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I was in a car accident; do I need an auto accident lawyer?
While you technically don’t need a car accident lawyer, you will benefit greatly from the expertise one provides. Automobile accident lawyers are especially qualified to negotiate with insurance companies to get you the biggest settlement possible. In fact, studies show that people who hire a personal injury attorney receive car crash settlements several times what they could negotiate on their own.
What does it cost to hire a car accident lawyer?
Car accident clients only pay a percentage of the settlement; there are no up-front costs to hire a car crash lawyer and clients only pay the attorney fees if a settlement is obtained. Because of this arrangement, the attorney is motivated to settle cases for the highest amount possible.
What kinds of things will a car accident settlement cover?
Car crash settlements will typically cover economic damages such as medical expenses related to the injury plus lost wages and damage to your vehicle. You may also be able to recover for non-economic damages including pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life.
What should I do in the minutes following a car accident?
For a minor accident turn on your hazard lights and call 911; a police report is important for all car accident claims. Unless you are seriously injured, write down the names and badge numbers of the responding officers and take pictures of the scene including license plates, skid marks on the road and any damage to vehicles. If you are seriously injured, remain in your vehicle; wait for first responders to arrive and treat your injuries. Do not admit any fault to the responding officer and immediately contact your own insurance company to notify them about the accident. Do not post any details about the accident on social media.
What actions should I take in the week after a car crash?
If you were not fully treated on the day of the injury, seek medical care as soon as possible. As soon as you are able, contact a qualified personal injury attorney; he or she can help walk you through the settlement process. You may also want to request and obtain a copy of the accident report and a property damage estimate from a qualified auto body shop. Keep a record of all healthcare visits directly related to the accident and notate all symptoms and pain that you are experiencing. Keep paper copies of all healthcare receipts, test results, prescriptions and treatments. Keep track of any missed workdays and additional out-of-pocket expenses. The insurance company for the at-fault party may call you for a recorded statement; never agree to this. Understand that you should give a recorded statement to your own insurance company. Never admit guilt or accept a settlement from an insurance agency; contact a car accident attorney first.
How does a car accident lawyer prove negligence in a car accident case?
The injured party must prove three points to show liability in a car accident case:
1. A legal duty of care was owed
When driving a car, we owe a legal duty of care to everyone else on the road to operate our vehicle with a reasonable standard of care.
2. A duty was breached
In the case of a car accident, the plaintiff must prove that the person who caused the accident was not operating within their legal duty of care. The “reasonable person standard” is used to compare the actions of the defendant to what a reasonable driver would have done in the same situation. If it is decided that a reasonable driver would have acted more carefully, then the defendant can be considered negligent and at least partially at fault for the accident. If the driver was also cited for traffic violation in relation to the accident, that can help strengthen the case that a duty was breached.
3. The breach of duty led to injuries
Proving negligence is not enough to make a person responsible for an accident or injuries. The connection must be made that the driver’s negligence was the direct or proximate cause of the accident and therefore would not have happened had a reasonable driver been there in his place.