Car Accident Injury

Car Accident Injury

From whiplash injuries to sprains and fractures, motor vehicle accidents can result in significant damage to drivers and other occupants of a vehicle. 

Per a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), road accidents are responsible for more than a million yearly fatalities worldwide.

Injuries from motor vehicle accidents can be as unique and wide-ranging as the type of accidents that caused them.

Your position inside the car, how you were hit, and whether or not you were wearing a seatbelt are all key factors that determine how your body will react to the collision.

Suppose you were involved in a car accident and you sustained injuries. You might wonder how long it will take for you to recover. You might also ask how much you can expect from a motor vehicle accident settlement claim.

This write-up will answer these queries and discuss the common causes of car accidents. It will tackle what you must do in a car crash scene. Moreover, this article will explore the advantages of working with a personal injury lawyer in a car accident scenario.

If you are involved in a car accident, contact a lawyer to help you. is an excellent resource for seeking legal help with injury cases.

Our website has a vast database of car crash lawyers nationwide. Filter your search by state, name, or expertise to find an attorney that best fits your needs.

Types of Car Accidents

There are many types of car accidents. Some examples of this are head-on collisions, rear-end hits, blind spot accidents, and side-impact collisions.

Injuries and fatalities in car accidents are more common in certain vehicle types than in others. Let’s look at some statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • 35% of people injured and killed in a car accident were occupants of passenger vehicles
  • 27% were drivers or passengers of light trucks
  • 20% were pedal cyclists, pedestrians, and other non-occupants
  • 14% were riding motorcycles
  • 4% were occupants of buses or heavy trucks

What are the Most Common Injuries From Car Wrecks?

Injuries from vehicular accidents can range from minor bruises and scrapes to more severe and sometimes life-threatening conditions. The following sections will discuss some of the most common injuries resulting from a car accident.

Head and Back Injuries

Head and back injuries can be some of the most severe injuries an individual can have in a motor vehicle accident. Some types of head injuries, including brain bleeds, may slowly develop over time and can be fatal if left untreated.

Meanwhile, back injuries, which include the spine and the spinal cord, are also common in motor vehicle accidents. Those who sustained spine injuries are often faced with significant medical expenses throughout their lifetime.

The subsequent topics will further explore different head and back injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

TBIs happen when the brain has sustained damage from a piercing object or a blow to the head. In the United States (U.S.), vehicular accidents are one of the main culprits of traumatic brain injuries.

Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis

Spinal cord injuries are often the aftermath of severe car accidents caused by another party’s negligent or reckless driving.

Usually, spinal cord injuries result from a blow to the spine that dislocates or fractures the vertebrae, causing the spinal cord tissue to tear or bruise. Spinal cord injuries sometimes translate to temporary or permanent paralysis.

Back Injuries

A typical person’s back is not built to sustain heavy impact, making it susceptible to injury in different ways. Here are some common back injuries:

  • Back strain – this refers to the damage to the tendons and muscles in the back
  • Back sprain – this involves stretched or torn ligaments
  • Herniated disc – this results when a sudden impact causes the inner portion of a vertebrae disc to protrude
  • Ruptured disc – this results when the outer portion of the disc breaks open due to a forceful impact
  • Pinched or compressed nerve – excessive pressure on a nerve in a person’s back can lead to chronic pain and impaired movement


Concussions, categorized as mild traumatic brain injuries, can result from motor vehicle accidents, even those considered minor. 

The impact of hitting your head or experiencing whiplash and violent jostling during a crash can lead to a concussion.

Arm and Leg Injuries

There are several types of leg and arm injuries. Some of the most common arm and leg injuries are dislocated joints and broken bones. The symptoms of these injuries sometimes do not manifest immediately, so be sure to check with your doctor after the accident.

Orthopedic Car Crash Injuries

An orthopedic injury refers to all injuries affecting the orthopedic system. A person’s orthopedic system comprises bones, muscles, and ligaments.

