Car accidents are a common occurrence in the United States. They can happen anywhere and at any time, often resulting in injuries or even death. If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities as well as those of other parties involved.
The following information will help you understand how car accidents work:
Car Insurance Coverage
Car insurance coverage can be confusing. The good news is that there are several different types of car insurance coverage, and each one covers a different set of circumstances. You should also know that not all accidents are covered by your policy–for example, if you hit an animal or another car while driving on private property (like in a parking lot), your insurer may not pay for any damages.
Here’s what you need to know about the different types of coverage:
- Liability: This type of insurance protects you from legal liability after an accident occurs. For example, if someone gets hurt in your car due to negligence on your part (like speeding), then they could sue you for medical bills and pain/suffeing damages. Liability insurance would cover those costs.
- Property Damage: This type of insurance covers damage done by other vehicles involved in an accident with yours.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): PIP pays medical expenses related directly to injuries sustained during an accident–but only if those injuries occur within 30 days after it happened!
Responsibilities After a Car Accident
After a car accident, there are certain responsibilities you have to fulfill. These include:
- Reporting the accident to the police and your insurance company.
- Filing an insurance claim with your own company (if you’re not at fault) or with the other driver’s insurance company (if they are at fault).
- Documenting any evidence of damage to your vehicle and/or injuries sustained in the accident so that you can file for reimbursement later on.
Your Rights After a Car Accident
You have the right to file a personal injury claim and receive fair compensation for your injuries. You also have the right to legal representation, which can help you navigate the process of filing your claim and negotiating with insurers.
Right after an accident, it’s important not only that you get medical attention but also that you document all relevant information regarding what happened so that it can be used later on in court if necessary. The more evidence you have available when filing your case, the better off it will be for both parties involved in any lawsuit or settlement negotiations.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
There are many common causes of car accidents. Distracted driving, for example, is a major contributor to accidents and injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about one-third of all fatal crashes involve distracted driving–that’s more than 10,000 deaths each year!
Driving under the influence (DUI) is another big cause of car accidents and injuries. In fact, according to NHTSA data from 2013 through 2016:
- Alcohol was involved in 28% of all fatal crashes;
- Drugs were involved in 9%;
- Alcohol combined with drugs was involved in 31%.
Preventing Car Accidents
- Obey the laws.
- Practice defensive driving.
- Maintain your vehicle.
Car Accident Liability
When it comes to car accidents, determining liability can be tricky. You may have been in an accident that was not your fault, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be held responsible for damages.
In general terms, there are two types of liability: contributory negligence and comparative negligence. Contributory negligence means that the injured party contributed to their own injury by being careless or reckless themselves (for example, if they were driving drunk). Comparative negligence means that both parties were negligent in some way–for example, one driver ran a red light while another failed to yield at an intersection–and so each party must pay part of any damages awarded by court order or settlement agreement after trial ends.
Damages in a Car Accident
The main types of damages you can recover in a car accident are:
- Property damage. This includes any physical damage to your car and other vehicles involved in the crash, as well as any property that was damaged as a result of the crash (e.g., fences, buildings).
- Medical expenses. If you were injured in an accident, your medical bills may be covered by your insurance company if they arise out of that accident–but only if they’re not covered by someone else’s insurance policy (e.g., if another driver caused your injuries). You should also keep receipts for any prescription drugs or other treatments you receive following an accident; these will help prove how much money has been spent on treating them later on when it comes time to file a claim with your own insurer or sue someone else who caused them (more on this below).
- Lost wages/income replacement benefits (LWIBs). If you miss work because of injuries sustained during an automobile collision with another vehicle or object such as trees along the side of roadways due to poor maintenance practices by local governments which results from poor budgeting decisions made by elected officials who lack sufficient knowledge about proper safety measures needed given local conditions such as weather patterns etcetera then LWIBs may apply depending upon circumstances surrounding each case individually but generally speaking LWIBs cover lost income up until maximum amount allowed under law which varies depending upon jurisdiction where incident occurred