If you or a loved one has sustained an injury in an accident with a moving vehicle, you may be eligible to file a case against the party that caused you harm. Motor vehicle and car accident claims can provide financial compensation for your injuries and resulting expenses.
The insurance industry in the U.S. spends millions of dollars on marketing and collects more than $1 trillion in premiums annually. Despite their promises to protect consumers—and the amount of money they make—many car insurance companies delay and deny claims without cause.
As a plaintiff’s law firm, our job is to champion human values over corporate values. In more than 90 percent of our car crash cases, we are not trying to recover money directly from the other driver. Rather, we’re trying to reach a settlement or verdict with that individual’s insurance carrier.
Our legal team is committed to helping individuals achieve the best possible settlements and verdicts in car accident claims and lawsuits. We will investigate the situation to determine who was at fault and obtain the evidence you need to prove that you deserve compensation for your injuries. We will fight tirelessly for you to achieve the best possible outcome.
What are the most common types of accidents in a motor vehicle lawsuit?
Whether you were involved as a driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Car accidents often occur when a driver is distracted from the road or makes an error at the wheel. In the U.S. in 2020, there were more than 1.5 million car accidents resulting in injuries and more than 3.5 million resulting in property damage. Traffic-related crashes can have fatal consequences: 35,766 people died in car accidents in the U.S. that year.
Passenger cars have the highest number of fatal and injury-causing accidents among motor vehicles. There were more than 5.2 million car accidents in the U.S. in 2020.
Motorcycle accidents occur for many of the same reasons as car accidents. Motorcyclists have a reputation for reckless driving, but the truth is that most motorcycle drivers are responsible and diligent on the road. Because motorcyclists are less protected than drivers, however, they can be at higher risk of serious injury.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 5,500 motorcyclists died, and more than 180,000 were treated in the emergency room for injuries in 2020.
Because pedestrians are less protected than motor vehicle occupants, they have a higher risk of fatality during accidents. Speeding or alcohol use is involved in almost half of all crashes involving pedestrians, most occurring at night in urban areas.
According to the CDC, more than 7,000 pedestrians were killed in accidents involving a moving vehicle in 2020. An estimated 104,000 pedestrians were treated in an emergency department for non-fatal injuries related to an accident.
Bicyclists often use designated bike lanes, which help keep cyclists separate from cars and trucks. Unfortunately, many areas don’t have adequate bike lanes, or the bike lanes are not respected, leading to more accidents with motorists.
Although bicyclists only account for about 1 percent of all journeys in the U.S. annually, they account for 2 percent of motor vehicle accident deaths. According to the CDC, almost 1,000 cyclists die, and more than 130,000 are injured in the U.S. every year.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial trucks were involved in over 180,000 accidents in 2022. Because of their large size, they can pose increased danger to other vehicles on the road.
Some motor vehicle accidents involve motorized scooters, rideshare services like Uber or Lyft, or public transportation. While these are less common, you may still be eligible for compensation for an accident caused by vehicles like these.
What causes an accident?
Accidents are most commonly caused by human error. Examples of human error include:
- Drunk driving/driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield
- Reckless driving, such as weaving in and out of traffic, running a red light, or changing lanes without checking blind spots.
The two most common causes of car crashes are drunk driving and speeding. According to Forbes Advisor, 35 percent of all fatal accidents are due to impaired driving, while 29 percent result from speeding.
Motorcycle accidents are caused by many of the same factors that lead to auto accidents. In addition, motorcyclists may be at higher risk from the negligence of other drivers because they are less physically protected on the road.
The most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Someone driving through a crosswalk without stopping for crossing pedestrians.
- A driver backing out of a parking space without checking behind the car.
- A distracted driver failed to notice nearby pedestrians.
- A driver turns at a red light without seeing if pedestrians are crossing.
Drivers often ignore bicyclists or fail to see them riding nearby. Bike lanes provide some protection but can’t prevent motorists from drifting or swerving. Bicycle accidents typically occur when drivers engage in careless behavior, such as:
- Texting while driving.
- Passing a rider too closely.
- Failing to yield at an intersection.
- Opening the door of a parked vehicle into the path of an approaching bicyclist (“dooring”).
Bicycle accidents can also result from other factors, including defective bicycles, road hazards impeding bike lanes, or pedestrian collisions.
Truck drivers and motor carriers must follow federal regulations and state laws to keep everyone safe on the road. However, negligence can still cause collisions between commercial trucks, cars, and other vehicles. The most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driving beyond the maximum allowed number of hours.
