Steven Bagen | April 12, 2023 | Car Accidents
Accident victims have many things going through their heads after a collision. One of those thoughts might be whether you need a lawyer for your car accident claim. Car accident victims should always speak to a lawyer who can analyze their circumstances and advise them on the best path forward.
Local car accident lawyers will review your injuries, calculate potential damages, and help protect your rights. After a car accident, never wait to speak to a local car accident lawyer, as they can assist you in many ways.
Handle Insurance Claims
Most car accident victims do not immediately file lawsuits to recover compensation, but instead, they begin with an insurance claim. You might think that you can handle an insurance claim yourself, but this is always a mistake. Insurance companies take advantage of unrepresented claimants, often delaying the process or convincing them to accept much less than they deserve.
An assertive car accident lawyer representing you can thwart the insurance company’s efforts. Car accident lawyers will accurately assess your losses and demand fair payment. They can negotiate with the insurance company and identify any wrongful tactics. Compensation is not a guarantee in any case, but you have a higher chance of getting full financial recovery from an insurer when you have legal representation.
Protect Your Rights
Car accident victims are often unsure of their rights after a crash, but local car accident lawyers are not. They can identify whether you should receive compensation under the law and applicable insurance policies.
They can advise you on how to help protect yourself, such as by getting medical treatment, following your doctor’s orders, and keeping accurate records of those treatments and their costs. These records are vital evidence when seeking compensation.
Other expenses are relevant to your car accident claim, and your lawyer knows how to tabulate them accordingly. Your car accident lawyer can advise you on the records you should keep and how they help your claim.
Lawyers Know the Law
Local lawyers know all relevant car accident laws and can advise you on fault and liability principles and how they impact your claim. They know the statutes of limitations in your state and other legal deadlines you need to meet to take legal action. Some statutes of limitations have exceptions, and a lawyer can tell you whether your case qualifies for an extended time.
The insurance company will assume that claimants do not know their rights under the law. However, they often change their tune when a lawyer is handling the claim. They know your attorney is aware of all your rights.
Your car accident attorney will do the legal legwork for you while you focus on undergoing medical treatment and moving on with your life. You should focus on your injuries and allow your lawyer to focus on the law.
Reviewing the Type of Accident and Liability
Millions of car accidents occur yearly, each with its own circumstances. Different conduct can lead to crashes, and victims’ injuries can often be severe, permanent, or even fatal.
The type of accident that happened can help your lawyer determine liability in some cases.
The most common collisions and how they might occur include:
- Head-on: A driver might veer out of their lane, ignoring the right of way, and crashes into oncoming traffic.
- Rear-end: A following driver smashes into a lead vehicle due to inattention, speeding, tailgating, or more.
- Side impact: This happens most often at intersections and parking lots when one vehicle strikes the other’s side, forming a t-shape.
- Multi-vehicle: These happen in many ways that result in multiple cars piling up, often on the highway.
- Rollovers: A vehicle tips onto its side or roof or is thrown from the road, and these accidents are often fatal.
All it takes is one negligent action from a driver to change your life forever. Sustaining an injury in a collision can affect your health, financial well-being, and family life.
Unfortunately, negligence is common among motorists, and some of the most prevalent negligent actions are:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield
- Changing lanes or driving in the wrong lane
- Impaired driving
- Disobeying traffic laws
The cause of the crash might not be evident at first glance, but your local car accident law firm can investigate the matter and determine how to proceed in seeking compensation for you.
Losses will vary by individual case, with some crashes resulting in substantial damages. You must seek full recovery from the start, whether your injuries have already healed or you have permanent impairments and effects from your injuries.
Attorneys will assess the merits and facts of the claim to find the best way to seek compensation. Depending on where you live, this might involve filing claims with your own insurer or against the at-fault party’s insurer.
When someone else caused your injuries, you need to prove negligence to be eligible for compensation from another party. Negligence claims require the plaintiff to prove the defendant owed a duty of care, breached the duty, caused the accident, and, therefore, the plaintiff suffered damages.
In addition to proving liability, you must also prove your losses. You need someone to gather evidence that substantiates your claims and supports the compensation you seek. Your car accident lawyer can advise what damages they can prove in your claim.
Examples of damage you might pursue are:
- Medical bills: The costs of all treatments you already received
- Future medical costs: Bills you will reasonably anticipate in the future for your medical treatment.
- Pain and suffering: Physical and emotional distress from the accident
- Lost income: missed time from work for medical treatment and healing
- Reduced earning capacity: Injuries can impact your ability to work at the same capacity as before, whether short or long term
- Disability: Temporary or permanent impairment to internal organs, back, limbs, or senses that qualify as a disability.
