Did you know that almost 5 million people are injured in car accidents in the United States every year? Many of these incidents result in personal injury claims. The goal is to compensate the individual for the physical, mental, or emotional hardship resulting from the accident.
Personal injury claims are common, but they are not always successful. This is due to the complex nature of the court system in the United States. This first step is determining the type of personal injury claim that applies to your circumstances.
This article explains the six main types of vehicular personal injury claims. The information will help you determine which one applies to your case. It will allow you to assess better your chances at compensation and how best to proceed with the claim.
1. Personal Injury Claims Against the Other Driver
The most common vehicular personal injury claims are against the other driver. Vehicle collisions involving more than one party where no one is at fault are rare. Put another way: almost all car accidents involve at least one driver doing something wrong, even if it is unintentional.
There are many reasons that a driver can be at fault. These include distracted driving, being drowsy or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving too fast. Proving fault can be difficult but is central to a successful personal injury claim.
This includes accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists. If you have been struck by a driver in the wrong, you may be entitled to compensation for the injury they caused.
More than one driver may be at fault in crashes involving several vehicles. Navigating this can be very complex, and failing to do so may result in a failed claim. That is why it is vital to hire a personal injury attorney who can walk you through every step of the process.
2. Uninsured Motorist Claims
When you are in an accident where the other driver is at fault, their insurance policy should cover costs associated with your injuries. These include hospital bills and rehabilitation expenses.
Every state requires all licensed drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. This is to guarantee compensation for health-related expenses as well as damage to other vehicles.
If a driver lacks this insurance or their policy limits fail to cover the entirety of your medical bills or other damages, you must find another way to recoup expenses. Uninsured drivers often have fewer assets, which means filing suit against the individual may be fruitless.
This is where “uninsured” or “underinsured motorist” coverage comes in. These policies kick in when the driver who caused the crash lacks insurance or whose policy is not adequate to cover all the expenses related to the incident. These plans would also come into play for situations like a hit-and-run.
About half of all states, including California, require insurance companies to offer this coverage. It is important to know what amount of coverage you have before an accident and have a good understanding of what would happen if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
3. Dram Shop Claims
Dram shop laws are statutory provisions that allow liability claims against establishments that sell or serve alcohol to someone who causes injury while driving. These include restaurants, bars, and liquor stores.
Dram shop laws vary by state, and not every state has such a statute. Even states that do not have a law permit injured parties to seek damages in certain circumstances. Fortunately, California does have a dram shop law, which can permit a more straightforward and likely chance of compensation if these circumstances apply to your case.
If you were injured by a minor, you might be able to seek compensation from the place that served them, including liquor stores that sold the alcohol to them. For adults driving under the influence, a dram shop liability claim almost always involves proving that the establishment knowingly over-served someone who was visibly intoxicated.
Note that filing a dram shop liability claim does not prevent you from seeking damages from the driver or other parties. A reputable attorney can discern the best course of action in proving who is to blame for your injury.
4. Product Liability Claims
Sometimes car accidents are the result of a defective vehicle or vehicle component. This includes design defects or faulty manufacturing processes inadequate for making safe parts.
Proving product liability claims is a complex endeavor. But it may be necessary, especially in accidents where the other driver was not a fault.
This could involve, for instance, showing that the company should have recalled the vehicle but did not. It also could entail class action lawsuits where many parties have been injured due to the defect or incompetence.
5. Claims Against the Government
Personal injury claims against government entities may be more common than you think. These involve circumstances where highways, roads, or traffic signals have been neglected or insufficiently designed, causing an accident.
For example, if you or another driver hit a pothole that has been there for an extended period, the city or county that failed to fix it could be liable. These suits involve proving that the entity knew about the hazard but did not take action to repair it.
In almost every state, including California, government agencies can be held responsible for wrongdoing or neglect. But these cases can be difficult to sort out and require legal expertise to increase your chances of success.
6. Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims are a specific type of personal injury lawsuit. These occur when negligence in a car accident results in someone’s death. The family or estate of the deceased seeks compensation for distinct categories of loss.
These include funeral expenses. You can seek compensation for pain and suffering experienced by family, including loss of guidance and companionship. It includes loss of wages and benefits, as well as future earning potential.
As you can imagine, wrongful death claims can be quite extensive. An experienced attorney can advise you on how best to calculate and seek damages.
Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near You
Now that you know the six main types of vehicular personal injury claims, you can determine the best course of action for getting the compensation you deserve. Remember that the best way to ensure the success of your case is to hire a great attorney to handle it for you.
At West Accident Law Group, we have years of experience and the legal expertise to maximize your chances of getting compensation. We have a 99% success rate and have recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients. Reach out to us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.