Motor vehicle crashes happen too often. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident that resulted from another driver’s negligence, one of the very first steps you should take is to retain an experienced lawyer to represent you throughout your case.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help by investigating the circumstances of your accident, filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your behalf, negotiating with the insurance company, and, if necessary, litigating your case to a favorable conclusion in the court system.
Victims of car accidents do not have an indefinite period to file a claim or lawsuit for damages. Therefore, you should seek a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to represent you as soon as possible after your accident. Your lawyer can start working on your case right away, even while you finish treating all of your accident-related injuries. Your lawyer can then take the appropriate legal actions to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Your lawyer does this while you focus on the important task of recovering from your injuries. One of the most critical aspects of any personal injury case is documenting and following through with your recovery.
Eligibility to File a Car Accident Claim
Victims of car accidents can suffer extremely serious injuries, depending on the force of the impact, the type of collision, and other important factors. In a car accident, a part of the accident victim’s body might strike something in the vehicle, like the steering wheel, window, door frame, console, or headrest, leading to serious injuries. Potential car accident injuries include soft tissue injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, internal injuries, and traumatic head and brain injuries.
These injuries may require medical treatment, surgical procedures, hospitalization, and/or physical therapy for you to make a full recovery. In addition, lost wages and unpaid bills can mount up quickly, and it may become necessary for you to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
To file a personal injury claim, you must satisfy various legal elements. First, you must demonstrate the at-fault driver behaved negligently under the circumstances. This usually means the driver violated one or more traffic laws, engaged in distracted driving, or operated their vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You must establish this breach of the duty of care resulted in the accident that caused your injuries.
You must demonstrate you suffered at least one injury and the accident was at least one cause of your injuries. If you can satisfy these legal elements, a car accident lawyer can file a claim on your behalf—usually with the at-fault driver’s insurance company—and pursue various damages to compensate you for everything you went through.
Investigating the Circumstances of a Car Accident
Before a car accident lawyer files a personal injury claim with the insurance company on your behalf, they may need to investigate the cause and circumstances of the crash.
First, your lawyer may need to obtain a copy of the police report if an officer prepared one following the accident. Your lawyer can also obtain copies of eyewitness statements describing the accident scene and how the accident occurred. Likewise, your lawyer can obtain copies of photographs of the accident scene, the property damage to your vehicle (as well as other involved vehicles), and photographs of your injuries.
It can be difficult to determine exactly how a car accident happened in some instances. The collision may have involved more than two vehicles, and several drivers may have caused or contributed to the accident. In order to determine exactly how an accident happened, a personal injury lawyer can retain the services of an accident reconstructionist.
Accident reconstructionists will have the tools necessary to evaluate all of the documents available, review eyewitness testimony, and piece together exactly how a car crash happened using technology and technical skills.
Once an investigation is complete, the personal injury lawyer can let the accident victim know if they are eligible to file a personal injury claim for damages. Again, when it comes to investigating a motor vehicle accident, the sooner you have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side, the better off you will be.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim on the Accident Victim’s Behalf
If you can satisfy the legal elements of your car accident claim, your lawyer will waste no time in filing a personal injury claim on your behalf. At this juncture, the court system is not yet involved. Rather, your lawyer will typically file the claim with the insurance company for the adult driver. Your lawyer can also file a claim with your own insurance company via an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.
When your lawyer files a personal injury claim on your behalf, they will typically include a demand letter and other important documents pertaining to your case. A demand letter typically summarized how the car accident happened and will make a monetary demand for settlement within the available insurance policy coverage limits.
In addition to the demand letter, your lawyer can include copies of the police report, eyewitness statements, victim impact statements you prepare, photographs of injuries, medical records, and photographs of property damage. Once the insurance company adjuster handling the case reviews all of this documentation and assuming the insurance company accepts fault for the accident, they might make an offer to settle.
Having an experienced car accident lawyer on your side is extremely important when filing a personal injury claim. If you do not have a lawyer advocating for you, you may miss important documents. Moreover, the insurance company will likely take advantage of you and try to settle your case for as little money as possible. Therefore, you should retain a skilled injury lawyer to represent you in your case as soon as possible.
Negotiating a Favourable Settlement Offer in a Car Accident Case
When it comes to awarding you favorable settlement compensation, the insurance company is never on your side. Insurance companies are big businesses, and they will do everything possible to undervalue your case.