- Reduced quality of life: The inability to enjoy previous activities to the extent you did before
- Punitive damages: In rare cases, these damages punish the driver for intentionally reckless behavior.
Your attorney will consider all possible past and future damages and include them in your insurance demands.
Representing You in Court
Insurance companies typically settle claims before going to court to save time and money for all parties involved. However, a major accident with significant compensation on the table might lead to ligation and a potential trial. Filing a lawsuit does not mean an automatic trial, as there are opportunities to resolve your lawsuit during pre-trial litigation.
If your claim does go to trial, you need the right legal representation. An experienced car accident lawyer will represent you in court and present your arguments for compensation. Lawyers know when and how to file lawsuits and the defenses the other side will use to fight liability or minimize payment.
Handling Every Step of the Process
One of the greatest benefits of a car accident attorney is that they lift the stress of the legal process from your shoulders. Once you hire a legal professional, they will take care of all communications with insurance companies, investigators, police officers, and more.
Shortly after an accident, your insurer or another driver’s insurer might begin calling. They want to discuss what happened and get details from you regarding the crash and your injuries. Even a short discussion with an insurance adjuster can jeopardize your claim. They will make a note of everything you say and use it to minimize your compensation.
Instead of worrying about saying or doing the wrong thing following a crash, put your claim in the hands of a car accident attorney. They will immediately take over all communications, and you should not have any more conversations with adjusters.
They can also provide advice on how you can protect your own claim during the process, such as:
- Staying off social media
- Following all medical orders and treatment plans
- Keeping pain journals or similar notes of your condition
- Writing down what you remember about the accident
- Keeping all receipts and expense documents
You want professional advice on how to proceed as a crash victim. This helps your claim go smoothly, so you can receive the compensation you need as soon as possible.
When You Must Get a Lawyer?
Injury cases have unique hurdles, and you should hire a car accident lawyer for any claim. There are no circumstances in which hiring an injury and accident attorney is ever a bad idea.
However, there are some instances when you need to seek legal representation above all else.
You should immediately begin working with a lawyer when:
- The accident caused severe injuries or death
- The accident involved multiple parties
- Your injuries force you to take time off work
- You need assistance gathering evidence
- The accident involved an underinsured or uninsured negligent driver
- The insurance company sends you a settlement offer
These are a few examples of when to get a lawyer, but many other situations require legal representation. Even if your claim seems simple, you will highly benefit from an attorney. If unsure whether you need legal help, speak to our local car accident lawyers for clarity.
No Upfront Costs
When you hire a lawyer for your car accident claim, you owe no fees upfront. Instead, if they win your case, they will take a predetermined portion of your award to pay for their work and resources. If you do not receive compensation, you pay no fees to your attorney. This means that anyone can afford to hire the legal help they need for a car accident claim. After a crash, get a free initial consultation immediately to discuss a possible case.
What Does a Lawyer Do During a Consultation?
Initial consultations will help determine if the lawyer wants to move forward with your claim and if you will hire them. You want personalized attention and a law firm that has the time and understanding to help you during your accident claim.
The initial meeting can involve:
- Lawyers listening to your story
- Deciding whether you have a viable case and if they can help
- Answering questions you have
- Giving you time to determine your next action
If you decide to hire a lawyer following the initial consultation, they should keep you updated throughout your case, answer your questions promptly, and provide any other relevant assistance. If you cannot travel to the office, you can call or set up a zoom meeting to begin the process.
The Role of a Car Accident Lawyer Near You
Car accident lawyers in the area have many responsibilities when representing collision victims.
Some of the roles the law firm and lawyer you hire will have include:
- Identifying liable parties
- Finding evidence from witnesses, experts, documents, and other sources
- Tabulating compensation for your damages
- Filing relevant paperwork like legal briefs and demand letters
- Communicating with the insurance company and liable parties
- Offering advice on your options and what is best for your case
- Meeting and negotiating with the insurance company
- Presenting your case in civil litigation, including submitting evidence, questioning witnesses, presenting arguments, and more
Depending on the complexity of your claim, your lawyer might provide additional assistance than what is listed here. Your attorney should work to understand your circumstances and the best way to pursue compensation. The further they investigate your claim, the more they will understand your needs.
Contact a Local Car Accident Lawyer Today
Having an attorney after a car accident levels the playing field with insurers and can lead to a higher settlement award. A lawyer does not guarantee a successful outcome but increases your chances of a fair settlement or award.
Filing an insurance claim is burdensome, and you need time to focus on your physical recovery. If you don’t know whether your claim requires legal assistance, it never hurts to check with an attorney near you. Schedule a free initial consultation with a trusted Gainesville personal injury lawyer’s law firm for more information.