Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident Settlement?
Many people have never had to hire a car accident lawyer before. They might be unsure of their claim’s value and worry that a lawyer will only take more money from them. However, insurance companies take advantage of claimants without representation, so a lawyer levels the playing field and helps you obtain the best possible outcome.
Attorneys are necessary in car accident cases, especially when catastrophic injuries occur. You should hire a car accident lawyer if you have a large claim, long-term injuries, or complex legal rules you do not understand.
You should hire a lawyer when you suffer an injury requiring treatment or your case has other complications. A lawyer will know how to combat insurance companies’ tricks to devalue complicated claims.
Car accident lawyers are necessary for the following reasons and more:
- You will require ongoing treatment for your injuries: You may hear that your chiropractor’s regular appointments are unnecessary or that your insurance company will only cover the first six weeks of treatment. If you have suffered medical expenses due to your car accident, an experienced lawyer is in a position to prove that the insurance company owes you for medical expenses.
- Your injuries result in high medical costs, cause a lot of pain, and keep you away from work for a long time: Many insurance companies base your compensation solely on how much you have to pay in medical bills. You should receive compensation for your damages due to an emergency room visit and the pain and suffering you experienced.
- The insurance company refuses to offer a fair deal: Insurers try to manipulate people in many ways; by saying too much time has elapsed, your injuries are pre-existing, your collision didn’t cause your injuries, etc. When hiring a car accident lawyer, you can fight back and hold the insurance company accountable.
- Several parties are responsible: An experienced car accident lawyer can help you sort out the difficulties of your case and hold all the parties liable if you were in a multi-car accident or otherwise have multiple liable parties.
- Disputed liability: A car accident lawyer will examine the facts of the case and prove you are not at fault for the accident.
When it Comes to Car Accidents, Is it Worth Hiring a Lawyer?
The answer is yes if you have any losses from your accident. Insurance adjusters often try to convince people that hiring a car accident lawyer will increase their liability costs, but that’s simply not true. The Insurance Research Council found that claimants who hire a car accident lawyer receive 3.5 times more money in settlements. A lawyer’s services will result in you getting more money, even after attorney’s fees.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Your car accident lawyer will start working on your case the moment you hire them. This often involves investigating what happened to determine liability and gather support for your claim. You stay focused on your medical treatment while your lawyer handles your legal case.
A lawyer can help obtain evidence, such as:
- Statements from witnesses
- Reports by the police
- Medical records
- Footage from surveillance cameras
A lawyer can fight back when the insurance company does not act fairly.
A lawyer will communicate, document, and litigate all issues. A lawyer will also regularly inform you about the status of your case.
In addition, a lawyer can negotiate a fair settlement for all your damages, including:
- Property damage
- Past and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages/lost earning potential
The right lawyer will take your case to trial if you cannot obtain a fair settlement offer.
In a Car Accident Case, You May Recover Damages
Another party might bear responsibility for your injuries if their negligence caused your accident.
You can recover damages for the following depending on your accident and your injuries:
- You may recover accident-related medical expenses if a car accident injured you.
- A car accident settlement may also cover damage to your vehicle and other property.
- If your injuries prevent you from working while you recover, you can claim lost income.
- You may also receive compensation for pain and suffering resulting from your car accident injuries.
You must submit evidence of your damages to the responsible party’s insurance company to recover compensation in a car accident case. Having a car accident lawyer represent you can help you determine the value of your damages and how to prove them.
Insurance Companies and Settlement Offers
You may receive a settlement offer from the responsible party’s insurance company after a car accident. When you accept a settlement offer, you must sign a release that prevents you from pursuing further compensation. Accepting a settlement makes the outcome final.
Therefore, you should carefully evaluate settlement offers to ensure that they reflect the full extent of your damages. You may not recover further compensation if you sign off on a low settlement offer and then discover you have additional accident-related expenses.
Having a lawyer by your side during the settlement process can benefit you. Your lawyer can contact the responsible party’s insurance company on your behalf. Additionally, your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf and evaluate settlement offers. Your attorney can take your case to court if the responsible party’s insurance company refuses to make you a fair settlement offer.
Evidence in Car Accidents
You may need to establish the responsible party’s liability to recover compensation in a car accident case. It is necessary to show that your accident happened because of the negligent actions of the responsible party.
