While some car accident cases are straightforward enough that you may be able to receive a fair settlement from a car insurance company, other car accidents may involve extensive damages that can only be recovered with the help of an expert car accident lawyer. Learn more about how car accident lawyers can help you with your car accident claim.
How A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help With Your Personal Injury Claim
After an accident, it can be a good idea to hire a car accident lawyer quickly, so the lawyer can help you recover compensation more quickly. One of the primary roles of a car accident attorney is to keep you informed of all your legal options.
An auto accident attorney can help you understand your legal rights and the relevant laws that apply to your car accident case, particularly if you were not the at-fault driver. Other legal services offered by car accident lawyers include:
Hiring a car accident lawyer is crucial for pursuing compensation after your car accident. The at-fault party is responsible for paying all damages you have sustained as a result of the accident, including property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and more. However, if you are seeking compensation from the other driver’s insurance company, you may need help with the insurance claim process.
Part of the legal process for personal injury claims involves gathering sufficient evidence to prove the extent of your damage and establishing the percentage of liability for each party involved in the accident. A personal injury attorney will have the resources to gather all evidence related to the crash itself, such as video footage of the accident scene, police reports, and the accident report.
Your lawyer can also gather witness statements, including statements from medical professionals and accident reconstruction experts. Additionally, independent medical reports and your medical records can prove the severity of your injuries, especially if you have injuries that prevent you from earning income.
A car accident lawyer can also help negotiate your settlement. After a car accident, some insurance companies may be reluctant to provide a fair settlement. However, evidence such as medical bills, medical records, police reports, and more can all be used to calculate the total cost of all your economic damages.
An auto accident lawyer will know the best way to negotiate with insurance companies so that you can recover financially, physically, and emotionally after your car accident.
Why Do Insurance Companies Offer Low Settlements?
The main goal of an insurance company is to cover liability damages for the lowest price possible. Often, this means that insurance companies make lowball offers and pressure car accident victims to accept the offer, even if the other party was more at-fault for the accident. However, because car accidents can generate a significant financial burden for victims, it’s important to fight for all of the compensation you deserve.
If you are being repeatedly contacted by an insurance company, the best thing you can do for your case is limit how much you say to the insurance adjuster and provide your law firm’s contact information. Because the insurance adjuster may be trying to find a reason to deny your claim, it’s a good idea to have your lawyer speak to the adjuster on your behalf.
Can Car Accident Lawyers Estimate Your Settlement?
Car accident lawyers cannot give you an estimate of your car accident claim settlement, since calculating the settlement will need to be determined by an insurance claim or a court trial. However, the specific circumstances of your car accident will be the biggest determining factor in the settlement amount you can expect after filing a car accident case.
For car accidents that did not involve any injuries, the value of your settlement can range between $3,000 and $15,000, depending on the extent of your vehicle damage. For car accidents that involve injuries, the settlement amount can range between $15,000 and $1 million. In Missouri, the total damages you can seek compensation for are not capped unless an uninsured driver was involved in your car crash.
What Factors Determine Your Car Accident Settlement?
While your lawyer may not be able to estimate the exact amount of your settlement, a car accident lawyer will be able to tell you how your personal circumstances can affect your settlement amount. Whether you are settling directly with an insurance company or your case must be settled in civil court, some of the most important factors that will determine your settlement include:
Injury Severity and Duration
Car accident victims who suffer significant injuries are likely to receive more financial compensation than people who suffer minor injuries. If your car accident injuries require surgery or a prolonged recovery time, this can increase your medical expenses and lost wages. Severe injuries may involve expenses such as treatment, medication, therapy, and over-the-counter aids.
Ability To Work
If your injuries have affected your ability to work to provide for yourself and your family, this can also affect your settlement amount. Your ability to work will be factored into the calculations for the economic damages you have suffered as a result of the car accident.
If you have to change jobs, retire early, or you have lost your earning capacity due to temporary or permanent disability, these factors will be included in your economic damages.
Quality of Life
Your settlement can be greatly influenced by how much your quality of life has changed because of your injuries. This is part of how non-economic damages are calculated for your case.
Your quality of life can be significantly diminished by physical pain, inconvenience, loss of consortium, emotional pain, and inability to perform daily tasks. People who have suffered serious injuries are more likely to experience reduced quality of life.
Sometimes, insurance limitations can impact your settlement amount. Many drivers have insurance caps for liability coverage, which means the insurance company will only cover damages up to a certain amount.
For many car crash victims, the maximum settlement offered by the other driver’s insurance will not cover the full amount of damages and injuries. If insurance limitations are preventing you from making a full financial recovery, your law firm can help you file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver directly.
Number of Liable Drivers
The number of parties involved in your accident can also impact your settlement amount. When multiple drivers are involved in an accident, this can mean that multiple drivers are liable for your injuries and damages. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you file a lawsuit against each liable party, so you can recover compensation to cover all of your damages.
One major reason you will need legal representation is that Missouri is an at-fault state that uses pure comparative fault to calculate damages. Essentially, pure comparative fault holds each driver involved in an accident a certain percentage responsible for the accident. Your amount of liability is directly related to your settlement. Drivers who are 20% responsible for an accident will only be able to recover 80% in maximum compensation.
When Should You Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
Ideally, you should hire a car accident lawyer soon after your car accident. For personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is relatively short, which means the faster you can file a lawsuit, the faster you will be able to recover compensation for your medical bills and other damages. Contacting a car accident lawyer quickly can also ensure you are following the claims process before the other party, which may serve your best interests.
Do You Have to Pay for Your Lawyer Out of Pocket?
Even if a lawyer believes they have a case after a free consultation, some people may hesitate to hire a car accident attorney because of the potential cost of legal fees.
However, most car accident lawyers and defense attorneys will work on a contingency fee agreement, which means the cost of your legal representation will be subtracted from your final settlement amount. In this way, it’s possible to hire an expert legal team to handle your case without stressing over how to pay for legal services.
What Kind of Cases Can Car Accident Lawyers Handle?
Aside from your run-of-the-mill passenger car accidents, a car accident attorney can also handle claims involving truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, ATV accidents, and pedestrian accidents. Your lawyer may also be able to help you with a hit-and-run case if your insurance company is denying your claim.
A car accident lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your injuries and damages after a car accident. Your legal counsel can help you negotiate with insurance companies, gather evidence, and much more. Not hiring a car accident lawyer can undermine your claims process, especially if the other driver is filing a lawsuit against you. If you’ve been in a car accident, reach out to Holman Schiavone, LLC at 816-399-5149 for a free consultation today.