Car accident settlements don't usually play out in a predetermined manner. You can read a ton of articles and resource material to better prepare yourself for the tussle of words and evidence with the insurance company but these matters rarely proceed as expected.
You will come across all sorts of foul play and deception from the insurance adjusters.
The biggest reason for this deviation is that auto accident victims usually proceed with settlement negotiations without exploring the details of their case. One of the most important details here would be the cause of accident.
Knowing how an accident happened will heavily affect your position in the case, your percentage of fault (in some situations you will be completely exempt from blame), and whether you deserve punitive damages (if you go through with a personal injury lawsuit) according to personal injury law.
Also, having an experienced car accident attorney on board will make a huge difference in your settlement process.
15 Leading Causes Of Accidents
To start, let's explore the most common causes of car accidents and how they affect your position in settlement negotiations:
1. Distracted Driving Accidents
Distractions during driving are very common and are based on the numerous accident claims. Anything ranging from texting someone while driving to eating, drinking, calling someone on the phone, not focusing on the road, talking with passengers, fumbling with the media player, and taking something out of the glove compartment falls under this canopy.
Distracted driving is a violation of the traffic laws.
If the other driver was busy elsewhere when the accident happened, you'll have the strategic high point.
Distracted driving automatically shifts the blame of an automobile collision to the distracted driver in accident claims and you should never accept any part of the blame when you can prove that the other driver was negligent (unless you were negligent as well in which case you'd want your auto accident lawyer to handle the assigning of percentage of fault).
Distracted driving has led to thousands of auto accidents throughout the USA and many of these accidents have resulted in serious damages, pain and suffering, and even fatalities. While texting and driving is illegal but checking the GPS is not, thus legal action in this regard cannot completely eradicate the problem.
In short: be extra careful on the road and never rely on the other party to act responsibly.
Seek legal representation from personal injury attorneys from reputable accident law firms as soon as possible in such cases.
2. Drunk Driving Crashes
This is another scenario where you need not accept any part of the blame. Drunk driving, also defined as driving under influence, is a serious legal offense and can have disastrous consequences. You probably need no convincing about how alcohol-impaired judgment can lead to crashes.
If an adult driver is found behind the wheel with more than the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration, which is .08%, crash or no crash, they will find themselves in deep trouble. If you've had a bit more than usual to drink, simply take a cab home or let a sober friend drive the car instead of risking it.
Of course, if there was an accident and the negligent driver had less than the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration, you can still factor this in. And if the drunk driver was under the legal age for alcohol consumption, then the concentration will be immaterial – they will be branded as the at-fault driver.
Since driving under influence (alcohol or drugs) is already a crime, you can rest assured that the other driver will be considered solely at fault. If the insurance claims adjuster bullies you into accepting some part of the blame (which they shouldn't in such a scenario, but hypothetically if they do) you will be seated at a strategic high point and have every right to counter these attempts.
Of course, having a lawyer with you will make boost your chances at claiming a fair settlement and avoiding such attempts at foul play which are more common than you think.
3. Violating Speed Limits
Speed limits are another regulatory boundary that keeps the roads safe (well, in theory at least). Poor time management can leave people in a rush to get wherever it is they're going. This means that you can expect cars going miles above the speed limit and this often results in tragic accidents.
At high speeds, the vehicles have a much higher momentum than what is considered safe (this is especially true for commercial vehicles, i.e. in truck accidents). This not only makes stopping the vehicle much harder than otherwise but also makes a crash much more devastating. Clearly, in such cases, the driver speeding beyond the traffic limits will be considered at fault.
Things can be complicated if you too were violating a traffic law but in either case, the weight of the blame will rest primarily on the driver who was speeding. If you ever get such an urge, remember that over-speeding doesn't really make much of a difference in saving time: if you're late, deal with it, period.
Avoid over-speeding at all costs, instead, be sure to keep your vehicle moving at a pace at which you can stop it abruptly if need be. Such negligence and disrespect for traffic laws can make the offender liable for punitive damages (based on the types of injuries involved) as a deterrent for such misconduct in the future.
Drivers are required to be eternally vigilant and very careful about their actions on the road. If they fail to uphold these duties, severe accidents can happen and the instances of wrongful deaths in such cases are also alarmingly high.
Cutting through lanes, driving aggressively, flashing the headlights unnecessarily (which can temporarily blind someone and thus lead to an accident), and ignoring road ethics are all unacceptable activities.
Such recklessness can get a person pulled over by the cops. If you find yourself in such a mess, you can have your lawyer investigate the license history of the at-fault party and use any offenses listed on their track record to boost the credibility of your insurance claim.
5. Poor Weather Conditions
Troubled weather is unavoidable. You can't control nature; rain and fog can pose grave threats to drivers on the road. Sometimes it is not negligence or recklessness that results in an accident but rather unavoidable circumstances.
You have to be in the office every day, whether it rains or a thick curtain of fog descends on the roads. This means that you'll have to deal with bad weather. Rain can make the roads slippery and thus even the slightest error of judgment in speed levels or hard-pressing the brakes can lead to devastating consequences.
Similarly, the compromised visibility due to a thick coat of fog can create problems on the road. Such situations demand extra care and eternal vigilance. If there is a storm, you should stop and wait it out instead of risking it.
In such cases, a motor vehicle accident may still be caused by a negligence in this case but the poor weather is also a relevant factor.
You'll have to discuss the specific details of your case with a lawyer to ascertain whether or not you can sue the other party for a substantial sum. If not, you can turn to your own insurance company and seek compensation under personal injury protection policy.
6. Violating Traffic Signals
Traffic signals are another barrier keeping the roads safe. As redundant as it may sound: when the light's about to turn red, it means that you should ‘STOP,' not over-speed in a last-ditch effort to cross the signal before it changes color! This recklessness has resulted in many accidents.
