The aftermath of a car accident can put you under incredible pressure. Not only do you have to receive medical treatment for your injuries, but eventually, you have to address the costs associated with medical bills and repairing the damage done to your vehicle and other types of property. You have to gather and organize persuasive physical evidence to file an insurance claim and if another party committed one or more acts of negligence, a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
Add on top to the typical responsibilities of dealing with the aftermath of a vehicle collision is the fact that you have been charged with an accident. If you were charged with an accident, here’s how a car accident attorney will help.
Conduct a Thorough Investigation
An experienced car accident attorney knows how to collect the type of evidence that can exonerate you of all charges and possibly discover that the other party committed at least one act of negligence. Most car accidents require the presence of a law enforcement agency to conduct a separate investigation, as well as secure the accident scene to protect other drivers and passengers. Photographs of all vehicles involved, as well as images of the accident scene, can lead an investigating officer to determine the cause of the vehicle collision. However, your lawyer can strengthen your case by acquiring traffic camera footage captured at the scene of the accident.
One of your most important responsibilities after an auto crash is to obtain the names and contact information of every witness to hand over to your car accident attorney. Your lawyer interviews each witness to determine whether there is enough legal support to back the physical evidence collected. Witness accounts help describe what happened before, during, and after the car accident, as well as explain in detail the road and weather conditions at the time of the collision.
Interact with the Insurance Company
Dealing with an insurance company following a car accident can be an exercise in frustration. If the insurance company processing your claim discovers you were charged with the accident, the likelihood of you receiving compensation dramatically falls. Many insurance companies like to take advantage of policyholders who do not retain legal representation or hire an attorney, yet file an insurance claim without any legal support. An experienced attorney can help you demonstrate that you did not commit an act of negligence that caused the vehicle collision.
Prove the Other Party Committed at Least One Act of Negligence
If the physical evidence gathered at the scene of the auto crash and witness accounts verify your version of events, your lawyer might be able to turn around your charge of causing the accident by proving the other party should be held legally liable for your injuries. Proving negligence requires demonstrating the presence of four elements, which are a duty of care, breaching the duty of care doctrine, causation, and financial losses. If you can prove the other party committed one or more acts of negligence, you might have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
The Bottom Line
If you have been charged with an accident, act with a sense of urgency by hiring an experienced car accident attorney. Without legal representation, you might lose more than the financial losses that are associated with lost wages, medical bills, and the cost of repairing property damage.
As a victim of a car accident, you must follow a series of steps to improve your chances of getting the compensation that you deserve to pay off medical bills. You also need money to pay for property damage and the income lost because your injuries forced you out of work.
The first step involves calling 911 to alert the nearest law enforcement agency as to where the car accident took place. Law enforcement officers arrive at the accident scene to secure the area, as well as conduct a thorough investigation that leads to the filing of the official police report. Next, you should receive medical care to treat, as well as develop a plan to rehabilitate your injuries. The third step involves obtaining the contact information of witnesses and taking photos of the accident scene to acquire persuasive physical evidence. Finally, you should schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced personal injury attorney to prepare an insurance claim and determine whether you have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
With bills piling up fast and no income coming in to pay the bills, how long does it take for a car accident attorney to get results? The answer is it depends on one or more of the following factors.
Time It Takes to Complete an Investigation
Unless you got involved in a minor fender bender, a law enforcement agency conducts an extensive investigation that helps your personal injury lawyer discover two important answers. The official police report defines the cause of the car accident and whether another party should assume legal liability for causing you harm. Although the investigation conducted by the appropriate law enforcement agency should not take more than a couple of days, filing the official police report can take several days to a few weeks depending on the complexity of your case.
Processing an Insurance Claim
Before you contact an insurance company, you should first speak with a state-licensed personal injury lawyer to receive advice on how to file the most convincing claim. Insurance companies prefer to deal with policyholders who do not retain legal representation. The more complicated the vehicle collision, the longer it takes for an insurance adjuster to issue a decision regarding a claim. One of the most important reasons to hire a car accident lawyer concerns the tendency of insurance adjusters to delay processing claims. With an experienced personal injury attorney providing legal support, you should receive a decision on your claim in a timely manner.
