What Can a Lawyer Do for You After a Car Accident?
Car accident lawyers manage insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits for crash victims. Legal teams represent victims’ best interests, fighting to recover the money they need to pay bills, cover future care costs, and compensate them for their pain and suffering. They help clients get justice when another driver’s negligence causes a collision and injuries.
Working with a car accident lawyer will make every step of your insurance claim more straightforward. You will not have to worry about whether you are making the right decisions or navigating the process correctly. Someone else—someone with experience, knowledge, and resources—will do most of that for you, with your approval.
Your Car Accident Lawyer Will Handle Your Case While You Recover
Car accident lawyers know how insurance companies work. They know how to develop strong cases, file claims, and negotiate fair settlements. They also know the tactics adjusters might use to reduce or deny a claim’s value.
When a crash victim tries to handle a claim on their own, they navigate a new process––which can quickly prove stressful and time-consuming, especially when:
- They are still undergoing treatment.
- They suffered serious injuries.
- They have lasting impairments.
- Their loved one had catastrophic injuries, and they are acting on their behalf.
- They have returned to their full-time job or other work.
- They have never handled insurance claims before.
- Their loved one passed away from their car accident injuries.
Hiring a car accident lawyer means the victim or family member does not have to worry about these complications. The attorney handles all aspects of the case while the victim focuses on what is most important: healing.
Your Lawyer Understands How to Identify the Liable Party (or Parties)
Fault is at the heart of most car accident cases. Most states recognize car insurance laws that allow victims to pursue compensation after a crash by holding the at-fault driver legally responsible. Even in states that require no-fault auto insurance policies, there is generally a statutory threshold above which the victim can pursue fault-based damages. This makes identifying the liable party or parties central to winning a car accident case.
When an individual tries to identify the liable party and gather evidence to support their allegations on their own, they could run into insurmountable challenges.
While the accident report and additional evidence might point to the other driver, showing negligence requires evidence that:
- The other driver owed the victim a duty of care.
- The driver breached this duty.
- Their breach was the proximate cause of the crash.
- The victim suffered damages in the collision.
For many crash victims, this sounds like a lot of legalese, and they are not sure what they need to do to show the other driver is liable. A car accident attorney knows how to investigate, gather evidence, and document these four elements.
A Successful Car Accident Claim Requires Proving Negligence
In general, traffic laws create a duty of care. Drivers must follow the applicable laws to ensure others sharing the road remain safe. Violating a law could cause an injurious accident.
Consider yielding to oncoming traffic before turning left into a parking lot:
- The driver turning left has a duty to yield to oncoming traffic until it is safe to turn.
- They fail to do so, turning in front of another vehicle.
- Their failure causes a collision.
- The driver of the other vehicle suffers serious injuries.
In this example, the lawyer would gather evidence to show what each driver was doing at the time of the crash, who violated traffic laws, why the collision occurred, and the damages their client suffered. With strong evidence, they could negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company or present their case at trial and win a jury award.
Your Lawyer Will Seek Fair Compensation on Your Behalf
One of the most important tasks of a car accident lawyer is identifying the recoverable damages in a case and calculating a fair settlement range. Compensable losses and their values vary widely from case to case. They must take the time to uncover as many expenses and losses as possible, document them, and determine how much compensation you deserve.
Some compensable losses in a car accident case include:
- Medical bills and related expenses to date
- Future treatment costs
- Ongoing care and support expenses
- Income losses from time missed at work
- Diminished earning capacity (if there are lasting injuries)
- Property damage costs, including car repairs
- Miscellaneous expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Other non-economic losses, such as disability and scarring
Once your attorney gathers the necessary documentation to show your current and estimated future damages, they can proceed with your case. This includes demanding a fair payout from the at-fault driver’s auto insurer or taking the case to trial.
What if My Loved One Suffered Serious Injuries in a Car Accident?
