​What Do Car Accident Lawyers Do?

What Do Car Accident Lawyers Do?

Knowing how a car accident lawyer can help your car accident claim is crucial. Car accident victims do not always see the benefit of hiring a car accident lawyer. They often look at the possible negatives instead of how much an attorney can help their case. It is reasonable that as a victim, you want to move past the accident and return to your life.

While all parties want a swift resolution, it is not the best solution in every case. When you suffer severe injuries, you need to exhaust all efforts to ensure fair compensation for your injuries—attempting to rush the process results in more out-of-pocket expenses and long-term financial strain than going through the proper legal channels.

A car accident attorney aims to get you the compensation you deserve for your damages. Many individuals are under the impression that a car accident attorney only works to prolong the process of obtaining compensation or that they only want to get money from the case. While this myth is common, it is, in fact, a myth.

A car accident attorney does not benefit from prolonging a case, and they cannot obtain compensation unless they get you a fair settlement. To get you a fair settlement, they will need to use their skills and training to collect evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, file court documents and exhaust all legal options. Losing a case does not benefit you or your car accident attorney.

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A car accident attorney offers legal advice.

Since you are trying to avoid any legal proceedings, you are scouring the internet and reading articles to find the best solution. You are speaking to friends and family who have also been in a car accident. Everyone you talk to will have an opinion on what you should do. Typically, each party you speak to and each article you read contradicts the others. Your mom’s cousin Sally obtained a fair settlement, but she is no expert on legal processes.

The truth is no one can advise you on your claim besides a skilled car accident attorney that reviewed your case. While they cannot predict the future, they can use their experience to offer you legal advice on the possibilities.

A car accident lawyer’s ultimate role in the legal process is to offer advice. Car accident victims are unsure of their rights and the legal process. On the other hand, an attorney lives and breathes personal injury topics. They are well versed in the possible outcomes for your case and the disadvantages you face.

A car accident attorney handles car accident cases daily and knows the results. While your case has unique factors, there are other cases that an attorney can use as examples to offer you legal advice. The attorney will provide you with advice, but you will ultimately decide when to settle and how far the case will go. An attorney will lay out all of the details, pros, and cons and allow you to decide what they can do next. A car accident attorney does not make decisions for you. Think of yourselves as a team working towards the same goal.

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Handle all communications

One of the most critical roles a car accident attorney has is handling all communications between you and the opposing party. The insurance adjuster is looking for you to give details about the accident that hurt your claim. Having an attorney act as a liaison prevents the insurance adjuster from taking advantage of you.

However, the attorney and adjuster must treat each other cordially. After all, the adjuster writes the check, and when there is disrespect or ill intent, they are not willing to negotiate. Your attorney must communicate appropriately with the adjuster and work towards a resolution.

Aside from the insurance company, you should also avoid discussing details of the accident with any other entity, including friends and family. Any person you discuss the accident with will need to testify. If you discuss your case online through social media, the posts will be evidence of your claim.

Understandably, the accident will bring up a range of emotions, and you will want to discuss these with someone. However, the desire to discuss the accident with another person will put them at risk of becoming involved in the legal process. Instead, find another way to express your emotions, such as a journal.

Gather evidence of the crash

A car accident lawyer must present sufficient evidence to the opposing party for proper compensation. To do so, they must first gather all relevant evidence. There is a plethora of proof a skilled attorney will request to build a case.

If you give photographs or videos to the attorney, they will be crucial to your lawsuit. The attorney will also revisit the accident scene to document the scene further to have a clear picture of your accident’s circumstances.

The attorney will also request the official accident report and other relevant documents. Once the attorney has a list of the parties involved and witnesses, they will begin to take statements.

The evidence mentioned above proves liability. The next set of evidential material to collect proves damages. The car accident likely caused injury to you and others. Medical documents must be present to establish the extent of your injuries. While you have every right to access your medical records, it is challenging to gather them.

Medical professionals often do not have the staffing or ability to provide medical records in a timely fashion. The medical facility has specific procedures that patients or attorneys must take to obtain medical documentation.

When you complete the process incorrectly, the facility will ignore the request, and you will not receive the medical records you need for your case. In other cases, when a request is complete, the records are missing information.

This missing information requires your attorney to request the same document multiple times to have an entire file. An accident victim does not have the time or resources to do this independently. The attorney’s office, however, does.

