Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?
If you get in a car accident that wasn't your fault, the first thing on your mind will likely be whether or not you should get a lawyer. You may assume that because it wasn't your fault, a lawyer isn't necessary – but is this really the case? While you might not need to seek legal counsel, an experienced car accident lawyer can establish liability, investigate insurance coverage options, and help you obtain a settlement your injuries or file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. Being hit by an unsafe motorist generally causes stress, anxiety, and injuries. Sneed & Mitchell LLP does not does not want you concerned about how to properly handle the claims process after being victim to an avoidable accident, we can handle the legal process for you.
In this blog post, we'll cover all of the important information regarding why it's best to retain an attorney after being hit by an at-fault driver and why hiring a lawyer will make a difference in your recovery.
Why You Should Hire An Attorney After A Car Accident That Was Not Your Fault
After being involved in a car accident that was not your fault, hiring an attorney is important to help ensure that you receive all the compensation to which you are entitled for property damage, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and any other related costs. Furthermore, the at-fault party may attempt to use certain scenarios or evidence obtained from the scene of the accident against you in order to deny liability.
To build a solid case and prove liability and the monetary value of your recovery, a car accident attorney will benefit your claim by doing the following actions.
1. Investigating The Scene
When investigating the scene of an automobile accident, a car accident attorney will analyze camera footage and work to detect the possible interactions between the two drivers involved. The attorney's analysis may inspecting traffic patterns and lighting to see how weather and visibility could have impacted the situation. Additionally, they may look for signs of negligent behavior from any of the parties involved that could be used in court. Evidence that supports the liable party ignoring stop signs or crossing over into lanes marked off with yellow lines is helpful. Through their investigation, an attorney will be able to paint a comprehensive picture of what led up to the car accident, thus helping them to determine who is liable for any resulting damages.
Filing Insurance Claims
Filing insurance claims following a car accident can be complex and time consuming. An attorney can help make this process easier on you by streamlining the paperwork and dealing with the insurer so that you have time to focus on your recovery. Depending on the factors of your specific collision you might have access to the at-fault's policy and also a third party company, such as a parts manufacturer, construction company, or governmental unit. You might also be able to utilize your own policy by using benefits such as underinsurance or uninsured motorists coverage. Your attorneys will determine what policies and benefits can be stacked and file all applicable claims for you.
Handling Insurance Adjuster Calls
Letting your car accident attorney handle any calls with the insurance adjuster is a wise decision. Whether you area dealing with Geico, Statefarm, USAA, or any other, the insurance adjuster's job is to try to get you to settle for the lowest possible compensation and tricks could be used which would disadvantage you in the negotiation process. As such, your attorney should be present for recorded statements taken by the insurance company or have any important statements notated and submitted to them. Your lawyer will also understand the tricks that may be used by the insurance adjuster and provide real-time advice on how best to proceed.
2. Reviewing The Crash Report
Crash reports provide useful information and a wealth of data from eyewitnesses and physical evidence left at the scene, such as skid marks and damage to cars. Failed sobriety tests, distracted driving and reckless behavior can all be factors used in determining the cause of an accident and provide an idea of who should be held responsible. However, while a crash report is valuable information, it does not necessarily determine who was at fault for the accident. An attorney will review the crash report and often support it with evidence such as witness statements, photographs, and traffic laws to determine lability. T-bone collisions are much different that pedestrian incidents and require a different analysis and evidence chase. You should not allow an insurance company to determine fault without having legal counsel to discuss the crash on your behalf.
3. Helping You Obtain Medical Care
From surgeons to rehabilitation therapists, an attorney can help arrange for the medical care needed quickly and efficiently. Injuries such as brain injuries, broken bones, amputations, shoulder injuries, crush injuries, and paralysis each require a different type of medical professional. Additonally, victims of catastrophic automobile accidents often develop symptoms of post Traumatic Stress Disorder, related to the near-death experience. The attorney can further aid their client by providing expert advice on whether or not a course of treatment is medically necessary or beneficial and insurance coverage that may apply. A network of proven providers combined with legal resources makes hiring an attorney invaluable after any traffic accident.
4. Proving Negligence
A skilled attorney can effectively utilize the four essential elements of negligence to defend your rights and secure fair compensation. These elements include:
Duty of Care: The defendant had a responsibility to exercise reasonable care while operating their vehicle. The duty of bus drivers is different than Uber or Lyft drivers.
Breach of Duty of Care: The defendant failed to meet this standard of care, causing the accident.
Causation: The defendant's breach of duty directly resulted in your losses and injuries.
