Many car accident victims feel indecisive in determining whether or not they should contact an attorney. By asking your acquaintances, friends or family, you will always get different opinions about it. There will be some who will know a legal professional to recommend, while others who distrust the lawyers will tell you that they are only interested in your money. While it is not necessary to hire a lawyer for every traffic accident, there are many cases in which having legal representation is clearly the most sensible idea.
One thing to always remember is that it costs you NOTHING to get more information about how an attorney can help you, and even in most cases it doesn't cost ANYTHING to hire one, unless your attorney wins the car accident claim. . You have nothing to lose by calling a personal injury law firm, but you do have a LOT to lose if you manage your case improperly on your own.
When You Suffer Injuries
Some are lucky enough to emerge unscathed from an accident feeling a bit disoriented by the impact and possibly with the occasional scratch; however, many other accident victims require medical treatment to treat a variety of serious injuries. An impact can cause your body to jerk and hit the interior of the vehicle, or it may even cause you to be ejected from the vehicle. Some common injuries that can result from an accident may include the following:
- Soft tissue injuries, muscle tears, sprains and strains
- Neck and back injuries
- Facial damage
- Head fractures and trauma
- Contusions or traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Damage to internal organs
- Internal bleeding
Each of the above injuries should be properly diagnosed by a medical professional and treated as soon as possible after an accident. Many victims will probably need an ambulance to be transported, and even if this is not the case, you should go to the emergency room as soon as possible. In many situations, a medical professional can diagnose injuries that you had not the slightest suspicion of, as some conditions can take hours or even days to manifest symptoms. While this is done in order for you to receive the necessary treatment, it also helps to provide a detailed record of injuries resulting from the accident.
Although getting medical care after a crash is essential, many make it a point to visit the emergency room. Due to the high costs of healthcare services, receiving treatment for any type of injury can be a distressing financial situation. This is where going to a car accident attorney can make a difference. Having adequate legal representation means that someone will be fighting for the compensation of each of your medical debts or other expenses of the accident.
Even the smallest injury can result in a few thousand dollars in medical bills for emergency care, diagnostic imaging and exams, check-up appointments, physical therapy, and more. Even if you believe that the injury is not serious, the treatment costs can add up quickly, therefore you should file a claim with the insurer so that they can cover all these expenses and contact an attorney to help you manage your claim.
When Guilt Is Not Clear
If you stopped correctly after seeing a red light, both of your hands were on the wheel, you were staring at the road, and another driver collided with your car; it is obvious that the collision was the fault of the other person. Despite this, fault is not clear in many accidents, and if you want to be compensated for your losses, you must have the ability to identify the culprit and prove their negligence. For this reason, when liability is unclear, your claim can be harmed.
There are different situations in which proving fault for the accident can be complex. For example:
- The other driver flatly refuses to be the culprit
- The driver or insurer claims that you caused or contributed to the accident
Questioning liability is the most common way that insurers will attempt to lower or even deny payment to claimants, and this is where you will need an attorney on your side. A legal professional can do the following to support your claim:
- Conduct a thorough and professional accident investigation
- Get analysts and expert witnesses to give their opinion about the cause of the loss
- Gather evidence including police reports, witness statements, videos, among other elements that prove the guilt of the accident
- Present your case to the insurer or court in the most convincing way possible
Similarly, an attorney can let you know if you are still entitled to compensation, even if you were possibly partially at fault for the accident. Shared guilt does not deprive you of your right to compensation for your losses and many people do not take this into account. Your attorney can guide you regarding your rights under the state's comparative negligence laws , which may allow you to seek compensation even if you were also partially at fault. When liability is unclear or contested, contact a car accident attorney you can trust.
When there are corporations or multiple parties involved
Typically, the culprit for the crash is another driver. When this happens, you should deal with the responsible's insurance company; however, these claims can become VERY COMPLEX issues when the responsible party is a corporation or there are multiple parties involved in the accident.
There are several scenarios when a corporation possibly contributed to the losses caused by the accident rather than just one person. Some of these scenarios can be:
- The driver who hit you was on his day at the time of the accident, therefore his employer can be held responsible for the driver's actions.
- The driver was operating for a company like Uber or Lyft at the time of the crash
- The accident occurred due to a defect or breakdown of the car or one of its parts, therefore the manufacturer is responsible
- The accident occurred due to a defect in the road due to the negligence of a construction company or government agency
If any of the above applies to you, you will be dealing with a corporation, along with your insurer and legal team, which is completely different from dealing with a private motorist's insurer. For this reason, you will need the help of an attorney from the beginning of your claim, and the same applies if you must file multiple insurance claims against multiple parties.
When You Doubt The Agreement Presented
When it comes time for the insurer to finally make a settlement offer, it will most likely be too low to adequately compensate you for the damages and injuries you suffered. It is generally not legally sensible to accept the initial offer from the insurance company as there is always much more money involved. A car accident attorney will be able to evaluate the initial offer and reject it on your behalf if necessary, then he or she can file a lawsuit with the adjuster based on your amount to cover your losses.
When negotiating your auto accident case with the insurance company, it may be necessary to go through numerous exchanges of communication with the adjuster and present additional evidence in order to support the value of your claim, and many rounds of negotiations may be required. until an agreement is reached. During the negotiation process, each party makes adjustments to their respective offers and requests until either party reaches an agreement or a dead end. In order to ensure that the final offer is adequate, the victim's attorney will begin negotiations by asking for values much higher than he believes the case costs.
These negotiations take time and practice, and instead of being on the hook with the insurer, you should make it a priority to focus on your injuries.
When it comes to negotiating and settling your car accident claim, there are certain factors that you should consider:
- The value of your past and future losses (calculated by your attorney)
- The contingency agreement between you and your attorney, along with the amount that will be deducted from your total compensation to pay your representative's fees
- The value of your medical bills, liens and other expenses that must be deducted from your total compensation
A car accident attorney should have the ability to let you know how much you will get out of your settlement once the debts and fees are paid.
In some cases, your attorney may have to file a lawsuit against the responsible party (s). Filing a claim is the beginning of the litigation process and causes the insurer to take action regarding your case, thus ensuring that this company takes your claim more seriously. As soon as the claim is filed, the insurer must turn to private legal advice or its legal team to represent its client.
Just because a lawsuit is filed does not mean your case will go to trial. Actually, in most cases the parties continue to negotiate after the lawsuit has been filed. A civil jury trial is generally the last resort and is only used when the parties cannot reach an agreement. In some cases, the parties reach an agreement even days before going to court. Taking a car accident case to court can be risky because neither party knows for sure what the jury will decide regarding the resolution of the case.
When you receive an insufficient settlement offer, it usually means that the proceedings will drag on and may even go to civil court. This indicates that it is time to turn to an experienced car accident attorney.
Contact A Car Accident Lawyer As Soon As Possible
After an accident, you will have thousands of things to take care of. It is essential to ensure that you get the proper medical care and diagnosis, that your car is repaired, and that you are able to return to work as soon as possible. The last thing you need is to add problems to your situation such as your claim to the insurance company or determine whether or not you need a legal representative.
To ease your stress, don't wait long before calling an experienced car accident attorney . A strong legal team can answer your questions about hiring an attorney and explain how this can help you in your situation. In most cases, making the first call can make you feel much better about your options and have more confidence in hiring legal advice.