A road trip is exciting and can be fun for the whole family and when we leave nobody likes to think of the possibility of an accident taking place. Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents happen all too frequently with more than seven million motor vehicle accidents happening on busy US roads in 2016 alone. More than two million people are injured in these accidents every year.
When accidents do happen, they can change your life forever. A bad accident can result in damage to your vehicle and injuries to you and your passengers. Your earning ability may be negatively affected in the long or the short term, and you may incur incidental costs such as towing, car rental and litigation expenses. For more advice on claiming compensation please visit https://www.dunnion.com/.
You Have a Right to Compensation
In the US you have the right to compensation if you are injured by someone else’s actions. The person who has caused the damage must pay you a reasonable sum in restitution. You are entitled to claim for all the costs incurred including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other costs. There are limits to what you can claim. You have to prove that the costs are real and you can’t claim personal injuries from a person who has no insurance or who is underinsured. To protect yourself you can add uninsured insurance to your own insurance policy.
Causes of Accidents
There are five common causes of car accidents that will result in the driver being held liable for damages
- Distractions – The driver is paying insufficient attention to the task at hand, distracted by talking, eating or drinking. In recent years using the cell phone while driving is a primary cause of accidents. The National Safety Council says this is the cause of twenty-five percent of accidents. Distracted driving accounts for more accidents in the United States than all other reasons.
- Driver fatigue – driving whilst too tired can cause errors which lead to accidents
- Speeding is the second highest reason for accidents and because speed is involved injuries can be severe.
- Drunk driving – particularly over the weekend and on holidays. People under the influence are slow to react and their ability to focus is compromised
- Reckless Driving – drivers that ignore the rules of the road, tailgate, overtake in unsafe conditions and ignore road signs
In rainy weather the chance of getting into an accident increases so you should be more vigilant and aware.
Important Information from the Scene of the Accident
If you are in a car accident, the information that you collect from the scene is vital to a favorable compensation outcome. Ensure that you obtain
- The name and address of the other driver along with his phone number
- His insurance policy number and the name of the insurance company
- The model, make, year, color, and license number of the other vehicle
- Take as many photos as are needed to tell the story of the accident, pictures of skid marks and road conditions may also help
- Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident
- Get names and numbers of any police officers who attend the scene
Be Prepared When Going on Vacation
When going on a road trip ensure that you take with you all the following information. Keep it together in the glove compartment. It can speak for you when you can’t
- Medicare or Health Insurance details
- Banking details
- Identity document
- Contact details of a friend or family who could be of assistance
- Vehicle Insurance policy information
- Proof of residence
- Motor vehicle license
- Liability Insurance information
- Details of a personal injury lawyer
- Your doctor’s details
There is a statute of limitations on the time that you are given to make a claim for compensation. In California this is two years with some exceptions. Depending on the injuries incurred you could spend some time recovering before you are able to claim. The sooner you are able to start the ball rolling the better.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident and you have national health insurance, the insurance will pay for your treatment. You are, of course, obliged to pay the money back if you succeed in your claim for damages.
If you don’t have health insurance or Medicare the next option is to ask the doctor for a lien. If she agrees to treat you on a lien, she will not charge you until the case is settled. You will be personally responsible for repayment if you don’t pursue a case. The lien gives the lender a right to your property, so this path should be pursued with caution.
If the doctor won’t postpone collections you will have to pay yourself. If you don’t have the money you will have to take a loan. For this reason, you will require your identity document, proof of income and your proof of residence. Even if you have medical cover sometimes co-payments and deductibles can become costly.
If your car has been severely damaged you may need to rent a car. For this, you will need your license and a credit card. Incidental expenses such as towing fees and car rental will also form part of your claim for compensation.
In dealing with the claim you will be communicating with the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance company will always try to settle on the lowest possible claim. They will, therefore, demand reams of information from you, so be prepared.
When leaving on holiday none of us wants to think of it ending in an accident that can cost us unbudgeted amounts of money, can cause personal injury and can result in loss of wages. Road accidents are however a reality and your best defence against financial loss is to have all the information that you require at hand. Drive defensively and seek legal assistance as soon as you are able.