Skip to main content

Most Common Personal Injury Claims

Light blue sedan rear-ends a grey SUV

Personal injury cases can range from minor accidents with few damages, like a fender bender, to multi-million-dollar cases with hundreds of parties, such as product liability claims. Regardless of how large or small a claim is, it is important that accident victims receive the compensation they are owed for their losses, including medical expenses, property damage, and more. Many personal injury lawyers understand this and make it a priority to represent multiple case types. Below are the most common types of personal injury claims in the United States.

Car Accidents

Car Accident

Millions of people are injured in motor vehicle accidents every year in the United States. The causes of these accidents can vary greatly, but often they are the result of negligence or recklessness behind the wheel. Auto-related crashes include motorcycle and truck accidents, as well as those involving bicyclists and pedestrians. Some of the ways a motorist might cause a crash include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Failure to yield
  • Drunk driving

People who are injured in auto accidents due to someone else’s carelessness often choose to file a personal injury claim to be compensated for their damages. Because car accidents are so prevalent in the US, they are the most common type of personal injury cases.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere at any time. These kinds of incidents are especially dangerous for elderly people. In fact, thousands of Americans over 65 are treated for injuries related to slipping and falling each year. Common injuries stemming from slip and fall accidents include:

  • Broken bones
  • Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
  • Lacerations and bruising
  • Sprains or strains
  • Back injuries

Uneven footing, wet floors, and improper signage can all create a hazardous environment. People who have been injured in a slip and fall accident, whether on public or private property, may be entitled to compensation for their losses.

Medical Malpractice

Negligence by medical professionals can cause serious injuries to patients, and unfortunately, it is far too prevalent in the United States. It is estimated that more than 250,000 people die each year from medical errors. Medical malpractice injuries can be devastating physically, emotionally, and financially.

Examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnoses
  • Birth injuries
  • Medication mistakes
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Improper treatment
  • Premature discharge

If a healthcare professional takes improper or negligent actions that result in injuries to their patient, the patient may file a medical malpractice claim. On average, there are more than 12,000 paid medical malpractice claims in the US each year.

Workplace Accidents

Even with modern labor laws in place, unsafe working conditions exist at a variety of companies all across the country. In fact, there are over one million nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses in the United States each year. Businesses may provide insufficient training to employees, neglect to fix broken equipment, or fail to provide proper safety equipment for their workers in the interest of saving money. All of these actions can directly result in employee injuries.

The occupations with the highest rates of workplace injuries include truck drivers, nursing assistants, construction workers, janitors, and maintenance workers. Employees who have experienced a workplace injury due to dangerous conditions at their job often file a worker’s compensation claim. The laws regarding these claims vary from state to state, so it is a good idea to hire a worker’s compensation lawyer to navigate the process of filing a claim.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death claims are brought about when a person is killed due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness. Car accidents, medical malpractice, construction site accidents, and defective products are all common reasons for wrongful death suits.

Wrongful death claims are unique compared to other personal injury claims, in that the damages are often different. Wrongful death settlements help the family of a victim cover the costs of funeral expenses, lost wages of the loved one, and non-economic damages, such as lost companionship. All states allow immediate family members, such as spouses, children, and parents of unmarried children to make wrongful death claims. Some states also allow life partners or distant family members to file these suits.

Assault and Battery

Most personal injury cases arise from accidents and cases of negligence. However, assault is also a common reason for people to file claims. Assault is defined as an intentional act that causes the victim to expect they will be hurt in some way. In most states, the reasonable fear of imminent harm is enough for an act to be considered assault. Battery, on the other hand, requires harmful contact to be made with the victim.

Not all assault and battery incidents result in serious injuries, but some can be life-threatening, necessitating medical attention or even hospitalization. When someone is injured by the intentional harmful acts of another, they may have grounds to file a claim. Some damages that can be recovered in an assault claim include medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Product Liability

Product liability claims are not quite as common as some of the others on this list, but they can be just as dangerous. They can also affect far more people than other types of personal injury cases and require much larger payouts from the at-fault parties. If a product manufacturer releases defective or dangerous products into the market, consumers who were injured by the product may be able to file a claim.

For example, one of the most famous product liability claims is the “hot coffee” incident involving McDonald’s. In this case, a consumer purchased a cup of coffee from the McDonald’s drive-thru. The coffee accidentally spilled on her legs, giving her third-degree burns that required extensive medical treatment. The consumer brought a claim against McDonald’s for not warning her about how hot the coffee was.

Some types of product liability cases, such as those against pharmaceutical companies or car manufacturers, can have thousands of plaintiffs and result in millions of dollars paid in settlements.

Premises Liability

Premises liability claims happen on other people’s property, whether public or private. If dangerous conditions are present on the property and the property owner does not warn others about the danger, someone could be injured. The injured person could then file a premises liability claim against the property owner.

Examples of this could include injuries from dog bites, toxic chemicals in the area, or exposed electrical wiring. Potential dangers in an area should be properly marked or announced, and then fixed as quickly as possible to avoid injuries.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Injuries of any kind, whether they are from a car accident, improper medical treatment, or assault and battery, can be incredibly stressful. When paired with vehicle repairs or property damage, things can quickly become overwhelming.

An experienced attorney can help by providing legal advice, helping you build your case, and negotiating with insurance companies. The Advocates personal injury law firm is a team of competent, compassionate attorneys who are ready to help you recover as fully as possible.