Some of the most common orthopedic injuries that occur due to a vehicular accident are:

  • Upper extremities injury – this includes a broken arm or wrist and impinged shoulder
  • Lower extremities injury – this includes a broken hip, ankle, or leg, torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), or torn MCL (medial collateral ligament)
  • Soft tissue injury – injuries to the ligaments, muscles, and tendons
Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are common injuries during motor vehicle accidents. A sprain is an injury to a joint capsule and the ligaments, whereas a strain is an injury to a tendon or muscle.

Sprains and strains are considered minor injuries, but this doesn’t mean they should not be taken seriously, as they could have significant repercussions if left untreated.

Fractures and Broken Bones

Broken ribs, ankles, wrists, legs, and arms are very common in car crash scenarios. On more serious occasions, car accident victims may sustain a broken pelvis.

The severity of these types of injuries ranges from minor breaks that require a cast to more serious compound fractures that may necessitate surgery and prolonged medical treatment.

Dislocated Joints

Discolated joints happen when the bones meeting at a joint pull apart. Dislocated joints often present themselves immediately, but sometimes, they can be overlooked, especially in the turmoil of a stressful accident.

Pain in one of your joints can indicate a dislocation, even though the joint does not seem damaged upon first look.

Broken or Bruised Ribs

Broken or bruised ribs are common in car accidents. However, if left untreated, a broken or bruised rib can cause severe issues, including internal organ damage or punctured blood vessels.

Limb Loss and Amputation

Severe car crash cases can lead to limb loss or amputation, either from the initial trauma at the accident or complications that developed later on. A lost limb is a significant injury and requires immediate medical attention.

Knee Injuries

Knee injuries can happen if you smash into any part of your car during a crash. The cartilage in the knee, or the meniscus, can tear if the knee is abruptly turned or twisted.

Foot and Ankle Injuries

Ankle, feet, and toe strains and fractures are common injuries in vehicular accidents. In more serious circumstances, the toes and feet can be severed in a car crash.

Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries can be caused by force absorption after bracing your hands against the dashboard or steering wheel before a crash. Typically, shoulder injuries happen when the shoulder is locked in position and receives excessive force from the collision’s impact.

Wrist and Hand Injuries

Similar to foot and ankle injuries, distal radius fractures, otherwise known as broken wrists, are relatively common in car accidents. Depending on the fracture’s severity, this type of injury may require surgery and prolonged medical treatment.

Neck and Chest Injuries

In a car accident, the momentum of being propelled forward can cause bruises and other injuries on your neck and chest. Thoracic trauma, more commonly known as chest injuries, can lead to major health problems and even death, so you must take them seriously.

Neck Injuries and Whiplash

When a car is struck at the rear end or makes an abrupt stop, the occupants’ heads may be forcefully whipped in a back-and-forth motion. This motion is known as whiplash.

Even speeds as low as 15mph (miles per hour) can lead to whiplash, regardless of whether you’re wearing a seatbelt or not during the accident. In more severe cases, disc injuries and cervical dislocation can also result from vehicular accidents.

Heart Attack

The stress of a vehicular accident can trigger a heart attack, especially for people 65 and older. In addition, older people may be more susceptible to stroke and heart attack after a car crash.

 In such cases, it’s important to let your doctor know if you are feeling heart problems, even if weeks or months have passed since the accident.

Pulmonary Injuries

Pulmonary injuries, such as a collapsed lung, are often serious and even fatal. Chest and pulmonary injuries can be as severe as a head injury and, thus, should be addressed promptly after a vehicular accident.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries are injuries to delicate body parts, such as tendons, ligaments, and muscles. As discussed, common examples of soft tissue injuries are strains, sprains, and bruises.

Here are some common symptoms of soft tissue injuries:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Swelling or soreness
  • Stiffness
  • Cognitive issues
  • Back problems

Lacerations, Bruises, and “Road Rash”

Torn metal sheets, broken glass, and small flying objects can cause lacerations. Meanwhile, bruises result from the impact of the body against a solid object or vice versa. 

Finally, road rash is an abrasion caused by skidding on pavement or concrete.

