Obtaining Compensation Following A Car Crash
Serious injury vehicle collisions can lead to well over $100,000 in medical bills alone. This figure does not include other direct losses, such as property damage and lost wages. Especially since health insurance companies sometimes refuse to pay for these expenses, due to liability reasons, these costs are often crippling.
Legally, compensation in a car crash must do more than simply replace money. Legal damages should put the victims back in a pre-crash position, which means they also deserve compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, emotional distress, and other noneconomic losses.
We all make mistakes, and we must all face the consequences of those mistakes. In court, this process usually takes the form of a negligence case. There are five elements:
- Duty: Noncommercial drivers have a duty of reasonable care, which is essentially a “thou shalt not” duty to not drive drunk, run stop signs, exceed the speed limit, and so on. Commercial operators have a higher duty of care, because they are practically insurers of their passengers’ safety in all phases of travel.
- Breach: In addition to driving while impaired, speeding, and ignoring traffic control devices, other common breaches include illegal turns, driving while distracted, and driving while fatigued.
- Cause: There must be a direct link between the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) conduct and the victim’s damages.
- Foreseeability: It is foreseeable that an out-of-control vehicle might strike a pedestrian, but not foreseeable that a doctor will make a medical mistake while caring for the victim.
- Damages: To file a claim, the victim must sustain an actual physical injury.
Most negligence cases settle out of court and before trial.
Negligence Per Se
A successful negligence case depends partly on the facts of the case, specifically with regard to breach, cause, and damages. In other situations, however, victim/plaintiffs may establish negligence as a matter of law. To use the negligence per se shortcut, the victim must establish that:
- The tortfeasor violated a law or ordinance that protects the safety or property of other people, and
- Said violation substantially caused the victim/plaintiff’s damages.
Extreme negligence per se cases, such as a drunk driver who has a very high BAC, essentially create a presumption in favor of punitive damages. To obtain these additional damages, the victim/plaintiff must establish that the tortfeasor intentionally disregarded a known risk.
Rely on Experienced Attorneys
Because of the serious nature of their injuries, car crash victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a confidential consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in High Point, contact McAllister, Aldridge & Kreinbrink PLLC. An attorney can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money, (336) 882-4300.