Car accidents are snap events. In less than a second, the course of a person’s life shifts, and the extent of that shift comes down to the severity of the accident. Even a fender bender takes several hours to resolve the day that it occurs, as reports need to be collected by the police and fault needs to be assigned for insurance purposes. Assuming no injuries, these minor accidents resolve fairly quickly after that, but the time lost getting back on track cannot be recovered. If the most minor of accidents can have such a profound effect on your daily life, the effects just get more significant the more severe the accident is.
In Bryan, TX, there are an alarming number of severe accidents in a given year, given that the Bryan-College Station Metropolitan Area ranks sixteenth in the state in terms of size. While a sizeable population lives in this area, it is small compared to the number of fatal accidents that occur in a year. In 2013, there were six fatal car accidents involving a total of eleven vehicles and resulting in a total of eight deaths. Most accidents in the area are due to driver error and weather-related loss of control, with no fatal accidents being caused by drunk driving in 2013.
Not all car accidents involve more than one vehicle. Single car accidents are a common occurrence, but it is less common that these accidents nonetheless involve other people. However, one recent incident involving a car and a restaurant. Minor injuries were sustained by two people within the restaurant and the driver of the vehicle. The cause of the accident was simple driver error. The driver was attempting to park and hit the accelerator instead of the brake. In these circumstances, fault is easily enough assigned, and the driver is liable for the damages incurred by the restaurant and those patrons who were injured.
This is true because damages incurred from a car accident do not stop at the damage incurred by the vehicles in the accident. Liability for damage to other property caused by the accident also falls to the person at fault for the accident. In addition to property damage, there are four additional categories of damages that the person at fault could be deemed liable for paying. These four categories all deal with different aspects of the people who sustained injuries as a result of the accident, and are as follows: medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and loss of consortium.
Medical expenses are fairly straightforward. The person at fault is liable for the treatment of any injuries sustained during the accident. This means not only the initial visit to the doctor or the hospital, but any cost sustained in the process of restoring the person as fully as is possible after the accident. For example, should someone be temporarily paralyzed as a result of an accident, the person at fault would be liable for any physical therapy prescribed to help restore the use of the paralyzed limb.
Beyond medical expenses, there is pain and suffering to consider. Pain and suffering attempts to provide compensation for damages that are not as tangible as could be shown on a medical bill, towards covering the mental and physical distress sustained during the accident. This can usually be claimed so long as one is conscious during the period of their injury.
Lost wages should also be factored into a claim. If you are injured in an accident and are forced to miss work as a result, any loss of wage incurred by doing so is the liability of the person who caused the accident. Should a permanent disability leave you unable to perform the same work and force you to take a lower-paying job, the difference in salary becomes the liability of the person at fault, as well.
Loss of consortium only applies after successfully winning a claim for your injuries or for the wrongful death of another during an accident. It is not claimed by the injured party, but by one close to them, and is meant to establish monetary reward for the loss of affection that resulted from the accident.
Why you should hire a car accident lawyer
If you are involved in an accident that is not your fault, the best thing that you can do is seek representation as soon as possible. The experienced attorneys at The Doan Law Firm can ensure that you receive the full award to which you are entitled following the accident. We take all of our cases on a contingency basis, meaning that our fee is deducted from the award won rather than being billed directly to you. Our attorneys provide free initial consultations so that you can have your questions answered and to establish the merits of your case. The best way forward after an accident is to start with The Doan Law Firm. Call us any time to schedule your consultation.