Hiring an attorney is not necessary for every motor vehicle accident. If liability is clear and the accident resulted in minimal property damage with little to no medical treatment, the claim usually does not require the services of an attorney. Those minor claims can often be settled with an insurance company easily and without legal assistance.
In other cases, hiring an attorney is important. It could be because the amount of damage and injury caused by the accident makes the claim process difficult to navigate. It could also be because a question in liability arises – an insurance company may deny a claim completely if they have any reason to believe their insured was not at fault. In these cases, hiring an attorney and possibly filing a lawsuit may become imperative to ensure you will be receiving the full value of your claim.
If you think your claim requires the help of an attorney, or if you are unsure and would like a free consultation, contact the attorneys at Lapeze & Johns, PLLC.
How Much is Your Accident Worth?
There is no formula for determining the value of your personal injury case. It is normally dependent on the details of the accident. How were your injuries caused? What is the extent of your injuries? Are you able to prove your injuries? How much insurance coverage did the adverse driver have? Questions like these will often have a direct impact on how much your case is worth.
The amount of money which a victim is awarded in a lawsuit is referred to as “damages.” Damages may cover a wide variety of areas. Claimants may be entitled to compensation for any paid or incurred medical bills, any lost wages or missed time from work, and actual pain and suffering that resulted from the accident.
All injured parties in an automobile accident have a right to be fully reimbursed for damages caused, including:
- Property damage.
- Rental car and towing expenses.
- Past and future pain and suffering.
- Past and future lost wages.
- Paid or incurred medical expenses.
If the parties cannot agree on the value of a case, a trial may be held and a jury or judge will determine the ultimate value.
Seeking Medical Treatment After Your Accident
If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Even if you don’t think you are seriously hurt, it is possible to have soft tissue damage or other injuries that aren’t apparent right away. Many victims are often in a state of shock after a car accident, which may mask pain. It is a good idea to see a doctor out of an abundance of caution.
When you make a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, it is imperative that you are aware of every single injury that resulted from the accident. If you have not gone to the doctor for it, the insurance company may use that in its defense. Once your case is resolved, you will not be able to go back and make a claim for further damages so it is important that everything is included in your demand.
Be completely honest with your doctors about your injuries. Some people may not tell their doctor about small aches and pains because they don’t want to complain. While you should not exaggerate, it is important that you disclose every single detail to your doctor so you can begin receiving the best treatment possible.
You want to recover from your injuries as quickly as possible. Therefore, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and recommendations. Any missed appointment or deviation from the medical plan will be documented and scrutinized by an insurance company fighting your claim.
Insurance companies will spend a lot of time and money gathering information to use against you. A failure to collect evidence on your own places you at a serious disadvantage. It is important to gather witness statements and contact information, take photographs, and request the police report and your medical records, along with any other documents that are related to your accident.
Photographs are powerful tools in accident litigation. Take as many pictures as possible of your vehicle, the adverse vehicle, the scene of the accident, and your injuries. All could prove to be incredibly influential while maximizing the value of your claim.
Remember to keep all receipts and bills you have incurred as a result of the car accident. These may include medical bills and receipts for medication, repairs done to your vehicle, etc. Your attorney will be able to use these when submitting a demand to the adverse insurance company on your behalf.
It is a good idea to keep a detailed diary of your injuries. Throughout the litigation process, people will want to know how the injuries progressed and how they have affected your lifestyle. Having detailed documentation of your pain on a daily basis will help support your claim. Further, knowing exactly how your injuries have affected your daily life (facts that could be forgotten over the course of a lawsuit) is powerful evidence.
Going through a personal injury claim can be confusing and complicated. Experienced attorneys like the ones at Lapeze & Johns will stand by you throughout the whole process and work to maximize the value of your claim.