It is not always easy to gather evidence. A car accident lawyer with the proper resources and time can best collect evidence for you.
A few examples of this evidence are:
- Photographs and video footage from the accident scene
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Mechanic’s statements
- Report from an accident reconstruction expert
The evidence will help the insurer or jury decide your case. The more evidence you preserve with help from an attorney, the greater your chances of winning your case.
Photograph your immediate injuries and the accident scene if you can. Collect witness names and contact information. Obtain a copy of the police report as soon as feasible, if there is one. This information can help your attorney gather detailed witness statements and prepare the case.
Seek Medical Treatment
A successful car accident case means receiving compensation for your injuries and losses. A detailed analysis of your damages is necessary to accomplish this. Documenting your injuries and formulating a treatment plan will require the assistance of doctors and other health care professionals. Providing this documentation can encourage the other side to offer a higher settlement.
Regardless of how serious your injuries are, you should seek medical treatment. Follow your doctor’s recommendations carefully. In addition, always seek physical therapy and necessary treatment for flashbacks and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of Your Claim
Don’t assume that you can only sue for one kind of damage. Damages caused by your injury can take several forms. You may not even know of all of the injuries and losses you suffered.
In addition to physical damage, you can also sue for emotional damages. You can recover your out-of-pocket losses and estimated future losses. An experienced car accident lawyer can evaluate these categories of damages individually.
Don’t Rush Into Anything
After an injury, it’s easy to want a check right away to pay your hospital bills.
You may lose out on maximum compensation if you accept the first offer.
To obtain the best recovery, you must convince the other side that you will go the distance to get it. This can mean rejecting the first offer.
When considering whether to accept or reject a settlement offer, always consult an attorney.
Is the Offer Inadequate?
To get maximum compensation, you must convince the other side that your case is strong. If you receive an insufficient settlement offer, your lawyer can explain to the other side why it is unacceptable and provide documentation supporting your claim. It shows them that you have a strong case and are committed to getting compensation.
Do not wait to hire an attorney to assist you in handling all of the decisions related to rejecting a settlement offer and providing reasons for why the offer is inadequate.
Keep Future Damages in Mind
A personal injury can cause both immediate and long-term losses. You may not fully recover from your injuries before your case goes to trial. Negotiating a settlement amount must take future recovery into account.
You can include future damages in your claim. Depending on your situation, future damages might even constitute most of your losses. Your claim must include documentation of these losses from medical or occupational professionals.
Create a Compelling Argument
Even if your case does not go to trial, building your case methodically will maximize your damages. Let your attorney handle every aspect of your case preparation. To strengthen your case, your attorney might work with other expert witnesses, including medical professionals.
By preparing a strong case for trial, you can force the responsible party to offer you a fair settlement. The other side will be more likely to lowball your settlement offer if they feel you are not working hard to build your case. They’ll likely pay you an adequate amount if they know you’re ready to go to trial and win with the right car accident attorney.
Make Sure You File Your Case as Soon as Possible
You have limited time to file a lawsuit after an injury occurs. Don’t risk running out of time by bringing your case too late. It may not be possible to recover anything after the statute of limitations expires. In addition, filing your case allows you to begin gathering evidence formally.
You must preserve evidence to build your case. The other side will also know that you are serious about getting a fair recovery and moving the case forward quickly.
Don’t Use Social Media.
Most people know the phrase “everything you say can be used against you in court.” Most people aren’t aware that what you say on social media also applies.
When your Facebook page contradicts your claim of devastating injuries, it can ruin your case. Keep quiet on social media and let your attorney speak for you. Never discuss any aspect of your injury case with anyone until you settle — online or otherwise.
You’ll Want to Make a Solid First Impression
The other side will make a final settlement offer based on their assessment of what a jury might do at trial. The jury bases its decision on what it sees and hears in court, so making a good first impression is crucial.
Be polite and respectful, and have a lawyer representing you. Your attorney can advise you on what to do — or not do — in court to represent your injury claim. They will prepare you for your trial date, especially if you need to take the witness stand.
A Lawyer Can Assist You
You can maximize your compensation by contacting a car accident lawyer. Each step of the way, they can assist you in building your case and negotiating a fair settlement with the other party.
Your attorney will assist you whether your case settles or if you must go to trial, presenting you and your case effectively. It takes patience to navigate the complex legal system, but your attorney can help you pursue a course of action that results in the best possible compensation.