If you are involved in a car accident, you may have a lot of immediate concerns. You may be worried about your immediate and long term health or your ability to return to your job. Car accidents cause stress and anxiety but understanding how these accidents happen, what to do about them, and what the law can help you with, can help you handle the problems that often arise immediately after an accident.
Our car accident lawyers can meet with you in Lindsay for a free initial consultation. Call 1-877-573-3563
How Car Accidents Happen
Car accidents can happen in many different ways, and do not only involve cars crashing into one another, but also cars hitting pedestrians or people on bicycles.
Often, car accidents are side effects of the careless things that negligent drivers do behind the wheel. Speeding, driving while intoxicated, driving while drowsy driving or overtired driving, or driving while being distracted by in-car screens or cell phones, are all examples of how otherwise safe driving conditions can be made dangerous.
Even drivers who are fully attuned to the road often drive recklessly or are in such a hurry that they ignore or speed past stop signs and signals, ignore traffic control markings on roadways, change lanes without looking, merge into other cars, or rear-end other drivers.
Sometimes, drivers even neglect their vehicles, leading to a mechanical breakdown that causes an accident.
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What to Do After an Accident
After an accident, you may be confused, worried, or in physical pain. Of course, the first thing to do is get medical attention and make sure that you are physically OK. Remember that many injuries that are common in car accidents may not be apparent in the immediate aftermath due to the adrenaline pumping through your body.
For example, a traumatic injury or internal bleeding may cause serious pain or even bother you immediately after an accident, but if left untreated for just a few hours, these all can be deadly. Slipped or herniated discs in your back may not hurt you right away, causing you to move in ways that make the damage to your neck or lower back even worse. This is why the first and best piece of advice is to get medical attention, whether it is from an emergency room or a private doctor.
Tell the police on the scene what happened and try to get the names and contact information for any witnesses. If you are able to, take photographs of the scene. Pictures of the final resting place of the vehicles involved, the damage that is done to both vehicles, pieces of the cars, skid marks on the road, and of any of your own injuries that may be visible will help your car accident lawyer make your claim.
Insurance Claims After an Accident
Although it may seem counterintuitive, you must contact your own insurance company, and make your initial claim through your own insurance company. If you are a passenger with insurance, you will make your claim through your own insurance company, but if you have no insurance (if you do not own a vehicle), your claim will be made through the driver’s insurance or any other driver’s insurance company who was involved in the accident.
Likewise, if you are a pedestrian, you would make your claim through your own insurance, but if you do not own a vehicle, you would make your claim through the insurance of the driver who hit you.
When you make your claim, you will be entitled to some benefits through your own insurance company, but often, car accidents are caused by the negligence or carelessness of another driver. In assessing who caused the accident, there are many factors to determine who is at fault for different kinds of accidents.
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Claims Against Other Drivers
In addition to making a claim with or against an insurance company you also may have the option of making a claim against a negligent driver or his or her insurance company. In these claims, the court will determine whether the other driver was negligent—that is, whether the other driver failed to act as a reasonable person would have.
A court can also determine that you have some fault in causing the accident. In fact, this is a very common defense asserted by insurance companies and people who are sued for negligence. A Lindsay car accident lawyer can help you counter these arguments, which will help you maximize your recovery.
What Kind of Damages Can I Recover?
As a general rule, the worse your injuries are, the more you may be able to recover. Whether your claim is with insurance, or against a negligent driver, Ontario’s laws allow victims to recover for damages (some of which are subject to a statutory threshold and deductible) such as:
- Past and future lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Pain, suffering, trauma, and emotional distress
- Medical expenses
- At home attendant care, either for the victim, or to handle in-home responsibilities that the victim once could handle, but now cannot
- Medical devices and prescriptions
- Travel for loved ones and caretakers to be with you during your recovery
- Future or ongoing medical care and necessary medical procedures
- Anxiety, anger, fear or other mental or emotional difficulties
A car accident victim has two years after the accident to make a claim against a negligent driver. However, other deadlines may be shorter. For example, the negligent driver should be notified of a potential claim within 120 days after an accident. You also have seven days to inform no-fault insurance of your accident in order to make a claim for no-fault benefits and the claim should be submitted within 30 days of receipt.
Remember that your Lindsay car accident lawyer will have a lot of work to do in order to assist you, notify proper parties, contact witnesses, employ experts, and do everything else that must be done to allow you to maximize your recovery. That means you should not wait until the last minute to find a lawyer to help you.
The Lindsay car accident lawyers at Preszler Law Firm can help you if you were injured in a car accident. Call us today to discuss obtaining damages for the injuries that you or a loved one may have sustained while driving in a car, or as a pedestrian.