The Hazards of the Road
It is hard for most of us to imagine a world without automobiles. As a mobile society, our entire culture is built around our vehicles. Unfortunately, there is a high price paid for this modern marvel with more than 30,000 fatalities and 2.5 million injuries in the U.S. each year. While these numbers have declined by a small amount in past years, conservative estimates are that more than 20,000,000 lives have been lost in automobile crashes in the past century.
Colorado, of course, is not immune to the reality and cost of auto accidents. According to the National Highway traffic Safety Administration, Colorado experienced 27,213 traffic accidents that resulted in 447 traffic fatalities and more than 11,000 serious injuries in 2011. Of these, 36 percent were in accidents where alcohol-impaired driving was a contributing cause.
The Automobile Association of America conducted a study in 2008, reporting in its conclusions that each traffic fatality represents a cost of $3.2 million and each injury an average of $68,110. That placed the costs of traffic accidents in 2007 at a stunning total north of $166 billion dollars when all costs were included.
Dealing with Automobile and Truck Accidents
These costs underline the importance of acting to protect your rights if you or a loved one is involved in a vehicle accident. All states require drivers to have a certain level of auto insurance and have enacted laws to protect individuals in cases of injury caused by negligence. There are specific laws and guidelines that spell out the steps necessary to protect your legal rights when involved in an accident.
In almost all cases involving fatalities or serious injuries, it is important to consult with qualified accident lawyers for advice and guidance. These professionals are experienced in the issues surrounding automobile and truck accidents and understand the important issues that must be addressed. Experienced accident lawyers will play a vital role in protecting the rights of you and/or your loved ones.
Deciding when to Use a Personal Injury Lawyer for Traffic Accidents
Whether or not it is advisable after a traffic accident to consult with an auto accident lawyer Denver firms employ depends on several factors. You should seek an appointment with a qualified attorney or firm if you feel any of the following factors are relevant:
• You or a loved one is involved in a serious accident and you do not know what to do
• The other driver in an accident was uninsured or underinsured
• There is a dispute over who was at fault in the accident
• Your and/or a loved one suffers serious injury, especially If it is a type that has long-term consequences, physical disabilities, and costs
• You do not believe you are being offered adequate compensation for your injuries and medical expenses by the insurance carrier
• You are approaching the limits of your state’s statutes for time to file a legal claim and resolution is not in sight
• The insurance provider involved is exerting pressure for you to agree to a quick settlement, especially if encouraging you to not seek legal counsel
While it is always best to err on the side of being safe and protecting your rights, not every fender-bender accident justifies the time and expense of involving accident lawyers. If you suffer only minor injuries, such as a small bruise on the arm, there is limited physical damage to the autos, and it appears that insurance is adequately covering all the expenses, retaining an attorney might not be necessary.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Responds to Your Case
If you feel your case justifies seeking legal counsel, the first thing that an auto accident lawyer Denver accident victims use will do with you is review your case and the facts surrounding it. Many firms and attorneys will allow an initial, free consultation for this process. Providing advice and guidance is one of the most important activities that will occur at this point.
Depending on the unique circumstances of your specific situation, you may decide to engage the attorney to handle your case and to deal with the insurance company and other necessary issues. You will be asked to sign a contract that details the working relationship. The vast majority of personal injury lawyers work on what is called a contingency basis. In this arrangement the lawyer receives no initial or progress payments and usually covers the expenses of the case. When a settlement is reached, the lawyer and/or the law firm will receive a percentage of the funds collected.
Hopefully, you will avoid the need to deal with these issues. If, however, you or a loved one becomes part of the statistics, carefully review your options and ensure that you act to protect your legal rights by contacting an auto accident lawyer Denver residents trust.