Car accident settlements sound simple enough. You tell the insurer your losses, and they pay out the damages. Settlements, however, are anything but simple and damage calculations are not such a straightforward process. Most people that try to represent themselves in a car accident case do it with the best intentions. They do not want to drag the case into a long legal battle, or they want to save money by choosing not to hire an attorney.
The reality is that many of the motivations that people will use to attempt to settle a car accident case without a lawyer are refutable. This is because hiring a car accident lawyer does not determine whether or not your case may result in lengthier legal proceedings; the facts of your case do.
While hiring an attorney that wins and gets you results in your case will cost you a percentage of your compensation, the truth is that when an accident victim has legal representation, they are much more likely to get significantly higher compensation compared to going forward unrepresented.
It is Unlikely You Will Reach a Fair Outcome Without an Attorney
When you consider all of the factors that play a part in reaching a successful motor vehicle accident settlement, you will see that it is a complex process. There is too much at stake and too much room for error and misunderstandings to attempt to negotiate a settlement without a lawyer. You are immediately at an immense disadvantage when negotiating with insurance companies and other parties that have their own legal counsel.
When you are negotiating with an insurer, keep in mind that they have their own team of attorneys at the ready should any dispute or issue arise. Furthermore, insurance representatives deal with hundreds and thousands of insurance claims in their careers. To them, you are nothing more than a claim number and a problem that needs a resolution with as little loss and trouble to the company as possible.
The insurance company’s objectives are to close out claims quickly with no payout or little payout if necessary. They are not on your side and will not be looking out to help you get the money you need after an accident.
Why Is a Lawyer a Necessity in a Car Accident Case?
A car accident lawyer is not a luxury, it is not only for the wealthy, but it is a must when trying to get compensation for your losses after a crash. The lawyer in a car accident case representing you, the victim of a crash, can mean the difference between getting the money you need and getting nothing or not enough.
Car accidents can cause extensive trouble and problems for the victims that suffer injuries and other damage. Many car accident victims cannot believe the enormous impact an accident ultimately has on their lives, finances, and families.
When you take steps to hire an attorney to represent you in a car accident case, you are securing your rights to compensation. While hiring an attorney after a car accident will in no way offer a guarantee of compensation, you are in a much better position to recover your losses.
A lawyer will represent you, not the interests of the insurance company, the at-fault party, or the providers looking for payment for their services as soon as possible. Your attorney will manage all of the competing forces to fight for the best possible outcome for you after an automobile accident.
What Will a Lawyer Do to Help You Reach a Resolution for Your Benefit?
A car accident lawyer can help you after a car accident, but many people want to understand what exactly a lawyer does that benefits them and their case. Lawyers represent their clients through an insurance claim, settlement negotiations, and a lawsuit if it is necessary. Representation of a client is a catch-all term that encompasses a wide range of responsibilities and roles that a lawyer undertakes while navigating a case.
Many people assume that accidents boil down to a he-said-she-said scenario. Still, most accidents involve many pieces of evidence used to prove liability and the extent of loss for each victim. A lawyer has resources they may tap into to help you preserve evidence when it is at risk and to track down evidence that could be vital to your case’s outcome.
Discovering Whom to Blame
Figuring out who is liable for a car accident can be difficult, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. While in many instances, a driver of one of the vehicles involved is primarily responsible due to negligence, an employer or another driver is also to blame, or a third party played a role in causing the accident.
An attorney in a car accident case that represents you will get to the bottom of who may be liable to you for your losses after an accident to ensure that you avoid delay and seek compensation from the appropriate parties.
Negotiating a Settlement That Helps You
When it comes time to negotiate the numbers for a settlement, a car accident attorney will fight for you. They will provide evidence of your losses to the opposing parties and argue for the maximum compensation available in your case.
Lawyers know your rights and how to navigate negotiations with experienced parties such as insurance representatives and opposing counsel. You will not need to worry that you are being taken advantage of by the other parties or that your losses are not fought for when you have a car accident attorney at your side.
