Car Accidents 101

Car Accidents 101

cracked car windshield after accidentDue to the number of vehicles on the road at any one time, it’s virtually impossible to go through life without experiencing at least one. Because of the high frequency of car accidents, it’s in your best interest to know what to do after a crash so you can increase your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve.

Read on to learn more about car accidents in order to protect yourself on the road.

What Causes Car Accidents?

Car accidents have many different causes, and can happen as a result of deliberately negligent actions or pure accident. Some of the most common causes of car accidents include the following:

  • Drunk driving

  • Distracted driving

  • Drowsy driving

  • Hazardous road conditions

  • Vehicle malfunction

As illustrated above, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver error is the leading cause of car accidents in the United States.

While it is not always possible to prevent a car accident, taking the following measures can help avoid hazardous drivers on the road:

  • Drive at the posted speed limit.

  • Allow a safe following distance.

  • Keep your headlights on at all times.

  • Signal when changing lanes.

  • Avoid motorists that are driving too fast or too slow.

  • Avoid motorists that are swerving in between lanes.

  • Avoid motorists that brake suddenly or do not move when traffic flows.

What to Do After a Car Accident

Unfortunately, even if you take all of the aforementioned precautions, you may still experience a car accident due to the negligence of other drivers on the road.

If you are involved in a car accident, taking the following steps can help protect your rights and increase your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve:

  • Contact emergency services. Those involved in a car accident should call 911 as soon as possible to help those who have suffered injuries and also to file their side of the story in a police report.

  • Move to a safe place, if possible. Make sure to move to the side of the road if everyone’s injuries are minor and if it is possible to do so safely.

  • Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights. This will make it easier for other drivers to see you, particularly at night.

  • Seek medical attention. Even if your injuries are minor, it’s in your best interest to seek medical attention from the responding emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Retain any records of medical treatment for future proof of injury.

  • Get a copy of the accident report. Make a note of the accident report number and acquire a copy for yourself and your attorney.

  • Take pictures at the scene. Capture images of damages and injuries sustained at the accident scene.

  • Collect contact information. Get contact information from the other driver and from any witnesses at the scene.

  • Don’t admit fault. Do not discuss the accident with the other driver. Even a simple apology can later be used against you.

  • Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. It’s never a good idea to file a personal injury case on your own. A qualified attorney can help you through the process and make sure you recover the compensation you deserve.

Understanding Your Car Insurance Policy

It’s important to remember that your car insurance policy dictates the type of damages you are eligible to recover from your car insurance company in the wake of a car accident.

The various components of a car insurance policy illustrate what your pay-out from your insurer may look like after a crash:

  • Liability: Virtually every state requires drivers to carry liability coverage. Liability may help pay for the damages and injuries caused to another person in an accident that was your fault. Your car insurance company will pay the damages up to your policy limit, after which point you will be responsible for any outstanding balances.

  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist: This type of coverage may help you pay for your own medical bills and damages if you were hit by a driver who does not have car insurance or has insufficient car insurance.

  • Collision: Collision coverage may help pay to repair or replace your car after it’s damaged in an accident (up to the actual cash value of the car minus your deductible).

  • Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage may help pay for damage caused to your vehicle by some external force, such as weather conditions or vandalism.

If you only carried liability insurance, for example, you would not receive a payout from your car insurance company to repair your vehicle if you were at-fault in the accident.

This is why it’s important to review your car insurance policy adequately and ensure you’re carrying the amount of coverage that’s best for your unique needs.

Car Accidents with Commercial Vehicles

Another element of car accidents that many drivers do not fully understand is those that involve commercial vehicles.

Since commercial vehicles are owned and operated by a company for business purposes, there are many parties that are involved in the vehicle’s operation and maintenance. As such, there are many parties that may be held liable in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, such as a truck, bus, taxi, or limousine.

To learn how to protect your rights in a commercial vehicle accident, click here.

Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Us Today

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident caused by negligence, our Clearwater personal injury attorneys at Roman & Gaynor are here to help. We have helped countless clients recover the compensation they need and deserve in the wake of a devastating accident, and we’re here to assist you, too.

Contact us today at (727) 877-1212 to schedule a free case evaluation.

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