All vehicles have blind spots. Blind spots are areas where a driver’s view is obstructed despite the use of their rearview or side mirrors. To observe whether a vehicle’s blind spot is clear, the driver must look over their shoulder. Checking blind spots and avoiding driving in them are some of the first things new drivers are taught to do. However, after drivers become more comfortable operating a vehicle, they may also become complacent and ignore the basics.
Although blind spot accidents are less common than other types of accidents, they can be serious and deadly. Trucks have particularly large blind spots. The design of a tractor trailer prevents visibility with a rearview mirror. Trailers are typically too tall to allow a line of sight towards the rear of the truck. Because of the sheer size and weight of large commercial trucks, when they can cause catastrophic damages in accidents.
Serious motor vehicle accidents often cause those involved to sustain severe injuries that likely have long term and even lifelong consequences. Depending on the severity of the injuries, victims may require ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation. Obviously, the more extensive the medical care an injured victim requires, the more significant the costs will be. Medical expenses can quickly add up causing a financial burden that leaves victims feeling overwhelmed.
Those injured in a blind spot accident may be entitled to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim. Virginia law requires injured victims to file a personal injury lawsuit within two years from the date of the accident. The statute of limitations defines the deadline, and if the time period expires, you will be prohibited from filing your claim. If you fail to timely file your claim, the court will dismiss the claim, and you will have no legal remedy for seeking compensation. The deadline is strict, regardless of the legal merits of your claim or the extent of your injuries.
Contact a Virginia blind spot accident attorney as soon as you are able. The sooner you retain counsel, the sooner they can build your case, and the sooner you can receive the compensation you deserve. Collections agencies certainly will not wait to collect any debt you owe for medical expenses. Don’t hesitate to get your personal injury claim started.
Determining Fault in a Blind Spot Accident
Blind spot accidents are particularly frustrating because they are entirely preventable. Most of the time, the driver who moved into the blind spot of another vehicle is considered to be the negligent party. Drivers have a responsibility to not drive in the blind spot of other drivers on the road. Maintaining a position that is in another driver’s blindspot is negligent, and you may be liable for damages if an accident occurs. Every driver needs to know their vehicle’s blind spots, so they may safely clear them before turning or changing lanes.
Blind Spot Accident Damages
Blind spot accident victims may be entitled to recover financial compensation for compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are intended to compensate victims for their actual losses. They are categorized as either special damages or general damages.
Special damages – It is helpful to think of special damages as compensation for things you receive a bill for. For example, medical treatment, medications, surgeries, therapy, and rehabilitation. Injured victims may also be entitled to lost wages or the cost of hiring someone to provide services the victim can no longer perform. In addition, if the injuries require modifications to the victim’s home or vehicle or medical equipment, the costs can be included as special damages.
As mentioned, special damages include lost wages—both those incurred at the time of the injury and those the victim may lose in the future. Present lost wages are fairly easy to calculate by multiplying the number of hours or days missed from work times the rate of pay. Lost wages also include lost tips, commissions, or retirement contributions that injured victims lost due to missed work.
Future lost wages are more difficult to calculate, but an actuary can assist victims in calculating them. An actuary will take into account the current wage of the victim, life expectancy, potential for advancement, as well as the victim’s education and professional training. Because compensatory damages are intended to compensate for actual costs, it is important to meticulously document any accident-related expenses.
Keep bills and receipts for any costs required to diagnose, treat, or recover from your injuries. In addition, you should track any time missed from work.
General damages – Victims may receive damages for intangible injuries that don’t have a price tag, but that result in very real costs. General damages include the costs of a victim’s pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, or dismemberment.
Although they are awarded more rarely than compensatory damages, punitive damages are available to victims in certain circumstances. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate victims, rather they are intended to punish negligent parties who engage in especially egregious behavior. The hope is that punitive damages will deter similar behavior in the future, preventing further injury.
If the negligent driver was driving while intoxicated or distracted, punitive damages may be available. Punitive damages are awarded by juries only, and are not negotiated as part of a settlement agreement between the parties. Virginia law places caps on punitive damages.
If your loved one suffered fatal injuries in a blind spot injury, family members may be able to file a wrongful death suit. A wrongful death lawsuit operates to compensate families for the losses suffered because of the loss of their loved one. Possible damages may include:
- Pain and suffering for the loved one’s experience.
- Loss of the deceased person’s compassion, advice, guidance, and comfort.
- Services the deceased would have provided the family including domestic services, child care, or protection.
- Hospital bills or the costs of other medical treatments the deceased person incurred before death.
- Funeral and burial costs.
Like the statute of limitations applicable to personal injury claims, Virginia law requires families to file a wrongful death suit within two years of the decedent’s death.
Recovering from a blind spot accident is a full time job. Let your attorney work hard to fight for your legal rights while you work to heal from your injuries.