Unless you need to file an appeal to overturn a denied claim, you should get approved for compensation no longer than two months after filing your claim.
The Litigation Process
If your personal injury attorney can prove the presence of the four elements of negligence, you might have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. The litigation process can drag on for several months or even longer if the judicial docket is backlogged with pending lawsuits. However, your car accident lawyer can ask the other party to negotiate a settlement, which can significantly decrease the amount of time it takes for your attorney to get results.
Your lawyer submits a reasonable offer that the other party can accept or reject. If the other party rejects your initial offer, you might receive a counteroffer or both parties agree to prepare for the trial phase of the litigation process.
How you respond to a car accident goes a long way toward determining whether you receive compensation to cover financial losses such as medical bills, property damages, and lost wages. You should call 911, seek immediate medical care, and provide information for law enforcement to include in the official police report. Shortly after the car accident, you should file a claim with the proper insurance company. Many victims of car accidents refuse to hire an attorney to help them file the most persuasive insurance claims. Much of the decision not to seek legal counsel is based on perceived high attorney fees. However, after conducting a cost-benefit analysis, you should quickly reach the conclusion that hiring a personal injury lawyer is a fiscally responsible strategy.
According to a study released by the Insurance Research Council, auto collision victims that retain legal counsel receive more compensation by filing insurance claims. The same study discovered that in a majority of cases, the claims settled by insurance companies involved the participation of a personal injury attorney.
One important note: A vast majority of personal injury attorneys charge on a contingency fee basis, which means you should not have to pay upfront fees to gain the most experienced legal representation.
Car Accident Attorneys Act as Intermediaries
Hiring a state-licensed car accident lawyer demonstrates to the insurance company that you are serious about receiving just compensation from a claim. An attorney acts as an intermediary between you and the insurance company by monitoring the progress of your claim and interacting with a claims adjuster. Insurance companies tend to take advantage of claimants that do not retain legal counsel. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney prevents that from happening.
Calculates a Reasonable Value for Monetary Damages
One of the most frequently cited reasons for denied or undervalued insurance claims concerns an unreasonable value request for compensation. An experienced car accident attorney calculates a fair value for compensation by adding up the bills associated with medical care and property damage. For lost wages, an auto crash lawyer refers to bank statements and employer timekeeping records. You also have the right to request compensation for non-economic damages, such as the costs associated with pain and suffering.
Negotiate a Settlement
Just because an insurance company denies a claim does not mean the process for seeking compensation is over. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney provides you with a negotiator who tries to find common ground with the insurance company. After receiving a denied claim, your lawyer submits an offer to settle the claim. A series of counter offers can follow until either both parties reach an agreement or the claim ends up in the legal system for resolution.
Filing an insurance claim is not the only way you can receive compensation for the financial losses produced by a vehicle collision. A personal injury attorney conducts an exhaustive investigation to determine whether another party committed one or more acts of negligence that caused your injuries. If your attorney discovers another party committed at least one act of negligence, then you might have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
Getting involved in a car accident can cause one or more injuries, as well as trigger emotional distress issues such as fear and anxiety. Although the aftermath of a vehicle collision can leave you confused as to how to address your injuries and financial losses, you should act with a sense of urgency by contacting an experienced car accident attorney.
The most important reason to enlist the aid of a car accident attorney concerns getting the compensation that you deserve for suffering financial losses. An auto collision can result in medical bills that run into thousands of dollars. Add to medical bills lost wages and the cost to repair property damage, and you might find yourself in a deep financial hole. Working with a state-licensed personal injury lawyer can help you recover financial losses.
Here are four other great reasons to enlist the aid of a car accident attorney.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Insurance companies prefer to process claims filed by policyholders that are not represented by a personal injury lawyer. Without legal representation, the insurance company processing your claim might either deny it or approve a claim valued well below what you deserve. By hiring an experienced car accident attorney, the insurance company processing your claim knows you are serious about receiving just compensation.