Other Car Accident Injuries

Sprains, fractures, bruises, concussions, and whiplash are all common types of injuries resulting from vehicular accidents. The succeeding sections will discuss other forms of car accident injuries that aren’t too common.


A vehicular accident can lead a person to come into contact with sections of their car they normally do not touch. Extremely hot engine components or spraying liquids can cause serious burns.

Moreover, an entire vehicle can burst into flames, causing fatalities or life-threatening injuries.

Listed below are the types of burns a person can sustain:

  • First-degree burns – this type of burn causes minimal damage; skin is red, but blisters are not present
  • Second-degree burns – this type of burn causes damage beyond the epidermis (top skin layer); blistering and skin thickening may occur
  • Third-degree burns – this type of burn penetrates all skin layers and injures tissues and nerves beneath the skin
  • Fourth-degree burns – this type of burn penetrates muscles, underlying fat, and even bones; it can cause fatality or amputation

Internal Injuries

When a motor vehicle accident forces a person’s body into another object, or if the body is struck by flying debris, internal organ damage may occur. Internal bleeding from this type of injury will require immediate medical attention and treatment.

Disfiguring Facial Injuries and Scars

Disfiguring facial injuries in a motor vehicle accident can be caused by glass debris or forceful impact on the steering wheel, dashboard, airbag, or any other solid object in the car. This type of injury may require surgery and leave victims with a lasting scar.

Crush Injuries

A crush injury occurs when any part of a person’s body is caught between two objects that are pushed together with pressure.

Penetrating Injuries

Penetrating injuries occur when a foreign object punctures a person’s body. Loose objects like glass and small car components may be flung around during a car accident.

Penetrating injuries aren’t evaluated immediately. Also, remember that if the foreign object that punctured your body is still on the wound, do not attempt to remove it without medical assistance.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Sometimes, accidents can leave a person emotionally traumatized. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a genuine risk that can occur after a distressing event, including a vehicular accident.

PTSD may be challenging to diagnose because it manifests after the accident, and there are often no physical symptoms.

Categories of Car Accident Injuries

Car accident injuries are broadly categorized into impact and penetrating injuries. Let’s look at some examples:

Impact injuries – these occur when a person strikes any part of the car’s interior or is hurled away from the vehicle and strikes the ground or other objects outside. An example of this is when a person sustains a head injury upon hitting the side window of their car following a collision.

Penetrating injuries – these typically occur when objects flying around the vehicle strike the car’s occupants. An example of flying objects is shattered window debris, which cuts a person.

Head-on Collisions

Often, head-on collisions lead to serious injuries and significant property damage. Some common injuries resulting from head-on collisions are broken bones, spinal cord damage, whiplash, and lacerations.

A head-on collision is especially risky since kinetic energy and momentum are concentrated in the impact, leading to more chances of fatal injuries to all parties involved.

Rear-end Crashes

A rear-end crash occurs when a car runs into the rear portion of another vehicle. Whiplash and neck pain are the most common injuries in these types of crashes. However, other kinds of back injuries may also occur.

Side Impact Accidents

As the name implies, a side impact accident occurs when a car runs into the side portion of another car. Since there are no solid barriers between the vehicle’s occupants that are struck from the side, this type of accident can translate to severe and fatal injuries.

Common injuries that arise from side impact crashes are abdominal injuries, pelvic injuries, back injuries, and head injuries.

Fatal Crashes

In a car crash scenario, severe burns, head injuries, and crushing injuries are most likely to lead to fatalities. In some cases, the victim is trapped inside their vehicle, where they get burned by the hot parts of the car or bleed to death.

Rollover Crashes

Vehicles with a high center of gravity, such as SUVs (sport utility vehicles), are likelier to roll over and cause a crash accidentally. A rollover can be a result of cornering at high speeds.

Rollover crashes often result in head injuries, broken bones, and soft tissue injuries.

Truck and Commercial Vehicle Crashes

When a truck or any heavy commercial vehicle collides with a smaller car, the outcome can be devastating simply because of the sheer size and weight of the vehicle involved.