The best practice in this regard is to slow down when approaching a traffic signal and cross it after ascertaining that the signal is not about to turn red.
Such a mad rush can cause serious harm because the resulting collision will involve the momentum of both vehicles, thus multiplying the devastation caused by the crash.
Busy middle-aged people often violate traffic signals when they're late for meetings or some other business engagement, however, teenage drivers have also a fair share of negligence here.
In either case, if you or the other party violated a traffic signal leading to the accident, then assigning the blame won't be hard.
7. Late Night Drives
Remember how our parents use to ask us to be at home before 9? Well, as it turns out, they had a good reason to do so. Road visibility at night is much lesser than otherwise and this creates challenges for drivers, especially in the safety area.
Couple this up with the fact that many night-time drivers get drowsy behind the wheel, and you have a real crisis at hand. Keep your headlights on and don't over-speed even if a roadway appears to be empty, you never know what lurks ahead.
8. Manufacturing Problems
All manufacturers can make mistakes. Negligence on the part of the manufacturing staff can make your car unsafe, while this may not be immediately apparent, these flaws can lead to a world of hurt. For instance if the braking system of your car is flawed, it may lead to an accident since your car won't be able to stop in time.
The best practice in this regard is to keep your sense at full alert and notice every teeny tiny detail. You'll need to inspect everything, or you can have a maintenance expert look at your vehicle and check for any safety defects.
If you find something, then act immediately before it becomes a problem.
Manufacturer's negligence can often lead to car accidents and if this happens with you, you should seek legal advice immediately and get working on your personal injury claim.
9. Not Keeping A Safe Distance
In the event of rear-end collision, the rear-end party is almost always held at fault. This is because all drivers are required, by law, to maintain a safe distance from the party in front of them. Even if the driver in front of you is going turtle-slow, you have no right to press hard against the accelerator.
If you get too close, you may not be able to stop if the car before you halts abruptly. Rear-end collisions can cause serious neck injuries, head injury, internal bleeding, or even a serious spinal cord injury. Thus, playing it safe is the best option if you want to avoid paying up for someone's losses, i.e. medical expenses and other economic and non-economic damages.
Experienced attorneys can help you solidify your legal claim if you were involved in a rear-end crash and seek a fair personal injury settlement. You should not hesitate to contact accident injury attorneys even if you were involved in a minor car accident or a fender bender, there is nothing wrong with exploring your legal rights.
10. Ignoring One-Way Traffic Flow
Mistakes and errors are possible in every role but when the stakes are as high as losing a precious life, you should be eternally vigilant and keep your eyes peeled for instructions. Many drivers take wrong turns into one-way lanes which can result in a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle.
Head-on motor vehicle collisions are especially dangerous as the angle magnifies the impact force and thus results in serious property damage and severe accident injuries. Before making a turn, look out for traffic signals and make sure that the lane is not a one-way route.
A little patience and awareness of the environment can repay you infinitely more!
11. Teen Drivers
Okay, let's make one thing clear, we are not “ageists” and this heading is not meant to hurt someone's sentiment but is rather based on solid facts. Though the share of teenagers on the road is far less than grownups, their involvement in traffic accidents is highly inflated.
This is because teenagers are habitual of violating traffic laws and don't think twice before acting recklessly. Instances of over-speeding, violating traffic signals, and other unsafe driving practices are much more pronounced in teenagers than in adults.
Parents must instill a sense of responsibility in their children before handing them the keys if they wish to avoid getting embroiled in legal issues.
12. Potholes In The Way
The problem with potholes is that they can be very hard to avoid.
You could try circumventing them but this poses the risk of crossing lanes and coming in the way of an oncoming vehicle. Our advice is to proceed with caution and if the pothole is shallow, you can cross it, or if it is a small one then that's no trouble either.
If you do have to avoid a pothole, then be extra careful and check the traffic flow before doing so.
13. Flat Tires
Hearing that sudden “bang” followed by struggling to keep your car under control can be very intense. The best you can do when dealing with flat tires is to remain calm, slow down and pull over to the side of the road. If you can't replace a flat tire yourself, call for help.
14. Ignoring Animal Crossing Signs
Instances of automobile crashes with animals crossing the road happen with such a high frequency that it was important mentioning them here. Many people ignore animal crossing signs and speed beyond safe levels which makes coming to a stop very hard when an animal appears in front of the car out of nowhere.
Just be careful when traveling down a road surrounded by woods and never ignore animal crossing signs - all lives are precious, even animal lives.
15. Under Construction Areas
Areas undergoing construction often obstruct traffic flow or create road hazards which can lead to accidents. The best thing to do here to stick to the cones placed for your guidance and proceed slowly and carefully.
If you can avoid the under-construction area (notice the signs beforehand), take another route.
In any of the aforementioned cases, the services of a legal professional will help you seek fair reimbursement limited only by the insurance coverage of the liable party.
The Glenn Law Firm Will Help You Seek Adequate Compensation
Knowing the cause of your accident and how it affects your position will make all the difference in your efforts to secure maximum compensation. In some cases, as noted above, you will not share the burden of blame at all, and thus you will not have to bend to the bullying of auto insurance companies.
Getting legal representation from personal injury lawyers in this regard is also equally important.
If you're unsure about being able to afford the services of our competent auto accident attorneys with decades of experience, you need not worry at all. The Glenn Law Firm will help you through these challenging times without any advance on our fees because we work on a contingency fee basis.
We have a flawless record of success and will offer free consultation sessions and legal advice regarding your case to help you better explore your legal rights.
Just a PS, don't delay seeking legal representation because the statute of limitations becomes active from the moment an accident happens.
Contact us today, and we'll show you how we can help you win a fair settlement!