Car crashes are known for being one of the most terrifying and traumatic experiences a person can go through. Not only could you suffer from critical, catastrophic, or life-threatening injuries, but you may also struggle to cope financially and be forced to deal with excessive financial losses as a result of the collision.
When someone else’s negligence is the cause of your crash, you can hold them accountable and get the financial support you need when you need it most. Do not get stuck absorbing the costs of the liable party’s recklessness. Make them pay when you get an experienced Lewiston auto accident lawyer at Berman & Simmons Trial Attorneys on your side.
Our team will work tirelessly to gather the evidence we need to prove the defendant’s liability for your damages. Contact our office for a free consultation today to discuss what your next steps should be, how filing a car accident insurance claim works, and the value of your case.
The Long-Term Impact of Your Car Accident in Lewiston
The immediate impact of your car accident may be clear. However, as your Lewiston car accident attorney works to calculate the value of your claim, we must also take into consideration the effect of the collision on your life in the future as well. In Maine civil courts, you have the right to be made whole when you file a lawsuit. This means injury victims should receive total compensation for every loss related to the accident.
Many victims are quick to assume this only includes coverage of their medical expenses, property damages, and perhaps their loss of income. However, recoverable damages are often far more extensive. There are two primary types of compensatory damages you could be entitled to. The financially based ones are known as economic damages, and subjective losses are known as non-economic damages.
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
Often, economic damages are easier to evaluate because they have set monetary values. For example, the hospital and ambulance will have sent you a bill for your emergency transportation and hospital stay. You will have had to pay co-pays to see healthcare providers and cover out-of-pocket expenses related to prescription drugs, medical devices, and vehicle repair costs.
However, non-economic damages are slightly different. Since they are not financial, they do not have a monetary value. Your personal injury lawyer will use the multiplier method or per diem method to determine how much you seek in non-economic damages. Some examples of non-economic damages could include:
- Your trouble maintaining relationships with family and friends
- Your inability to participate in an intimate spousal relationship
- The embarrassment you feel due to disfiguring skin scars
- Your personal and professional reputational damages
- The inconvenience of the collision and your resulting injuries
- Feelings of anticipation, shock, apprehension, fear, and indignity
- The loss of guidance, protection, love, companionship, support, and advice
- Physical pain and suffering and psychological distress
These are just a few examples of economic and non-economic damages that are often awarded in car accident claims. You can get a better idea of how much your case is worth when you discuss your losses in further detail with your legal advocate.
Grounds for a Lewiston Car Accident Claim
More car accident claims would be filed every day if victims were not concerned that they would be accused of pursuing a lawsuit frivolously. Instead of focusing on recuperating, many survivors are plagued by worries that their case will not be taken seriously.
The good news is that you do not need to have suffered life-threatening injuries to have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit or claim with the insurance company. As long as the elements of negligence have been met, you may be entitled to reimbursement for your damages and suffering.
What is Negligence?
Negligence refers to the carelessness or misconduct of one party when they have an obligation to another. In car accidents, for example, when one motorist is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can be found negligent. They know the risks of drunk or drugged driving and owe a duty of care to passengers and other motorists on the roadways. Their decision to drive drunk in and of itself is considered negligent and would mean the drunk driver would be held accountable for the victim’s damages.
For any car accident lawsuit in Lewiston to be successful, the elements of negligence must be met as follows:
- The defendant must have owed the victim and duty of care
- The defendant must have made a decision or failed to make a decision that ultimately caused them to breach their duty of care
- The defendant’s breach in the duty of care is the direct or indirect cause of the victim’s damages and injuries
- The victim has suffered significant psychological, emotional, financial, or physical damages as a result of the collision
Common Car Crash Injuries to Sue For
If you had concerns that your injuries were not “severe enough” to warrant a car accident claim, you will be relieved to learn that the type of injury you suffer from will not determine whether you have the right to compensation. As long as your injuries have substantially affected your life or are expected to have a significant effect on your life, you should be awarded compensation from the negligent party.
Some of the most common types of injuries our clients have dealt with include:
- Organ failure
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Penetrating brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Knee and hip injuries
- Herniated discs and other back injuries
- Shoulder and neck injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Broken and fractured bones
- Fatal injuries
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of potential car accident injuries. You can discuss the specific circumstances of your collision with your Lewiston car accident attorney to find out whether you have met the grounds for legal action against the liable party and what your next steps should be.
Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Lewiston
Figuring out the cause of your car crash is crucial if you hope to move forward with your insurance and civil claims. The at-fault party can be ordered to compensate you for your damages in full. This is because, under Maine tort laws, the court system is fault-based. The individual or entity responsible for causing the collision will be expected to cover the victim’s losses in their entirety.
