A DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS
If you’re one of the millions of people in the United States who are hurt by car accidents each year, you may find that costs related to the accident start adding up quickly. In addition to the cost of repairing or replacing your car, you may experience losses such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Lost quality of life
- Damage to other personal property
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
Even with great medical insurance, can accidents can get expensive quickly. Furthermore, you may need to take significant time away from work in order to recover. In some scenarios, people are never able to return to the type of work they had before.
Unsure how you can cover so many losses? You’re not alone. Personal injury attorneys who handle car accident cases work with people in this situation every day, and they can help you as well. Their goal is to get a settlement for you that covers all of your accident-related losses.
Contrary to the popular misconception, you do not need to be filing a lawsuit in order to hire a car accident lawyer. These experienced professionals can help you avoid the need for lawsuits altogether. If you do end up needing a lawsuit, they can help with that too.
Determine Whether You Have a Claim
In most accidents, it’s abundantly clear which driver is at fault and which insurance policy should pay. However, in some cases, liability is less clear. Muddling matters even further is the fact that each state has its own set of laws regarding insurance policies, determining fault, and how fault affects civil lawsuits.
An experienced local car accident attorney can help you determine if you have a claim and whether you will be able to recover compensation. This determination is often made in the initial consultation, so you should come prepared with any documents you have related to the accident. Initial consultations are almost always free, though you should be sure before you make the appointment.
Identify All Liable Parties
At first glance, it may seem as though the other driver is the only person or entity responsible for an accident. In practical terms, this may be true because they physically caused the accident to happen. However, other parties may be legally liable for the accident as well.
Unfortunately, we see one common example of this in drunk driving accidents. While the driver is one responsible party, an establishment that knowingly overserved someone may also be held liable. This could be a bar, restaurant, or even a homeowner who threw a party.
Another example of an additional liability is if the other driver was working when the accident happened. The specifics of these cases vary, but the employer could possibly be liable for the wreck. For example, if a trucking company overworked a driver who then got in a wreck, the company could need to pay.
Each state has different laws regarding who can be liable for these accidents, and the laws can be complex in this area. A car accident attorney can help make sure that every responsible party is held to account, which will ensure that you obtain the full and fair value of your claim.
File a Claim and Negotiate a Settlement
When most people think of personal injury lawyers, the first thing to comes to mind is a lawyer who tries personal injury cases in court. However, most car accident attorneys try to avoid filing a lawsuit when possible, which saves everyone both time and money. They do this by identifying the correct insurance policies and filing thorough claims against those policies.
Even finding the right insurance policy to make a claim against can be difficult in some cases. Whether you file with your insurance company or the other driver’s policy depends on your state laws and the facts of the case. Furthermore, you may make a claim with someone’s business or homeowner’s insurance if other parties are liable.
When you make a claim, it’s important to account for every possible expense related to the accident. Your car accident lawyer can craft a thorough and compelling claim and demand letter that starts you off on the right foot. However, you should expect pushback from insurance companies.
It is not in the best interest of an insurance company to pay a claim in full, so they will do everything they can to keep from paying all or part of your claim. That’s when your car accident lawyer can engage in negotiations on your behalf.
If the insurance company eventually offers a settlement deal that suits your needs, you can accept the money and move on with your life. However, if the insurance company refuses to cooperate, you and your lawyer may choose to file a lawsuit.
If Necessary, File a Lawsuit and Take Your Case to Court
It’s important to know that filing a lawsuit does not necessarily mean that you will have to endure a trial and leave everything in a jury’s hands. Negotiations can continue after you file a lawsuit and before trial. If this happens, you may have more advantages than when you negotiated before, as the company wants to avoid trial.
Lawsuits like this only go to trial in a small percentage of cases, but it does happen. If it becomes clear that your case will need to go to trial, your car accident lawyer will be with you every step of the way. They will represent your interests in court and ensure you present the strongest possible case to the judge and jury.
If you’re not experienced with the legal system, hiring an attorney may feel nerve-wracking. However, there’s no reason to fear a car accident lawyer. They can help you navigate the complex legal system in your case from the moment you leave the scene of an accident to the moment the settlement money is in your account.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today
To ensure that your rights are fully protected after a car accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer near you as soon as you can.