As the victim of a car accident, you have enough to worry about without adding the uncertainty of what exactly your personal injury lawyer will do to help you through the legal process. While every case is different, there are several standard steps an attorney will take to build your claim, seek compensation, and ensure you are made whole again. First, your lawyer will conduct a thorough initial consultation to review the details of your accident and injuries. Next, they will conduct an investigation into the crash by obtaining the police report, interviewing witnesses, and evaluating factors like weather conditions.
Using this evidence, your attorney can determine who is at fault and the estimated value of your damages. They will then submit a demand letter to the insurance companies involved, negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf, and file a lawsuit if needed. Throughout it all, your car accident lawyer will advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of your case, your legal options, and the compensation you deserve so you can make the best decisions for your situation. While it may seem complex, having an experienced attorney to guide you through the legal process after an accident can help reduce stress and ensure the best possible outcome.
Conducting an Initial Consultation
An initial consultation with your personal injury lawyer is a critical first step. During this meeting, your attorney will gather details about your accident and injuries to determine if you have a viable claim.
To prepare, bring any evidence you have related to the crash, such as photos of the vehicles, accident reports, medical bills, records of time missed from work, etc. Be ready to provide a thorough account of what happened, including details about the other driver's negligence. Your lawyer will ask many questions to gain a full understanding of the key facts and events.
If after reviewing the details, your attorney believes you have a legitimate case, they will discuss your legal options and the merits of pursuing compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. Lawyers typically handle these cases on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you pay nothing upfront and they receive a percentage of any settlement.
Once you decide to move forward, your lawyer will send a demand letter to the at-fault driver's insurance company to initiate the claims process. They will negotiate with the insurer to seek fair compensation for your damages. This may include reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other accident-related costs.
Should the insurance company deny your claim or make an inadequate settlement offer, litigation may be necessary. Your attorney will file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue the matter in court. They will handle all legal procedures through either a settlement or trial to maximize your recovery and hold the negligent party accountable.
With an experienced lawyer advocating for you, the complex claims and litigation process after an auto accident becomes much more manageable. They will guide you each step of the way to a resolution that provides you the damages and justice you deserve. Let your attorney do the work so you can focus on your recovery.
Investigating the Accident and Gathering Evidence
Your attorney and their team will conduct a thorough investigation into the details surrounding your accident. This includes:
- Reviewing the police report and any traffic citations issued
- Examining photos of the vehicles and accident scene
- Interviewing witnesses to the crash
- Analyzing accident reconstruction reports
- Checking if poor road conditions or defective vehicle parts contributed to the collision
They will gather evidence to prove negligence and support your claim. Evidence may include:
- Photos of the damage to your vehicle
- Your medical records, bills, and correspondence with doctors regarding your injuries
- Missed work or pay stubs showing lost wages
- Receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the accident
Your lawyer will also determine all liable parties and the amount of compensation you deserve. To do so, they will evaluate the severity of your injuries, including any temporary or permanent disability, as well as calculate current and future medical costs and lost work capacity. They work to obtain the maximum settlement for your claim.
Throughout the legal process, your attorney handles communication and paperwork, allowing you to focus on recovery. They will guide you in order to build the strongest case possible against the at-fault parties. With experienced representation, you have the best chance of prevailing in your claim and gaining fair recompense. Putting your trust in a personal injury law firm means peace of mind that your rights and interests are protected.
Determining Liability and Negotiating With Insurance Companies
Once you have hired a personal injury attorney, one of the first things they will do is conduct a thorough investigation into your accident. This includes:
- Reviewing the details of your accident and injuries, including photos of the vehicles involved, accident scene, and your injuries.
- Interviewing any witnesses to the accident and obtaining written or recorded statements from them about what they observed. These witness accounts can be crucial for determining liability.
- Obtaining and reviewing the police report from the accident. The police report contains important details about the accident that can help establish fault.
- Contacting the at-fault party’s insurance company and any other involved insurance companies. Your attorney will notify them of their representation of you and begin negotiating a potential settlement.
Settlement negotiations with insurance companies involve determining an amount that will fairly compensate you for your injuries and losses. Your attorney will:
- Review your medical records, bills, and expenses to calculate the total cost of your injuries and treatment. They will factor in any future costs for ongoing care as well.
- Determine a reasonable amount for pain and suffering based on the severity and duration of your injuries. Pain and suffering damages aim to compensate you for physical and emotional distress.
- Consider potential lost wages if your injuries prevented you from working. Your attorney will review your pay stubs, tax returns, and other records to calculate lost income.
