When you suffer a car accident, there are certain things you must know to minimize the financial costs and emotional suffering. The best thing to do is to file a personal injury claim against the defendant. A personal injury claim is applicable against the physical and mental trauma resulting from the accident and demands a fair settlement from the defendant. However, it’s not easy as it sounds due to several legalities and loopholes that the defendant’s attorneys might look to exploit. First, you will be pressured to settle out of court with a lowball offer. If unsuccessful, they will try to discredit the evidence and shift the blame on you as much as possible. You need to learn about these tactics to avoid falling for them and suffering financial losses on top of physical and mental ones. To be applicable for personal injury claims compensation in Baltimore, MD, you must first prove the fault of the guilty party. Therefore, it’s important that you consult a car accident lawyer in Baltimore, MD, if you want to win a fair settlement against the damages.
Before going to an expert attorney, you can educate yourself on personal injury claims and how they work. There are typically four aspects in a personal injury case that the prosecution must prove without any reasonable doubts to win a fair settlement. Have a look at the following information to learn more about these aspects.
The first element that you must prove in court is reasonable care. This means proving the defendant was bound to offer reasonable care and observe their duty diligently to prevent an accident. This is where most personal injury cases become a bit complicated. It’s a known fact whether you are a pedestrian or a motorist, you have to protect other people on the road. This fact constitutes the main part of reasonable care. A personal injury case will go without a hitch if the defendant is found guilty of ignoring their duty to care. However, proving this element is a different story.
If you have ever been in an accident, you will attest that proving the defendant’s fault in reasonable care is tricky. Usually, there is a lot of blame game from them to minimize their fault. Following are all scenarios that can fall under reasonable care by the defendant;
1. Failure to Indicate
If an accident occurs due to the failure of the defendant to indicate they were changing lanes or taking an exit on the highway or other such issues, it will make up the personal injury claim. Most accidents occur due to this minor ignorance; however, the impact can be massive.
2. Hitting the Blindside
There are some blindsides on all car types, whether a truck, SUV or a mini, they are there. If someone hits you from that side, it’s not your fault. This is where reasonable care falls with the guilty party.
3. Trucking Accidents
These are some of the most complicated accidents to prove reasonable care. Although truckers are primarily at fault, since companies employ them, they can fight any claims. The truckers are trained to be responsible and keep the other people on the road safe. This is why they can be easily held accountable for reasonable care in car accident cases.
4. Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable people on the road; therefore, motorists must protect them at all costs. However, if the pedestrian is distracted and not paying attention to the road, the rule of reasonable care will apply to them. Similarly, if the motorist is driving rashly or not paying attention on the road and the pedestrian is hit, the responsibility will fall on the driver.
These are the major scenarios where reasonable care must be proven before proceeding with the claim. Now the point is, how do you prove this without any doubts?
The best thing is to hire an attorney; they are experts at gathering information and evidence in such cases. They will visit the incident site and gather as much evidence as possible to prove negligence in reasonable care.
Negligence of Reasonable Care
Once you prove that the defendant was responsible for showing reasonable care in performing their duties, it’s time to prove the negligence that caused the accidents. This is an essential aspect of a personal injury claim and often the trickiest. Since car accidents are shocking for both parties, the details might not be clear for a few days. Unfortunately, the first statement you give often holds weight over all subsequent ones, making it difficult to prove negligence in reasonable care. Following are a couple of ways you can prove negligence in performing duties or exercising reasonable care;
One of the best ways to prove negligence is by recording the incident site. The ideal time is to do it when it occurs; however, it’s understandable if the victim is not in the state to do so. Recording video evidence the following day still holds a lot of clues; therefore, no matter how much time has passed, you must visually record some evidence.
We live in a highly surveilled world; you cannot go 10 miles without being captured by some CCTV. CCTV footage is the best way to prove negligence in a personal injury case, as it captures all the aspects of the accidents. Therefore, try to locate a CCTV in the vicinity and see the footage of the accident. This is easy when a car accident occurs in an urban location; however, on some highways, it’s possible as well.
Extent of damage
The extent of damage is a good indicator of negligence in reasonable care. For example, if the car is hit from behind, usually, it’s the fault of the rear car. However, it can be the fault of the front car as well. To prove without any doubt, you must ask a car mechanic to inspect the damage and give an honest opinion.