An Advocate can help you:

  • Access medical treatment
  • Find body shops for vehicle repair
  • Get into a rental car if needed
  • Understand your medical bills
  • Communicate with your employer regarding your injuries
  • Gather evidence for your case
  • Negotiate a settlement
  • File a personal injury lawsuit if necessary

With a team of skilled representatives behind you, the recovery process can be much easier than if you try to go it alone. Call or chat with a live attorney online for a free consultation. The Advocates are ready to help you get back on your feet.

Personal Injury Case Timeline

Helping Client

If you’ve been injured and are considering filing a personal injury claim, you may find yourself wondering how long the whole process will take. Every personal injury case is different, so there is no definite amount of time from the day of the accident to the day you receive your settlement.

Car Accident

How Long Do Personal Injury Claims Take?

The length of time a personal injury claim takes depends on a number of factors. The first is the severity of your injuries and how long medical treatment takes. Your attorney will wait to file a claim until your injuries have been fully treated, in order to ensure your settlement covers all your expenses.

If the insurance company is willing to settle before a lawsuit is filed, a personal injury case may take
less than a year. If the case goes to trial, it may be years before it is settled.

 

What to Expect When Filing a Claim

Filing a personal injury claim can be overwhelming and stressful, particularly if you aren’t familiar with the process. Here are a few things you should know before filing a claim.

Shot of a doctor showing a patient some information on a digital tablet

Seek medical treatment quickly

A settlement from a personal injury claim is intended to compensate accident victims for losses and damages related to their accident. This includes medical bills, vehicle repairs, and loss of wages, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. This means that you need to seek medical attention and vehicle repairs as soon as possible following your accident.

Hiring an attorney can increase your settlement

Studies have shown that accident victims who hire an attorney can receive settlements up to 3.5 times larger than if they filed the claim on their own. An experienced personal injury attorney can navigate the legal process and ensure you don’t miss out on compensation you are legally entitled to.

Time will run out

If you plan to file a claim, you should do so sooner rather than later. Each state has a statute of limitations, or a designated time frame, for filing a claim. Once the statute of limitations has expired, you will not be able to file. For that reason, it is important to reach out to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so that they may evaluate your claim and help you avoid missing the deadline.

There are two ways to win a case

Once you file a claim, it can go a few different ways. In most cases, your attorney and the at-fault party’s insurance company will be able to settle out of court. If negotiations are unsuccessful or the other party’s offer is too low, your case may go to trial.

Initial Investigation

Once you have met with an attorney and made the decision to file a claim, the initial investigation into the accident will begin. Your attorney will ask you questions about the accident, read the police report, and look over any evidence you have. They will gather medical records, document your damages, and speak with eyewitnesses. They will also be responsible for communicating with insurance companies. The investigation process can take more than a year, depending on how long your recovery takes and how long it takes your attorney to gather evidence.

It is important that you continue to receive medical treatment and document all new symptoms or pain. The associated expenses will be added to your claim.

Settlement Negotiations

When the investigation process is complete, the attorney will send a settlement demand letter to the other party (typically to their attorney or insurance company). The demand letter will ask for a certain amount of compensation for your injuries, depending on your expenses and the policy limits.

Lawyer and client discuss a lawsuit

At this point, negotiations may begin between your attorney and the other party’s insurance provider. The insurance company may respond with a lower offer than what was asked for in the demand letter. It may require some back-and-forth between your attorney and the other party, but most injury cases are settled before they ever go to trial.

If negotiations are successful, a settlement agreement will be drafted and signed by both parties. You will receive the agreed-upon compensation to pay off bills and reimburse your own insurance provider for anything they covered.

If the two parties cannot agree upon a settlement during negotiations, your attorney will file a personal injury lawsuit, and the case will move into the litigation phase.

Litigation

During litigation, there are several steps that must be taken before your case ever makes it to a courtroom. In fact, the lawsuit may still be settled out of court. Below are some of the steps in the personal injury lawsuit timeline.

Discovery Process

To file a lawsuit, you must formally file a complaint with the court. The complaint outlines your claim and the amount of money you are asking for as compensation. The complaint is then served to the defendant, who then typically has 30 days to file an answer to the complaint.

After the lawsuit is filed, the discovery phase begins. During this time, each party investigates what evidence the other party has. This evidence may include medical records, video footage, police reports, and other relevant information. The two parties will send interrogatories, or lists of questions, for the other party to answer. Depositions, or testimonies given under oath, are taken from each party as well as witnesses of the accident. Discovery can, and often does, last several months.

Mediation and Negotiations

Negotiations continue to happen throughout the litigation phase as well. Settlement negotiations can happen over the phone between the two attorneys, or they may be more formal. Your attorney always has to get your approval before accepting a settlement offer.

If negotiations aren’t working, other means of reaching a resolution, such as Mediation, might be explored. Mediation is where both clients and their attorneys negotiate with the help of a neutral third party. In many cases, mediation works, and the case is settled before it goes to trial.

Microphone with attorney in the background

Trial

If mediation is unsuccessful, your case will go to trial. During the trial phase, there are several steps that can potentially drag a trial out. Some cases last a matter of days, while others can go for more than a week.

First, a jury will be selected. Evidence will be presented to the jury, including expert testimony. The jury must weigh all the evidence before coming to a verdict. Once the jury has come to a conclusion, they will decide whether you have won your suit or not and how much compensation you will be awarded.

