Compensation for Personal Injuries

This post goes over some of the potential damages that car accident victims may be able to recover following a traffic collision.

Past and Future Medical Expenses

A traffic collision can cause life changing injuries, including soft tissue injuries, broken bones, brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. We work with you and your medical team to understand your injuries, and we can get you access to treatment with no up-front cost to you. Injuries often require extensive treatment from doctors, hospitals, surgeons, chiropractors, and therapists. We hold negligent parties liable for the medical care you need, now and in the future.

Loss of Income, Earnings, and Earning Capacity

You may also miss work or be unable to return to work at all due to the extent of your injuries. The loss of income and earning capacity can last well into the future, and can be financially devastating. We get car accident victims full compensation for their loss.

Past and Future Pain and Suffering

Hospital visits and missed work cost money, but car accident victims also experience physical pain and mental suffering from their injuries. Accident victims continue to suffer when they can no longer enjoy life as they did before the accident, enjoy the full use of their body, are inconvenienced by their accident, and when they suffer grief, anxiety, humiliation, and emotional distress following an accident. We hold negligent parties fully liable for the damages caused by a car accident.

Property Damage

Following a traffic collision, there may be significant damage to your vehicle or other property. You may be entitled to the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle or other property following an accident. Insurance companies often attempt to force accident victims to repair badly damaged vehicles and fail to adequately compensate victims for the diminished value of a vehicle following significant repairs. Insurance companies may also declare your vehicle a total loss and only agree to pay an amount that is insufficient to purchase an acceptable replacement vehicle.

Compensation

You may be entitled to compensation for you medical bills, property damage to your vehicle, loss of income and earning capacity, and past and future pain and suffering. The Law Offices of Scott C. Briggs will maximize your results and minimize your inconvenience in the meantime. We can help you pay your medical bills, protect you from insurance companies, help with the financial burden of being unable to return to work, get you paid by holding negligent parties accountable.

All cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, and the costs are advanced by Mr. Briggs, which means that you do not pay us a penny unless and until we get you compensated. Contact us today for a free consultation, and we will answer any questions you have about your case.

Medical Records in Auto Accident Cases

In car accident cases, an injured party’s medical records are important pieces of evidence. A health care provider’s charts, notes, reports, and bills provide important documentation for assessing and presenting a compelling case for compensation following a car accident. These records provide valuable insight into the extent of the injuries sustained, the pain and suffering inflicted, time spent in treatment, limitations in daily life, and amounts of money that were spent or are owed as a result of the treatment.

Injured parties and their attorneys need to diligently gather these records in order to present a compelling case. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides that individuals have a right to access their own medical records. A car accident attorney will locate the pertinent health care facilities, prepare release forms for the patient, and arrange to obtain copies of these records.

Defense attorneys and insurance companies also have a limited ability to obtain these records in order to evaluate the injured party’s claims. However, an injured party’s privacy rights must be balanced against a defendant’s right to obtain medical records.

Insurance companies do not have a right to obtain an injured party’s medical records before litigation unless the disclosure is authorized by the injured party. Many insurance companies routinely send out very broad authorization forms as soon as a claim is presented but before a lawsuit is filed in an attempt to engage in a fishing expedition for any information that might appear to undercut an injured party’s claim.

When a lawsuit is filed, HIPAA and California law provide defendants with procedures for obtaining medical records pursuant to a Court order or a subpoena issued to the health care provider. These procedures provide the injured party with notice of the health information that the defendants are seeking and an opportunity to object to the information that is being sought. Defendants routinely send out overbroad requests to health care providers and fail to consider the appropriate procedures for preventing the unauthorized disclosure of protected health information to third parties.

If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney to protect your rights.

Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians

Car accidents involving pedestrians can result in significant injuries and damages. In order to win a basic negligence claim, an injured party must show that the defendant failed to drive as a reasonable person would under the circumstances and caused damages to the injured party.