- Negotiate with the insurance companies to reach a settlement amount that provides you with full and fair compensation. If negotiations are unsuccessful, your attorney will proceed to filing a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.
Throughout the process, your attorney will keep you updated on the details of your case and any offers or counteroffers made during settlement negotiations. They will advise you on whether any offers are reasonable based on the merits and details of your individual accident and injuries. The ultimate decision to accept or reject a settlement offer is yours after discussing the options with your attorney.
Filing a Lawsuit on Your Behalf (If Necessary)
If negotiation and settlement attempts are unsuccessful, your attorney may need to pursue legal action by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault parties on your behalf. This is a serious step, but sometimes necessary to obtain fair compensation for your damages and losses.
Filing a lawsuit requires your attorney to draft an official complaint stating the specific legal claims against the defendant(s). The complaint will outline details of the accident, injuries sustained, and damages incurred. It requests a trial by jury and specifies an amount of money being sought for compensation.
Once the complaint is filed with the court, the defendant(s) will be served with the documents. They have a limited time to respond to the complaint, usually 30 days. Their response may include an answer admitting or denying the allegations, or possibly a motion to dismiss the case. Your attorney will then need to oppose any motions and proceed with the discovery process.
The discovery process involves exchanging evidence and documents between parties, depositions, interrogatories, and possibly independent medical examinations. This pre-trial phase can last 6-18 months. The aim is to determine liability, evaluate the strength of each side's arguments, and potentially reach a settlement to avoid the time and expense of a trial.
If settlement is still not reached, the case will proceed to trial. Your attorney will represent you in court, present evidence and witness testimony to support your claims, cross-examine the defendant's witnesses, and argue for a verdict in your favor. With a successful outcome, you will receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to your injuries.
Recovering Compensation for Your Injuries
Once you hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your car accident case, they will take over the legal aspects so you can focus on recovering. Here are the main steps your attorney will take:
Investigating the Accident
Your lawyer will gather information about the accident to build your case. This includes collecting police reports, photographs, witness statements, medical records, and other evidence. They will analyze all aspects of the crash to determine liability and the strength of your claim.
Determining Fault and Liability
To recover compensation, your attorney must prove the other driver was at fault for the collision. They will examine factors like traffic signals, road conditions, and both parties’ actions to determine liability. If they can prove the other driver was negligent or reckless, it will help maximize your settlement.
Calculating Your Damages
Your lawyer will work with doctors, therapists, and economists to determine the full extent of your injuries and financial losses. This includes medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and other accident-related expenses. They will make sure all damages are accurately calculated before negotiating with insurance companies or filing a lawsuit.
Settling Your Claim or Filing a Lawsuit
Initially, your attorney will try to reach a fair settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company through negotiations. If that is unsuccessful, they may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to take the case to court. Your lawyer will handle all required paperwork, represent you in court, and do their best to secure the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Recovering Your Compensation
Once a settlement is reached or a jury awards damages in your favor, your attorney will work to recover the compensation quickly. They will ensure all funds from the other party or their insurance company are properly distributed to you after any liens or outstanding medical bills have been paid. You can then use the remaining money to pay any additional expenses from the accident and move on from this difficult experience.
Call Fletcher Law For Help From A Car Accident Lawyer
Once you have been in a car accident, contacting a personal injury lawyer should be a top priority. A car accident lawyer at Fletcher Law can handle all aspects of your case so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Investigating the Accident
A car accident lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into your accident. They will review the police report, gather witness statements, take photographs of the vehicles and accident scene, and collect any other relevant evidence to determine who is at fault.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are primarily concerned with their own profits, not compensating you fairly. A car accident lawyer knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and will fight to get you the maximum settlement you deserve. They can handle communications, paperwork, and the settlement process so you do not have to deal with pushy insurance adjustors.
The damages in a car accident case include both economic and non-economic losses. Your lawyer will calculate the full extent of your damages which include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and any other accident-related expenses. They know how to properly value the damages to get you appropriately compensated.
Taking Your Case to Court
If the insurance companies will not offer a fair settlement, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. They will handle the entire litigation process including:
-Filing the necessary paperwork
-Conducting discovery (interviewing witnesses, expert testimony, etc.)
-Settling the case or taking it to trial before a judge and jury
-Negotiating the best possible settlement or judgment award in your favor
Call Fletcher Law today for help from an experienced car accident lawyer. We will fight to get you the maximum compensation you deserve after your accident.