In such cases, the heavier vehicle will transfer its kinetic energy to the smaller vehicle, causing the smaller vehicle to crash or knock over. The forceful impact can lead to death, especially for the occupants of the smaller vehicle.

Car Accident Injuries Statistics and Facts

Here are some key statistics and facts concerning car accident injuries:

  • An annual report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that over 3 million individuals sustain injuries annually in vehicle accidents throughout the United States
  • The economic impact of automobile accidents is substantial, costing the U.S. government $230.6 billion annually, equivalent to $820 per person for medical treatment
  • The nature of injuries resulting from vehicle accidents varies based on the circumstances leading to the collision
  • Recovery times for injuries also vary widely; while some injuries may heal in a matter of days with minimal medical intervention, others may require years to recover fully or may lead to permanent physical disability

Common Causes of Car Accidents

In most states, distracted and reckless driving are the leading causes of vehicular accidents. Drugs and intoxication are also common contributors.

A car, even though it’s considered a need for someone’s daily life, can be a deadly weapon under certain circumstances.

The following subtopics will discuss the common causes of vehicular accidents in the United States.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has been the most common cause of vehicular accidents for several decades. Activities like texting, calling, reading, eating, and grooming can potentially keep a driver’s focus out of the road. 

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Drunk driving or driving under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol is another major cause of road accidents. Moreover, drunk driving is a leading cause of boat accidents, bike accidents, and other human-operated machinery.

If intoxicated, always give your car keys to your sober companion, or better yet, take a cab.


Although people, especially when running late, are often tempted to drive beyond the speed limit, speeding is another common cause of car accidents. Remember to drive within your capacity and prioritize your safety and that of anyone around you.

Reckless Driving

Acting aggressively on a highway, driving past the speed limit, and changing lanes recklessly can translate to horrible accidents. As a driver, always remain calm and collected to avoid unnecessary mishaps.

Poor Driving Conditions

Fog, sleet, rain, and snow are all adverse conditions that can cause a car accident. Even a thin sheet of ice can be the culprit of a crash. If hail is coming down, postponing your trip is always a good idea.

Aside from weather conditions, wild animals on the road can also cause accidents. For instance, about 65,000 people hit deer in New York each year.

Driving in the Rain

During rainfall, it’s advisable not to drive at all. However, suppose you cannot avoid driving when it’s raining. In that case, you should avoid any slippery and dangerous road conditions caused by the rainfall.

If the road is slick or the visibility in the area is low, you should stop, pull over, and wait for the rainfall to pass.

Night Driving

Lack of substantial visibility can make hazards challenging to spot, especially at night. When driving at night, stay alert and use your car’s full lights on a clear road.

Deadliest Highways and Times of Daily Commuting

Below are some key findings according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

  • The most dangerous U.S. highway is Interstate 95 (I-95)
  • From 2019 to 2020, vehicle fatalities increased by about 7.2%
  • South Carolina, Wyoming, and New Mexico had the most number of auto vehicle crashes per 100,000 people
  • Hillsborough County had the highest number of car crash fatalities, which is 15 per 100,000 people
  • 5 to 6 PM is the most lethal time to commute

So You’ve Had an Accident, What’s Next?

Regardless of how safely you drive, vehicular accidents are unavoidable. How you handle the aftermath of a car crash could help you recover damages for any injuries you’ve sustained.

The following subtopics discuss what to do after an accident.

Stop Immediately and Only Move if It Is Safe to Do So

In most states, the law requires you to stop your car and avoid blocking traffic if you are involved in a vehicular accident.

You may leave the scene temporarily to seek medical aid or call the authorities. Otherwise, you must remain present until a police officer completes the investigation or authorizes you to leave.

Things to Avoid

Here’s a list of the things you need to avoid when you’re involved in a car accident:

  • Save your story for the insurance company and the authorities
  • Do not argue with other drivers and their passengers
  • If the other driver offers to pay the deductibles, do not sign anything
  • Do not sign statements about admitting fault or promising to pay for the other driver’s damages

Things to Do If You Are Injured in a Car Accident

The succeeding sections will discuss what to do if you are involved in a car accident in which you, your loved one, or a colleague is injured.

