Every year millions of people are injured in motor vehicle accidents – many very seriously. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every 10 seconds someone in the United States is involved in a car accident. In 2009, there were an estimated 5,505,000 police reported traffic crashes, in which 33,308 people were killed and 2,217,000 were injured.
Motor vehicle accidents cause the loss of time, property, health and even life. Such accidents occur because of elements including driver error, negligence, manufacturing defects and dangerous weather. No matter what the specific cause or result, a crash can turn a normal day into a prolonged struggle. Speaking with a lawyer can help you sort out rights, your options and your future. Contact an attorney to find out more.
When you have been in an auto accident, you may have a sense of who caused it. Issues of fault, however, can be complicated by who acted when and which laws governed the situation. If the other driver was negligent, you may have to prove that the driver breached a duty of care to you and that the breach caused your damages. The assistance of an attorney can be immensely valuable at this time, whether you are battling an insurance company or seeking compensation for your injuries.
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Types of Vehicle Collision Claims
People use boats both for pleasure and work. Those who boat for pleasure and are injured may be covered by different liability rules than those who are hurt while on boats for work. Common scenarios that give rise to injury on boats are when a boat collides with another boat, a boat collides with a submerged obstacle such as a rock, a boat collides with the wake of another boat, or a boat hits a wave.
Both federal and state laws may apply to boat collisions. When a boat collision happens at sea, maritime law, rather than state common law, may apply.
Truck accidents involve heavier vehicles than most other types of accidents. A tractor-trailer weighs between 12,100 and 80,000 pounds—around 25 times more than the average car. When they are being driven 65 miles per hour on the freeway, they are harder to stop and even more dangerous to small passenger cars. Additionally, due to their size and mass, they are harder to maneuver, especially when the weather or road conditions are poor.
As a result of their size and weight, truck accidents often result in devastating injuries to those riding in passenger cars or motorcycles. These injuries may include traumatic brain injury, paralysis, disfigurement, and amputation. Sometimes these accidents result in multiple wrongful deaths.
Most states follow a traditional tort liability system in which you can recover compensation when a motor vehicle collision caused by somebody else’s misconduct or negligence injures you. Generally, all drivers of motor vehicles are required to carry insurance in case they cause an injury to somebody else.
Pedestrians face some of the gravest dangers on the road. They have no structural protections, as car drivers and passengers do, nor do they wear helmets, as motorcycle drivers should. In 2012, there were 4,743 pedestrian deaths, and an estimated 76,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Pedestrians include people who walk, jog, hike, or run along the road.
More Road Collision Types
Bicycling, as an alternative mode of transit, has become increasingly popular. It doesn’t produce pollution, and it is a healthy way to get exercise. However, it can be quite hazardous to travel by bicycle on roads shared with motor vehicles. In 2015, 45,000 bicycle accidents were reported, and sadly this number included a 12% increase in fatalities. Most serious bicycle accidents involve a cyclist having an encounter with a negligent or reckless motor vehicle driver. In these accidents, the cyclist generally suffers all of the damage and can be severely injured or killed.
Ridesharing has also become increasingly popular. Purchasing and maintaining a car can be quite expensive, especially considering most people’s cars spend most of their time parked motionless. Freelance gigs like Uber and Lyft allow people to use their personal vehicles to give other people rides. It is difficult to find exact statistics on how often rideshare vehicles are involved in accidents. Uber claims their own internal data indicate their rideshare drivers rarely get into accidents. Still, some researchers claim that ridesharing has increased the number of fatal accidents by two to three percent.
During a rideshare, the driver is using their own personal vehicle, so you might think the driver’s insurance would cover the damage. However, most car insurance policies specifically exclude coverage if the car is being used for business purposes. Fortunately, Uber and Lyft both have insurance policies that cover damages incurred if one of their drivers causes an accident. If you are injured in a rideshare accident caused by someone else, that person’s insurance will cover your damages.
