Motor Vehicle Accidents – An Overview
Cases arising out of automobile accidents are by far the most common type of personal injury case in our court system today. This is not surprising, given that every 10 seconds, someone in the United States is involved in a car accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Except in those states where “no-fault” legislation has been passed, these cases are typically governed by the law of negligence. Generally, people who operate automobiles must exercise “reasonable care under the circumstances.” A failure to use reasonable care is considered negligence. A person who negligently operates a vehicle may be required to pay for harm to a person or property, caused by his or her negligence. The injured party, known as the plaintiff, is required to prove that the defendant was negligent, that the negligence caused the accident, and that the accident caused the plaintiff’s injuries. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel from a personal injury attorney experienced in automobile accident cases in order to best protect your interests.
Injuries and Compensation
Generally, an individual injured in an automobile accident may bring a claim or lawsuit to recover the actual expenses associated with property damage and medical costs, economic damages, and emotional and physical pain and suffering. Litigation involving motor vehicle accidents can be extremely complicated. Retaining an experienced lawyer familiar with motor vehicle accident damages will place you in the best position to receive the recovery that you deserve.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists
Many drivers ignore motor vehicle insurance requirements, cannot afford to purchase insurance, or carry insufficient insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage is a form of insurance that pays compensation for bodily injury that results from an accident with a driver who is legally responsible for the injuries, but has no liability coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage pays compensation for bodily injury that results from an accident with a driver who has liability insurance with limits that are lower than the injured party’s underinsured motorist coverage limits. If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, it is important that you contact an attorney at an experienced personal injury law firm immediately so you do not waive valuable legal rights.
The laws of the state in which the accident occurs determine who pays for the damages from an automobile accident. Basically, in a “no-fault” insurance state, fault is not placed on either party, and each driver generally submits a claim to his or her own insurance company instead of establishing blame. Many states, including Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and others, have some form of no-fault insurance laws. No-fault auto insurance law is widely misunderstood, and is applied differently in every state that offers it. If you are in an automobile accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury firm to discuss how the relevant state law views fault and to determine how fault or no-fault laws may affect your right to recover damages for injuries.
What to Do If You Are in an Accident
If you are involved in an automobile collision, stop. Most states require an individual not to leave the scene of an accident, even a minor one, without first stopping to see whether there are damages or injuries. A person may be criminally prosecuted for leaving the scene of an automobile accident.
Motor Vehicle Accidents Resource Links
Federal Trade Commission
Provides consumer education materials on automobiles.
Insurance Information Institute
Includes information on auto safety, auto insurance, teen drivers and more..
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety / Highway Loss Data Institute
Features vehicle ratings, safety facts, publications and more.