Check Before You Move the Injured

Suppose the car accident victim is rendered unconscious, cannot move, or some parts of their body are in pain. In that case, do not attempt to move the person. Instead, use flares, warning lights, or flashlights to help warn other motorists of the incident.

Check on the Well-Being of Your Passengers

After you’ve assessed your condition, check the status of the other passengers in your car next. If anyone has sustained an injury, contact emergency services immediately, or you can ask a bystander for assistance.

Get to Safety

Move to a sidewalk or the side of the road. If your car can be driven, pull it to the side of the road, too. Otherwise, leave your vehicle where it is and prioritize getting yourself to safety.

Seek Medical Help

Even if you don’t think you’ve sustained injuries after the car crash, you must seek comprehensive medical assistance. Injuries such as traumatic stress reactions, whiplash, and hairline fractures might not manifest immediately.

Remember that the accident’s initial shock can temporarily hide the symptoms of more serious injuries.

Call 911 Immediately and Make Sure to Have a Report Made

Regardless of whether the car crash caused a fender-bender or major damages, you must report it to the authorities. In some states, it’s even illegal not to do so. The investigating officers will write an accident report and document the crash.

Suppose the authorities can’t come to the scene. In that case, you can proceed to a nearby police station and report the accident yourself.

Describe Your Injuries in Detail

You must describe your injuries accurately when receiving initial medical assistance following a car crash. The medical staff will document your complaints in their records. Insurance companies will use these records to assess your injury claim value later.

Wait for Help

Suppose you were involved in a car accident. In that case, turn off your vehicle’s engine, turn your hazard lights on, and use road flares (if available) to warn others of your situation.

Get Comprehensive Diagnostic Tests

Following a car accident, ensure you receive all diagnostic reports for your medical treatments. Do not let doctors talk you out of the needed examinations. Advocate for yourself and ensure the necessary medical procedures are performed.

Exchange Information

After you ensure you and your car’s occupants are okay, you must exchange contact and insurance details with the other party. Here are some of the most important information drivers should exchange following a motor vehicle accident:

  • Full name
  • Phone numbers
  • Driver’s license and vehicle registration
  • Location of the accident
  • Insurance company name and policy number

Obtain Witness Contact Information

Ensure you obtain the contact details of any witnesses on the accident scene. Often, third-party witnesses will leave the scene before the police arrive.

As a result, when the authorities make it to the scene, the important witnesses aren’t there to support your statements. 

In this case, obtaining a witness statement is always a good idea. Make sure the statements are documented, signed, and dated on paper.

These statements are valuable if the other party or their insurance company claims you were at fault for the accident.

Document the Accident

At the car crash scene, ask the investigating personnel where you can get a copy of the accident report. Moreover, document the car crash thoroughly by taking photos and footage of your vehicle from multiple angles. This can help support your claim in the future.

Keep Details of Your Injuries, Experiences, Medical Treatment, and Expenses

A diary following the car crash is a good idea to help you recollect significant events and experiences. In your diary, you should record details of the accident, the pains and symptoms related to your injury, the medical procedures you underwent, and any time missed from work.

Notify Your Insurance Provider and Begin Processing your Claim

While at the accident scene, calling your insurance provider or reporting your claim through a mobile app (if available) is a good idea. This way, the insurer can tell you immediately what they need to process your claim.

Suppose your vehicle is damaged in the accident. In that case, your insurer can arrange to tow it directly to a body shop.

Refrain From Providing Statements to Insurance Companies, Even Your Own

Providing statements to insurance companies must be avoided because a recorded statement is often less precise than a written one. Even if you already know what to say, it’s not uncommon to fumble a word or two and make a mistake when stating crucial information.

Another issue with recorded statements is that your words can be taken incorrectly and used against you in the future. Seeking the expert legal advice of a personal injury lawyer is advisable in such cases.

