Man suffering from neck pain after car accident injury

Should You Call a Lawyer if You’re Sore After a Car Accident?

Knowing when to call a lawyer after a car accident can be difficult. The truth is that it is never too early to contact a lawyer about a car accident. Obtaining advice about your legal rights and your options for recovering compensation for damages is helpful after any traffic accident.

Why am I Sore After my Car Accident?

It is common to experience some soreness when you are involved in a car accident. Even a minor “fender-bender” or low-impact car accident can result in serious injuries. The impact of the collision jolts and twists your body in unnatural positions, which can cause a variety of injuries.

Additionally, an airbag deploying or seatbelt locking could cause an injury. Violently striking the dashboard, steering wheel, door, or window can cause injuries. Also, debris flying through the air can strike your body, causing additional injuries.

Common car accident injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Whiplash and neck injuries
  • Shoulder and back injuries
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Lacerations and puncture wounds
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage
  • Amputations
  • Burns
  • Spinal cord injuries

Any of the above injuries can cause aches and pains. The severity and type of injury typically dictate the level of soreness or pain a person experiences. Also, a person’s overall health and age can be additional factors in how long it takes to heal and the pain involved in healing.

Soft tissue injuries can cause soreness after a car wreck, such as injuries to tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Ruptured discs, hairline fractures, and pinched nerves can also cause soreness.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to detect certain types of car accident injuries, such as soft tissue damage. It can also take days or weeks for the soreness to intensify. Therefore, an accident victim may not realize immediately following a car crash that the accident caused an injury.

When Should you see a Physician?

While some soreness after a car accident is common, soreness that persists or intensifies could be a sign of a severe injury. Because it is never wise to try to diagnose yourself, seeing a doctor after a car accident is always a good idea, regardless of whether you believe you were injured in the wreck.

Only a doctor can correctly diagnose car accident injuries and develop a treatment plan. Seeing a doctor immediately or soon after a car accident protects your health. It also helps protect your legal rights.

If the soreness is an indication of a more severe injury, you need to know about the injury as soon as possible so you can receive medical treatment. Prompt medical treatment increases your chances of recovering fully from an accident injury.

However, prompt diagnosis of a car accident injury also improves your chance of recovering full compensation from the driver who caused the car crash. Insurance companies use delays in medical care to claim that the car accident did not cause a victim’s injuries.

The insurance company argues that the injury could have occurred after the crash. In some cases, if medical care was not sought until several weeks or a couple of months after a car crash, it can be more challenging to prove that the collision caused the injuries.

Therefore, it is a good idea to see a physician for a full examination after a car accident. Your physician can document your current symptoms and diagnose any hidden injuries that you may not be aware of immediately following the accident.

Damages Caused by Car Accident Injuries

Depending on the type and severity of your car accident injury, you may be entitled to significant compensation from the at-fault driver. The value of a car accident claim depends on several factors including, but not limited to:

  • The type of injuries you sustained;
  • The severity of your injuries.
  • Your financial losses;
  • Whether you sustained permanent impairments;
  • The available insurance coverage; and,
  • Whether you may have been partially at fault for the cause of the car accident.

Common damages that are included in car accident claims are:

  • Cost of medical treatment;
  • Personal care costs;
  • Loss of income;
  • Future loss of income or diminished earning potential;
  • Permanent disabilities and impairments;
  • Physical suffering and pain;
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish;
  • Loss of quality or enjoyment of life; and,
  • Other financial losses associated with the accident or your injuries.

An experienced car accident lawyer can help you investigate the cause of the car accident and gather evidence to prove fault and liability. The attorney can also help you document damages to maximize compensation for a personal injury claim.

Understanding The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process In Atlanta, GA

People injured by another person or party may be entitled to compensation for losses and damages. Filing an injury claim is the first step in receiving compensation. Most personal injury claims actually settle without filing a lawsuit.

If a party refuses to negotiate a fair settlement, it may be necessary to work with a personal injury lawyer to discuss filing a lawsuit. Understanding the personal injury lawsuit process in Atlanta, GA can be helpful, especially if you are nervous or worried about how lawsuits work.

The personal injury lawsuit process in Atlanta, GA varies slightly, depending on the type of case and the facts of the case. However, there are common steps that are the same in all lawsuits.

1. Locate a Personal Injury Attorney

It is usually a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident. An attorney investigates the accident to gather and preserve evidence proving fault and liability. These are two essential legal requirements to receive compensation for an injury claim.

Choose an attorney who handles personal injury claims. You want someone with experience handling cases like your case. You also want someone who understands the local court system and who is familiar with the judges and court staff.

You may need to interview several attorneys to find an attorney who meets your needs. Look for an attorney who communicates effectively, including answering your questions and listening to you. Make sure that you understand the fee agreement before retaining the law firm.

2. Accident Investigations 

After you hire a law firm, the lawyer begins an accident investigation. An accident investigation may involve several steps. Some steps your attorney may take while investigating your injury claim include, but are not limited to:

  • Interviewing eyewitnesses
  • Obtaining copies of police reports and accident reports
  • Searching for videos of the accident, such as traffic cameras, eyewitness videos, etc.
  • Requesting and reviewing your medical records
  • Visiting the accident scene and gathering physical evidence
  • Working with your medical providers to obtain detailed diagnosis and prognosis
  • Retain professionals such as accident reconstructionists, medical experts, and investigators, if necessary
  • Researching and analyzing application statutes and case law

3. Preparing and Filing a Lawsuit

After conducting a thorough investigation, your lawyer prepares the required court documents to begin the personal injury lawsuit. Attorneys attempt to settle claims without filing lawsuits whenever possible to save time and money.