Your lawyer gathers and organizes the physical evidence you need to file a persuasive insurance claim.
Determining the Amount of Compensation
Filing an insurance claim and a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages requires your personal injury lawyer to calculate a fair value for compensation. Your attorney combines the tangible costs associated with medical bills, repairs to property damage, and lost wages. Non-economic damages cover the emotional issues that arise from trauma produced as the result of a vehicle collision. Your lawyer calculates a reasonable value for non-economic damages by using a formula that factors in the value of economic damages.
To file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages, your car accident attorney must prove the presence of the four elements of negligence. Duty of care means another party assumed the legal responsibility to ensure your safety. Breaching the duty of care doctrine involves another party committing an act of negligence that caused your harm. The third element of proving negligence involves showing the judge hearing your case that the car accident produced your injuries. Finally, the injuries sustained as a result of an auto crash must have generated financial losses.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Before the Deadline
Each state has established a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. Also referred to as the statute of limitations, the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit in most states is between two and four years. By hiring an experienced car accident attorney, you can rest assured that you will file a personal injury lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations.
If you fail to meet the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit in the state where you live, you can expect the court clerk processing your case to remove it from the judicial docket.
A slip and fall accident can cause one or more serious injuries, such as brain trauma, a fractured wrist, and spinal cord damage. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can help provide legal support in many ways, including gathering physical evidence, interviewing witnesses, and ensuring you file a persuasive civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
When you meet with one of our personal injury lawyers, you can expect the attorney to encourage you to act with a sense of urgency for several reasons.
Statute of Limitations
Each state has established a deadline for filing personal injury lawsuits. Most states have set the statute of limitations between two and four years, while a few states grant as long as six years and as short as one year to take legal action. If you fail to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages before the expiration of the statute of limitations, you can expect the court clerk processing your lawsuit to remove it from the judicial docket.
The sooner you hire a slip and fall attorney, the more likely that you will file a civil lawsuit before the deadline set by the state where you live.
Witness accounts of a slip and fall accident provide legal support for the evidence gathered at the scene of a personal injury incident. For example, a fellow shopper at a grocery store can verify the footage captured by a store security camera. However, your slip and fall attorney should interview every witness as close to the date of the slip and fall accident as possible. Witnesses tend to provide less reliable versions of events the longer they wait to meet with a slip and fall lawyer.
Unless you arrange a payment plan with a debtor that allows the debtor to take out expenses from an approved insurance claim and/or a favorable legal judgment, you have the financial obligation to pay medical expenses and other types of economic damages until you receive compensation. Since medical bills can quickly run into thousands of dollars, reaching a quick settlement with an insurance company prevents you from falling deep into a financial hole that might require the filing of bankruptcy documents.
Interact with Insurance Company
The insurance company that processes your claim wants you to submit the claim as quickly as possible after a slip and fall accident. Without the legal support of a personal injury attorney, the insurance company might take advantage of you by denying a valid claim or approving a claim that is valued well below what you deserve. Because the insurance company wants you to file a claim shortly after a slip and fall accident, you must act quickly when hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your case.
Crowded Judicial Docket
The judicial docket for civil lawsuits is typically crowded with cases. This means you might experience a delay in the processing of your case, especially if you plan to take the case to the trial phase of the litigation process. Hiring a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible after a slip and fall accident gets your case heard sooner than if you wait to hire a lawyer a few months down the road.
As a type of personal injury law, premises liability covers cases when a visitor to someone’s property sustains one or more injuries because of an act of negligence committed by the property owner. For example, if you slipped and fell while on someone else’s property and the property owner’s negligence caused you harm, you might have a strong enough case to file a premises liability lawsuit.
Winning monetary damages for a premises liability lawsuit can be difficult to do. The key is to submit persuasive physical evidence that includes the statements made by witnesses to the incident.