Notify the DMV, if Necessary

Every state practices certain requirements for reporting vehicular accidents to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). Check with your state’s local guidelines about accident reporting.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is responsible for overseeing processes related to motor vehicle registration and driver licensing.

These tasks include vehicle registration, safety and emission inspections, issuing driver’s licenses and ID cards, maintaining driving records, and title transfers.

Attend All Your Medical Appointments

Following your doctor’s instructions and attending all medical appointments improves your chances of recovering fully as soon as possible. 

Also, attending your medical appointments lets you create a well-documented record showing the details of your injuries and the medical assistance you might require.

Be Patient During the Process

Remain patient and calm during the stressful process of seeking damages from the insurance company. As a rule of thumb, compensation cannot be granted until you have accomplished all necessary medical treatment and completely recovered from your injuries.

Moreover, if your case went to trial, the claims process can be extended to several more years, depending on the severity of the case, witness availability, and court schedule.

What Happens After I File a Claim With My Insurance Company?

When you file a motor vehicle insurance claim, your insurance company will require the information listed in the previous topics. Moreover, the insurance company will likely assign an adjuster to inspect your car and determine who is responsible for the damages.

Depending on your insurance policy, you may be reimbursed for your vehicle’s repair costs or its actual cash value if it’s totaled.

Legal Help for Car Accident Injury Victims

Even if you can represent yourself in a car accident dispute, having an experienced car accident attorney increases your likelihood of obtaining fair compensation for your injuries. For instance, lawyers can understand insurers’ tactics to minimize injuries or deny claims.

If you need to look for the best car crash lawyers anywhere in the country, can help you find one for your legal needs. This online directory lets you search car accident lawyers by name and state so you can immediately work with one near you.

How Much Are Common Car Accident Injuries Worth?

According to a report by the Insurance Information Institute in 2020, the average claim for bodily injuries after a car accident was $20,235. On the other hand, the average property damage claim was reported to be at $4,711.

A survey also found that between 2015 and 2020, the average settlement of those who made car accident claims was $23,900. Most of the respondents claimed that they received $10,000 or less.

Damages and Expenses You May Have

Your injuries will determine the amount of personal injury compensation you should be entitled to. When another driver caused the crash, and you are injured, you can claim the following as damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages

How Compensation Is Calculated for Car Accident Injuries

The extent of your losses is also a significant factor in determining your compensation for a vehicular accident. Listed below are some common issues that can affect the final settlement amount:

  • Whether you share fault for your injuries
  • How solid the case is
  • Whether you decided to settle or sue

Types of Damages in Car Accident Injuries Claims

There are various damages you can claim in a car crash case. Damages are compensation you may seek for losses caused by an accident. Listed in the subsequent sections are the several types of damages.

Medical Expenses From Car Crash

Medical fees are a large part of the claimable financial damages in a vehicular accident case. These fees include the expenses you incurred due to the accident and the probable costs of future medical treatment.

Some examples of medical expense damages are the following:

  • Hospital fees
  • Medication
  • Ambulance costs
  • Surgeries
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Prosthetic devices
  • Medical appointments

Income Losses Due to Injury

When you cannot work permanently or temporarily due to an accident, you can cover damages for your lost income.

Suffering and Pain – Physical and Mental

Pain and suffering refer to the emotional and physical trauma a person experiences after a motor vehicle accident.

They are personal and highly subjective factors. Remember that a skilled lawyer can present a convincing case for a higher compensation.

Loss of Consortium

Suppose an accident left you in a state that hinders you from enjoying the normal relationship you previously had with your spouse. In that case, your spouse can file damage claims for loss of consortium.

Disfigurement From Car Crash

Severe car accidents have the potential to leave you scarred or disfigured permanently. For these cases, you might be awarded disfigurement damages in your personal injury claim. 

Loss of Quality of Life

Some vehicular accidents, particularly the more serious ones, have the potential to leave you with permanent disabilities and reductions to your quality of life.

Tort law, the branch of law that deals with civil suits, allows you to file a claim and recover compensation for loss of quality of life.