With that in mind, car accidents can be caused for a multitude of reasons. In most cases, negligent driving plays a part. Any type of unsafe or reckless driving could be considered negligent. Some examples of negligent driving could include:
- Failure to use a turn signal
- Failure to stop
- Making unlawful turns
- Driving over the speed limit
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted driving
- Road rage
- Failure to check blind spots
However, negligent driving is not the only cause of Lewiston car accidents. Many times, mechanical malfunctions and dangerous roads also contribute to these collisions. Mechanical defects could include malfunctions with the vehicle’s:
- Braking systems
- Steering column
- Fuel tank
Hazardous conditions on the roadways make intersections, highways, and even back roads far more dangerous. Some examples of potential road hazards include:
- Missing street signs
- Faded road markings
- Lack of crosswalks
- Lack of sufficient street lighting
- Improperly secured road construction zones
Who is Liable for Your Damages After an Auto Accident?
Our Lewiston auto accident attorneys will carefully review the cause of your collision to determine who should be held accountable for your losses. For example, if negligent driving contributed to your accident, we would more than likely file a claim against the driver who hit you. However, negligent drivers are not the only parties held accountable in car accident insurance claims and lawsuits.
When road hazards cause your car accident, several parties may be found liable for your injuries. Some of these parties could include:
- Government-contracted construction workers
- Subcontractors hired by the state
- The city of Lewiston and other municipalities
- City and government executives
- Safety inspectors
In instances where vehicle defects cause your injuries, this is another situation in which there may be multiple parties at fault for your damages. Nearly anyone involved in the chain of distribution of these parts could be sued, depending on the type of product liability case in question. Some of the most common parties named in these car accident Lawsuits include:
- Motor vehicle maintenance workers
- Auto parts designers and manufacturers
- Motor vehicle parts distributors and retailers
- Motor vehicle safety inspectors
- Car dealerships and executives
When multiple parties share blame for your collision, it can feel like an uphill battle as you fight to bring them to justice. However, with liability spread out in this way, you have an increased chance of recovering compensation for every single loss. If you were to file a claim against a single liable party, they may not have the means to compensate you for your losses in full.
What to Expect From Your Car Accident Insurance Claim
Filing a claim with the insurance company is one of the top ways to recover compensation after a car accident. Since Maine follows fault insurance laws, the liable party’s insurance company should pay. Unfortunately, dealing with the insurance company is probably far more complex than you had hoped.
You may have thought that filing a claim with the insurance company was the best way to be awarded the compensation you deserve. However, insurance companies will not cover many types of damages. In fact, the policyholder’s coverage will determine how much you can be awarded.
If they only purchased the minimum amount as required by law ($50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage and $25,000 per accident and property damage liability coverage), you may have additional expenses the insurance company is not obligated to compensate you for. Any residual damages can be sought through your car accident lawsuit in civil court.
The insurance company is for profit. They will do everything they can to pay out as little as possible on your claim. Many insurance adjusters have resorted to unscrupulous tactics to accomplish their goals of reducing payouts or denying claims altogether. Some of these tactics include:
- Delaying the processing of insurance claims
- Misrepresenting policy terms
- Manipulating statements given to them by claimants
Allegations of Shared Fault
The insurance company and liable party may go so far as to accuse you of sharing blame for the accident. Maine follows modified comparative negligence laws, so if your portion of blame is greater than the 50% bar threshold, you will no longer have the right to compensation for your losses.
However, if your portion of the fault is less than the threshold, you can receive a car accident settlement at a reduced rate. Insurance companies and at-fault parties attempt to capitalize on these laws to reduce their own financial obligations. This is one of the most important reasons to have an experienced and dedicated Lewiston auto accident attorney on your side. This way, you can ensure fault is accurately evaluated, and you are not taken advantage of during this particularly difficult time in your life.
Contact Our Lewiston Car Accident Attorneys for Help Today
The impact your car accident injuries have had and may continue to have on your life is undeniable. While you recuperate and start to rebuild your life, our legal team can work behind the scenes to gather valuable supporting evidence, prove negligence and liability, and maximize the compensation you are awarded.
Are you ready to hold the at-fault party accountable to the fullest extent of the law? Take action as soon as today when you meet with an experienced Lewiston car accident lawyer at Berman & Simmons Trial Attorneys. Our law offices are currently offering 100% free consultations to car accident victims across Lewiston and surrounding cities. Claim yours when you call our office or complete our convenient contact form to get started.