When something bad happens, it can be hard to know what to do first. Do you go to the hospital? Call your parents. Take time off work? Get a lawyer? Regardless of where you live or how much money you make, being in a car accident is scary and stressful. Anyone who’s ever been in a car accident knows that it’s an overwhelming experience, even if it wasn’t your fault.
The costs of repairs, medical bills, and missed work can add up quickly. Even if you have no intention of suing anyone or seeking any compensation beyond covering your expenses and losses, consulting with a personal injury lawyer early on during this process can help tremendously. Why? Below are just some of the reasons why having a car accident lawyer is so beneficial:
Establish the chronology of events
If there are witnesses, they may be able to provide helpful information and insights but only to a point. Witnesses observe a car accident but aren’t always able to tell you what happened. Being in the car at the time of the accident, you have a better vantage point and are better positioned to reconstruct the sequence of events.
A good lawyer will ask you for a play-by-play of what happened leading up to the accident, during the accident, and after the accident. This information is crucial to determining who is at fault, and will also help you in the long term as you deal with any medical issues that may arise from the accident.
Determine who is at fault
If you were involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to recover damages from the at-fault party’s insurance company, or even the negligent driver’s or their estate if they were killed in the crash. If you were at fault for the accident, you might still be able to recover damages from your own insurance company if you purchased a liability policy.
The damages you can recover are limited, and many policies only cover medical expenses and lost wages (if you missed work) for a limited period. Some of the damages you might be able to seek compensation for include: Medical expenses: If you were injured in a car accident, you may incur medical expenses as a result of your injuries.
Whether you’re suing the at-fault driver or your own insurance company, you’ll want to keep all your medical bills in one place. You may need to refer to your medical bills as you go through the litigation process. Lost wages: If you missed work because of your injuries, you can recover compensation for those lost wages. Keep in mind, however, that many policies cap the amount of compensation you can receive for lost wages.
Confirm whether you are eligible for compensation
Even if you were at fault for the accident, you may still be eligible to seek compensation from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. If the accident was your fault, and you have liability insurance, your own insurance company may cover all or some of your damages. If the accident was not your fault, then the insurance company for the at-fault driver may cover your damages.
You may be able to recover compensation from more than one insurance company. How much you receive from each insurance company will depend on several factors, including the state in which you live and the extent of your injuries. If the accident was not your fault, but you have liability insurance, you may want to consult with a liability lawyer to determine if you’re eligible for compensation from the at-fault driver or their insurance company.
Help you understand your rights and options
A good car accident lawyer will help you understand your rights and options. For example, if the accident was your fault, a good attorney will be able to advise you as to whether you are eligible to recover any damages from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. If the accident was not your fault, an attorney can help you understand the process of recovering damages from the at-fault driver or their insurance company.
A lawyer can also help you understand what documentation you will need to provide to recover compensation. Having a lawyer on your side is especially important if the other driver is trying to deny responsibility for the accident, or if they have minimal insurance that may not be sufficient to cover your damages. Having a lawyer can also help you get compensation faster.
Negotiate with the other party’s lawyer or insurance provider on your behalf
When you’re in the middle of a car accident lawsuit, you may need to negotiate with an insurance company or a lawyer representing the other driver. A good car accident lawyer will understand the process of negotiation, how to interpret and respond to opposing counsel’s demands, and how to make a reasonable offer on your behalf. A good car accident lawyer will also have experience negotiating with insurance companies and be aware of any tricks and tactics that insurance companies may try to use to get out of paying compensation.
Help you recover any lost wages and earning capacity as well as any out-of-pocket expenses you’ve incurred.
In addition to recovering compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, you may also be able to recover compensation for your out-of-pocket expenses.
Examples of out-of-pocket expenses include Legal fees: If you hired an attorney to represent you in your car accident claim, you may be able to recover those legal fees.
Car rental or car repair: If your car was damaged in the accident and you had to rent a car while your car was being repaired, you may be able to recover the cost of renting the car. If your car was totaled in the accident and you had to buy a new or used car, you can also recover the cost of buying a new car.
Towing and storage: If your car was towed to a repair shop because it was inoperable after the accident, you can recover the cost of towing. If your car was towed to a police station or impound lot, you may be able to recover the cost of storing your car.
It’s important to remember that hiring a car accident lawyer is not a sign of guilt or an admission of wrongdoing. In fact, because of the potential for lawsuits and litigation when an accident occurs, it’s a sign that you are taking the situation seriously. The process of hiring a lawyer, especially in the aftermath of a car accident, can be overwhelming for someone who has never done it before.
There are a lot of different attorneys to choose from, and it can be hard to know if you’re hiring the best one for your situation. To make sure you hire the best attorney for your situation, you want to make sure you are following all of the steps in the process.