Why Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer for a Car Accident?
Contact a car accident lawyer immediately-even before you contact an insurance company
Contact a car accident lawyer immediately-even before you contact an insurance company– if you are injured in an automobile accident and feel you are not at fault. Once you contact the car accident lawyer, he/she will interview you to determine the full extent of your injury and to assess who is at fault in the accident. Car accident attorneys often do not charge a fee for the telephone consultation that analyzes these two issues and once it is determined you were injured in an accident that was most likely not your fault, they recommend meeting to review your case in greater detail.
A car accident lawyer can help you find the appropriate medical care.
If you have been injured and have not received medical treatment, a car accident lawyer can help you find the appropriate medical care. Specialists like orthopedic surgeons or neurologists have especially long waiting lists that cause patients to wait months before receiving care. Car Accident lawyers can help greatly with this lag time, as they can get specialist appointments for their clients in a relatively short period of time, allowing for adequate medical treatment in a much timelier manner.
It is important, then, to for your car accident attorney to select a doctor who is at least willing to complete a report after each visit.
To prove to an insurance company and/or jury that you were in fact injured, a doctor must provide detailed reports connecting your injuries to the accident. You will likely find that doctors try to avoid litigation because they do not like going to court and that many physicians refuse to dictate the lengthy reports demanded by the insurance companies. It is important, then, to for your car accident attorney to select a doctor who is at least willing to complete a report after each visit. Each document provided by the medical facility is extremely important in your automobile accident case, as insurance companies base the amount of money that they are willing to offer you based upon the documentation available. Visiting a family physician who is unwilling to write a dictated medical report or who scribbles an illegible note on his office chart may result in a smaller settlement than would come from consulting a doctor who is willing to write a fully dictated report clearly outlining the injuries and necessary treatment. Keep in mind when selecting a doctor that how well the doctor documents your injuries translates directly to how much money you may get from the settlement.
Personal injury protection coverage, which is paid to you no matter who is at fault and provides reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages up to $2,500.00.
A lot of insurance policies have coverage called personal injury protection coverage, which is paid to you no matter who is at fault and provides reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages up to $2,500.00 or more. If you collect under this particular portion of your policy, your insurance company cannot cancel you or raise your rates. If it is later determined that the other person is at fault, the money you’ve collected is not reimbursed to the insurance company but instead becomes additional money you can use to pay your medical expenses so that you do not have to later pay for them out of your settlement.
Your car accident lawyer will also report your claim to the individual at fault’s insurance company
Your car accident lawyer will also report your claim to the individual at fault’s insurance company. If the faulty party admits fault from the very beginning, your attorney can make arrangements for the other insurance company to look at your car and provide a rental vehicle. If the other party disputes the liability in the case, your attorney must then provide the necessary information to convince the insurance company that their insured was at fault and that you were negligence-free.
Often insurance companies will offer to pay directly for a rental car so that the injured party does not have to lay out any out of pocket money for a rental. Your attorney can be instrumental in minimizing inconvenience to you by getting the insurance company to act in a timely manner to get you a rental car and/or car repairs as quickly as possible. Attorneys are also familiar with reputable body shops that can repair your car with competence and care.
If there is a liability dispute, your attorney contacts and makes arrangements to get recorded statements from your witnesses and then provides that information to both insurance companies. Your attorney may also be able to locate other witnesses and obtain the police report to contact the police officer for additional helpful information.
It is extremely important to acquire all medical records and all medical bills related to your claim. After obtaining all of this documentation, your attorney will begin to evaluate your claim and will send your materials to the insurance company for further evaluation. As the insurance company handles millions of claims, it will evaluate your case solely on the quality of your medical documentation. Ensure that your case is given the care it deserves by providing your insurer with comprehensive medical documentation to document your injuries. The more documentation you provide the insurance company, the more likely it is that you will get a larger settlement. Good documentation will result in good settlements; little or no documentation will result in little or no settlement. An attorney will make sure that you receive the proper documentation from your medical provider by sending the appropriate questions to the doctor.
The car accident lawyer can also help you by contacting your employer for information regarding any lost wages you have suffered.
