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Swollen Stomach After a Car Accident? Know Your Legal Rights

by John Gomez | Last Updated: February 22, 2022

Swollen Stomach After a Car Accident Know Your Legal Rights

After a car crash, you anticipate injuries like whiplash, broken bones, and lacerations. However, other injuries can occur. If you experience any abdominal pain or a swollen stomach after a car accident, you may seek compensation.

3 Things to Do if You Have a Swollen Stomach After a Car Accident

If you experience a swollen stomach after a motor vehicle accident—even days later—it’s critical that you take the appropriate action.

First, seek medical treatment immediately

Abdominal pain or a swollen stomach after a car accident is a medical emergency. These symptoms could be a sign of serious internal injuries.

In some cases, a swollen stomach results from seat belt syndrome. On impact, a seat belt can cause blunt force trauma. Seat belt syndrome refers to chest and abdominal injuries caused by a motor vehicle crash.

Next, follow through with medical care

If you skip a doctor’s appointment or don’t follow through with treatment, you may not recover as quickly, and you risk making your condition worse.

If someone else is responsible for your accident, you need to establish medical care. If you miss appointments, the insurance company could argue that you are not really hurt.

Then, contact a personal injury attorney

When you must deal with the physical and emotional aftermath of a crash, the last thing on your mind is a lawsuit. However, a personal injury claim may be the only way to maximize your compensation. A settlement can pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages that you incur.

Hiring an attorney also takes the burden off you and allows you to focus on healing. Your attorney will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. You can rest and not worry about answering phone calls and emails from insurance representatives.

Swollen stomach after a motor vehicle accident: How can a lawyer help me?

You may ask yourself, “Do I really need an attorney to receive a settlement?” But perhaps the better question is, “Can I receive a fair settlement without an attorney?” And the answer is, “Probably not.”

The insurance company will likely offer you a fraction of what your injuries are truly worth. Or worse, they’ll say that the crash was your fault, and they don’t owe you anything.

If you have a swollen stomach after a car accident, there are several ways an attorney can help you.

A lawyer can pursue justice

Unfortunately, without legal representation, you are an easy target. The insurance company may accuse you of causing the accident when the evidence proves otherwise.

Some motor vehicle crashes require an investigation to prove or determine negligence. This could require an accident scene re-creation and tracking down witnesses. Most individuals don’t have the manpower or resources to carry out such endeavors.

An attorney can maximize your settlement

A settlement is about more than paying your current medical bills and lost wages. Some swollen stomach injuries may result in long-term or even lifelong complications. Your settlement must reflect these expenses because once you accept an insurance payout, you usually forfeit the right to sue for more money in the future.

A car accident lawyer has valuable insight

An experienced personal injury law firm has already dealt with numerous insurance companies. They know what to expect and have an idea of how your case could play out.

Trial attorneys are also familiar with the judges in your jurisdiction, and possibly the insurance company’s attorneys. They aren’t walking into your case blindly.

Swollen stomach after a car accident: Who will pay my medical bills?

Car accident-related injuries often result in enormous medical expenses. From the ambulance ride to surgery and ongoing therapy, the costs quickly add up. If another party caused your car accident, you shouldn’t have to pay for these expenses.

For example, the following individuals and entities may be responsible for a car accident:

  •     The municipality, for roads in disrepair or malfunctioning stoplights
  •     A car manufacturer, for faulty brakes or engineering flaws
  •     Another driver, for negligence such as distracted driving or speeding
  •     A trucking company, if the driver needed to break the law and work more than the allowed hours per day

Sometimes, the negligence is quite clear. In other circumstances, an investigation must take place to determine responsibility.

Deadlines to File a Lawsuit for a Swollen Stomach After a Car Crash

Injured parties have limited time to file a personal injury claim.

In California courts, for example, the deadline to file a lawsuit for car accident injuries is:

  •     Two years from the date of the accident; or
  •     One year from the date you discovered your injury

California’s statute of limitations may be different from other jurisdictions. To protect your legal rights, speak with an attorney right away.

Should I file a lawsuit if the other driver is uninsured?

Possibly. You should consult with a car accident lawyer to discuss your options. Don’t assume that you don’t have legal recourse just because the other driver is uninsured.

Will I receive money from the criminal case?

Your car accident may result in criminal charges if the other driver broke the law. For example, they drove while intoxicated or above the posted speed limit.

The criminal case could award you money as restitution, but this is not the same thing as a personal injury award.

Furthermore, you file car accident claims in civil court, not a criminal court. Your right to pursue a car accident settlement is separate from any criminal court proceedings. You can file a personal injury claim even if criminal charges are dismissed or never brought forth.

