There are many decisions you must make after a car accident. Your first priority, of course, must be to heal, to regain your strength, and to get back your health. But even while you are recovering from the accident, you must give some thought to the future.
Car accidents are disruptive on many different levels. First, they rob you of your health. Accidents that lead to serious injury can make a perfectly healthy person ailing and sickly for the rest of their lives. Even milder injuries take time to recover from—time you may not be able to spare if you lead a hectic and fast-paced life.
The other major disruption caused by accidents is to your finances. If the accident put you in the hospital, you will not be able to work and draw wages. If you are like most people, you cannot afford to go without a paycheck for more than a few weeks. Savings can be used up quickly, and if you are facing medical bills because of the treatment you required to save your life, then you will be in even greater financial trouble.
The Kind of Lawyer You Need
Car accidents require car accident attorneys. When you are finally able to speak to an attorney, it should be to one who specializes in helping people who have been injured in car wrecks. Those close to you may try to help you by referring you to an attorney they may know. Unless this person has extensive experience in helping car accident victim, they will be of no use to you as a legal advocate. However, it is possible to seek their advice on a Los Angeles car accident attorney who can help you. Indeed, they are bound to be more knowledgeable and connected to that world than you are.
Here are some of the things you should look for in the lawyer you hire:
There are many aspects of good lawyering. But when it comes down to it, your attorney must be credible in the larger legal community. They must be well-known and have a record of getting results. It is important to remember that you may need to challenge a big insurance company. The latter will have their own team of lawyers to fight back. Your attorney will have no standing with them if they have not already proven themselves in this kind of struggle.
The law firm you work with will have other clients and cases. However, your case should under no circumstances be given less time and care because you are not deemed profitable enough. You deserve the full attention and resources of the firm. You should feel as though you can count on your attorney to fight your corner to the best of their ability. Your lawyer should act ethically and forthrightly in all instances. You should never be in any doubt as to where your case stands.
Insurance companies understand only one thing: strength. They will eat alive any lawyer who displays weakness, uncertainty, or an unwillingness to go as far as necessary to get you fair and adequate compensation. It is the job of your attorney to keep cool and to work through the process in a deliberate and methodical way. However, they must set a tone of determination from the very beginning.
4. Negotiating effectiveness
In the end, the aim is to get a high offer from the insurance company. If the actions of the other driver caused the accident, it should be there insurer that pays. In any case, you want to avoid going through a costly court trial if possible. Indeed, you need not even file a lawsuit. A car accident lawyer who is highly skilled in negotiation knows how to avoid all this. They will be able to bring the other side to the bargaining table and get the kind of compensation package that you need to pay your bills and re-start your life.
The number of court cases an auto injury attorney has won will tell you very little about their effectiveness. The only number that matters is the total dollar figure they have gotten for their clients. You don’t want to go to court; you want a high-dollar settlement.
The Steps to Getting You Money
A car accident lawyer will advise you on the steps you need to take to get compensation. You should allow them to take the lead in this process.
The first thing that needs to be established is who was at fault for the accident. If the other driver involved in the accident was the one who caused it, then their insurance company is on the hook for giving you compensation. They may try to get in front of the situation by offering you a sum of money quickly. It will probably be inadequate to meet your needs. And in any case, you should not accept it yourself. If you are contacted by the insurance company, you should refer them to the auto injury attorney you have hired.
Your lawyer should receive and respond to all phone calls, emails, and other communications coming from the insurance company. They are best equipped to deal with them. A low-dollar initial offer is an attempt to minimize the amount of money they will ultimately have to pay out. The insurance company believes that you would prefer to take whatever they give you and be grateful for it rather than engage in a long-term struggle with them, which you may eventually lose.
Do not be taken in by this ploy. Big insurance companies are forced into offering large settlements all the time by smart, tough, highly experienced car accident lawyers. Your personal injury attorney you hire will be able to do the same.
The next stage involves negotiation. Before your lawyer proposes a counter offer they will gather as many facts as they can about the cause and circumstances of the accident. Juries are moved to side with plaintiffs when evidence that shows negligence and reckless disregard of safety is presented. The insurance company knows this, so does your lawyer. They will enlist the help of private investigators to re-examine the scene of the accident and to interview people who observed the collision. This can sometimes lead to new facts and insights about the accident.
Your lawyer will only use such evidence in the negotiation if they need to. It may be possible to get the insurance company to agree to the new dollar figure without such pressure. However, if the insurance company refuses to pay an adequate amount of money, then you may need to file suit.
Filing a lawsuit gives your attorney the ability to subpoena documents and to depose employees of the company. The latter may be necessary if your attorney suspects that the insurance company is acting in an irregular manner. This does happen. There are certain claimants that insurance companies believe they can short-change without consequences. If the company has violated its own rules and regulations or has acted in an illegal or unethical manner to avoid paying what is owed, then your attorney will gather the evidence to prove it.
If you have been injured in an accident, you cannot hire any old lawyer. You must retain the services of someone you can count on and trust.