Representing Your Best Interests
Your lawyer will work for you. They do not answer to the insurance companies or the parties at fault. You are their priority and their focus. They will represent you at each turn of your case, whether it is negotiating a successful settlement or representing you in court in a lawsuit against the defendant. Your lawyer will remain committed and dedicated to you and seek compensation on your behalf throughout the case.
What Are the Most Common Legal Avenues for Compensation After an Automobile Crash?
After a crash, many people that hear the suggestions to get an attorney may think that doing so will mean they will need to go to trial. This is not the case. In most cases, where a victim of negligence has an attorney at their side will be able to resolve their case without stepping foot in court.
Most insurance companies prefer to settle, and your attorney will try to negotiate the best outcome for you to avoid a trial and unpredictable court decision. However, there are times when your lawyer may advise you that the best option for you is to go forward with a suit.
This is in cases where an insurer denies a claim without reconsideration, cannot meet a reasonable settlement offer, or has many parties involved that complicate fault allocation and responsibility.
How Do You Know If You Are Eligible for Compensation in Your Case?
One of the most common questions an individual involved in a car accident has is whether they are eligible for compensation. A car crash is chaotic, and who is at fault or who must pay for the losses may not always be clear at the scene or in the hours and days that follow.
Even when a party partially caused an accident, they may recover compensation depending on the fault of the other parties. The best and most practical way to determine if you have a case for an insurance claim or compensation for another party is to consult with a car accident lawyer.
Take the time to discuss your case with a motor vehicle accident attorney who can offer you their perspective on your case and what they believe are your chances at recovery.
How Much Money Can You Recover in a Car Accident Case?
The money you recover for a car accident case will depend on many factors. While the severity of an accident can indicate your potential compensation in a case, the true measure of how much money you may recover is your losses.
No one, including a car accident lawyer, can predict with absolute certainty to the penny the amount of money you will ultimately receive; they cannot even guarantee that you will get compensation. However, the experience and knowledge of a motor vehicle accident lawyer can give significant insight into what the estimate of damages will be in your case.
The Calculation of Motor Vehicle Accident Damages
To prepare an insurance claim and your case for potential litigation following a car accident, your attorney will go through each aspect of your case. They will help you identify your damages to then calculate your losses as accurately as possible.
Damages in a car accident are not always apparent, and sometimes what may appear to be a minimal loss can then escalate over time into overwhelming costs and expenses that you may not have anticipated at the beginning of the case.
Your attorney understands that damages are fluid and must consider your changing circumstances about your injuries and the future impact those injuries and changes may have on your future.
Damages for a motor vehicle accident may include:
- Medical expenses
- Costs of supportive care, whether in-home, long-term, or rehabilitation facility
- Loss of income
- Future loss of earnings as well as any diminution in earning potential
- Pain and suffering, including physical anguish and emotional/mental distress
- Property damage for the value or repair of your personal property
- Wrongful death compensation for the family of a victim that loses their life in a crash due to negligence
Do You Have Limited Time to Seek Compensation?
In every state, the laws of procedure have a statute of limitations. Your time to decide whether to seek compensation for your losses is under the limits set by the law, and depending on the state you are in, the time can be quite short.
An attorney will keep you within the statute of limitations and keep your rights to pursue recovery of your losses so long as you contact them soon after your accident. Statutes of limitations are non-negotiable, and the court will often throw out any case that goes beyond the limitations under the law.
What Steps Do You Need to Take Right After a Car Accident?
A motor vehicle crash victim may not keep their composure at the accident scene and take steps to protect themselves. You may have injuries, require assistance, and there might be others who also need help.
After a crash:
- If you are in imminent danger, get to safety
- Call for the police and medical help
- Take photos and videos of the scene and damage
- Go to the hospital
- Follow your medical treatment
- Maintain a log or record of your experience
- Do not talk to the opposing parties’ insurance
- Schedule a consultation with a car accident lawyer near you