Car accidents are all too common and can leave victims with debilitating injuries, affecting their ability to work, perform daily tasks, and enjoy activities they love for the rest of their lives. In 2018, there were more than 6.7 million car crashesin the United States, resulting in more than 35,000 fatalities and 1.9 million injured individuals.
Read on to understand more about the damages car accident victims can recover after suffering from permanent injuries.
Car Accident Injuries
Many factors affect the type and severity of injuries suffered in a car accident, including the point of impact, the safety features in the vehicle, and whether the passengers were wearing seatbelts. Common injuries suffered car accident victims are:
- Brain Damage: If a vehicle passenger strikes their head or suffers from a penetrating injury on their head, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is possible. While the severity of TBI symptoms are wide-ranging, a TBI often leaves the victim with irreversible brain damage that disrupts the brain’s normal functioning. These disruptions can cause physical or cognitive disabilities or can leave in the victim in a coma or vegetative state. Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of TBIs.
- Head Injuries: In addition to a TBI, impact to the head can cause a concussion, a skull fracture, or lacerations on the head that could require stitches. While less likely to cause permanent damage than a TBI, permanent damage is possible.
- Spinal Injuries: The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that allows the brain to communicate with the body. Spinal cord injuries also present a serious risk of permanent disability. The victim might experience symptoms ranging from muscle weakness and numbness to paralysis. Spinal cord injuries also cause changes in the victim’s senses and the ability to control body parts and body functions.
- Neck and Back Injuries: All parts of the body are susceptible to injury in a car accident, including the neck and back. If either of these body parts are injured, the victim is at risk of a life of constant pain, requiring physical therapy or rehabilitation.
- Internal Injuries: The body’s interior is also at risk of injury. A blow to the body can cause internal bleeding or damage to organs including the heart, lungs, kidney, and liver. If not quickly caught and treated, the victim can suffer extreme symptoms and permanent issues with the effected organs.
- Broken Bones and Fractures: We often associate broken bones with a few weeks or months of inconvenience. If a serious break occurs, however, it can require surgery and long-term physical therapy, potentially limiting the normal use of the body part for the rest of the victim’s life.
- Dental and Facial Injuries: Any impact to the face can cause serious damage to the teeth and facial bones including cracked or chipped teeth or damage to the jaw. These injuries might require plastic surgery or painful surgery on the mouth, and there is no guarantee the victim will ever look or feel the same again.
It is clear that car accidents present a wide range of potential life-altering injuries. But who is responsible for these injuries?
If another party acted intentionally or negligently in a way that caused the accident and your injuries, they are responsible for all the ways the injuries have affected your life. A lawyer will help you analyze the facts surrounding the accident to determine which parties were at fault.
- Drivers: The most common responsible party is the driver of one of the vehicles involved in the accident. A driver is responsible for driving consistently with all traffic laws and regulations and to exercise the same care as other reasonable drivers on the road. Any evidence that the driver violated a traffic law is strong evidence of negligence, including speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, or distracted driving. If possible, secure a police report immediately after the accident to document any evidence of negligence.
- Employer: If the negligent driver was acting in the scope of their duties as an employee at the time of the accident, their employer is responsible for their actions. It can be beneficial to pursue the employer because they are more likely to have a robust insurance policy.
- Vehicle Manufacturer: If a vehicle failure, such as brake failure, caused the accident, the manufacturer is responsible if they failed to perform adequate testing or were selling an unsafe product. Additionally, if safety features such as airbags failed to work properly, this could have contributed to the severity of your injuries.
An attorney will be an important partner as you assess which party is responsible for your injuries. They will also help you prepare a thorough analysis of your damages.
Preparing a Damages Demand
Once you have established that another party was at fault, it is important to take stock of negative way your injuries have changed your life. For permanent injuries, it is also important to look into the future implications of managing life with a permanent injury. Work with your lawyer to consider the following damages:
- Medical Expenses: The defendant is responsible for all the expenses associated with your medical care, including future medical care such as a home nurse, physical therapy, or assistive devices like a wheelchair.
- Lost Income: Permanent injuries often limit a victim’s ability to return to work either completely or in the same capacity as before the accident. Your damages should include any wages lost during your recovery as well as an estimate of future lost wages and lost earning potential.
- Property Damage: The defendant is responsible for repair or replacement of damaged property, such as your vehicle.
- Emotional Distress: Facing a future with a permanent injury can significantly impact the emotional health of the victim. The defendant must compensate the victim for emotional distress such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Loss of Enjoyment: Permanent injuries often limit the victim’s ability to participate in activities that were previously a meaningful part of their life, and the defendant is responsible for this loss.
- Punitive/Exemplary Damages: Punitive damages punish the defendant for particularly egregious action and the requirements vary from state to state. Work with your attorney to assess whether punitive damages are available.
As you confront a life with a permanent injury, it is important that you receive the financial compensation you deserve from the responsible party. Contact Allan Berger & Associates today at 504-618-1597 or through our website for a free and confidential case consultation.