Other Factors That Affect the Case Timeline

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to a personal injury case, therefore, each case will take a different amount of time to settle. Some of the factors that play into the timeline of your case include:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • How long treatment takes
  • The amount of compensation being sought
  • The defendant’s willingness to settle
  • The court’s caseload

When to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

If you have sustained serious injuries in an accident due to someone else’s negligence (such as a car accident, a case of medical malpractice, or a slip and fall), and your damages exceed the amount allowed in small claims court, it is a good idea to contact an attorney. The claims process is long and complex, and a competent lawyer can make sure nothing is missed.

Contact The Advocates for a Free Consultation

The Advocates understand that your recovery is priority number one and are ready to help you every step of the way during your accident case. Call today for a free case evaluation. The sooner you contact an attorney, the more quickly you can get on the path to recovery.

The Burden of Proof in Personal Injury Cases

You’ve likely heard the term “beyond a reasonable doubt” when referring to evidence in criminal cases. However, civil matters have a lower burden of proof. In a personal injury case, the injured party must prove that the defendant is liable for the damages listed in the claim. The extent to which a plaintiff must prove fault differs depending on what kind of damages they are seeking.

What is Preponderance of the Evidence?

In personal injury claims and other civil cases, the standard of proof is often referred to as the “preponderance of the evidence.” This standard requires that the plaintiff have better or more convincing evidence than the defendant does. The plaintiff must have enough evidence to show that there is a greater than 50% chance that the defendant caused the damages the plaintiff suffered.

For example, if a car accident victim is able to prove that the other driver ran a stop sign, causing them to collide, this evidence might meet the burden of proof for their case. Evidence for this claim might include eyewitness statements, traffic cameras, or body damage on the two vehicles. If the victim’s injuries were a result of this car accident, they would likely be entitled to financial compensation for their medical bills and other expenses related to the accident.

Other types of evidence that can help substantiate a plaintiff’s claims:

  • Photographs from the scene of the accident
  • Police reports
  • Statements made by the at-fault party after an accident
  • Medical records regarding the victim’s injuries and medical history
  • Testimony of health care providers

In general, people in public owe each other a “duty of care,” or a reasonable amount of attention, caution, and prudence. Each person has the responsibility to avoid causing harm to others or their property. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant violated their duty of care to win the case.

Microphone with attorney in the background

 

The Issue of “More Likely Than Not”

You may also hear the preponderance of the evidence in civil cases referred to as “more likely than not.” This is because the plaintiff must prove that it is at least 51% likely that their version of events is true. In a personal injury case, if the jury is convinced that the defendant’s negligence more likely than not caused the plaintiff’s injuries, the plaintiff will win the case.

What are Punitive Damages?

In most personal injury settlements, the money involved is a form of compensation for the damages the victim suffered. These are referred to as “compensatory damages.” They are meant to pay for the victim’s medical bills and other expenses, as well as compensate them for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering.

However, punitive damages are also sometimes awarded in personal injury lawsuits. Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for extreme or intentional dangerous behavior and discourage others from participating in that same behavior in the future. Punitive damages are rarely allowed in personal injury cases, unless the victim can prove that the defendant acted with gross negligence or intentional malice.

The evidence standard for punitive damages differs between states, but it is higher than the standard of proof for compensatory damages. Rather than simply needing the preponderance of the evidence, the plaintiff must provide clear and convincing evidence for their version of events.

What is Clear and Convincing Evidence?

In order to prove a fact by clear and convincing evidence, a plaintiff must show that it is highly more likely to be true than untrue. For punitive damages, a 51% likelihood is not enough evidence. The plaintiff’s version of events must be highly probable in order for punitive damages to be awarded.

For example, if a drunk driver caused an accident that killed another motorist, punitive damages may be awarded on top of the compensatory damages in the wrongful death claim. However, the plaintiff would need clear and convincing evidence that the defendant was, in fact, under the influence.

In order to meet the “clear and convincing” standard of proof, the plaintiff will need more or better evidence than they would for compensatory damages.

Does the Defendant Have to Meet a Burden of Proof?

In general, the defendant in a personal injury case does not have the burden of proof. The plaintiff is the one bringing the case, so they must prove their story is true. However, a defendant will likely provide evidence of their own in order to introduce doubt into the minds of the jury regarding the plaintiff’s version of events. There are also certain cases where the burden of proof is shifted onto the defendant.

Shifting the Burden of Proof

There is one circumstance where the burden of proof shifts to the defendant. An affirmative defense is a set of facts that acknowledge the plaintiff’s claims, but mitigate the consequences for the defendant’s actions. If the defendant presents an affirmative defense, the burden of proof is shifted to the defendant. Some examples of possible affirmative defenses are:

  • The statute of limitations has expired
  • The plaintiff assumed the risk of being injured
  • The jurisdiction of the court does not extend over the case
  • The defendant’s actions were done to avoid greater harm

The defendant must provide evidence for these claims to meet the standard of proof.

What to Do After an Accident to Help Your Case

After any accident, it’s important that you take the following steps to protect yourself and provide evidence for your eventual personal injury claim:

Check for and document injuries

Make note of any pain you are feeling and take pictures of any visible injuries. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. If an ambulance is summoned to the scene of the accident, the medical team can check your injuries for you. If injuries are minor and no ambulance is called, you should still see a doctor as quickly as possible. Some injuries may be hidden or may progress gradually. A doctor will check for any injuries you may not see or feel immediately. They will also document your treatment.