Pedestrians and motorists have an equal right to the road, and the law requires that both exercise ordinary care in doing so. Courts have generally stated that the degree of caution required in the exercise of ordinary care depends on the danger that is apparent or should be apparent under the circumstances. Therefore, the measure of ordinary care for a driver is greater than that required for a pedestrian because a car is capable of causing serious or even fatal injuries as a result of the power and speed of a car.

California’s vehicle code states that the right-of-way is the privilege of the immediate use of the highway. Neither a pedestrian nor a motorist has a superior right to use the highway. However, violations of the laws defining the rights and duties of pedestrians and motorists may constitute negligence as a matter of law. For example, the vehicle code contains provisions relating to obeying signs and signals and yielding the right-or-way to pedestrians in a crosswalk. When a party violates these laws, resulting in injuries, they may be found negligent as a matter of law.

Documenting Causation Issues in Car Accident Cases

Insurance companies and defendants in car accident cases have many methods of trying to undercut a claim for damages. In order to win a basic negligence claim, an injured party must show that the defendant failed to drive as a reasonable person would under the circumstances and caused damages to the injured party.

Insurance companies will often point to the element of causation in an attempt to undercut a claim for compensation and suggest that medical injuries or other damages were not caused by the accident or were not entirely the result of the accident.

A common tactic for defendants is to point to preexisting injuries as a reason to undervalue a damages claim. For example, if an injured party had a documented history of back pain and treatment for that condition prior to the accident, Insurance companies will claim that treatment for that condition following the accident is not related or not entirely related to the incident. However, California law establishes that a car accident victim is entitled to full compensation for any exacerbation of a preexisting injury that resulted from the accident.

Furthermore, defendants will look closely at the date of the onset of symptoms from the collision and any delay between the collision and the treatment for the injuries. Defendants will suggest that a delay in the onset of symptoms or treatments suggests that the injuries are not related to the accident, particularly in the case of soft tissue injures, which are not as objectively apparent as catastrophic injuries. Therefore, it is important that an accident victim seek medical attention as soon as it is necessary. Our firm has access to health care providers that will provide treatment on a lien, with no upfront costs to the patients until a recovery is obtained.

Moreover, it is important to insure that there is proper medical documentation of the injury and symptoms following an accident. Documenting the medical treatment and providing a complete record are very helpful in proving causation. This is another reason that an accident victim should seek appropriate medical attention regarding their symptoms and provide complete and honest information to their health care providers.

Another part of causation that should be considered is connecting the forces involved in the collision to the injuries sustained in the accident. A number of factors can go into this assessment depending on the accident, including, witness statements, skid marks, vehicle speeds, changes in velocity, directions of travel, biomechanical assessments, and other expert analyses. Documenting these issues is another important step following an accident, and a qualified attorney can put together a compelling case with information from the available sources, which might include traffic collision reports, witness interviews, scene inspections, and consultations with experts.

Legal Claims for Compensation following a Car Accident

Car accident victims may be eligible to recover compensation for their injuries and damages from the parties responsible. A fairly routine fender bender case often involves a claim of negligence against the at fault driver on the theory that the driver was not operating the vehicle reasonably. In many cases, the negligent driver is insured, and the insurance company will pay for the injuries resulting from the crash.

Claims can also be made against a vehicle’s owner for negligently entrusting a vehicle to someone who is unfit to drive. A driver’s employer may also be liable on a negligent entrustment, negligent hiring and supervision, or vicarious liability theory. In some cases, the government can be held liable for the negligence of its employees, as well as for the placement of traffic signals, guard rails, and road design.

Car accidents may also be the result of a defect in the vehicle or its components. These case may give rise to products liability claims based on an unreasonably dangerous product design, flaws in the manufacturing of the product, and inadequate warnings related to use of the product.

Tips for Handling and Documenting a Car Accident

Following a car accident, it is important to move your vehicle to a safe location and call 911 if anyone requires medical assistance. It is generally a good idea to contact the police in order to obtain a Traffic Collision Report, and it may be necessary to contact roadside assistance if one or more of the vehicles are not driveable. Read more