Hiring an Attorney
If you don’t want to do all the leg work, then you must hire an expert attorney to help you out. They are excellent at gathering relevant evidence and know precisely what to look for to prove negligence on the defendant’s part. They will also record all the medical and other expenses to strengthen the case.
There are other ways to prove negligence, but the ones mentioned are enough to prove the defendant’s negligence. Remember, your case depends on this element of personal injury; therefore, don’t take a chance and seek expert help.
This is another tricky element of any personal injury case. Proving negligence or failure to perform reasonable care is not enough; you must also prove that the injuries suffered directly resulted from the accident. This means proving the current medical condition is not chronic and was the after-effect of the incident. This can include anything from a heart condition to mental health, blood pressure, and diabetic issues. For example, suppose the plaintiff claims they suffered back injuries, but the evidence suggests it was also a condition before the accident. In that case, causation will not be established, and negligence will not be proven. This also applies to scenarios where the medical condition was exasperated by the accident. Following are a couple of more cases where proving causation might be tricky.
Usually, in winter months, drivers will find fog on roads and highways. Naturally, this will diminish the defendant’s responsibility in a car accident. However, suppose the defendant failed to slow down or use fog lights and other precautions during such conditions. In that case, causation can be proved, and they can be held negligent in performing reasonable care.
You will find, at some point, adverse weather on the roads. Whether it’s a deluge, strong winds or heavy snowfall, accidents in such conditions usually will not be the basis for causation. However, causation can be proved if there was a prior warning about the weather condition or if the driver failed to observe the necessary precaution.
A quick look on the internet will reveal numerous videos where the driver suffered a stroke or other medical condition that resulted in an accident. In such scenarios, causation doesn’t apply, and even if it does, it’s difficult to prove negligence.
These are some of the primary reasons why causation cannot be proved in court despite negligence on the part of the defendant. The process to prove causation is carried out by four parties;
- Law Enforcement
- Plaintiff’s Attorney
- Insurance Company
- Defendant’s Attorney
All four parties gather evidence and then try to prove or disprove the claims. If all the parties prove causation without any doubt, the plaintiff will have solid grounds to prove negligence.
This is one of the easiest elements to prove in a personal injury case. The damages you suffered as a direct result of the accident are the basis for financial settlement. This can be anything from minor as a cut to significant as a death. The plaintiff must prove that the injuries were a direct cause of the accidents. Following is all you can claim in a personal injury case;
You might have all the records and receipts, but you will be surprised to know that even that cannot win you a fair settlement. The insurance company of the guilty and their attorney will do everything to lower the actual costs. However, you must be a bit more responsible and keep an immaculate record of all the expenses since the day of the accident. You must also include medication costs, transportation charges and other financial details related to the incident. Remember to keep it factual, as any exaggeration will be caught and prove harmful to the case.
Loss of Earnings
Naturally, you will lose current and future earning opportunities if you suffer an accident. If you are on the job, the loss can be calculated for the immediate future. But, if you suffer a long-term injury resulting in job loss along with potential opportunities, it will be tricky to calculate this amount. However, an attorney can help you calculate such losses and demand them in the lawsuit.
Pain and Suffering
Medical costs paint an excellent picture of the damages you suffered from the accident, but what about the pain and suffering it caused you or your family? This is difficult to calculate and hence tricky to prove. However, your family can become a witness and offer evidence of their mental trauma and loss of earnings. In most cases, the victim’s loved ones can prove pain and suffering as they are the ones dealing with the situation.
If an accident causes permanent disability, it must first be proven before filing a lawsuit. For example, if the plaintiff has myopia, the condition will not be considered a disability as the direct cause of the accident. However, if the plaintiff had 6/6 vision and suffered visionary loss, then the condition will fall under disability, and the plaintiff can ask for compensation for the damages. Similarly, breaking or cutting limbs due to accidents will also fall under disability. In short, anything that causes permanent damage to your body will be considered a disability.
These are all the four scenarios where you can prove actual damages. If there is property damage, it will also fall under this category.
Personal injury cases are complex for the victim and their families. Physical damages heal; however, recovering from mental trauma takes time and patience. Add in the medical costs, loss of earnings and other financial issues, and the problem becomes stressful for the victim. The best thing to do is hire a personal injury claim attorney. These people are experts and know all the ins and outs of such cases. They will gather all the evidence, record and present it in an organized manner to enhance your chances of winning a fair settlement. All in all, when you get on the road, you must first exercise reasonable care on your part to be safe from other motorists.