Car Accident Injuries Tips

Here are some valuable tips to help you during and after a motor vehicle accident.

  • First and foremost, seek help; call the authorities and ensure that a police report is filed
  • Seek medical assistance
  • Take photos, videos, and notes if you can
  • Keep all your documents
  • Work with a professional car crash lawyer from a reputable law firm

How to Get Compensation for Your Car Accident Injury

Suppose you were involved in a car accident, and you want to pursue a claim for compensation for your sustained injuries. In that case, you must either negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for a fair settlement or pursue a legal trial.

The following topics will discuss what you must consider when negotiating a settlement or pursuing a case in court.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is your state’s prescribed time limit for you to file a personal injury lawsuit or claim.

The statute of limitations includes many layers, such as getting checked for injuries at the accident scene, receiving medical care, and filing insurance claims.

There are valid reasons to limit the time permitted to file a lawsuit. One good example is to protect the integrity of evidence and witness testimonies (if available). It will also mean that the plaintiffs (the accusing party) cannot indefinitely threaten with a lawsuit.

Process for Filing Claims and Lawsuits

You must immediately notify your insurance company following a car accident. In such cases, your insurer can help you pursue a claim against the insurance company representing the other party.

You should consider hiring a personal injury attorney to assist you with your case if you sustained serious injuries.

Settlements vs. Verdicts

As stated, vehicular accident claims are resolved through a settlement agreement or a court verdict. Let’s look at some key differences between both:

  • A settlement occurs if the other driver’s insurance company accepts responsibility for the accident and you’ve accomplished to negotiate a fair amount of compensation.
  • A verdict is required if both parties cannot reach a satisfactory agreement. The court will initially decide if the defendant should be liable.

What Are Your Rights Under the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations?

Listed below are some things an insurance company must do according to the Fair Claims Settlement Practices and Regulations:

  • Advise you of your insurance policy’s benefits, time limits, coverage, and other provisions
  • Acknowledge claim, conduct investigation, provide forms and instructions
  • Respond to communications
  • Accept or deny a claim no later than 40 days after proof of claim was received
  • Offer a fair and reasonable settlement amount
  • Once a claim has been accepted, the insurer must pay it no later than 30 days from the date of the settlement
  • Advise you whether they will pursue subrogation or not; if they pursue subrogation, your deductible must be included unless you have already recovered it

Subrogation refers to a right held by most insurance carriers to pursue a third party that caused insurance losses to the insured.

Automobile Insurance Fraud

In some states, including California, auto insurance fraud has taken various forms, with the most prevalent schemes focusing on automobile property and accidents.

For instance, automobile property fraud often involves deceitful practices by the auto body and repair shops, along with insured individuals resorting to illegal techniques like the following:

  • Falsely reporting vehicle parts as damaged or lost upon receiving the vehicle
  • Inflating final costs beyond the original damage estimate
  • Billing for unauthorized repairs
  • Charging for genuine parts while using after-market or used components
  • Using deceptive methods, such as pounding out dents or using bondo (body filler) while billing for new parts
  • False reporting of vehicle theft or vandalism to claim insurance payouts

Meanwhile, automobile accident frauds refer to organized frauds, which often revolve around auto accident rings. Staged vehicular accidents follow several schemes, including the following:

  • Abruptly stopping without cause
  • Disregarding the right-of-way
  • Yielding the right-of-way to provoke an accident
  • False claims listing passengers who weren’t in the vehicle during the accident
  • Listing witnesses who weren’t at the accident scene
  • Excessive injury claims compared to vehicle damage
  • Use of a temporary vehicle registration
  • Concealing prior damage to the other involved vehicle
  • Unsolicited contact by an attorney after an accident

Auto Body Repair Shops

As per California Insurance Code §758.5, insurance companies are prohibited from mandating that a vehicle be repaired at a specific repair shop.