Take pictures of the scene

Photographs provide compelling evidence in personal injury claims. Take pictures of any vehicles involved from multiple angles. Be sure to also get pictures of the accident scene as a whole. Make note of weather and traffic conditions at the time of the accident.

File a police report

Many insurance companies require a police report in order to file a claim. Even if the accident does not seem serious, call your local non-emergency line and ask for a police officer to come to the scene. The officer will ask questions of those involved and document the facts surrounding the accident.

Exchange information with the other party

Be sure to get the other party’s name, phone number, address, and insurance information. Gather the contact information of witnesses to the accident, in case they need to provide a statement later.

Report the accident to your insurance provider

Even if you end up filing a claim against the other party’s insurance company, you need to report the accident to your own insurance. Depending on your policy, they may cover some expenses until you receive a settlement and are able to repay them.

Consider hiring a personal injury lawyer

An experienced personal injury attorney has the knowledge necessary to offer legal advice, build your case, file a claim, and negotiate a settlement. You can file the claim yourself, but an attorney can make the process easier and less stressful as you recover from your injuries.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

After an accident, it’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed. You are likely trying to deal with pain, property damage, medical bills, and insurance companies all at once. A personal injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for the following:

An attorney can help you access adequate medical treatment, get into a rental car, navigate the recovery process, and understand what evidence is necessary for your case.

The Advocates personal injury law firm is a team of caring, competent professionals who are ready to help you throughout your entire case. When you hire an Advocate, you get up-front, honest communication, compassionate care, and fierce representation. Call or chat online with a live attorney for a free consultation. Don’t go through tough times alone. The Advocates are here to help.

 

Do I Need a Lawyer After a Minor Car Crash?

Car accidents can be upsetting and dangerous for everyone involved. Serious accidents can cause life-threatening injuries and devastating damage to your vehicle. Minor collisions, where the associated injuries and property damages aren’t severe, may seem like no big deal in comparison. It may be tempting to just walk away. It is important, however, to take the accident seriously. Even after a fender bender, you should report the accident to the police and your insurance company, seek medical attention, and consider contacting a car accident lawyer.

What Is Considered a Minor Car Accident?

The severity of a car accident depends on your injuries, the damage to your car, and the amount of money involved in any potential settlements. If no one involved in the car crash was seriously injured and the vehicles are still operable, the accident was likely a minor one. Some examples of minor vehicle damage may include:

  • A broken headlight or taillight
  • A cracked windshield
  • A small dent or scratch to the body of the vehicle
  • A broken side view mirror

Minor car accidents usually occur at low speeds, like being rear-ended in a parking lot. After a minor crash, you should be able to drive your car away from the scene of the accident.

What to Do After a Minor Car Accident

Every auto accident, even ones that don’t seem major, should be taken seriously. Regardless of the severity of your accident, you should follow the guidelines below after any vehicle collision

Check for injuries

Check your body for any visible injuries as well as any pain you may be feeling and be sure your passengers do the same. If anyone has serious injuries, seek medical care immediately. Even if no one appears to be injured, see a physician soon after your accident in case of hidden injuries. Tell your doctor you were in a car accident so they know what to look for. This will also ensure that your injuries are documented.

Move vehicles out of traffic if possible

If your car is operational, move it to the shoulder of the road or even into a nearby parking lot. This will allow traffic to continue to move and keep everyone safe as you deal with the accident.

Take photos of the scene

Document the accident with pictures. These can be used as evidence when determining who was at fault. Take pictures of all vehicles involved in the collision from multiple angles, as well as the scene of the accident itself. 

Report the accident to the police

Many insurance companies require a police report in order to file a claim. Even if you do not need an ambulance, call your local non-emergency line and ask them to send a police officer to the scene. Give the officer a factual account of the incident without speculating on whose fault the accident was.

Exchange information with the other driver

Calmly and professionally exchange contact information with the driver of the other vehicle. Be sure to get their name, address, phone number, and insurance information. Ask any witnesses for their contact information as well, in case they need to provide statements later.

Notify your insurance provider

Report the accident to your auto insurance company. Even if it is determined that you were not responsible for the accident, your insurance policy may cover initial damages until you receive a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. It is important that you notify your insurer as soon as you can to protect yourself and any insurance claims you may be entitled to.

Consider contacting a car accident lawyer

Not all car accidents require the assistance of an attorney. However, you may be entitled to compensation for any injuries or damages you suffered due to the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with your car accident case.

What NOT to Do After a Minor Car Accident

What you don’t do after an accident is just as important as what you do. Saying or doing something you shouldn’t can harm your case. You may even enable the other driver to file a claim against you.

Don’t admit fault

It may seem natural to apologize or say “it was my fault,” after a car accident. Do not do this. Insurance companies may see something as simple as an apology as an admission of fault. When giving the police a report of the accident, simply state the facts of the event. Do not give opinions or speculations on what happened. Do not admit fault to the police, the other driver, an insurance adjuster, or anyone else involved in the case.

Don’t leave the scene

In many places, leaving the scene of an accident is against the law. Regardless of how minor the accident may seem, stay put until law enforcement clears you to leave.

Don’t discuss the accident on social media

Anything you post on your social media page can be used against your claim. Avoid talking about the accident, your injuries, or your case in a public way.

Common Injuries From Minor Car Accidents

Immediately after a minor accident, you may feel fine physically. This might mean that you are uninjured, but it could also mean that you have hidden injuries. Thanks to the adrenaline produced by your body after an accident, you may have suffered injuries that you won’t notice for hours, days, or even weeks after the crash. 