A lawsuit begins by filing a complaint. Generally, complaints are filed in the county in which the person being sued resides. The complaint details the nature of the legal dispute. It contains details of the accident and the legal basis for holding the party responsible for the accident responsible for your damages.

The complaint is served on all defendants (the parties being sued) with a summons. The summons directs the parties to file a response or answer within a specified period. 

If a party fails to respond to the lawsuit, your attorney files a motion with the court asking for a default judgment. The court sets a hearing date. In most cases, the court grants a judgment if you present facts proving that the defendant is responsible for your injuries and damages.

If the party responds to the complaint, the lawsuit proceeds to the discovery phase.

4. Discovery Phase

The discovery phase is used to gain additional evidence and information you can use to prove your case. Each party has the opportunity to use several discovery tools to gather evidence.

Common discovery tools used by parties to a lawsuit include:

  • Depositions — Interviews conducted under oath.
  • Request to Produce — Written questions asking for documents and information related to the case.
  • Interrogatories — Written questions that a party must answer under oath.
  • Request for Admissions — Written statements that a party must admit or deny.

The exchange of evidence is a way to gain additional information to build a case against the other party. Your attorney may continue to consult with various experts during the discovery phase. The discovery phase can take several months or a year to complete, depending on the complexity of the case. 

5. Pre-Trial Motions

Attorneys may file one or more pre-trial motions to resolve issues before trial. An attorney may file a motion to dismiss if he believes that you do not have sufficient evidence to prove your case. Your attorney may file a motion for summary judgment asking for an immediate ruling based on the evidence already presented.

Both attorneys may file motions to keep certain evidence out of the trial or prevent witnesses from providing particular testimony. The motions filed depend on the circumstances of the case.

6. Negotiations

The parties continue to negotiate during the preparation for trial. After the other party reviews the evidence your attorney has gathered, the party may be more willing to settle the matter before trial. 

A settlement of the personal injury lawsuit may be reached at any point before the jury decides the case.

7. Trial

The case proceeds to trial if the parties do not reach a settlement. During a trial, both parties present witnesses and evidence that supports the parties’ allegations. 

After the presentation of all evidence, the judge instructs the jurors regarding the applicable law and provides instructions for deliberations. The jury considers the evidence presented during the trial and returns a verdict.

Either party can file an appeal if the party disagrees with the outcome of the case. An appeal can take months to years to complete.

Texas Car Accident Police Reports: Everything You Should Know

What are the first things you should do if you are involved in a car accident? Always make sure that there are no severe injuries in any of the vehicles. If there are, call 9-1-1 immediately. You should also move your car to the side of the road if the accident was only a minor fender bender. This helps keep traffic moving and makes sure another accident won’t happen.

Your next step should be to call the police so you can get a report of the accident. This should be done regardless of the severity of the accident.

Do I have to call the police?

Texas law requires that an accident must be reported to the police if it results in an injury, fatality, or damage to a car that makes it not safe to drive anymore. While you may be tempted to drive-off if there are no injuries or damage, this is not recommended. You should call the non-emergency police number and have an officer come and file a car accident report.

Can I just settle minor crashes with the other driver?

You can, but again, this is not recommended. Some injuries like concussions may not be fully observable until days after the accident. Your vehicle may have sustained more damage than you think it did. Getting an officer to write a police report will be a record of the accident and what happened. This is useful in the future if you find out damage or injuries were more severe than you first believed.

What happens if I flee the scene?

You are legally required to report any damage to property that costs more than $1,000. You will not be able to assess the exact amount of damage after an accident. To be safe, do not leave the scene of the crime – even with minor accidents. You will also get in trouble if you flee the scene of an accident that causes an injury or fatality. If you do flee severe accidents, you face 2 to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000.

What will an officer do at the scene of a car accident?

This depends on the severity of an accident. If there are severe injuries, the responding officers will help those people first. Next, the officer will interview the people in the wreck to find out what happened. This could be the drivers, passengers, and witnesses. They will also assess the scene and take notes of factors like weather, cell phone use, car conditions, or if someone was driving under the influence of a substance. The officer may also decide some fault of the accident and hand out driving citations.

What will be in the car accident report?

It is not typical for an officer to write the complete report at the scene of the accident. Generally, they take notes or a worksheet and then file the complete report once they go back to their station. They will use all of the information they collected at the scene and describe the facts and who they believe is at fault for the accident.

How do I get a copy of my police report?

The officer will more than likely hand you their card when they are done with their assessment of the accident. If they do not do this, ask them for their contact information. You can also make a public information request with your local police station for information relating to the accident, your report, and any charges you may be facing.

What happens if the police report says that you were at fault?

It can be hard to change the opinion of an officer. If you were found at fault for the accident, it would be in your best interest to hire a car accident lawyer. This is especially true if the other driver decides to sue you to recover compensation for their injuries or damage to their property. A lawyer can also help you defend any criminal charges you may be facing to either get a lesser sentence or fine.

What do I need to show my car insurance carrier?

Texas requires that all drivers have some form of insurance or they must prove that they have the financial means to cover damage in a potential accident. When you have any type of car accident, even a minor one, you should file a claim with your insurance. They may offer some payment for damage to your car, medical bills, or even lost wages. Most insurance companies will require that you have a police report to file a claim for compensation.