- Exceeding weight and size limits for cargo.
- Failing to perform maintenance and repairs on a truck.
- Changing lanes without checking blind spots.
- A defective truck.
The most common injuries in a motor vehicle accident
Head, neck, shoulder, and back injuries are common in vehicle accidents. These may include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Injuries to the face and eyes
- Injuries to the spinal cord
Many individuals involved in a crash also suffer from fractured or broken bones, organ damage, and soft tissue injuries like bruises (the most common injury in accident cases) or sprains. Motorcyclists and bicyclists may suffer from road rash or skin abrasions, while pedestrians are more likely to injure joints like the elbow, knee, pelvis, and hip.
Vehicle accidents can also cause less direct injuries. People involved in car accidents may suffer a heart attack due to the stress of the situation. And many individuals involved in severe accidents develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What should I do after a motor vehicle accident?
Regardless of the extent of your injuries, an accident scene is always a stressful situation. It’s important to be prepared so that you can assess the circumstances and gather the evidence you need for a successful personal injury claim.
- First and foremost, assess the safety of the crash scene and your well-being. Check yourself for any injuries. If you have been hurt, immediately call 911 for medical assistance or ask someone else to do so.
- Check on any passengers and others at the scene. If moving your vehicle off the road is safe, do so. Even if you believe you have not been injured, move carefully and take care of yourself as you may have suffered harm, such as a spinal injury or brain damage, that is not immediately evident. As soon as possible, speak with a medical professional.
- If you haven’t already done so, call 911 and talk to the police. They will send responding officers to the scene to file a police report (or you can file one yourself at a police station). The police report is an important part of gathering evidence for a future car accident claim, and many insurance companies require the report for their claims process.
- Gather evidence at the scene. Take pictures of the vehicles involved, the license plates, any vehicle damage, and the position of the cars where the accident happened. Get the other driver’s contact information, including their name, insurance policy number, and driver’s license number. If others witnessed the accident, you may want to speak with them to corroborate your story.
- Contact an auto accident attorney to discuss your insurance claim options. The right personal injury attorney will be able to walk you through the claims process and achieve the best possible settlement.
If you are involved in an accident, it is crucial that you do not speak with any insurance agencies about your injuries and potential liability for the crash until you have hired a lawyer. Because insurance companies are invested in paying clients as little as possible, any statements not made in consultation with an attorney can seriously affect your ability to receive compensation for your claim.
Who can I hold liable after a moving vehicle accident?
Each state has different laws regarding liability for car accidents. This means that the person or company you can hold liable will depend on the unique circumstances of your case.
For example, if a truck driver is at fault for your injury, you could file a claim with the motor carrier’s liability insurance company. If a non-commercial driver caused the accident that resulted in your injury, you could file a claim with their auto insurer. Generally speaking, you should file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company or sue them directly for your injury.
Different types of coverage may be available after a vehicle accident. Some states require liability coverage for all drivers, while others don’t. No-fault states don’t allow accident victims to pursue compensation from the driver at fault’s insurance company unless they meet specific requirements.
Why should I hire a car accident lawyer?
State laws and the process of proving a claim are complicated, and navigating the insurance system alone can result in a denied claim or an insignificant settlement offer. Wallace Miller’s car accident lawyers are dedicated to reaching the best possible resolution in your case.
Contact us today if you have suffered harm from a vehicle accident. Our firm can be reached at 312-261-6193 or via our online questionnaire for an assessment of your case in minutes.
What a car accident attorney can do to help your case
If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries or even death due to an accident, selecting the right car accident lawyer to fight for your case is important. The experienced lawyers at Wallace Miller have over 75 years of cumulative experience representing plaintiffs against insurance companies and other parties.
Throughout a personal injury lawsuit like a vehicle accident, your attorney will:
Investigate the case & collect evidence
Your Wallace Miller car accident attorneys will gather information about your vehicle or car accident case, including police reports and medical records. They will investigate the circumstances of the crash to find the best evidence to prove that you are owed a fair settlement for your injuries.
Help you understand (and advocate for) your rights
Your car accident lawyer is an expert in state and federal law related to motor vehicle and car accident cases. They will help you navigate your legal rights and the complicated policies of insurance companies to prove liability.
Offer legal advice
If you hire a car accident attorney, they will provide insight and advice about filing your car accident lawsuit, proving the liability of the party at fault, and navigating the settlement process.