Sometimes, a car accident victim will suffer such serious injuries that they cannot act on their own behalf. Their catastrophic injuries force them to remain in the hospital or inpatient rehabilitation, preventing them from making decisions about their financial future. When this occurs, an immediate family member can contact a car accident attorney.
Most car accident lawyers also pursue compensation based on wrongful death actions. This is the type of case you would file if your spouse, child, or parent passed away from their collision injuries.
Each state sets its own laws about these cases, including:
- Who can sue on behalf of heirs and family members
- How long you have to begin a lawsuit
- The type of damages recoverable
If your loved one suffered catastrophic injuries or passed away, discussing your next steps with a car accident attorney is a good idea. They will assess your options for free. You can get advice and learn more about their services during this free consultation.
A Personal Injury Law Firm Can Sue and Prepare Your Case for Trial
Most car accident cases settle without requiring a lawsuit or going to trial. This is the goal of both the claimant and the insurer in most cases. However, sometimes a lawsuit is necessary. If this happens in your case, you can count on your attorney to handle the process and represent your best interests.
There are several circumstances when a personal injury lawsuit might be necessary.
- The statute of limitations that sets a deadline for suing approaches.
- The insurance company denied the claim.
- The insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement.
- There are questions about the case’s facts.
- There are other circumstances that your attorney believes support a lawsuit.
How Will Your Lawyer Advance Your Car Accident Lawsuit?
If you and your lawyer decide to sue, they will explain the process and guide you through it.
- The initial complaint: Here, your lawyer sends a written document that your attorney files with the appropriate civil court to outline their case against the defendant and begin a lawsuit.
- Discovery: This is the period of investigation when both sides share evidence and make requests to learn more about what happened.
- Pre-trial motions: Attorneys for each side can make special requests of the courts during this time.
- Mediation: Some courts require the parties to attempt to reach a settlement during mediation or arbitration before putting the case on the docket.
- Trial: The judge and jury hear the evidence and decide the case.
Throughout this process, negotiations will most likely continue. Even once you file a lawsuit, the most likely successful outcome is an out-of-court settlement with the insurance company. Especially during discovery, the insurance representatives will see the evidence stacked against its policyholder. This may compel the claims adjuster to offer fair compensation.
If there is not a settlement during continued negotiations or mediation, the court will set a trial date. At trial, each side will present evidence and explain what they believe occurred. The jury will listen to each side and deliberate. Eventually, they will issue a verdict in favor of the plaintiff (you) or defendant (the alleged at-fault driver).
If you win the case, the court will likely award compensation based on the evidence of damages presented in court. The at-fault party or their insurer is responsible for paying this total.
What Should I Do After Suffering Injuries in a Car Accident?
Following a car accident, there are many things that could bolster your case’s outcome. Some considerations include:
Securing Prompt Medical Care
You want to tie your injuries to the collision, and visiting a healthcare provider does just that. Your medical records, diagnostic exams, and medications’ names can support your case during negotiations.
Refraining From Giving a Recorded Statement
The insurance company may want you to give a recorded statement. It hopes that by asking loaded questions, you’ll give contradictory information or otherwise jeopardize your case’s validity. You don’t have to worry about this when you have a lawyer, however. They can give the insurer all the required information and move your case forward.
Keeping All Accident-Related Documents
Your lawyer can investigate your case and gather key evidence. However, while your case unfolds, you may come into possession of certain items, such as a copy of the accident report and written correspondence from the insurer. Your lawyer can use this information to validate your case and overcome any obstacles.
Connecting With a Car Accident Law Firm
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a crash, you can typically speak to a team member from a personal injury law firm at no cost. They will assess your case and legal options, explaining how a car accident attorney could benefit you.
You do not have to navigate this process alone. Hiring an attorney could make the process easier, reduce the stress you face, and help you recover damages. Most provide a free initial consultation, so you have nothing to lose by discussing your crash case with a local attorney today. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.