How Can I Strengthen My Premises Liability Case?Submitting convincing physical evidence goes a long way toward helping you receive just compensation for any injuries sustained, as well as for lost wages and property damage.
Taking photos of the accident scene can demonstrate that the property owner failed to take steps to protect your health while you were on the property. For example, if you fell down a flight of stairs because a handrail broke free from a wall, taking photographs of the defective handrail can boost the chances of you winning a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
You should take photos of the accident scene right after the incident to ensure the property owner does not cover up the physical evidence. If you fell down a flight of stairs because of a defective handrail, waiting too long after the accident to take photographs gives the property owner enough time to secure the faulty handrail.
Security Camera Footage
Unlike a vast majority of public spaces, some private properties do not include a security camera system for an attorney to review. Obtaining video that captures a premises liability accident can establish proof that the owner of the property committed one or more acts of negligence. Working with a premises liability attorney provides you with the legal support that you need to subpoena the property owner to acquire a copy of the video for your lawyer to examine for acquiring additional physical evidence.
Medical Bills and Records
Copies of medical bills and records provide the evidence you need to seek compensation for the financial losses associated with your injuries. The results of diagnostic tests confirm your symptoms, and a detailed description of treatments and physical therapy sessions informs the judge hearing your case about the extent of your injuries. Copies of medical bills allow your attorney to submit a reasonable value for monetary damages based on tangible expense documents.
Copies of bank statements and timekeeping records show how much money you lost in wages because of a premises liability accident. You have the right to seek compensation for lost wages, but you must submit documents that verify the amount of time you missed from work, as well as the compensation lost while you mended from your injuries. Your employer should submit copies of timekeeping records.
Work with an Experienced Premises Liability Attorney
The most effective way to strengthen your premises liability case involves hiring a highly-rated personal injury attorney who specializes in litigating premises liability lawsuits. Your lawyer understands how to prove each of the four elements of negligence, which include a duty of care, breaching the duty of care, causation, and financial losses. In addition, an experienced premises liability lawyer ensures you file your civil lawsuit before the expiration of the status of limitations.
Schedule a free case evaluation today with an experienced premises liability attorney to help build the strongest case possible for filing a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
Knowing how to react after getting struck by a car might not be on your radar, but it should be. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, the number of pedestrians killed by a moving motor vehicle jumped more than five percent in 2020, despite the pandemic shutting down a considerable amount of traffic. One of the most common reasons why we see increases in pedestrian accidents with each passing year concerns the use of mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.
Reasons aside, you should know what to do immediately after getting hit by a car.
Calling 911 does two important things. First, it alerts the nearest law enforcement agency about the accident. The officers responding to the scene of a car accident involving a pedestrian conduct a thorough investigation that leads to the submission of the formal police report. Second, calling 911 activities the medical emergency response system. You might not be physically able to call 911, which means a witness to the accident should do it for you.
Receive Immediate Medical Care
Receiving medical care can help you recover faster from the injuries sustained because of a pedestrian car accident. The closest emergency room is the place where you receive critical, even life-saving medical care. Even if you feel healthy enough to remain at the scene of the auto collision, you should eventually get medical care to detect any delayed symptoms, such as those that develop from whiplash or a concussion.
Take Photographs of Your Injuries
One important type of evidence to submit when filing an insurance claim and/or a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages involves photographs of your injuries. You should take photos of every injury associated with the vehicle collision, as well as document each injury by writing down detailed descriptions. The personal injury attorney that you hire needs to present the medical evidence to justify requesting a value for compensation. Copies of medical bills and records also provide persuasive evidence for an insurance company and a civil court judge to review.
Receive the Formal Police Report
As the most influential type of evidence presented for a personal injury claim and civil lawsuit, the formal police report presents a detailed description of what transpired before, during, and after the other party’s car struck you. The formal police report also includes statements made by witnesses, which your personal injury lawyer needs to have to present as supporting evidence. Towards the end of the formal police report, a section should include information that assigns blame for the party or parties that caused the accident.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Personal Injury Attorney
Hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your pedestrian car accident case improves the chances of you receiving compensation for your injuries. Your attorney helps you file a convincing insurance claim, as well as a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages to recover the costs associated with your injuries.