Damages: You, as the plaintiff, sustained both economic and physical harm that could be covered by a financial award.
By demonstrating that the accident was preventable, your lawyer can work towards a successful outcome and alleviate your concerns about future losses from permanent injuries.
Hiring Accident Reconstruction Experts
Although fault might seem clear in your accident, you can never tell how an insurance company will respond after
An accident reconstructionist is a specialist who uses scientific methods to investigate and analyze the causes of a traffic accident. They may be hired by an insurance company, a law firm, or a government agency to help determine fault in a crash. Here is how an accident reconstructionist expert might investigate a crash site:
Examining physical evidence: The expert will inspect the vehicles involved in the accident, the road conditions, and other physical evidence at the crash site. They may take measurements, collect debris, and take photographs to document their findings.
Analyzing data: The expert may use tools such as computer simulations, black box data from trucks and semi-trucks, 3D modeling, school bus data, and mathematical analysis to reconstruct the accident and determine the speeds and movements of the vehicles involved.
Interviewing witnesses: The expert may speak to witnesses who saw the accident to gather additional information about what happened.
Reviewing documentation: The specialist may review police reports, safety records, medical records, and other relevant documentation to gain a comprehensive understanding of the accident.
By combining these methods, the expert can build a detailed picture of the accident and determine which driver was at fault. The expert's findings may be used in a court of law or an insurance settlement to help determine the liability of the parties involved in the accident.
Determining Your Economic and Non-Economic Damages
You may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages, depending on the extent of your losses from the accident. Some of the common forms of compensation that you may be able to claim include:
Pain and Suffering: Reimbursement for physical and emotional distress.
Medical Expenses: Coverage of hospital bills, doctor visits, and other healthcare costs.
Mental Anguish: Compensation for psychological trauma and distress.
Property Damage: Repairs or replacement of damaged personal property.
Physical Therapy: Reimbursement for rehabilitation and physical therapy costs.
Lost Wages: Coverage of lost income and benefits if you can't work after the car accident
If you were not at fault for the accident, you may be eligible to file an insurance claim or lawsuit to receive a fair settlement for your losses and injuries.
Sending A Demand Letter
A personal injury demand letter marks the initial step in recovering compensation for damages caused by another party’s negligence. In some cases, these letters can open negotiations between parties resulting in an adequate settlement to cover losses without the need to file a lawsuit. Although sometimes contentious, negotiating a favorable and full settlement is often possible with a strongly worded demand letter that explains the basis of an individual’s claim and outlines all injuries, losses, and expenses associated with the claim. An qualified attorney can help determine what compensation should be sought in a letter and help develop a persuasive argument for inclusion to ensure fair restitution for damages suffered.
Negotiating The Claim
Negotiating a car accident claim is something that should be done strategically when working with a personal injury attorney. Most attorneys will look at both past and future expenses involved, such as medical bills and other costs associated with the accident. The legal professional understands the full impact of the incident to ensure that any compensation received is sufficient to cover all short-term and long-term related economic and non-economic damages. Negotiating claims is a delicate art that requires aggressive advocating, persuasive arguments, and the ability to anticipate how the company will respond the demand package.
Presenting The Case At Trial
If negotiations fail, the attorney will begin prepping the case to go to trial. Preparations involve thoroughly researching laws related to the case, creating witness testimony, advising clients on the legal process, and writing briefs and other documents that will be presented in court. In many cases, the attorney may even need to anticipate how opposing counsel is likely to approach the trial.
What Happens When an Accident Wasn’t Your Fault?
When an accident wasn't your fault, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your damages through an insurance claim or lawsuit. If you believe the other party was at fault, you can file a claim with their insurance company. If they deny your claim or the compensation offered is insufficient, you may consider hiring an attorney and filing a personal injury lawsuit in court.
It's important to take prompt action in these situations as there may be time limits for filing a claim or lawsuit. A skilled attorney can help you navigate the process, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and protect your rights.
Focus on Your Health While The Attorney Focuses on Your Case
Following a car crash, it's crucial to seek emergency medical treatment, even if you don't feel any immediate symptoms. Insurance adjusters are trained to look for gaps in your treatment timeline to support them any lowball offers for your pain and suffering. Thorough medical documentation can evidences your claim by timestamping your injuries and linking the car accident to any future injury or medical complications that might arise.
Don't settle for the first offer from your insurance company. A qualified car accident attorney can help you build a strong case and negotiate with insurance providers on your behalf. Our priority is to secure an amicable out-of-court settlement, but if necessary, we're prepared to fight for your rights in a court of law.