Over the years, the attorneys at The Flood Law Firm have handled hundreds of car accident cases and have heard just about every question a car crash victim can ask. We are always happy to talk to car crash victims and help them understand their rights. Even in a situation where the crash was not your fault, the matter is seldom as simple as you might think.
“The crash wasn’t my fault…so why do I need an attorney?”
One of the first things out of any victim’s mouth is this sentence: “The crash wasn’t my fault.” It would be nice if the bare facts of the case were enough for justice to be done. Unfortunately, it often takes more than just a truthful statement. When the car crash is not your fault, it is all the more likely that the other party will make every attempt to spin the facts differently. If it turns into a situation of your word against theirs, it is more likely that they will not have to pay as much in financial compensation as they would if you could prove an airtight case against them.
“How do I benefit from hiring an attorney?”
Having an experienced attorney on your side can be the key to receiving the full amount of financial compensation you deserve. By hiring an attorney, you have easy access to the resources you need to pursue your claim.
Not all attorneys are created equal, of course. It’s important to make sure that you hire the right attorney who has a strong record of successful car accident claims. In addition, it’s a good idea to look for an attorney who works on a contingency basis—meaning that you only pay a fee if your claim is successful. A contingency-based fee is a good sign that your attorney is confident of their ability and has the resources they need to get started on your case right away, with no money up front.
“Will the legal process take a long time? What does it involve?”
When a car crash was not your fault, the property damage claim is fairly cut and dry: let your insurance carrier handle it.
A personal injury claim can be more difficult to prove and will often take longer. Some cases are settled in a matter of months, but others can take years. Much of it depends on how knowledgeable your counsel is, and how good they are at bringing in proof for the severity of your injury.
Insurance carriers are reluctant to settle claims without investigation, which can significantly delay your case. However, an experienced attorney will know what kind of evidence is needed to irrefutably prove your claim.
When a car crash was not your fault, one of the first things you’ll have to do is file No-Fault forms. These can be complicated and it’s imperative that they are accurate. You may have to also apply for disability, as well as insurance benefits from the at-fault party’s carrier. And, of course, the legal process involves a lot of evidence, such as saving prescriptions from your doctor and taking pictures of any surgery or visible injury. An attorney can guide you through all of this.
It’s also important to know that many car accident victims routinely make mistakes when they attempt to go through the claims process without a lawyer. Even small things like talking about your case or your condition with others (even on social media), making mistakes on no-fault forms or telling half-truths in order to “speed up” the process can have disastrous consequences to the legitimacy of your claim.
“How much money could I be entitled to?”
It all depends on the damage you’ve experienced. There is no set formula to calculate the amount you may receive. Instead, it is based on the severity of your injuries, what kind of medical treatment you need and how long you will need it for, and whether or not you have any permanent injury.
Where a lot of car accident victims make mistakes is regarding the financial compensation for “pain and suffering.” First of all, you should know that showing up in court wearing a neck brace won’t be adequate proof of your pain and suffering. Insurance companies typically will not determine compensation based solely on your statement or physical evidence—they will require medical documentation and expert proof.
In addition, some car accident victims actually underestimate the damage inflicted on their health. They may agree too quickly on a settlement amount, only to find later in life that they are suffering long-term health problems that they did not know to anticipate. This, again, is where a car accident attorney can be extremely helpful. By bringing in medical experts to give their opinion on your condition, the attorney can help you see how your health might be impacted down the road as a result of your car crash. This is not only valuable information in making your car accident claim, but will also help you put together a solid plan for physical recovery.
If you’ve been involved in a car crash that wasn’t your fault, call The Flood Law Firm right away to discuss your case. There is no cost or obligation for your consultation—we are here to talk and help you understand your rights.