Car accidents cause a wide variety of injuries that vary in severity depending on many factors, such as the speed both cars have traveled and where the impact is made on both vehicles. The most serious type of injury is called a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which develops when a strong collision causes significant damage to the brain. TBI represents one of the most common reasons why a victim of an auto collision develops a disability. It also is one of the most common causes of death among victims of vehicle collisions.
If you sustained a TBI as the result of a car accident, hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation that you deserve to recover financial losses.
What Are the Most Common Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries?
According to researchers at Northeastern University, TBI is defined by two broad categories: Open and closed. An open TBI, which is often referred to as a penetrating brain injury, means the skull has fractured or has been penetrated by an object. Closed traumatic brain injuries result in a strong impact on the head, but the skull does not fracture. Sustaining a closed TBI is more common in cases of car accidents
Let’s review the most common types of injuries that negatively impact the performance of the brain.
Most concussions are considered a milder version of a traumatic brain injury. Symptoms of a concussion include memory loss, as well as issues with speech, vision, and/or coordination. The most effective treatment is the passage of time, as a healthcare provider cannot apply any techniques to heal the internal injury.
Because the symptoms of a concussion frequently do not develop right away, working with an experienced car accident attorney can determine if you qualify to receive the financial assistance approved by an insurance company or even the monetary damages awarded during a civil lawsuit.
A contusion represents a form of bruising that develops under the skin as the result of a strong impact made to the head. It is often connected to the development of concussion symptoms, and if not diagnosed in a timely manner, can lead to serious medical consequences. If the bleeding does not stop, a victim might have to undergo a delicate type of surgery that relieves pressure on the brain. An untreated contusion that does not stop bleeding can develop into a life-threatening medical condition.
A hematoma represents a common form of TBI that happens when the blood vessels in the brain rupture and the blood starts to clot as the body tries to stop the bleeding. Hematomas differ in size, with an above-average size hematoma applying tremendous pressure on the brain. The size of the blood clot determines the seriousness of the symptoms, which might require surgery to diminish or eliminate.
Financial Impact of a TBI
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1.7 million people sustain a TBI each year throughout the United States. Lifetime medical expenses can exceed $4 million to treat and rehabilitate the symptoms. Physical therapy alone can cost as much as $1 million over a victim’s lifetime. The daily costs associated with treating a TBI right after a car accident average $8,000 per day.
If you have sustained a TBI that resulted from the impact of a vehicle collision, act with a sense of urgency by contacting an experienced car accident lawyer.
If you sustained injuries and/or property damage as the result of a car accident, slip and fall, or a defective product, you should schedule a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer. Before you meet with an attorney, you should conduct research that considers the factors to look for when selecting the right legal counsel to represent you.
Experience MattersPersonal injury lawyers that have compiled years of experience litigating cases possess a thorough understanding of state personal injury laws, as well as what it takes to persuade an insurance company to approve a claim and a civil court judge to award monetary damages for the negligence committed by another party.
For a personal injury case, you should consider attorneys that specialize in the type of personal injury practice that applies to your case. For example, if you sustained injuries that were caused by the negligence of another driver, you want to work with a car accident attorney. In addition to years of experience, make sure any lawyer on your shortlist has a proven record of helping clients receive compensation.
Understands Medical TermsSince most of the compensation that you seek concerns medical expenses, you should consider a personal injury lawyer who understands complex legal jargon. This is especially important if you plan to litigate a medical malpractice case. Complex medical jargon often refers to types of injuries, as well as the prognosis of making a full or partial recovery from the injuries. If you sustained serious injuries caused by a vehicle collision, the car accident lawyer that you choose must understand different types of diagnostic tests and the advice given by a healthcare provider regarding rehabilitation.