Sometimes insurance adjusters are lazy and unsupportive of their own insured. Attorneys can challenge this attitude by feeding the adjusters useful information that will gain their support and help in investigating your claim. At times, the adjusters themselves will even hire experts to prove your version of the case. An attorney can help convince an insurance company that your position is the correct position and that you are in the right. You do not want your insurance company to pay the claim of the other party, for example, if you are not at fault. With the counsel of an attorney, you can avoid the wrongful premium raises or unfair cancellations that would result from this lack of support from your insurer.
A Car accident lawyer is experienced in dealing with the other insurance company involved. The insurer may ask you to give a recorded statement, for example. An attorney knows to advise you that any statement you give an insurance company can be later used against you in court. Without this caveat from an attorney, you may not be aware how negatively a statement could affect your case.
A car accident lawyer knows how difficult it can be to attest to the same event in exactly the same way each time you are called to discuss it. Your car accident lawyer also knows that each time you give a recorded statement it will likely vary from other statement you’ve given in the past, providing the jury with the impression that you have changed your story. This can result in an adverse-and unnecessary-verdict in court. While it is always a bad idea for you to give a recorded statement or speak directly to the other insurance company, an attorney can speak to the insurance company knowing that what he/she says cannot be used against you as it is not admissible in court.
In addition, an attorney knows what information should and should not be given to an insurance company. People unfamiliar with the process sometimes give too much information when talking to an insurance company, resulting in an adverse decision by the insurance company. Attorneys are trained to know what is the best way to present your case in a light most favorable to your claim.
In evaluating the value of a claim, the attorney looks at many factors and considers many elements and questions surrounding the accident. Included in those factors is the type of injuries, such as whether fractures or any other physical signs of injury exist versus complaints with no visible signs of injury.
- Is there a permanent injury?
- Who is the client and what kind of witness will the client make?
- Where did the accident happen is important since some counties are known to give more generous verdicts than others.
- Whether there was significant damage to the vehicles involved since judges and juries are more likely to believe injuries in serious looking accidents than they are in minor property damage cases.
- Who is the attorney?
- What judge do you have?
- How long did the treatment last, which doctors performed the treatment, and were there any objective findings in the x-rays or MRI’s that would point to proof of injuries?
- Is there is any scarring and/or bruising?
- What is the age and sex of the client?
- Whether the client has had any other accidents, as the courts look very closely at cases where a client has filed more than one claim and tend to give less credence to people who have filed many claims.
- Is the fault clear or disputed?
Lawyers who have been practicing for a long period of time and have tried many cases know how to weigh each one of these factors. As each case is different and multi-faceted, there is no way a lawyer can realistically appraise your case on the first day of your accident. The lawyer’s opinion of the value of the case can change drastically as more information accrues over time. Any lawyer who promises that he knows the value of your case based on your initial interview will most likely fail to deliver on the promise he/she has made.
After all of your medical treatment has been completed, an attorney can then submit a demand package to the insurance company. This demand package includes a favorable description of the client, summaries of the accident, a detail of medical treatments, and a description of the liability issues, injuries and total medical expenses or loss involved. A claim evaluation and demand for monetary compensation are also included in the demand package submitted to the insurance company. Serving as well-seasoned claim-evaluators, attorneys again are helpful in that they can set a demand value for their clients who would otherwise have no idea what their cases are worth.
After the demand package has been submitted to the insurance company, the attorney and the insurance carrier will begin to negotiate. Through negotiations, both parties will reach a settlement offer that can be passed on to the client. The client is not bound by the insurance company’s settlement offer, as the settlement decision is left up to the client, not the insurance company and/or lawyer.
It is important the client listens to his/her lawyer with regard to any advice concerning a settlement offer, whether favorable or not. Sometimes the insurance company makes offers that seem unacceptable to the attorney, however, the attorney is obliged to at least present that offer to the client. The attorney will then present the pros and cons of all offers to the client and will give his opinion whether the client should accept or reject the offer.
After the attorney’s presentation, the client has the choice as to whether the offer is acceptable or not. Despite having this power of the final say, clients need to remember why they hire an attorney in the first place. Because attorneys have substantial experience in handling these claims, clients should give substantial weight to their attorney’s recommendations.