Being involved in an accident is always stressful, even more so if you are injured as a result of the accident. While many accidents are not serious and resolve quickly, others may be more complicated and take longer to wrap up. If you have been hurt in an accident, you may be wondering if you should investigate the accident on your own or leave it to an attorney. The following is an overview of personal injury law and when you should seek the advice of an attorney.
Who Is Liable After An Accident?
One of the biggest concerns after an accident, is who is going to pay for your injuries. In many instances, it depends on the state in which you live. In no fault states, your insurance company is liable for your medical expenses and damage to your vehicle. If the accident occurred in a state that doesn’t follow no fault rules, the at fault party’s insurance company will most likely be responsible for paying your accident related expenses.
What Do I Do After An Accident?
The time period just after an accident is extremely important. There are many things you can do to protect your interests in the event a lawsuit is needed such as:
- Take Pictures Of The Accident Scene
- Take Pictures Of Your Injuries
- Get The Names Of Eyewitnesses
- Obtain A Copy Of The Police Report
- Get The Other Drivers Contact Information
- Keep All Documents Related To Your Medical Care
What Not To Do After An Accident?
While taking the correct steps after an accident is important, there are also some things you should not do. It is extremely important to never admit fault in any way after an accident. While emotions may be running high, anything you say right after an accident will most likely be used against you if you file a claim against the at-fault driver and his insurance company. Even saying “I’m sorry” to the other driver may be twisted to look like an admission of guilt.
Should You Investigate The Accident On Your Own?
Most personal injury lawyers will tell you it is rarely to your benefit to conduct an investigation of an accident without the aid of a lawyer. It is simply too easy to make mistakes that could cost you a great deal of money down the road if your case goes to trial. When the details surrounding the accident are not clear, a lawyer may hire an investigator to uncover the facts or accident reconstruction specialists to determine who was at fault.
What Can A Lawyer Do To Help You Win Your Case?
Hiring a lawyer may increase your chances of obtaining a settlement for your accident related injuries and expenses. It is important to hire someone with experience in handling personal injury cases. Some things your lawyer may do to help you win your case are:
- Hire Accident Investigators
- Obtain Police Reports
- Speak With Your Doctors And Medical Experts
- Obtain Reports From Medical Experts
- Negotiate A Settlement With The At Fault Party’s Insurance Company
- File Court Documents
- Attend Court Hearings And Depositios
- Locate And Interview Potential Accident Witnesses
- Represent You At Trial
If your case is successful, you may be awarded money for certain damages. The most commonly awarded damages in car accident cases include:
- Doctor Bills
- Surgery Fees
- Ambulance Costs
- Emergency Room Bills
- Pain And Suffering
- Lost Income
- Future Lost Income If You Are Disabled Due To The Accident
- Emotional Distress
Calculating lost income and future lost income is a complex legal matter and is best handled by an attorney. Statistics show that accident victims who do not have legal representation are typically offered much lower settlements than those who have an attorney.
If you have been hurt in a car accident, don’t take matters into your own hands and try to investigate it on your own. Doing so could place your entire case at risk. Instead, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. After reviewing your case, an attorney will let you know if you have a valid claim and how you should move forward with your lawsuit. While hiring an attorney cannot guarantee a positive outcome in your case, it will reduce the anxiety associated with personal injury cases.