Effective Negotiation SkillsNot every personal injury case ends up in the litigation process. In fact, the best personal injury attorneys try to negotiate a favorable settlement for clients to avoid a costly and time-consuming civil trial. For example, a skilled car accident attorney calculates a fair value for compensation that keeps the lawyer representing the other party engaged in negotiations. A highly-skilled negotiator knows how to submit fair counteroffers that eventually lead to the resolution of a case.
Although you want to work with a personal injury lawyer who tries to negotiate a favorable settlement, you also want to hire a litigator who does not hesitate to take your case to trial if negotiations break down.
Responsive CommunicatorResponsive communication involves any lawyer on your shortlist communicating with you in a timely manner. For example, if you sustained injuries that resulted from the negligence of another driver, your car accident lawyer must keep you informed about the status of your civil lawsuit. Your legal counsel should listen to what you want out of your case. If you agree to a settlement offer, but your attorney prefers to go a couple of more rounds with counteroffers, your lawyer should agree to accept the settlement offer.
Before the first case evaluation, you have the opportunity to test an attorney for responsive communication by leaving voice messages, as well as sending emails and text messages. A lawyer who takes longer than 24 hours to return any form of communication is not considered a responsive communicator.
Finally, read the reviews left by clients on sites such as Yelp and Google. Access an attorney’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) page to discover the reputation rating handed out by the consumer advocacy organization.
Companies such as Lyft and Uber that provide ride-sharing services have become an integral form of transportation for millions of Americans. An increase in the number of drivers that contract with Lyft and Uber coincides with a rise in the number of accidents. What happens if you get involved in an accident with a ride-sharing vehicle? Do the same steps taken by victims of other types of car accidents apply to a collision with a ride-sharing driver?
Contact Law Enforcement
The first action to take after an accident with a ride-sharing vehicle involves calling the nearest law enforcement agency. Calling the police results in the filing of a formal police report that you need a copy of to file an insurance claim, as well as a civil lawsuit if the ride-sharing driver committed one or more acts of negligence. A law enforcement officer also takes control of the accident scene to direct traffic, as well as ensures the ride-sharing driver has obtained the proper credentials to provide ride-sharing services.
Receive Medical Care
Medical expenses represent the costliest type of expenses you can expect to pay after a collision with a ride-sharing vehicle. To receive compensation for your injuries, you must undergo diagnostic tests that prove you sustained one or more injuries. If you sustained serious injuries, you must seek medical care immediately after the accident. Otherwise, you remain at the scene of the accident until the law enforcement officer completes the initial investigation.
The law enforcement agency that responds to the ride-sharing accident conducts an investigation that includes gathering and organizing evidence. However, you should take photos of the accident scene that includes images of the damage done to your vehicle and the injuries you sustained because of the accident. Photographs of the accident scene can help your attorney determine whether the ride-sharing vehicle committed one or more traffic violations.
Driver and Witness Information
Because Lyft and Uber drivers operate as independent contractors, you need to acquire the driver’s name and contact information. You also should receive information that describes the ride-sharing company’s insurance details, such as policy number and how much coverage the company has bought. The responding law enforcement officer should ask for this information as well. Ask witnesses for their names and contact information, which you give to your personal injury attorney.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Hire a personal injury lawyer before you contact your insurance company and file an accident report with the ride-sharing company. Your attorney advises you on how to proceed with the filing of a claim, which includes contacting your insurer at the right time. Personal injury lawyers act as intermediaries between clients and insurance companies. Working with a personal injury attorney helps you file an insurance claim, as well as a civil lawsuit, before the state-imposed deadline.
Getting in an accident with a ride-sharing vehicle introduces different legal issues than if you got involved in a typical auto collision. Act with a sense of urgency by scheduling a free case evaluation with an experienced Ohio personal injury attorney.
Since 1982, the attorneys of Schiff & Associates have provided our clients with quality legal representation in cases of personal injury and wrongful death. Our clients benefit from the combined skills of a powerful legal team.