There’s no harm in consulting an attorney immediately after a car accident. Many personal injury firms offer free case reviews where you can learn about your options and meet with a representative. This conversation gives you insight into your next steps, along with whether hiring an attorney could benefit you. Reach out to a Vero Beach car accident lawyer.
When You Should Consider Hiring an Attorney After a Car Accident
The fact is, everyone should consider hiring a lawyer after a collision. You should explore your options, even if you’re unsure about taking legal action.
That being said, you should consider hiring a personal injury lawyer if:
You Suffered Severe Injuries
If you suffered severe, life-altering injuries from the accident, hiring an attorney could benefit you.
These conditions include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Chest injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Nerve damage
Your injuries could cause permanent disabilities, preventing you from working and earning an income. This creates something of a domino effect; without being able to work, you can’t support yourself, and if you can’t support yourself, your future could be in jeopardy.
An attorney can not only help you seek compensation for your medical bills and lost income, but they can also seek compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life and the physical pain you endured.
The Liable Party Offered a Low Settlement
When you file a car accident claim, you expect the insurance company to treat you fairly and offer the settlement you need. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Upon learning about your accident, the liable party could offer a settlement that doesn’t fully account for your losses. The claims adjuster may refuse to negotiate or stick to their initial offer.
You have every right to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company—and a lawyer can help you do that. Armed with your case’s evidence, your lawyer can fight for the settlement you need, even if that means filing a lawsuit.
Your Loved One Passed Away From Their Injuries
If your loved one passed away, you could file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
Compensation in that instance can account for:
- Funeral and burial costs
- End-of-life care expenses, such as hospice
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of parental guidance and household benefits
- Anything you spent out of pocket
There aren’t universal laws surrounding wrongful death cases, meaning that where you live largely affects your ability to file. This is yet another reason to consider consulting with a car accident attorney. They can review your case and explain whether you could take legal action against the negligent party.
Your Car Accident Involves an Uninsured Driver
Most states require motorists to carry liability insurance. This coverage pays for the other person’s losses in a collision. If two people get into an accident, and one of them doesn’t have insurance, this can significantly complicate matters. Yet, you still have options in this situation.
A lawyer can assess your case and explain whether:
- You can file a claim with your own uninsured motorist accident policy.
- You can sue the negligent party.
- Another party bears liability for your accident.
After explaining your legal options, an attorney can take the necessary steps to recover the damages you’re owed.
The Other Party Won’t Accept Liability
The responsible party can deny liability all they want—but that doesn’t make it true. Still, denying liability can drag out the claims process and block your path to damages. Using evidence, your lawyer can assert that another party caused your damages and should pay for them.
They can do this by:
- Going to the accident scene: With prompt notice, your lawyer can come to the accident scene and survey the scene themselves. They may look for tire marks, the point of impact, and any roadway debris. They can also determine whether any cameras captured the accident and work to get the footage.
- Reviewing the police report: By reviewing the police report, your attorney can get a clearer picture of what happened. This document includes many pertinent details, including the names of those involved and their contact information. The attending officer may also include helpful notes and diagrams that could bolster your claim.
- Speaking to eyewitnesses: People might have seen your accident happen firsthand. If so, their accounts of what happened could greatly benefit your case.
Evidence from a strong investigator can add credibility to your claim. If they can prove the at-fault party caused your injuries and that you sustained the injuries in the accident, you could have a better chance of reaching a successful outcome in your case.
You’re Unsure of What Evidence You Need
You need as much evidence as possible to bolster your claim or lawsuit. Yet, you might not know what evidence you need, and the insurer won’t just take your word about what happened. As noted, your case requires evidence, and a lawyer can find it.
Information that could bolster your claim includes:
- Photos and videos of the accident scene
- The police report
- Eyewitness testimony
- Data from accident reconstruction specialists
- Your injury-related bills and receipts
- Any communication between you and the involved parties
Using evidence, your lawyer can show how the other motorist acted negligently and caused your accident.
The Claims Process Doesn’t Go as Expected
You may have already filed your car accident claim. Ideally, the insurer will look over your demand letter and agree to settle. However, although most car accident cases get settled through insurance claims, the process isn’t easy. Insurance companies generally protect their bottom lines above all else, and that sometimes means treating injured claimants unfairly.
Consult a car accident lawyer if:
- The claims adjuster demands that you give a recorded statement.
- You constantly find yourself dealing with a new representative.
- The insurance company denies your claim but doesn’t offer a written reason.
- The claims adjuster fails to respond to your messages.