How much are swollen stomach injuries worth?

Determining a settlement’s worth requires more than simply adding up your current medical bills.

You may receive compensation for both your economic damages and non-economic damages.

  •     Economic damages have a cost associated with them, such as a doctor’s appointment or vehicle repairs.
  •     Non-economic damages are the intangible consequences of an injury, such as emotional distress.

With the help of a car accident attorney, you can pursue compensation for both types of damages.

Examples of economic damages

The financial impact of a car accident can seem insurmountable.

If another party’s negligence caused your swollen stomach injuries, you shouldn’t have to pay for these expenses yourself:

  • Emergency medical care
    • Ambulance ride
    • ER visit
    • Diagnostic tests like CT scans and MRIs
  • Ongoing medical treatment for your car accident-related injuries
    • Out-patient doctor appointments
    • Surgery
    • Hospitalizations and in-patient treatment
    • Physical or occupational therapy
    • Counseling
    • Medication
  • Lost income
    • While you recover
    • If you are permanently disabled due to the accident
  • In-home care, if your injuries prevent you from taking care of yourself
  • Cleaning or childcare services, if you have to hire someone to do these tasks

Examples of non-economic damages

Car accident injuries can change your life forever.

You deserve compensation for the emotional, psychological, and mental challenges you face.

  • Pain and suffering
    • Physical pain
    • Emotional suffering and distress
  • Embarrassment and loss of self-esteem due to permanent scarring or amputation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Loss of intimacy with a spouse
  • Inability to care for your children
  • Inability to participate in family activities and hobbies

How is the cost of economic and non-economic damages determined?

When an attorney calculates your damages, they may consult other professionals such as financial experts, occupational specialists, and health professionals. A settlement is typically your one chance for compensation for your accident-related injuries, so maximize the amount.

Do I have to go to court to receive a car accident settlement?

Not necessarily. Many car accident cases successfully settle through out-of-court negotiations. But sometimes, your best chance at justice is to put your case in front of a judge or jury.

For many injured people, just the thought of a court trial is overwhelming. Your attorney will be by your side throughout the entire process. You will feel prepared and knowledgeable before you step foot into a courthouse.

If your attorney advises you that a trial is in your best interest, you should know that:

  •     As the injured party, you have the final say if you go to court or not
  •     A trial may be the best option to pursue maximum compensation for your swollen stomach injuries

Before choosing a car accident attorney to represent you, ask them how often they go to trial and their court outcomes.

3 Qualities to Look for in a Car Accident Law Firm

Many personal injury law firms offer a free consultation or case evaluation. This is your chance to ask questions about the firm and decide if they are the right attorneys to handle your case. Here are three qualities you should look for in an attorney to handle your swollen stomach after a car accident case:

An attorney who prepares your case for trial, right from the start

You want an attorney who will follow your case to the end. You may not have to go to court, but they should handle your case as if it will. An attorney should be ready to take the best course of action for you.

A 24/7 law firm

Car accidents don’t just happen Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You may need to talk to someone ASAP and someone at the law firm should be able to take your call.

A law firm with solid results

Each car accident injury lawsuit is unique. But past favorable outcomes can be a good indicator of a firm’s future results. Maximized settlements show that a firm has the resources and manpower to pursue justice on your behalf.

Car Accident Attorney Fees

Many people want to know, “How much does a car accident lawyer cost?” Personal injury lawyers may work on a contingency fee basis. They take their attorney fees out of the settlement. However, there may be other expenses associated with legal representation.

Many car accident law firms offer a free case review, where you can ask questions about payment:

  •     How much, if anything, do you charge upfront?
  •     Will I owe you any money if I lose my case?
  •     Could there be other litigation costs in addition to your fees?

Before you hire an attorney, you should understand their fee structure.

How long does a car accident lawsuit take to settle?

Car accident lawsuits can take time to settle. High-value settlements that involve serious injuries may take longer.

No one wants a long, drawn-out legal case. But it may take some time for your attorney to successfully negotiate the best possible settlement for you.

If you already have creditors calling you, let your attorney know. If appropriate, your attorney can notify your creditors about your car accident lawsuit and that you anticipate a settlement.

Can I file a lawsuit if I refused treatment at the accident scene?

Refusing an ambulance ride or on-scene medical care does not automatically disqualify you from a lawsuit. It’s not unheard of for an injured person to feel “okay” immediately after an accident.

The adrenaline rush you experience after a crash can mask your injuries. That’s why it’s a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible. They can examine you and treat any injuries before they worsen.

If you wait too long to seek medical care, the insurance company could question the cause of your injuries. They could argue that another incident caused your swollen stomach and not the car accident.

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