The United States is a nation of cars, and most American adults own their own driver’s licenses, and probably a car or truck, too. Most drivers are safe and responsible about how they drive on city roads and highways, but some other drivers are impaired or reckless, and pose a threat to themselves and others. An impaired driver is likely to cause an auto accident, and people involved may get injured or even killed in a crash. Major property damage may also be the result. So, if someone sustains personal injuries due to car accidents or if a pedestrian is hit by a car, it is time to call upon a car accident lawyer. These auto accident attorneys can represent their clients in litigation or even court, and seek settlement money from the at-fault party’s insurance company. How can a victim find the right car accident lawyer, and what can these car accident lawyers do?
Why Auto Accidents Happen
Many dangerous and impaired drivers on the road are drunk drivers, and the law defines drunk driving as a driver having a BAC (blood alcohol content) or 0.08% or higher. This alone is a serious crime, even if no accidents occur. A drunk driver has impaired coordination, judgment, and reflexes, which makes them likely to drive erratically and speed through red lights and stop signs. These drivers may hit other cars or motorcycles, and they may strike pedestrians or bicyclists, too, causing injuries. Some drivers mistakenly think that they can safely drive “buzzed” on alcohol, but this is not so. Many thousands of drunk drivers are pulled over each day, but even more are not caught, as police cannot catch them all. Any driver on the road should be on the lookout for erratic and sloppy drivers like that.
Other drivers may cause accidents because they are distracted, usually by handheld electronic devices (such as cell phones) or by the car’s dashboard features. These drivers are not looking at the road, and that makes them too slow to react to developments such as red lights, oncoming traffic, or pedestrians crossing the street. This makes collisions more likely, and thus, many recent laws forbid the use of electronics while driving. Finally, bad weather such as thick fog, heavy rain or snow, or ice on the roads may reduce visibility and/or make the roads slick. This makes accidents more likely, even if no one involved was drunk or distracted.
After the Crash
A car accident victim may look for legal help during their recovery, and there are good reasons to seek this kind of help. The victim will probably not have the necessary legal expertise to get the desired settlement money, but a car accident lawyer can help. A victim may look up local personal injury law firms and get consultations from the lawyers there in person or by phone (this may or may not incur a fee). The victim may choose a car accident lawyer whose expertise, experience, and personality are to their liking, and hire them. The two of them will then build a case together in litigation (or court, if it comes to that).
The victim is likely to be in an emotionally charged state, but a car accident lawyer will have a clear, cool-headed, and objective view, making it easier for them to build a coherent case. What is more, this lawyer can incorporate finances in their case, such as the victim’s hospital bills and their future finances. If the victim’s injuries will prevent them from performing paying work in the future, the car accident lawyer may factor in that complex aspect of the case. Meanwhile, during ligation or court, a car accident lawyer may handle complications that may stymie a victim who is working alone. The at-fault party’s insurance company may act in bad faith or try to stonewall the prosecution, but a car accident lawyer will know how to handle that and move the case forward. Other cases may be complex if there are multiple parties involved. A car accident lawyer will know how to assign blame and distribute settlement money among several different parties who were involved in the prior auto accident.