- You have concerns about whether your claim will succeed.
How Can an Attorney Help After a Car Accident?
With the help of a car accident attorney, you could focus on recovering while they handle any matters related to your case.
- Handle communications with all other parties involved
- Investigate the accident and obtain the necessary evidence to prove fault
- Identify the damages you suffered as a result of the accident
- Speak to your healthcare providers to learn the extent of your injuries and how they affect your life
- Present the evidence to the liable party and demand fair compensation
- Negotiate with the involved insurer
- File a lawsuit if a settlement isn’t forthcoming
By having a car accident lawyer take care of these matters, you can focus on healing or grieving the loss of your loved one. Many legal barriers could arise after a car accident. To avoid those obstacles, it could help to hire an attorney as soon as possible.
It Generally Costs Nothing Upfront to Secure a Lawyer’s Help
You might worry about all your bills in the aftermath of an accident, and the concern of legal expenses could weigh heavily on your mind. You can put these worries aside when you partner with a personal injury attorney, as these professionals generally offer help on a contingency-fee basis.
In this arrangement, you:
- Pay nothing upfront
- Pass off your case’s obligations to a professional
- Pay nothing if your case doesn’t succeed
- Secure legal help at no direct cost to you
As part of their fee agreement, your lawyer may also finance various aspects of your case, paying for administrative costs and consulting fees. This alleviates your financial concerns and allows you to fully focus on your condition.
Many Personal Injury Firms Offer Complimentary Consultations
You may feel intimidated by the prospect of undergoing an initial consultation with a lawyer and their team. Yet, there’s nothing to be afraid of. This is a low-risk conversation where you can explore your options and ask questions.
You can also learn about:
- How long you have to file a lawsuit
- When you should consider legal help
- Car accident laws in your state
- How you could benefit from a lawyer’s guidance
- What you should do now
You could also learn about a prospective law firm’s experience and what skillsets its professionals bring to the table.
Economic Damages (Otherwise Known as Direct Monetary Losses)
Monetary losses, also known as economic damages, account for your tangible losses, such as:
- Current medical bills: Compensable medical expenses could include things like going to the emergency room, seeking attention from an urgent care provider, and undergoing surgery.
- Lost income: If your injuries prevent you from working, you can seek financial recovery for your past, present, and future lost income. Depending on the nature of your job, you could also recover lost tips, bonuses, benefits, and commissions.
- Property damage expenses. The collision might have damaged or totaled your car. An insurance settlement or court award could offer compensation for any related expenses.
- Anything out of pocket you spent. Damages aren’t only medical bills and lost income; they also relate to anything you purchased to make life easier. Expenses may include childcare costs and temporary transportation arrangements.
- Funeral and burial costs. If you lost a loved one, you could face more than grief; you could face thousands of dollars in funeral expenses. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) notes that these costs can include embalming, the burial plot, the ceremony, and other related services.
Non-Economic Damages (Losses Without Direct Monetary Values)
Unlike economic damages (which come with receipts and other documentation), non-economic damages do not have inherent monetary values. They’re subjective. To determine their values, your lawyer may consider your injuries, accident’s cause, and other relevant factors. They can also determine whether you live in a state that caps how much you can seek for pain and suffering.
Recoverable non-economic damages may constitute:
- Pain and suffering: This refers to the physical discomfort and emotional pain you experienced because of the car accident. An attorney can speak to your doctor and other medical health experts to establish your pain and suffering’s severity.
- Emotional distress: This accounts for the emotional trauma that accompanies your injuries. Emotional issues you could deal with after a car accident could include fear, post-traumatic stress disorder, or anxiety. An attorney can speak to a mental health professional to gain further insight into your condition.
- Loss of enjoyment: Your injuries may prevent you from participating in activities you once enjoyed. A settlement could account for this hardship.
- Loss of consortium: If your spouse passed away due to their injuries, you could seek damages for loss of consortium. This accounts for the society and companionship your spouse offered.
Your lawyer can do everything possible to accurately calculate your economic and non-economic losses. Then, they can fight for what you deserve from the liable insurer.
You Must File a Car Accident Lawsuit Before the Statute of Limitations Deadline
It’s important to consider your legal options quickly because each state limits how long you have to file a civil lawsuit. For example, Florida law gives you four years from your car accident to file a lawsuit.
Having years to file your case may initially seem like a load off your shoulders. Yet, it’s important to promptly consider your options. There are many steps your attorney must take before they can file your case appropriately, and you want to give them adequate time to prepare. Reach out to a Vero Beach personal injury lawyer.