Whether getting you from A to B on your morning commute, or providing your weekend thrills on the open road, the cars we drive are a part of life most of us would struggle to live without. It’s the reason over 87% of the driving-aged population have a driver’s license and why hundreds of thousands of drivers tests, including commercial driving tests are taken each year. But when things don’t go to plan and your journey is cut short by a collision, the effects can be life-altering.
Every year, over 6 million vehicle accidents occur on America’s roads and while most thankfully do not inflict injury on those involved, around one-third of them do, so it’s important to know what your options are if you’re one of the unlucky few.
Claiming Compensation If You’ve Been Injured In An Auto-Accident
If you’ve sustained an injury as a result of a vehicle accident that was not your fault, you may be able to claim compensation for the ways in which it has impacted your life. From medical expenses incurred and loss of income, compensation can help you financially in a number of ways.
Finding a Lawyer
The first step to filing a claim against an at-fault driver is to engage the services of an attorney in auto-accident personal injury law. With the rise in injuries sustained through accidents and the subsequent personal injury cases, you’ve probably seen copious amounts of advertising pertaining to this industry. While finding an attorney through advertising is fine, you should also look for a recommendation from friends and family too.
That said, before you make your final decision, there are some other factors you must consider
- Ensure your attorney has extensive knowledge of personal injury law. Laws change from state to state so you must determine that your prospective attorney is well-versed in the laws of your particular state.
- Check that your attorney has experience in personal injury law. Knowledge is one thing, but experience is everything. Make sure your attorney has dealt with a number of cases like yours in the past.
- Have your lawyer’s capabilities and success been independently verified? Your lawyer may tell you all the ways in which they can help you, but the only way to check whether they can actually do the job at hand is to check whether they have been rated by a non-biased organization.
- Are they putting your needs first? It’s your attorney’s responsibility to give you the highest standard of service, dedication and attention to your unique case. If you’re dealing with case workers, don’t feel like you’re getting fair and unbiased assessment or you’re not being kept up to date, they may not be the best attorney for you!
Getting The Compensation You Deserve
Once you’ve engaged the right attorney for you, they will arrange an appointment with you so you can fully discuss the details relating to your accident and consequential injury. At this stage, it’s important you provide as many details as possible, including proof of medical bills and any other associated costs.
From here, your attorney will begin negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Generally, the insurer will assess the case brought forward by your lawyer and will present an offer in line with the injuries you sustained in the accident and any subsequent factors which they may need to compensate you for.
If you live in a no-fault state, like Florida, Michigan and New Jersey, unless your injuries are considered serious (the definition of which is determined by each state), you will need to file a claim against your own insurer. Your attorney can help you determine whether your case is considered serious, in which case you can hold the other party liable, or help you manage your claim against your own insurance if it is deemed to be minor.
- Settling Your Case
Generally, auto-accident personal injury claims are settled relatively quickly with the case being settled outside of court. However, sometimes, you may feel that the proposed offer does not adequately reflect your injuries.
In the event that you are not happy with the proposed offer (and if the at-fault party’s insurer will not negotiate further), you may take your claim to court. But before you take this course of action, it’s important to note that this can be a long and costly process which may or may not be worth the effort, depending upon your case. Your lawyer can advise you further in these cases.
Whatever happens after your car accident, it’s important that you get the care and compensation you deserve. So, after seeking the immediate medical attention you need, seek out the law professional who can help you navigate the claim process for your personal and totally unique case.