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The consequences of a car wreck can range from a relatively minor inconvenience to a traumatic, catastrophic and life-altering event. Victims are often left to face significant medical expenses and the inability to work for long periods of time. If you have been hurt in a collision due to an at-fault motorist, you’ll need to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area. They can help you know your rights, represent you in court, negotiate with the insurance company and so much more.
Establishing another person’s liability in a motor vehicle crash requires proof that their reckless driving lead to the accident. This involves showing that driver did something wrong, such as violating a traffic rule or safety statute. The examples of negligence are numerous, but some include failing to stop at a red light or stop sign, speeding, changing lanes without looking, and failing to yield the right-of-way. In rear-end car crashes, liability of the defendant arises from the presumption they failed to keep a proper lookout.
In litigation involving a car wreck, you as a plaintiff need to show how the wreck happened. Obtain the crash report and witness statements from either the highway patrol, police or other law enforcement agency that investigated accident. A report will also reveal if the at-fault driver was operating a company or family-owned car. In such a situation, you may be able to sue the owner as well as the driver. These reports are available because wrecks that involve significant property damage must be reported to law enforcement. An accident attorney near where you live or where the crash occurred can pull these reports for you as part of the representation.
Get photographs of your wrecked vehicle and that of the others involved in the collision with you. These photographs can serve as perhaps the best evidence at trial of how the wreck happened, specifically where your vehicle was struck and the force of impact. You may get a good barometer of the force and some evidence of speed from any air bags that were deployed.
As part of preparing the suit, you may need the help of an expert who can use physical evidence and eyewitness accounts to reconstruct the car crash. Such information includes skid marks, photographs showing impact points on the vehicle and the width and condition of the road and witness statements. If you were involved in a collision with a commercial truck, an expert may pull information from the navigation system or sensors to show the speed, braking distance and other details of the automobile’s operation.
Personal injuries form the most significant aspect of an accident law matter. With adequate medical records, an experienced personal injury lawyer can evaluate the extent of your pain, suffering and medical expenses. Of particular interest will be the diagnosis and other medical documentation of the injuries, be they broken bones, whiplash, neck or back pain, lacerations or head trauma. Physicians and other medical professionals will likely document your pain levels, symptoms, the results of x-rays, and the progress of treatments.
You may also undergo physical or occupational therapy, for which you will have records. Keep in mind that, while the law gives you a certain amount of time to sue, a lawsuit usually won’t happen immediately after an accident. This is in order to give you time to seek medical treatment and to get an adequate assessment of the extent of your injuries.
Aside from the personal injuries, a car crash may cause certain economic or other non-medical losses. Your car will need to be repaired or replaced. In most cases, a local accident attorney will help you recover these damages as well as the damages from your personal injuries.
If you’re working, you may face significant lost wages and earning capacity. To establish your right to lost wages or lost earning capacity, gather information such as your tax returns and pay stubs to show what you earned before the collision. For proving lost learning capacity, you might need to undergo a functional capacity assessment or similar examination to obtain disability ratings and to judge the extent of your work limitations.
In most states, the liability of the defendant is reduced, but not totally eliminated, if the plaintiff was at least partially at-fault. However a small group of states deny you recovery completely if you are in any way negligent in contributing to the car crash.
Your failure to take reasonable action to avoid injury may reduce how much you may be able to recover. For example, you may face a mitigation of damages defense if you fail to pursue treatment that a doctor recommends. If you’re on a bike or motorcycle, a defense lawyer may raise your failure to wear a helmet as a reason to lower the award you may get at trial. In some states, the failure to wear a helmet is treated as any other possible act of negligence on the part of a motorcyclist.
Be careful when an insurance company for the defendant contacts you. They will often want to settle, if at all, for a minuscule amount. The insurer simply does not have your best interests in mind. Before you think about settling that case, contact a top rated accident attorney to determine how to respond to the offer.
If the car crash happened while you were on the job, you may also qualify for workers compensation benefits. These include a portion of what you were earning per week before the crash and payment of expenses for medical treatments. Depending upon your state, your employer or its workers compensation insurers may be able to obtain a portion of the settlement proceeds as reimbursement.
If you’re a Medicare recipient, reimbursement from the settlement or judgment proceeds may be a little more complicated. Medicare will pay for your medical bills, but there are important rules and procedures you should follow. By law, you are required to reimburse Medicare the amount paid on your behalf for treatment and recovery. In fact, you must notify Medicare in advance of the settlement before the funds are dispersed. With the help of an auto accident lawyer near you, you may be able to appeal the amount billed by Medicare for a reduction of its claim to the proceeds.
Nowadays, seemingly scores of personal injury law firms are advertising online, on television and elsewhere. With some research, you can quickly find a great accident lawyer in your area to help pursue your personal injury claim. In particular, look for a top rated accident attorney with good experience in litigation and who can negotiate effectively with insurance companies.
If you search lawyer directories, take note of where the attorneys are located. Hiring a local accident lawyer gives you the advantage of an working with an expert who has a good read on the procedures involved, especially in your local jurisdiction.
Read online ratings and reviews very carefully when choosing a personal injury attorney to handle your situation. Many websites and online directories will display client feedback, with comments about the law firm’s services and results from previous in car crash lawsuits. As you read testimonials about verdicts and settlements, please be aware that these may not be representative of all or typical cases. Every automobile accident case has different facts.
Many accident lawyers offer a free consultation. In the meeting, you can discuss what happened and get advice on your rights and how to proceed against the defendant. The lawyer will also explain contingency fees, which are paid to the lawyer out of the proceeds of any judgment or settlement. In other words, the attorney fees are percentage rates of how much you recover.
Even with contingency fees, the plaintiff assumes responsibility for the cost of preparing a suit for filing and for trial. These items include court filing fees, costs of depositions and accident construction experts. During the consultation, the lawyer will explain these costs to you, weigh the potential damages against the cost of pursuit and answer your questions about the legal process and what may happen at trial.
Contact an accident attorney near you to find the best and affordable legal services so you can recover from the negligence of another driver.