SHOULD I GET A LAWYER FOR A CAR ACCIDENT?
Your mind is racing in the aftermath of a car accident. As you address immediate concerns like calling 911, having your injuries checked out, and getting medical treatment, you may start to think long-term as well. If you believe the accident wasn’t serious, you might wonder how much insurance will cover to replace of your car. If, however, you were seriously injured in the accident, finding an attorney might be the most important step you take.
Hiring a car accident lawyer can make all the difference in being awarded the compensation you need and deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured in a wreck, please call Patrick Daniel Law at (713) 999-6666 without delay for a free review of your case. Our lawyers serve clients throughout the Houston area and nearby communities of Texas.
Here are a few key ways a lawyer can help you after a car accident:
- UNDERSTANDING THE SEVERITY OF THE ACCIDENT
The term minor accident is often deceiving. Usually, it refers to collisions where the vehicles involved sustain minimal damage and the people in the accident are either unhurt or exhibit no serious injuries.
However, injuries from a supposedly minor accident don’t always stay minor. Injuries such as whiplash, concussions, and trauma to the discs in the neck or back may not present symptoms immediately, but they can get worse if they are not treated in a timely fashion. What’s worse, if you wait to seek treatment, the insurance company will likely argue that you are exaggerating your injuries if you try to sue later.
A car accident is so stressful that it is a major event for most people. Victims typically rely on medical professionals, insurance agents, and others for a cue as to whether their accident was major or minor.
Lawyers who know car accident cases, however, understand the stakes in these cases. They understand that even low-speed, light-impact crashes can have life-changing effects, and they build accident claims taking into account the full seriousness of the crash.
- CALCULATING YOUR DAMAGES
The amount of compensation you may be due in your car accident claim must be tied to your specific losses. One of the major advantages of getting a lawyer is knowledgeable guidance on what losses can be included in your claim.
Damages can take many different forms after a car accident, from medical expenses and the income you miss from time away from work to pain and suffering and other non-economic losses. Your lawyer may advise you to do the following to help with calculating your losses after the accident:
Keep track of all explanations of benefits statements, bills, and receipts for medical costs
Make notes of procedures and tests your medical team recommends
Gather recent paycheck stubs and tax returns showing what you usually make at your job
Keep a journal documenting your pain and physical limitations
Note how your family is affected, such as activities you can no longer do, missed events and vacations, etc.
Some of these losses are tied directly to a monetary value, while others are computed using specialized equations and projections. Experienced car accident lawyers know how to gather evidence to pursue a claim for compensation of all your damages.
- BUILDING YOUR CASE
Accusing the other driver of fault while he or she does the same to you is the classic stalemate in most car accident cases. To prevail in your claim, you need to be able to prove that the accident was the fault of the other driver – a role at which experienced car accident lawyers excel.
When you hire a car accident lawyer, the firm should immediately start investigating on your behalf. The investigation process will likely involve:
Visiting the accident scene to take pictures and video
Obtaining a copy of the police report
Examining the damage to your vehicle
Identifying and interviewing witnesses
Contacting experts to review the evidence and offer testimony
The lawyer you choose will also work with your doctor and other practitioners to obtain your medical records. Both your lawyer and medical experts will review the records to ensure that they present an accurate account of how the car accident has impacted you and how it may continue to impact you in the future.
- NEGOTIATING WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANIES
Insurers invest millions of dollars each year in advertising, employee training, and other programs to soften their image. After an accident, the other driver’s insurance company may try to sound like your best friend when they contact you. In reality, making a recorded statement and saying the wrong thing to an insurance adjuster is one of the worst steps you can take in your case.
One of the biggest advantages of hiring a lawyer after a car accident is that you won’t have to handle inquiries from the other driver’s insurance company on your own. You can tell the agent to direct all questions to your lawyer, then simply hang up the phone.
Your lawyer will continue to act in your best interest during settlement negotiations. The insurance company will try to pay you as little as possible, but your lawyer will push for what you are owed.
Negotiations may progress to an acceptable settlement offer, or they might end with no agreement reached. No matter the outcome, your lawyer will advise you of your options, including whether or not a settlement might be in your best interest or whether it is worth taking your case to trial.
- GOING TO COURT
One of the most important things to ask prospective car accident lawyers is whether or not they are willing to take your claim to trial. Most car accident claims settle out of court, but you need a trial lawyer on your side if a settlement can’t be reached.
Insurance companies know which lawyers are willing to bring cases to trial and which ones prefer to settle. The attorneys in the former category have a stronger negotiating position during settlement talks, and they have the experience and resources to represent you effectively before a jury.
CONTACT OUR HOUSTON CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS TODAY
The team at Patrick Daniel Law includes experienced trial lawyers who make it their priority to win you the full amount of compensation you deserve for your car accident injuries. We are strategic, meticulous, and merciless in acting on behalf of our clients.