered a serious bodily injury that will require physical therapy and other forms of medical treatment, contact an attorney to get a sense of your legal options and what steps will need to be taken for you to pursue financial restitution for your harms and losses. Fill out the request form on this page. Please be advised that the information you provide will be kept completely confidential.
- Report the accident to your auto insurance company – It is important to proactively contact your auto insurance company and report the accident. In many states, you are legally obligated to notify your insurance carrier about a collision. Please note that this legal obligation is only associated with your own insurance company. You are not required to proactively contact the other motorist’s insurance carrier. Though, it is quite common for a claims adjuster from the other motorist’s insurance company to contact you shortly after an accident.
If the careless and negligent actions of another motorist caused the motor vehicle accident and you incurred damages from that accident, you may have a claim to pursue financial restitution for the following harms and losses:
- Medical expenses (both immediate and long-term medical care)
- Lost wages (both immediate and long-term wage loss)
- Pain and suffering and other losses that have negatively impacted your quality of life
- Punitive damages (though, please keep in mind that these damages are only awarded in select cases that involve a motorist who engaged in heinous or particularly egregious actions that caused the accident, such as drunk driving or racing).
Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages
The term “pain and suffering” encompasses the non-monetary harms that a motor vehicle accident victim may be forced to endure. This can include negative repercussions to your mental health and well-being after the wreck. It can be difficult to calculate pain and suffering damages, which is why the amount of financial restitution you could potentially pursue will depend on the unique factors associated with your case. Nevertheless, pain and suffering damages typically provide compensation if you have suffered, or are suffering, the following harms after a motor vehicle accident:
- Chronic pain
- Mental and emotional trauma stemming from the accident
- Loss of enjoyment of life, such as fear that impacts your ability to perform everyday activities (i.e., driving) and your relationship with family members
- Loss of sleep or night terrors
Length of Time Available to File a Personal Injury Claim
If you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to take legal action sooner rather than later. Why? Because your ability to file a civil action is dictated by the statute of limitations of where the accident happened. You may be asking yourself, “What exactly is a statute of limitations?” Well, it is a state law that places a finite amount of time for a prospective plaintiff to file a lawsuit against a defendant. The statute of limitations ranges between 1 to 6 years, with the average being 2 years, however, it is important to check with an attorney to confirm your state’s statute of limitations.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident, NextLegal.com is here to help. We are ready and able to assist you with your motor vehicle injury case and can offer insight and advice on what steps need to be taken to pursue financial restitution for your harms and losses. Complete the contact form to schedule a free confidential consultation.