Auto accident are one of the most prevalent forms of personal Injury. Whether it is a “fender bender” or a catastrophic wreck on a highway, the injuries and property damage can have a devastating impact on your life. After the wreck, you are faced with medical treatment, property repair, and seeking compensation for your injuries. It is important that the injured person focus on healing and find a legal team that has experience in seeking appropriate compensation for their injuries.
Insurance companies understand that you are hurting and frustrated. They want to resolve claims quickly and as economically as possible. Despite all their commercial claims, insurance companies make money by paying you as little as possible as fast as possible. An experienced personal injury lawyer will protect you from the outset of the case and put you in the best position to maximize your recovery in your case. The attorneys at Titus Law have a combined half century of personal injury experience. Please review our frequently asked questions section or contact us today to discuss your case.
Once a car accident happens a host of unexpected tasks arise – none of which were planned and some that may have never been considered. It is at this critical time one needs to think about hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to help resolve their car accident claim.
Insurance adjusters know that the earlier a car accident claim is settled the less recovery the injured person will receive. Therefore, it is in the claimant’s best interest to consult an attorney early in the process to ensure no stone is left unturned and full compensation is awarded. An experienced personal injury attorney can deal with all the unexpected hassles of a car accident so the injured party can focus on their recovery.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Titus Law Firm, LLC are fierce advocates in and out of the court room. Their clients receive full compensation for medical expenses, lost work, emotional suffering, and anything else the law allows.
Below is an overview of the claims process when insurance is involved. If insurance is not involved the process is the same except you will be working directly with the guilty party.
The Process Of Pursuing A Claim When Insurance Is Involved
Collect Evidence At The Scene
Considering the extent of your injuries you may or may not be able to collect evidence at the scene. If you are able, practice situational awareness. Look around. What happened? Who saw it? What was said? What was done? The answers to these questions will become the basis of your claim or lawsuit.
If you are able, some good information to collect at the scene of a car accident is name and contact information from other parties involved and the make, model, and year of their car. Get contact information from witnesses, take pictures or video of the scene and any injuries you sustained, such as a cut, and later, bruising. Jot down, or take a picture of, the other driver’s license plate numbers. Make note of weather and road conditions. Photograph all car damage– to all cars damaged— from many different angles. Photograph or video the entire scene of the accident including the placement of traffic signs and lights, skid marks, property damage, etc. You may not feel any soft tissue damage or have a headache immediately but make note of their onset if you do start to feel them. Error on the side of too much documentation than not enough; you never know just what might make or break your case. At the very least be sure to get the name of other drivers’ insurance carrier, policy number, and contact information. If you are unable to do so this information can usually be obtained later from a police report.
Listen for any admissions of guilt made by the other party. “I hadn’t noticed the light had changed.” “There was a squirrel in the road, and I swerved to keep from hitting it.” These are examples of admission of guilt. If you hear an admission, make note of it. Tell any police at the scene to put it in their report. Look for a witness that can testify to it. This could be another person in a car, someone standing on the street, another shopper at a store. You may want to ask around to find out if anyone saw or heard anything useful to you. Many times, people will keep information to themselves if not asked. But in most cases, a polite and respectful approach can yield a useful witness. They may even be willing to let you record them on your phone right there at the scene of the accident.
Be careful of making any admissions of guilt yourself, especially if you contributed to the situation in any way. If police and or first responders are involved be truthful but discreet. Remember that anything you say can be used against you.
Seek Medical Care
It is critical that you follow any medical advice given at the scene. Keep in mind that adrenaline often masks pain. If you are advised to go to the hospital do so immediately even if you feel it isn’t necessary. If an emergency room doctor tells you to follow up with your primary do so as soon as possible. If your told to stay off your swollen ankle and apply ice every 20 minutes do so. Keep good notes, have a friend help (they can provide later testimony), take pictures. Failure to follow medical advice can open you up to accusations of contributory negligence and lower the amount you are able to collect. For long-term injuries or treatment, keep a detailed journal. Record date, doctor appointments, x-ray’s, MRI’s, physical therapy treatments. Continue to take pictures of visible injuries as they resolve.
Hire an attorney early
Once a car accident happens a host of unexpected tasks arise — none of which were planned and some that may have never been considered. It is at this critical time one needs to think about hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to help resolve their car accident claim.
It is important that you focus your energy on healing and not be burdened by the particulars of pursuing a claim. A lawyer with experience in personal injury cases will know what to do and when to do it. Most importantly, your attorney will know how to value your claim and how to negotiate with adjusters who are seeking to pay out as little as possible.
This is where the value of an attorney’s education and experience serves your best interests. Your attorney will know a low-ball offer when they see it and will be tenacious in getting you every penny you deserve and is allowed by law.
Make A Demand For Compensation
Once you have turned over to your attorney all the evidence you collected at the scene, he or she will review it and initiate a process of collecting any more evidence that is needed to support your claim. Hopefully you will have kept an accurate record of what doctors you saw and when. Your attorney will use this information to make a formal request to your providers for medical and billing records.
Copies of all your evidence will be sent to the opposing party’s insurance claims adjuster along with a demand for compensation. This is a pre-trial demand and settlement offer from which to begin negotiations.
Your pre-trial demand will include all your financial losses, including time off work. Keep receipts for all out-of-pocket purchases related to your recovery and staying comfortable while doing so. If because of your injury you lose any opportunities that can be monetarily quantified, provide your attorney with some evidence of that. Examples may be a lost side-job or gig, an opportunity for continued education, or inability to complete a course of education that has been paid for. Discuss with your attorney any missed opportunities you think can be financially quantified. He or she will advise you on the chances of compensation and if it is reasonable to include these in your demand.
Beyond your actual damages of medical expenses and lost income your attorney will demand you be compensated for your pain, inconvenience, loss of intimate relations, emotional distress, etc. Keep a detailed log of this information to share with your attorney. Do not be afraid to include any information you can think of regarding how your injuries have negatively affected you and your life.
Remember that the value of utilizing attorney services is to help you know what a reasonable demand in your case should be. Your attorney determines this based on experience, research, and the particulars of your case. If your case goes to trial, they may have personal knowledge about area judges and attorneys, their preferences, weakness, history of rulings, etc. Your attorney will use all this information on your behalf.
This process can take several months to complete. Patience in the process is the best way to achieve the highest pay-out possible. Don’t be concerned if you don’t hear from your attorney for a few weeks; the wheels of justice turn slowly. In the meantime, continue to follow through with treatment plans and keeping a detailed journal of your recovery.
Accept Your Insurance Offer Or Go To Trial
Most personal injuries that arise from a car accident get settled out of court. Once your attorney decides the best agreement with an adjuster has been reached you will be contacted to discuss the terms of the claim. If you are happy with it your attorney will contact the adjuster and you will receive your settlement amount. If you are not happy with your offer you and your attorney can discuss if it’s worth taking your claim to court. Your attorney will use their education and experience to advise you on your options.
Frequently Asked Questions In An Auto Accident:
- How does a traffic ticket affect my claim?
- How do I deal with an insurance company after an accident
- Mistakes to Avoid in a Personal Injury Case
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