The medical records will show:

  • How the injury happened
  • What the injury or physical limitation is

A doctor will focus on you and your injuries, which means they do not always provide sufficient explanation for the caution of the damage. An attorney must then request a certification letter from the doctor stating the accident was the cause of your injury in their professional opinion.

Present evidence

There is a purpose behind collecting so much evidence. The goal of your car accident attorney is to obtain a fair settlement for your damages and injuries. To do so, they need to show the opposing party that they suffered a loss due to the negligent actions of their insured.

Since the insurance company does not benefit from admitting fault, they will use various tactics to lower or deny claims. When your attorney presents irrefutable evidence to the contrary, there is less pushback from the insurance company. The insurance company has their backs against the wall, and now they must pay you a fair settlement.

A car accident attorney will have several instances where they can present evidence and secure compensation. Another factor to consider is that not every attorney knows what to do with their evidence. You need a car accident attorney who can adequately present proof to the opposing counsel to secure compensation. There are cases where attorneys have more than enough evidence to win a case but do not have the experience to present it, and the case is lost, or compensation is significantly lower.

Negotiate for a possible settlement

Negotiations between the insurance adjuster and the attorney are necessary to reach a fair settlement. The insurance adjuster has the best interest of the insurance company in mind, which means offering the lowest settlement offer. A car accident attorney, in comparison, has the best interest of the victim in mind. They know how much the case is worth and will use their negotiation skills to reach a fair compromise.

Not only will negotiations happen with the issuance adjuster but the lienholder as well. Multiple parties will place a lien on your claim. When there is a lien on your claim, the other entity receives payment before you do. A car accident lawyer will negotiate with any lien holders to reduce the amount they request; the less the lienholder is subject to, the more you will get in your final settlement.

Keep deadlines

One factor that accident victims do not consider after an accident is deadlines. All personal injury claims have strict deadlines that you must meet. If you miss even one deadline, your entire case is in danger of dismissal. The first deadline to consider is the statute of limitations related to your claim. The court automatically dismisses a lawsuit if filed after the statute of limitations expires.

There are other deadlines that a car accident lawyer has to take note of. For example, you or your attorney must complete interrogatories and responses to motions within a certain period. If they are not, this can damage your case. You are probably unaware of these deadlines as a car accident victim, but your attorney is not. Through years of experience, they know how quickly these deadlines come and go and how important it is to file documents within the allotted time frame.

File a lawsuit

Most car accidents resolve before litigation or trial. It is essential to have a car accident attorney to represent you during pre-litigation and litigation. Once you hire an attorney, they will represent you until the end of your case. The litigation process is lengthy and begins when you file a complaint. The other party (defendant) will file a response to the complaint. Both parties will start the discovery process, which entails collecting and sharing evidence with each party.

Discovery consists of:

  • Documentation gathering
  • Depositions
  • Interrogatories

Discovery is the longest part of the litigation process. It can take months or years, depending on the severity of the case. Once discovery is complete, the court sets a trial date in the court’s calendar. Before trial, either side can file motions to suppress specific evidence that one side plans to offer in the trial. The court will also set a date for mediation.

Mediation is often the last step before trial. During the mediation, both parties will work with an unbiased entity to decide on specific aspects of the claim. The case goes to trial when there is no resolution during mediation. While the possibility that a judge or jury will decide the outcome, a settlement is possible once the trial begins.

There are several steps to complete before receiving a compensation check after a settlement. Once all parties receive payment, you will receive a check for your portion of the claim. The insurance company issues the car accident attorney a check. The attorney will distribute funds to your medical providers and collect their portion.

Car accident victims will sign a settlement and release form when a case settles. This form aims to protect the insurance company from any further legal action for the same accident in the future.

What else can a car accident lawyer do for my case?

A personal injury attorney wears many hats. They are critical to securing a fair settlement offer. Many car accident victims do not realize how much work an attorney does on their behalf. While a car accident attorney will focus on the topics above, other processes are essential to your claim.

An attorney can also:

  • File motions
  • Create trial exhibits
  • Take depositions
  • Prepare and request interrogatories
  • Review insurance policies
  • File claim forms
  • Prepare witness list for trial
  • Prep you for depositions and trial
  • Draft summons and complaints
  • Prepare an appeal

After a car accident, it is vital to contact a car accident attorney who is apt at handling similar cases and can perform all of the tasks outlined in this article. Ensure you have a lawyer with your best interests in mind, so you get the fair compensation you deserve from an accident.

May 17, 2022

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