Negotiate your settlement
Most car accident cases are settled out of court. If the insurance company or party at fault proposes a settlement, your vehicle or car accident lawyer will help negotiate the amount to compensate you for significant injuries and medical expenses.
Represent you in court
In some cases, insurance companies refuse to admit fault and opt to take car accident lawsuits to court. If this occurs, your vehicle or car accident lawyers will represent you in court and fight for an equitable settlement.
How do I know if I’m eligible for a motor vehicle lawsuit?
If you or a loved one was a driver or passenger involved in an accident with a moving vehicle, you may be eligible to seek compensation. Cases generally require the following criteria:
- You or a loved one were injured as a result of the accident.
- You or a loved one received medical treatment for your injury, including hospitalization or a visit to an emergency room or urgent care. Cases that involve deceased car accident victims are often eligible for settlements even if medical treatment was not received.
- The car accident was caused by the other driver or another party on the road. If a road hazard caused the accident, you may not be eligible to file a personal injury claim.
- The accident occurred within the statute of limitations for your state.
If you or a loved one were involved in an accident as a pedestrian, you may be eligible for a car accident lawsuit based on the following criteria:
- The accident involved a moving vehicle.
- You or a loved one were injured as a result of the accident.
- You or a loved one received medical treatment due to the accident.
- The accident occurred within the statute of limitations for your state.
What is the statute of limitations for car accident claims?
If you want to file a lawsuit or hire a lawyer for injuries caused by a motor vehicle accident, you must follow a strict timeframe. The statutes of limitations in each state differ but typically allow one to five years to file a case. In order to pursue compensation, you must file your car accident claim within that specific number of years.
For example, if the specific laws in your state impose a two-year statutory period, you must initiate your lawsuit within two years of the accident date. You will likely lose your right to pursue legal action and collect compensation from the at-fault party if the statute of limitation passes before you file.
What compensation can I receive after a moving vehicle accident?
The settlement you receive from a liability claim could compensate you for a variety of accident-related losses, such as:
- Emotional distress
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Medical bills
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
In a lawsuit against the negligent party, you might also be able to recover punitive or exemplary damages if they are held liable for the accident. This compensation punishes the defendant for their misconduct and discourages future wrongdoing. Every state is different, but courts typically require clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s actions or intent to grant this financial award.
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
Unfortunately, some accidents cause fatalities. If your family member or loved one died in a tragic motor vehicle accident, you could pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. The laws regarding who can file this type of lawsuit differ from one state to another. Some states allow a surviving family member, such as a spouse or child, to initiate a lawsuit. Others only allow the personal representative or executor of the deceased’s estate to file.
The type of compensation you receive depends on the laws where you live but could compensate you for various losses, such as:
- The deceased’s final medical bills.
- Loss of consortium or companionship that the deceased can no longer provide to a surviving spouse.
- Lost wages and benefits the deceased could have earned and left to surviving family if they had survived.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss of instruction, guidance, love, and care provided to surviving children.
- Pain and suffering endured by the deceased between the date of their injury and their death.
- Mental anguish experienced by the surviving family.
State laws on wrongful death cases vary widely from state to state. Some don’t allow the recovery of funeral expenses or medical bills. In contrast, others require a personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate to file a lawsuit rather than a surviving spouse, child, or parent. Wallace Miller can help determine the relevant laws in your state to ensure we seek the maximum compensation possible.
How much will my moving vehicle accident lawsuit cost?
It may surprise you to hear this, but you will not incur any fee from Wallace Miller unless we win your case. Wallace Miller relies entirely on successful settlements to pay operation fees, so there is no out-of-pocket cost for our clients.
Talk to the car accident lawyers at Wallace Miller
At Wallace Miller, our legal team understands how devastating it can be to suffer injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. We are ready to fight for the best possible car accident settlement so that you can focus on healing.
We know many choices are available when looking for an auto accident lawyer to represent you. What sets us apart from other firms is our commitment to our clients and outstanding success track record. We only take on cases our firm has faith in—those that can make a difference in our clients’ lives.
Our car accident injury lawyers will protect your rights during every step of your case and fight by your side for justice. You can count on us to remain in your corner and provide the legal guidance and representation you need.
If you or a loved one has sustained car accident injuries or injuries caused by a moving vehicle, contact Wallace Miller at (312) 261-6193 or fill out our online questionnaire for a free consultation.