They will highlight any of your pre-existing injuries even if irrelevant or of limited value and look for other reasons to deny or significantly limit the compensation they award you. After all, insurance companies do not make money by paying out large personal injury settlements and judgments. Rather, they make and keep their money by paying out as little as possible in personal injury claims.
Therefore, one of the most important duties of a skilled car accident lawyer is to negotiate a favourable settlement on your behalf. In most instances, the first offer an insurance company adjuster makes after reviewing the settlement demand package is extremely low. It will usually take several rounds of negotiations before the adjuster gets to a number you might consider accepting.
If a proper offer does not happen, your lawyer can threaten the insurance company with litigation. Your lawyer might even prepare a draft lawsuit to send to the insurance company adjuster to convince them to offer more money to resolve the case through settlement. If the insurance company does not offer fair monetary compensation for your car accident injuries, your lawyer can file a lawsuit for you.
Filing a Lawsuit and Litigating a Car Accident Claim in Court
One of the most important duties of a car accident lawyer is to file a lawsuit and litigate a personal injury case. Just because your lawyer files a lawsuit does not necessarily mean your case will go to trial. In fact, most car accident claims settle long before they ever go to trial or binding arbitration.
However, by filing a lawsuit in court, your lawyer ushers in the litigation process. Your lawyer can still work with the insurance company to try and see a favourable resolution to your claim. If the insurer does not make an acceptable offer, your lawyer can begin to litigate the case in civil court.
Once your lawyer files a lawsuit, the court will issue a Statement of Claim that you will serve on the at-fault driver. The at-fault driver will then refer the complaint to their insurance company, who will appoint a lawyer to represent them throughout the case. The parties will then typically engage in written and oral discovery.
During the written discovery stage, the parties exchange answers to written questions, called interrogatories, and will exchange various documents through document production. In addition, the defense lawyer may wish to take the accident victim’s discovery deposition. During a deposition, the defense lawyer will have an opportunity to ask the accident victim about how the accident occurred, their injuries, their medical treatment, and problems and symptoms they still experience.
After litigation, the insurance company may then offer additional monetary compensation to settle the case. However, if the case does not settle, it may go to trial. At a trial, your lawyer can represent you and advocate for all of your legal interests.
For example, your lawyer can introduce evidence on your behalf and allow you to testify about your version of events and the impact the car accident had on your life. The court will decide all the issues in the case, including what, if any, damages to award you for your injuries, pain, inconvenience, and suffering. Your lawyer will zealously advocate for you by downplaying any weaknesses in your case and playing up the strength of your case.
In some cases, the parties might pursue alternative dispute resolution proceedings instead of going to trial. For example, the parties might take their case before a mediator to facilitate settlement discussions. Alternatively, they might pursue binding arbitration, where a neutral arbitrator will listen to the evidence and decide the damages to award the accident victim plaintiff. Your lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a settlement, take a case to a jury trial, or pursue alternative dispute resolution.
Pursuing Available Damages for Your Car Accident Injuries
Once your lawyer has filed a claim or lawsuit on your behalf, they can help you pursue the damages you deserve. Damages in car accident cases vary depending on the circumstances. Factors that influence damages and a personal injury claim include the type of injuries the accident victim suffered, the intrusiveness and inconvenience of medical treatment, and whether or not the accident victim suffered a permanent injury.
Victims of car accidents can pursue compensation for their lost earnings, loss of earning capacity, inconvenience, mental distress, pain and suffering, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of family and spousal support. Your car accident lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and work to maximize your damages. If the insurance company refuses to compensate you adequately, your lawyer can pursue the damages you deserve through litigation.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer About Your Legal Matter Today
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, you should speak with a knowledgeable accident lawyer as soon as possible. The right legal team can investigate the circumstances of your accident and file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf. They should do everything possible to help you recover the damages you need to become whole again after your accident.
Many people wonder what car accident lawyers do and how they help with insurance claims.
Feel free to ask this question in your free case evaluation. Lawyers can:
- Identify liability for your injuries
- Investigate and gather evidence
- File necessary insurance claims
- Negotiate with insurers
- File a personal injury lawsuit when necessary
- Litigate your case in civil court
They do these things while you focus on your medical treatment and recovering physically from your injuries. For a free legal consultation and case evaluation, please call a car accident lawyer today or contact a firm online for more information.