In the time following the car accident, pay close attention to your body. Take note of any new symptoms or pain you are feeling, and get them looked at by a medical professional as soon as possible. Some common car accident injuries include:

  • Whiplash
  • Concussion
  • Muscle strains or tears
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries

While you may not have suffered broken bones or large lacerations, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately after a car accident, even if you believe you are not hurt. Some serious injuries, such as back pain, may progress gradually. This can make them difficult to notice. Easily overlooked injuries can cause serious physical and emotional distress if left unchecked.

What Damages Can I Recover After an Accident?

Even after a fender bender, you may find bills and expenses piling up around you. If you were in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical bills, including ambulance rides, doctor visits, chiropractic care, and physical therapy
  • Vehicle repairs, tow truck fees, and rental car costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering

A car accident attorney can help you determine whether you have a case and what damages you may be owed according to the law.

Insurance Companies Are Not Your Friend

Insurance providers will often do anything they can to avoid offering fair compensation for injuries and other damages. They have a number of tactics to get out of paying a full settlement. Some things an insurance adjuster might do to try and minimize your settlement are:

Deny liability

An insurance company may try to insist that their client was not at fault for the accident. Documenting your crash thoroughly can help you provide evidence for your claim.

Offer a quick settlement

By giving a settlement offer quickly, the insurance provider may hope to satisfy you with less money than you deserve. Your medical treatment needs to be completed before receiving a settlement so that you know the full extent of your damages.

Claim that your injuries were not a result of the accident

An insurance company may try to claim that your injuries were pre-existing conditions, not caused by the car crash. This is why it is crucial to seek medical care after your accident and have all your injuries documented by your doctor.

Diminish the severity of your injuries

Insurance adjusters will use any evidence they can to assert that your injuries are not as bad as you say. Avoid posting anything on social media that could give the insurance provider proof that you are not hurt. For example, a picture of you participating in physical activity could serve as evidence that you are not in pain.

Attempt to be friendly

The insurance adjuster may ask you questions about your injuries or recovery. This might seem like a kind, caring thing to do. Avoid talking to the adjuster about these things– they are likely trying to gain your trust and gather information from you.

Encourage you not to hire an attorney

Insurance companies know that accident victims who hire a personal injury lawyer are more likely to receive a larger settlement than if they were not being represented by an injury attorney. They do not want you to have legal representation that can negotiate your settlement for you.

When Should I Hire an Attorney?

If you have medical expenses, vehicle damage, or ongoing pain as a result of your motor vehicle accident, it is a good idea to contact an attorney. If your damages were due to another driver’s carelessness, you may have a legal right to compensation. A car accident lawyer can help you understand the claims process and receive the payout you deserve.

The Advocates are a law firm of compassionate, competent attorneys who can help you receive the car accident settlement that you are entitled to. An Advocate can help you access medical care, find a body shop for car repairs, build your personal injury claim, and negotiate a fair settlement.  

Call or chat online with a live attorney for a free consultation. You deserve a legal team that communicates openly, cares about your recovery, and doesn’t take a dime unless you win your case. You deserve an Advocate!

The Top 5 Most Dangerous Roads in Montana

With few dense urban centers, most people are surprised to learn Montana is the most dangerous state to drive in. With a record 22.6 car accident deaths per 100,000 people, Montana’s roads and highways are some of the most deadly in the entire country. The biggest reasons why are due to low seat belt use, only 74% compared to the national average of 87%, and a culture of drinking and driving. Too often, driving in Montana is a gamble for too many commuters. Below is a list The Montana Advocates have compiled of the top 5 deadliest roadways in all of Montana.

5. US Highway 191: An Icy Gauntlet of Death

During the winter US Highway 191 is so dangerous that locals suggest avoiding driving through the Canyon despite it being the quickest route to Bozeman and the Yellowstone National Park. Running north to south from Bozeman down to West Yellowstone, US 191 is a snaking and twisting reach of carnage and destruction during the snowy season and is responsible for plenty of car accidents each year. Built in the shadows of two mountain ranges and long known as the preferred route for hurried 18-wheelers that skid and slid as they rush to deliver their cargo, driving through this expanse of Montana asphalt is a little like running the gauntlet. Traveling down an iced US 191 is without a doubt a white-knuckle, panic-inducing experience. Any motorist prone to heart palpitations or a weak bladder should probably just take Highway 287 instead.

4. US Highway 12: The Road of Treachery

From forest fires to rock slides to moose crossings, US Highway 12 surely has its fair share of treacherous obstacles for drivers to overcome. But what earns this roadway a spot on this list is the winding and bending dangers of the infamous Lolo Pass. Located on the border of Montana and Idaho, Lolo Pass is a sky high mountain roadway twisting through the Rocky Mountains at an eye-popping elevation of over 5,000 feet. With few guardrails and sharp turns that seem to pop up out of nowhere, Lolo Pass is a dizzying experience that requires absolute attention of any driver willing to test the mettle of its asphalt. Do yourself a favor when traveling on US 12 and just ignore any texts you receive while driving and try not to blink too long because a moment of distraction is all it takes to send you careening off the road and down into the chasm below.

