After an accident, getting the right help to move forward is crucial. When the injured person is not at fault for the accident, they may be owed compensation from the at-fault party. In this situation, the injured person can seek help from an accident lawyer to get the compensation they need. The goal is to fully recover financially from the accident, as they would not have spent the funds if the accident didn’t occur. Read below to learn more about working with accident lawyers after any car accident.
Know If a Lawyer is Needed
Most people wonder if a lawyer is really needed for their case. If the case involves a relatively minor car accident with no or minimal injuries, it may not be worth fighting for more money than the insurance company is willing to pay out. If, on the other hand, the injured person suffered significant damages or injuries, is facing permanent injuries, or lost a significant amount of time at work while recovering, it’s definitely worth talking to a lawyer about the options for the case. For more details, check out wardbarnes.com now.
Set Up a Consultation to Discuss the Case
If the injured party wants to find out if they have a case or if they’d like to learn more about what a case would look like for their situation, they’ll need to speak with a lawyer. The way to do this is to set up a consultation. These are not expensive, if there is a charge, and the injured person typically receives thirty minutes to one hour to discuss their case with a lawyer.
At the consultation, the lawyer will review the information provided by the injured person and determine if there is a need for legal services. Then, the lawyer and the injured person will decide if they’d like to work together. A consultation does not mean the lawyer is hired or that the injured person has to hire that lawyer. It’s simply a chance to learn more about the case and find out if the lawyer may be a good fit.
Determine the Settlement Amount to Request
Once a lawyer is hired, they’ll start looking into the amount of funds the injured person needs to financially recover from the accident. This can end up being a significant amount of money and may be far more than the insurance company is willing to offer. The settlement request generally includes funds to cover present and future medical expenses, vehicle repairs, lost wages, repairs for other personal items, and any other expenses the injured person had as a result of the accident. The lawyer can provide advice on what to include in the settlement and what the final amount to request should be before talking to the other driver’s insurance company.
Collect Any Evidence of the Accident
The injured person and their lawyer will work together to collect any evidence from the accident. If possible, the injured party should take photos of the scene of the accident before moving the vehicle or leaving. Evidence can also include information from mechanics, photos of the scene on a typical day, evidence of the weather at the time of the accident, surveillance photos or videos where available, and more. It is important for the injured person to save any photos or videos carefully to avoid loss before the trial. The lawyer can help make sure any evidence is preserved, as well.
Start Negotiations With the Insurance Company
Once all evidence is gathered and the lawyer knows how much money to request, the next step is to talk to the insurance company. This is not something the injured person should do on their own, as it’s all too easy to inadvertently say something that will negatively impact the case. Instead, the lawyer will contact the insurance company and let them know how much money is needed for the injured person to be made financially whole. It is likely the insurance company will disagree, so the lawyer will negotiate with them. From there, depending on how the negotiations go, the case may end in a settlement or could go to trial.
Settle or Go to Trial?
Very few accident cases go to trial. Instead, most of the time, those who are seeking compensation will decide to settle with the insurance company. This is final, so there is no way to request more money in the future. Depending on negotiations, the settlement likely will not be enough to cover every expense from the accident, but the lawyer will try to get it as close as possible. If the case does go to trial, the lawyer will help make sure everything is prepared properly. Trials do take a long time and the outcome is never guaranteed, which is why many people decide to settle.
What to Avoid Before Talking to a Lawyer
Once someone has been injured in a car accident, they do need to be careful of their actions so they don’t say or do anything that will jeopardize their case.
- Avoid talking to the insurance company. It’s too easy to say something that can be taken out of context and used to shift liability for the accident.
- Avoid accepting a settlement offer. It’s likely the first settlement offer is very low. Always wait to accept a settlement until after the lawyer has reviewed it.
- Avoid contacting the other driver. Let the lawyer handle any contact that may be needed, as they know what to say and do.
- Avoid talking about the case. Though hearsay may not be admissable in court, it can still hurt a case. Wait to talk about it until the lawyer says it’s okay.
If you’ve been in a car accident, it may be a good idea to contact a lawyer about your case. They can help you negotiate for a much higher settlement, so you don’t have to worry about having to pay most or all of the accident-related expenses out of your own money. Contact a lawyer now to set up a consultation and learn more about how they can help you with this case.