However, the law allows insurance companies to make recommendations under certain conditions, including the following:

  • The consumer explicitly requests a recommendation from the insurance company for a repair shop
  • The consumer gets a written notification of the right to choose a repair shop of their preference
  • If the consumer decides to use the recommended repair shop, the insurance company must restore the damaged vehicle to its pre-accident or pre-loss condition without imposing additional costs, except as stated in the policy or allowed by law
  • In the case of an oral recommendation to a repair shop, if accepted by the consumer, the insurance company must promptly follow up with the prescribed written notice within five calendar days, as specified by law

Auto Replacement Parts

In certain instances, auto repair may involve replacing damaged parts with after-market parts. After-market parts refer to components not produced by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

While after-market parts may match or exceed the quality of OEM parts, it’s crucial that any non-OEM replacement part is comparable to OEM parts in terms of kind, quality, safety, fit, and performance. This ensures the vehicle is repaired to standards that maintain its integrity and functionality.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How long does it take to feel injuries after a car accident?

It’s common to feel minor pain immediately after a vehicular accident. However, it’s also not unusual for symptoms to develop days, weeks, or even months after a collision.

Usually, delayed pain could be a sign of a more serious injury that you weren’t aware of at the time of the crash.

2. What are the delayed symptoms you may feel after a car accident?

Delayed symptoms are relatively common in motor vehicle accidents. For example, you may experience soreness in your shoulders or neck and have abdominal pains hours or even days after the accident.

Suppose you’ve been in a car wreck. In that case, it’s best to get examined by a medical expert immediately, whether or not you have apparent symptoms.

3. How will I pay for medical treatment after a car accident?

Often, auto insurance will shoulder at least a portion of your treatment cost. Depending on your state, your policy may also pay out. If the other party is responsible for the crash, their insurance will be the one to cover for damages.

4. What if I’m a passenger or a pedestrian in a car accident?

Auto insurance generally covers the damages of people injured in car accidents. In case you’re a passenger or a pedestrian, and you were involved in an auto accident, your medical bills will be partially covered at the least.

5. What if the insurance company doesn’t pay enough to cover my medical expenses?

If you receive an unfairly low settlement offer, it doesn’t mean you have no other options for a rebuttal. After receiving the offer, you can take the following steps:

  • Remain calm and analyze the offer
  • Formulate a counteroffer
  • Provide a written response
  • Only settle until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement from your injuries

The abovementioned steps are only suggestions. It’s always best to seek a personal injury lawyer’s expert advice before responding to a settlement offer.

6. Will a lawyer cost more than I will likely recover?

Most car crash lawyers offer free evaluations, so it probably won’t cost you anything to speak with them about your case. Additionally, most lawyers charge on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t need to pay upfront, and the lawyer fees will be taken out of the final settlement amount.

7. Can I get insurance after an accident?

You can purchase insurance and switch insurance companies any time you want. However, you cannot purchase insurance after a vehicular accident to cover the repair fees.

8. What do you do after an accident that is your fault?

In the aftermath of a car wreck that you think is your doing, you should still file a claim with your insurance company. Legal liability is not determined until after the insurance adjuster completes the investigation.

Moreover, if you have comprehensive insurance, repair fees may be covered regardless of who is responsible for the crash.

9. What do you do after an accident that is not your fault?

In a car accident that’s not your fault, you may or may not need to file a claim with your insurance provider.

Depending on the state, if the other party is found to be at fault, their insurance provider should cover the repairs. However, there are certain states where both insurance companies would be on the hook regardless of who bears responsibility for the crash.

10. What should I do after a minor car accident or fender-bender?

In most cases, minor vehicular accidents, like fender-benders, should receive similar treatment as you would in a more serious car crash scenario.

Proper documentation of the car crash scene is a must, as it can significantly help you when filing an insurance claim later.

11. Will my rates go up after I’m involved in an accident?

As of June 2023, according to an analysis by Forbes Advisor, the average insurance rate increase after an accident involving property damage is 45%. Meanwhile, the average rate increase for accidents that result in injuries is 47%.


  1. Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts (2023)
  2. Property damage cases
  3. Filing an Auto Claim with the Other Party’s Insurance Company
  4. Non-Injury Vehicle Collisions

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