3. US Highway 93: Where the Wild Things Are

Reaching south from the Canadian border straight through Missoula and all the way down to Idaho, US Highway 93 is one of the most deadly roads to travel on in the United States due to the enormous amount of animal crossings. With over 3,000 wildlife crashes reported in Montana for the year of 2015, Highway 93 is ground zero for animal car accidents in the US. The most dangerous section, however, is the 20-mile stretch between the 90 and 110 mileposts, which studies have shown to have the highest concentration of deer, elk, and even bears lumbering across the roadway. So if you ever find yourself traveling down northwest along Flatlead Lake on US 93, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for any lonely moose crossing the road.

2. US Highway 2: The Lonely Road

What lands the infamous US Highway 2 in the penultimate spot on this list is how remote much of this roadway is at times. Indeed, the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety lists Highway 2 as one of the most dangerous roads in the country due to its abnormal fatality rate, which is easily the highest in the nation. The reason for Highway 2 is due to how long it takes for emergency vehicles to respond to an accident. Car accident victims must often fend for themselves while they wait on average of 80 minutes for ambulances arrive. And considering that Montanans have a propensity of not using seat belts, Highway 2 is deathtrap just waiting to spring.

1. Interstate 90: Don’t Let the Good Times Roll

It’s little surprise that Interstate 90 sits atop the rankings for most dangerous Montana roads. In fact, I-90 is considered the most dangerous stretch of highway in all of the United States. And the reason why has nothing to do with the road itself or any wildlife wandering over its paved lanes.

Unfortunately, I-90 owes its reputation of recklessness to one thing and one thing alone: drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there was an average of 5 drunk-driving-related deaths per 100,000 people between 2004 to 2013 along Interstate 90. Heavy drinking is a big part of Montana culture and when you mix this with the usual distracted drivers, excessive speeding, and a statewide habit of not using seat belts, Interstate 90 is, by far, the de facto highway of mayhem and destruction in the entire United States.

Call the Attorneys with the Advocates Today

And there you have it. The worst roads and highways in all of Montana. Automobile accidents are a grim reality of the road for far too many people. If you’ve been hurt in an accident through no fault of your own you will need an Advocate on your side. Our car accident lawyers have decades of experience helping victim of an accident victims recover what they are owed according to Montana law. Don’t wait to get back on the road to recovery. Contact the Montana Advocates today. You can either call our office at 406-534-7179 or chat online with a live car accident attorney right now from our homepage. You deserve an Advocate!

Tips For Driving Safely on Rural Roads

More than half of all accidents occur on rural roads while only 13 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas. Here are some tips to avoid accidents on these potentially dangerous roads.

1. Slow Down

While rural roads may give you the impression that you are all alone on the open road, you must be watchful for other drivers. Follow the speed limit. If you do not see any signs go a reasonable speed – slower than freeway speed.

2. Watch for Blind Curves

Rural roads can be difficult to navigate because they are not as well kept as urban roads. They may not be graded like urban roads, and the visibility may be limited. If you are driving around a curve where you may not be able to see other drivers. Stay as far right as you can without sliding off the road. Go slow enough that you have time to react and respond to anything that crosses your path.

3. Pass carefully

Some rural two-lane roads allow for passing on the left. Always approach these areas carefully. As you pass you will be moving into the path of oncoming traffic. Always check to make sure your path to pass is clear.

4. Watch for slow-moving vehicles.

Rural roads can be home to certain slow moving vehicles like tractors and farm trucks. Tractors move slowly and may be wider than other vehicles, but it is legal for them to be on the road. Treat them like you would any other vehicle. Give them space to travel, and do not follow too closely.

Statements To Avoid After an Accident

After an accident, you may be feeling shaken and confused. This is a common reaction for most people. The scene of a collision can be a very hectic place. Many factors come into play and emotions are usually running high.

Despite your efforts to do everything right behind the wheel, some accidents are simply out of your control. When you’ve been involved in a crash due to another driver’s negligence, there are certain statements you should avoid saying at the scene of an accident.

In the following article, we will outline what words can hurt your legal claim and stop you from getting maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. Don’t worry. Our car accident lawyers with The Advocates are here to guide you through the aftermath of a collision.

What Not to Say After a Car Accident

One of the most common mistakes people make at the scene of an accident is unintentionally giving an admission of fault, especially in situations where you are not the driver responsible for the crash. Some statements can accidentally allude to an admission of guilt. These words often include:

 

1. Do not say “I am sorry” after the accident– While it’s human nature to want to reconcile a very stressful environment, you should not apologize for something you didn’t do. Even though this advice can be used in most life situations, you certainly do not want to say you are sorry at the scene of an accident because this is considered an admission of fault.

2. Do not speculate or give inaccurate information– Giving information that may or may not be true about the exact cause of your accident can potentially hurt your legal claim. If the statements you give prove to be inaccurate, the at-fault party’s insurance company may misinterpret your words or even portray a new narrative suggesting that you are the driver responsible for the crash.

3. Do not say “I am okay” at the scene of an accident– Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been injured, you should avoid stating that you feel fine. Some accident injuries take several days or even weeks to notice. If you plan on filing a personal injury claim, this type of statement can be used against you and the legitimacy of your injuries.

4. Do not say the accident was your fault– Unfortunately, we sometimes admit to things that are not our fault to simply de-escalate a tense situation. However, if you are ever involved in an accident that is not your fault, you should avoid saying this at all costs. It may help to take a few seconds to collect your thoughts right after the collision occurs before speaking to the other driver, any witnesses or the police.

