What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?

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Most people will experience a car accident at some point in their lives, and sometimes they result in injury. A car accident lawyer is experienced in tort law, also known as personal injury law, and a personal injury occurs when you are involved in an accident and suffer an injury through no fault of your own. If you sustained an injury in an auto accident, you may be able to recover the money you lost and potentially more with the help of a car accident lawyer.

What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?

The primary goal of a car accident lawyer is to help you receive compensation for the losses you incurred after a car accident. They handle a case from start to finish and use the resources available to them to secure a fair settlement. Below is a more thorough explanation of some of the main duties a car accident lawyer has while working with an injured driver.

Help You Get the Help That You Need

Helping you recover compensation also means supporting you through your healing process. Car accident lawyers regularly work with medical professionals as part of the personal injury legal process. They often have access to doctors that specialize in injuries caused by auto accidents. Car accidents have common injuries ranging from minor to severe:

  • Contusions and bruising
  • Internal bleeding, which is common in high-speed accidents
  • Whiplash, which is one of the most common injuries from car accidents 
  • Brain injuries, such as concussions and traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck, Back, and spinal cord injuries
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

While attorneys may recommend doctors that have worked with clients in the past, they should not recommend specific medical treatments. This is a common misconception, but your attorney may offer advice about working with your health insurance.

Offer Legal Advice and Help You Understand Your Rights

In the aftermath of your accident, you may have several questions about what to do next. You may turn to the internet and find conflicting information or ask close friends and relatives who have different experiences and opinions. It can quickly become confusing. Car accident lawyers have experience and offer reputable legal advice. They spend years in school and train to work in the field. Then they gain the first-hand knowledge necessary to advise you. Most importantly, they know what constitutes a good case and what will not work in your favor.

They also understand your rights in accordance with tort law. Insurance adjusters are known to use whatever means necessary to avoid a reasonable payout, including bad faith tactics:

  • Delay payment on a valid claim
  • Pressure you to accept an offer that is not fair
  • Change your policy
  • Deny your claim without a reason
  • Avoid communicating with you

Your attorney will go through all the relevant laws in your case and advise you of your rights as you deal with obstacles in your case.

Investigate the Accident and Gather Evidence

Following a serious car accident, the police and the insurance company conduct their own independent investigations. When you hire an attorney, he or she will also conduct an investigation by reviewing existing evidence, such as photos and witness statements, and look for more evidence, such as security camera footage. If there are questions left unanswered, an attorney will usually go the extra mile and recreate the accident scene to better understand it, often with the help of experts.

One of the most tedious aspects of a personal injury case is the collection of evidence or paperwork to validate your claim. For someone that is healing from an injury, this part of the process is tedious and difficult. However, your attorney knows all the paperwork that you need and collects it for you while you focus on healing.

Assess and Calculate Your Damages

When building a claim, your attorney knows what damages you should be able to recover. You may know that you should ask for some economic damages:

  • Cost of medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Cost of property damage

However, you may not know that you should request compensation for future medical treatments and future lost wages. If your injuries result in a disability, you may include loss of earning ability. You should recover all out-of-pocket expenses associated with your accident, and your attorney knows what those are.

You can also recover non-economic damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish

These are not as easily calculated as economic damages. An experienced attorney can use precedented cases to determine how to quantify the non-economic damages. In cases where the at-fault person acted particularly egregiously, you may even sue for punitive damages, which are not designed to compensate you for losses but to punish the other party and attempt to deter that type of behavior in the future.

Negotiate a Settlement or Prepare for Trial

Negotiation is a central component of personal injury cases that can start at any point in the process. Most car accident cases result in a settlement before they ever go to trial because car accident lawyers know when to cease negotiations and accept the settlement, but they also know when they should continue fighting. Insurance adjusters are also far more likely to negotiate reasonably with an attorney.

If your case were to go to trial, your attorney will already have everything prepared for court. There are important elements of the court process that an attorney understands from training and experience. Every step taken so far is part of trial preparations, but your attorney is also aware of the necessary paperwork and filing deadlines.

When Should You Contact a Car Accident Lawyer?

It is always in your best interest to reach out to a car accident lawyer following an accident. Even minor fender benders may result in injuries, but there are a few situations in which contacting a lawyer is highly recommended:

  • The insurance company offers you a settlement that is not sufficient enough to cover all of your economic damages
  • You suffered injuries in the crash
  • The at-fault driver contests liability or argues that you share liability or are fully responsible
  • The insurance company refuses to pay your claim at all or participates in any of the aforementioned bad faith tactics
  • You have been asked to provide a statement or medical records

In the aftermath of a car accident, there are many things that you should do if you are able, such as document as much evidence as you can, call the police and get a copy of the police report, and exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. However, the shock of a crash may cause a surge of adrenaline and make it difficult to think. The most important step is to seek medical attention right away. Even if you feel fine, adrenaline can block pain receptors and make you feel okay for days while you are actually suffering a serious injury. Then speak with an attorney as soon as possible so you can start building your case.

The emotional, physical and financial toll associated with a car accident can be overwhelming. If you sustained an injury in a car accident and worry that you are not able to afford an attorney, our compassionate and hard-working team at Mike Morse Law Firm is here to support you. Contact us for a free consultation. We will answer all your questions and explain your next steps.

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