Car Accident Attorneys
You might be wondering what happens when you first have an accident (other than the terrible injuries and trauma you sustained). I mean, if you contact an auto accident attorney, what would they do first, before filing a lawsuit? There are several important things that should happen as part of any auto accident settlement process.
First Questions Relevant to Your Auto Accident Settlement: Who? When? Where? What Happened? How Bad?
To best evaluate your auto accident settlement, most attorneys would first want to hear a detailed explanation of everything that happened during your accident: who, where, when, where is a good starting point. Where was the accident? What happened exactly? Time of day? Passengers in either vehicle? Injuries? Medical treatment? Was anyone transported to the ER by ambulance? They will want to determine who caused the accident. A ticket by a police officer can be helpful information but is not definitive. What type of vehicles were involved in the crash? Commercial vehicles, as a very general rule, often have more insurance coverage than non-commercial vehicles. More on this website
The Three Most Critical Aspects of Auto Accident Settlements
The three most critical facts that related to your auto accident settlement are: (1) who caused the accident; (2) how serious are the injuries; and (3) what is the likely insurance coverage (this is the amount that you might possibly recover, if you have a “good” case (not good from the standpoint of the way you might be feeling physically, but good in terms of potential monetary recovery). Most of the questions from a diligent and truly concerned attorney will be geared toward learning this information. (As an aside, my personal view is that if you are not speaking with an attorney at length in short order, then you should call another auto accident law firm.)
The Next Critical Steps Regarding Your Auto Accident Settlement Primarily Involve Your Medical Treatment
Just today, I was speaking with some auto accident victims just before we traveled to the scene to take some photos and learn more about exactly what happened during the crash. One thing that I always have to make clear from the outset is this important message: insurance companies are not readily and quickly handing out large checks to everyone who has an accident. My client today had serious pain, but he had only been to the ER, and was sent on his way with pain pills. Without lots of work by the auto accident attorney, and some work and cooperation by the client, this type of case will not lead to much more than few thousand dollar offer from just about any insurance company (despite what I believe were genuine level 8 to 10 out of 10 pain complaints).
So How Can This Man Increase His Auto Accident Settlement?
For ethical attorneys, auto accident settlements are not artificial or gaming processes. There are no lottery winners. Continuing with the example regarding my client earlier today, this man truly needs follow up treatment from a physician to determine what can be done to reduce his pain levels. Does he need surgery? Would injections help more than narcotics? And what does the physician say this man’s x-ray and MRI results show about exactly what happened inside his body during the accident? A strong supporting statement from a physician that the films show significant injury consistent with this man’s pain complaints can go a long way toward helping him get the coverage that he really deserves from the insurance company. Complying with treatment suggestions is another important step in your auto accident settlement (or discussing your concerns with your attorney if you do not want the suggested treatment).
The Insurance Company Could Be Watching You
Another thing to remember during the pre-trial and even trial phases of any auto accident case is that there is a common practice among insurance companies to use surveillance video to prove that clients are lying about their complaints. This means that if you say you can’t walk without a cane, but they find you running a marathon, your case will go from hero to zero in no time flat. They can watch for things like your ability to work, walk, dance, lift, and any manner of other things. So you first have to be truthful and second have to realize that if you push yourself to do things despite the fact that they are causing severe pain, then the jury could see a video where you look like you are completely fine and you will be forced to explain that you were in terrible pain while doing those things, which they may or may not believe (and the insurance company definitely will not believe during any potential settlement negotiations). This was true with my client earlier today–his pain was very severe but he was pushing through the pain by continuing to drive on his job with heavy narcotics–a BAD idea for a variety of reasons.
Attempted Auto Accident Settlement Before A Lawsuit is Filed
After you have visited your doctor and heard his or her opinion about what treatment would most likely help you, and you’ve tried that treatment for whatever period of time suggested by the doctor (typically at least a couple of months and sometimes many months), then you and your attorney hopefully will have a better idea of exactly what your injuries were, and the likelihood that those injuries are either going to resolve or be permanent (and to what degree if permanent). At that stage of the process, your attorney will prepare a demand package to send to the insurance company. All demand letters are NOT created equal. These can vary from simple form letters without much thought to elaborate and extensive packages with all sorts of evidence (like photographs, medical records and witness statements, for example). These more elaborate demand packages are critical in serious injury cases, and can and should tell a compelling story about your case. They will give the insurance company an opportunity to settle the case before you file any suit. Sometimes negotiations will ensue and you and your attorney will have to decide if you want to accept whatever they have offered or proceed to filing a lawsuit (accepting or rejecting settlements is always your decision).
Other Strategies During Auto Accident Settlement Negotiations
Please understand that I cannot divulge all steps that I would take to help you during any lawsuit because opposing counsel has equal access to this website. Just know that there are many things that you can do to strengthen your case–and you need an attorney who will listen carefully to your side of the story then work hard to convincingly tell your story to either the insurance company or a jury.
If All Else Fails, Your Auto Accident Attorney May Advise You To File A Lawsuit
As I said when I started this article, insurance companies do not easily write checks. If the damages are serious and clear, then they might be persuaded more easily. But far more often there is a LOT of work involved in prosecuting serious injury cases, which very often includes filing a lawsuit if the insurance company refused to settle during any pre-trial negotiations. They usually get a lot more serious about settlement after the lose a few critical motions in court and realize that they are going to have to roll the dice in front of a jury (hint: not all cases reach a jury; sometimes judges throw cases out of court after defense attorneys file motions to dismiss cases). Please visit this website
If you have been injured, please call my office to schedule a free consultation.