In addition to the above statements, you should keep communication at the scene of an accident very limited to what is absolutely necessary, i.e. contact and insurance information.

When to Contact a Montana Attorney

If you or a loved one were involved in an accident through no fault of your own, you will need an Advocate on your side. Our car accident attorneys know the ins and outs of determining fault and getting you the recovery you are owed.

Don’t wait to contact our law firm. You can call The Advocates today at 406-534-7179 or chat directly with one of our lawyers on our homepage.

Records You Should Keep After A Car Accident

Records have an immense importance in a car accident case. There is no doubt that the moment immediately after a car accident can be very confusing. However, if you have decided to file a claim for a car accident, you might require to give prove from two dimensions. Firstly, the damages you have suffered. Secondly, the driver was at fault. Let’s have a look at the certain type of records you will be needed in order to have a fair chance of proving above cited two things. Hence, in such a situation, it is imperative to have an experienced car accident lawyer by your side to get the maximum financial coverage for the injuries you have sustained in the car accident.

1. Accident Records

It is advisable to keep the records of the accident, as they are critical to your claim. These are as follows:

  • Pictures– Taking the pictures of the damaged car and the accident proves to be a strong point in the long run. Further, take the pictures of the injuries sustained in that accident and how they progress.
  • Police Report– The accident report given by the police contains valuable information in it. It is not only that a law enforcement officer has indicated his/her opinion about how the accident occurred but also it shows that the driver received the ticket or not. Besides this, it also includes statements from the witnesses such as weather conditions or location of the crash.
  • Repair Records– Keeping the car records related to the damage to your vehicle is important. As the records indicate the value of the vehicle before the accident and the probable financial loss.
  • Car Accident Journal– yet another important thing which can be used as an evidence is a car accident journal. It is advisable to the victim from his/her attorney to write down everything about the accident while your memory is fresh. This journal can help the potential victim or the insurance adjuster or the jury get a better sense of what you have been through after the accident.

2. Medical Records

  • After the car accident, the victim normally sustained severe injuries. In such a scenario, their medical expense makes up a significant portion of their demand for the compensation. While you wait for the accident claim to be resolved, medical bills may pile up. Therefore, keep the records of the following medical information:
  • Diagnostic records related to your injuries
  • Emergency medical service records, such as paramedic expenses or ambulance
  • Emergency room treatment records
  • Test results, lab reports, MRI Scans, and other pictures or visual depictions of your injuries
  • Medical reports prepared by your physician as well as notes from medical consultations
  • Physical therapy records
  • All of your medical bill receipts

Hence, it is advisable to keep a detailed summary of your medical records as you receive them, as they are often quite exhaustive.

The bottom line is if you are injured in a car accident, call Santa Fe Springs Personal Injury Attorney who can help you identify as well as gather important documents related to your claim.

Top 5 Most Scenic Drives in Montana

Few things are more quintessential Americana than the road trip. A veritable scenic wonderland awaits intrepid motorists across our great nation. Those lucky enough to call Montana home are surrounded by some of the most diverse and amazing scenery to be found anywhere. Lewis and Clark described its natural beauty as “scenes of visionary enchantment.” If you’re ready to pack up for some spectacular natural beauty via the highways and byways then here are some of the most scenic drives in Montana from the car accident lawyers at the Advocates.

Going-to-the-Sun Road

No list of scenic drives in Montana could be complete without including this spectacular route through the heart of Glacier National Park. The 50-mile passage originally opened in 1933 and was the first National Park route specifically designed with the automobile tourist in mind. Passing by luscious cedar forests and waterfalls as it winds its way up toward ancient glaciers and the wind swept alpine circa of Logan Pass at 6,647 feet. Mountain goats, bighorn sheep and even grizzly bears are common sights.

Snowplow crews take around 10 weeks to clear the upper road of 80 feet or more of snow allowing motorists access. The road typically opens in early June and stays open through mid-October. The visitors center at Logan Pass is also a very popular stop offering amazing day hikes and ranger led activities as well as education about the local animals and geographic features.

Beartooth Highway

Designated an “All-American” road in 2002, this amazing 68-mile route reaches heights of nearly 11,000-feet and features breathtaking views of snowcapped peaks, glaciers, alpine lakes and plateaus. Running between Red Lodge and the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Beartooth Highway features numerous scenic lookouts allowing an in-depth appreciation of the views.

The highway famously follows the 1872 footsteps of General Philip Sheridan over Beartooth Mountain returning from inspecting the newly formed Yellowstone National Park. Understandably so, snow storms can happen year around at the upper altitudes, so checking the local road conditions is always a good idea before heading out. Normally the road is open from May until October before turning into a popular snowmobile route in the winter months. This drive was famously described as “the most beautiful drive in America,” by late CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt.

Paradise Valley

This 62-mile paved loop south of Livingston meanders along the Yellowstone River in one of Montana’s most scenic valleys. Flanked on the east by the looming Absaroka Range and on the west by the Gallatin Range a few miles off is a wonderful contrast to the open fields and grasslands of the valley, making it one of the most scenic drives in Montana. The picturesque Mallard’s Rest Fishing Access Site is a very popular spot to take a break and try your luck with the fish just picnic down by the river.

Off a gravel road about a block near milepost 42, you’ll find the Yellowstone River in a lazy horseshoe around the campground with the Absaroka mountains as the backdrop. If you’re headed to Yellowstone on Highway 89 then this side trip through the valley offers a respite from the heavy traffic and some of the prettiest views in the area.

Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway

Connecting Libby and Eureka, this 67-mile route follows the Kootenai River and Lake Koocanusa. Formed in 1974 by the Libby Dam, the narrow gorge of the lake extends all the way north into British Columbia. The name sounds like it has Indian origins but actually a local woman from Eureka combined the first three letters from the river and Canada then adding U.S.A. to win a naming contest hosted by the Corp of Engineers.

Wedged between the Purcell Mountains and the Salish Mountains the steep and rocky canyon walls are perfect habitat for bighorn sheep which are frequently seen in the area. Set aside some extra time If you are a fisherman as Lake Koocanusa is famed as one of the best landlocked salmon fishing spots in the northwest and the Kootenai River is considered a blue-ribbon trout stream with trophy-size rainbow trout. Other popular attractions include sightseeing in local ghost towns and Libby Dam, rock climbing, boating and numerous campground and picnic spots including one on an island.

Kings Hill Scenic Byway

Starting just southeast of Great Falls and heading 71-miles down to White Sulphur Springs, this popular byway passes through the Lewis and Clark National Forest and Little Belt Mountains. Pristine mountain lakes, wild streams and deep forests offer a wide variety of terrain and wildlife habitat encompassing this byway. For adventurous drivers the gravel roads seen crisscrossing the main road leads to over 450 miles of rugged mountain scenery, high lakes, trailheads, campgrounds and many old historic mines.

Much of the wildlife present when Lewis and Clark made their passage still live in the area including mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk, cougars, lynxes, wolverines and black bears to mention a few. The Showdown Ski Area sits just south of Kings Hill Pass as well some interesting historical museums littering the small towns makes this byway one with something for everyone.

The Montana Advocates

Car accidents can be traumatic for anyone involved. Worrying about insurance claims, lost wages and the headache of an ongoing legal case is a lot for anyone to have to deal with, let alone a family with a member recovering from a serious medical condition because of their accident. The best personal injury attorney who specializes in car accidents is a life saver in overwhelming situations like that.

Here at the Advocates, our car accident lawyers believe everyone deserves a dedicated and diligent professional to help guide you through the difficult process of obtaining just compensation after a car accident. From handling insurance adjusters and compiling medical records to assist in renting a car, our Montana personal injury lawyers will be there to assist every step of the way. Call the Advocates today 24/7 at 406-272-6986 or use our live online chat right away on our homepage. You deserve an Advocate!

3 Ways to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents

At some point in everyone’s life, gravity sends you sprawling unto the floor. Whether you slip on a spilled liquid, trip due to an electrical cord, or fall because of an icy patch outside of the post office, slip-and-fall incidents are one of the most common types of accidents, as well as one of the most dangerous. According to the US Department of Labor, slip and fall accidents are some of the most typical injury-producing incidents to happen in the workplace.

The following is a list of the most frequent causes of accidents involving slips and falls according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

  • Wet and slick floors
  • Broken or uneven walkways and sidewalks
  • Improper matting or a complete lack of mats
  • Unkempt or unspooled extension or electrical cords
  • Slips caused by inclement weather, such as sleet, ice, snow or frost

Thankfully, the Montana Advocates have assembled this explainer about the top 3 ways anyone can prevent slip and fall injuries in your home or place of work.

1. Where the Rubber Meets the Ground: How To Stop Slip and Fall Accidents

Easily the best  way to prevent a slip and fall incident in your workplace or home is to put down rubber mats specially designed to grip and keep shoes from slipping and sliding when they are trodden upon. Multiple studies have shown that well over 25,000 slip and fall incidents occur every day in the United States, and the best way to prevent such incidents from taking place at all is by putting down proper matting designed to help reduce needless slips and falls. It’s wise to only us floor matting determined to be of ‘high traction’ by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI). Anything less than this standard will likely not be adequate enough to keep people standing on their own two feet.

2. Sign For The Times: Use Safety Signs To Prevent Slips

The next best way to prevent slip and falls is to deploy warning signs. After you mistakenly spill a liquid or food item on the floor, the very first thing you should do is post a safety sign warning the area is a hazardous for anyone who may be walking nearby. Such signs are typically colored bright yellow and are easy to see from a distance. Regardless of whether you quickly clean up the slick surface, you should still station a warning sign as a reminder to other people that they should put safety first and always be attentive to any potentially dangerous surface.

3. Slip Shoes: Safety Before Fashion

The most proactive way to prevent landing on your backside and becoming a victim of a slip and fall incident is to buy a dependable pair of slip-resistant shoes. Technology has come far over the last generation and slip-resistant shoes are now able to grip and grab onto the floor in almost any slick situation. So the next time you’re shopping, do yourself a favor and pick up the best pair of slip-resistant shoes you can find. Trust us. You’ll thank me later.

Contact The Montana Advocates Today

Did you know that each and every year over 8 million people are injured in slip and fall incidents just in the US alone? Often, such injuries could have been avoided if common sense precautions, like the ones above, had been taken ahead of time. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident due to another person’s recklessness, you will need an Advocate on your side to deal with the legal aftermath.

The attorneys with the Montana Advocates have decades of experience helping slip and fall accident victims just like you. Don’t hesitate to get back on your feet again. Contact the Montana Advocates today for a free case evaluation. You can either call us at (406) 534-7179 or chat online immediately with a live attorney from our homepage. Don’t wait. Contact us today. You deserve an Advocate!