In 2018 and 2019, dockless electric scooters from companies like Bird, Lime, JUMP, and Gotcha were widely deployed on city streets and sidewalks in cities across Alabama.
The roll out of these electric scooter-share services were immediately met with excitement by those looking for a convenient and inexpensive transportation option in busy urban areas. However, the deployment of these scooters, which can be unlocked with a mobile app and typically cost $1.00 to unlock and .20 per mile ridden, was also met with a rash of accidents and injuries.
Scooter riders have a responsibility to share the road with other vehicles, not ride on sidewalks meant for pedestrians, and to ride the vehicles responsibly. This is often an issue, however, since many riders lack proper training, practice, and experience riding these vehicles. Because of the placement of these scooters, riders are often intoxicated, or are forced to share the road during times of high-traffic. There are numerous causes of scooter crashes, and multiple parties could be at fault, including:
- The rider
- Other motorists
- The scooter companies
- Third party maintenance companies
- The manufacturer
- And others
Airplanes are, compared to other modes of transportation, extremely safe; however, unlike car crashes, most airplane accidents result in fatalities. In 2017, in the US, 347 people were killed in 209 airplane crashes.
Commercial pilots and airlines are required by law to carry liability insurance in the case of an accident, but private airlines and pilots are not. Cases in which people are injured through no fault of their own by a privately owned and piloted airplane are legally complex, and require an experienced aviation accident attorney to navigate.
We all have a legal obligation (referred to as a duty of care) to avoid any behaviors or errors that could cause another person harm. When a person is reckless, careless, or otherwise negligent, others could suffer injuries ranging from mild to catastrophic. Some common injuries caused by negligence include:
- Scrapes, cuts, and lacerations
- Broken or fractured bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Neck injuries (including whiplash)
- Back injuries
- Spine and spinal cord injuries (including partial or total paralysis)
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Frequently Asked Questions
Heninger Garrison Davis represents those who’ve been hurt in motor vehicle accidents in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and beyond. We are ready to assist you if you were hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Contact us right away to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, and read the answers to a few frequently asked questions below.
A: Fault is established by determining what happened. The police report, local traffic laws, the weather conditions at the time, and “what a reasonable, ordinary person would have done” all come into play. Your attorney will conduct the necessary investigation to establish who was at fault. Even if you were partly responsible for the accident, your attorney might still be able to secure compensation for your injuries.
A: Someone has to be proven to have been negligent or reckless, and their actions or failure to act directly caused your damages and injuries.
A: The first thing to do is to determine if anyone has been injured and call an ambulance if necessary. If anyone has been injured or if a vehicle has been badly damaged, call the police. A police report is essential when trying to establish who is at fault.
Next, obtain as much information as you can. Take pictures of the scene from multiple angles. Collect the names and insurance information from anyone involved in the accident. If there are bystanders who saw what happened, collect their names and contact information.
Even if you don’t feel injured at the time, it is a good idea to visit your doctor after an accident since some injuries, including those to the back, neck, and brain, often only become apparent until several hours or even days after the crash.
Contact Heninger Garrison Davis Today
Even if you feel you are not ready to file a suit, consult one of our qualified lawyers as soon as possible so that you will know your options. We do not charge any fees upfront. In fact, we will only charge attorney’s fees if we obtain a financial settlement for you. If you don’t win, we won’t get paid a legal fee. Call us today for your free case evaluation.
Motor Vehicle Collisions Resource Links
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
The NTHSA is a government agency dedicated to making American roads safer for travelers.
- National Safety Council
The National Safety Council, a nonprofit organization, provides links and articles on topics like seat belt use, safe driving for teenagers and reducing motor vehicle crashes.
- U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
The Department of Transportation is a federal agency focusing on policy and lawmaking to ensure safer U.S. travel.
- MedlinePlus: Motor Vehicle Safety
The website, from the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, offers information on preventing motor vehicle crashes, stating that every 12 minutes, someone in America dies from a motor vehicle accident.