Most drivers are aware of the risks of distracted driving: texting, eating, and talking on the phone can all lead to accidents that can cause permanent injury or even kill innocent victims. However, external distractions, or those that are located outside of a vehicle, are just as dangerous.
Common examples of external distractions include:
- Animals in the road
- Billboards and signs
- Emergency vehicles
- Advertising techniques, such as employees in costume waving at passing cars
Taking one’s eyes off of the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of being involved in an accident. Therefore, it is easy to see how any of the above distractions could cause a wreck.
The timeline of an accident claim
After an accident happens, victims are usually bewildered—what happens next? Should they talk to the insurance company? Can they seek additional medical treatment?
The truck driver’s insurance company will likely contact the accident victim and try to negotiate a settlement. However, accident victims should not speak to these insurance companies without the guidance of a personal injury attorney. These insurance adjusters will try to settle the claim for as little as possible. Often, they will “lowball” their offers, which may not even take the need for future medical care into account.
A personal injury attorney will first negotiate with the insurance company. A demand package will be sent to the insurance company, which includes copies of medical records, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages the victim is claiming. The demand package will propose a settlement amount. If the insurance company does not agree to settle, the attorney may file a lawsuit on behalf of the victim.
After a lawsuit is filed, the parties will engage in discovery. During discovery, the parties request and exchange evidence that is related to the claim. Accident victims may request copies of driving records, whereas at-fault drivers may request copies of the victim’s medical history. As the parties compile evidence in the case, they will continue to send settlement offers back and forth.
If the parties cannot settle, they may use a mediator. A mediator is a third party neutral who tries to help the parties create a settlement. During mediation, the mediator will go back and forth between the parties and help them work out each aspect of their claim. If a settlement is reached, the case will conclude. If a settlement is not reached, then the case may need to go to trial.
During trial, the parties will present evidence in the form of exhibits and witness testimony to argue their points. A judge and jury will decide issues of liability.
An experienced injury attorney will increase the value of your claim
Personal injury lawyers represent accident victims and make sure that they receive the compensation they deserve. At Stein & Shulman, our injury lawyers have over four decades of experience. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options, call us at (312) 422-0500.