After any car accident, you should focus on your health and well being. Questions and concerns may arise in your head about what comes next. Depending on the type of car accident and the severity of your injuries, you may face a long road to recovery.
What happens behind the scenes is important, too. When you’re in an accident, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will immediately begin working to show that you played some part in the accident and that you should not receive any compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and if they pay out the full value of every claim, they won’t maximize their profits. That’s why you need a car accident injury lawyer whom you can trust to have your best interests at heart, work to combat the insurance company, and help you recover.
You Should Focus on Your Recovery
Nothing is more important than your health. Over 150,000 car accidents in Florida result in injuries each year. After you suffer injuries in a car accident, your worry is on your health, and that is exactly where it should be.
When you can focus all of your effort and energy on your physical recovery, you gain much-needed ground toward getting back to your regular life. If your recovery splits your focus, however, and you also worry about the legal complexities and getting the full value of your claim, you will lose focus and extend the length of your recovery.
That’s why it is so important to work with a car accident injury attorney who you trust to handle your case’s legal complexities and work hard to maximize your compensation. Retaining an attorney to handle your case’s legal complexities will significantly reduce the stress you feel. By letting go of this stress and worry surrounding your car accident injury claim, you can spend your time and energy working toward a full recovery.
Your Attorney Is Your Legal Advocate
After suffering injuries in a car accident, it’s crucial to have the right legal representation at your side, battling the big insurance companies with the end goal of maximizing your compensation, so you can make a complete recovery. The wrong attorney may jeopardize the success of your claim and your recovery.
However, you must also remember that the insurance company does not have your best interest at heart. Every step of the way, the insurance company will look for ways to hold you partially or fully responsible for the accident so that it doesn’t have to pay out your claim.
While this practice may seem wrong, it happens to car accident injury victims like you every single day. Insurance companies are focused on their profits, not the well-being of accident victims. By being proactive and working with an experienced car accident lawyer, you give yourself a leg up. Your attorney will never take the side of the insurance company and will work to protect your rights.
Your lawyer will also make sure that your car accident claim is filed timely. In Florida, you only have four years from the date of your car accident to file a car accident claim against the at-fault party. Four years might seem like a long time, but depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be so focused on getting better, that time passes quickly. When you have a trusted legal advisor by your side, however, he or she can work hard to move your car accident claim forward while you work hard to get back on your feet.
The Insurance Company Isn’t on Your Side
This is an important point, which is why we’ve mentioned it multiple times. Many car accident injury victims mistakenly believe that the insurance company is on their side, but that is simply not the case.
The insurance company representing the at-fault driver has one goal in mind: to pay you as little as possible. Unfortunately, this does not match your goal of maximizing your compensation so that you do not end up paying out of pocket for your medical expenses. Securing the right legal assistance may make the difference in your car accident claim.
Soon after your car accident, you will probably receive a phone call from the insurance company representing the at-fault party. If you do not have a car accident lawyer at this point, retain one. The insurance will likely make you a low-ball initial offer, and an attorney can confirm this. The initial offer may excite you until you realize it is a low-ball settlement offer that likely will not include enough funds to cover all of your expenses.
That sounds terrible but, unfortunately, it happens frequently.
When considering a settlement, you need to account for many expenses, including:
- Medical bills
- Future medical procedures
- Time out of work
When calculating the total amount you need to sustain your lifestyle, work is an important consideration because you may not return to work in the same capacity or return to work at all. None of that is your fault, and you and your family should not bear the responsibility of carrying that financial burden, which should rest with the at-fault party.
Work with a trusted car accident attorney who can help you create an accurate estimate of your future financial needs, so you do not end up in financial hardship because of an accident you did not cause. Many people in your situation can quickly find themselves in financial ruin. We do not want to see this happen to you.
In an attempt to close your claim, the insurance company will likely offer you an initial, low-ball settlement. What’s worse, if you take the settlement offer and later realize it wasn’t enough to cover all of your expenses, it’s too late. Most settlement offers include a provision that bars any claims for the same accident. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the settlement offer is fair before accepting it.
Collecting Damages Presents Challenges
Filing a car accident claim after suffering injuries in a car accident can present challenges. The very act of filing a car accident claim in court contains loads of deadlines and document preparation duties. Parties must strictly adhere to these rules or you risk having their case delayed or thrown out of court completely. Any delay in your case will delay your financial recovery.
When working with a car accident injury lawyer, you can rest assured that you won’t miss these tight deadlines. It’s equally important to seek the right amount of compensation for you and your specific situation.
Potential damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Present and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you will likely spend a significant amount of time out of work. You may suffer injuries that prevent you from returning to the same role immediately or ever. You may need to retrain and develop skills in new professions that accommodate your injuries. Regardless of how much work you end up missing, your income will suffer, which can place an extra and unnecessary burden on your family to cover that gap in income. However, it should not be the responsibility of your family; it should be the sole responsibility of the negligent driver.
Recovering compensation for the items listed above is not as simple as just asking for it. You must show that the accident left you in a worse position and that you have suffered actual damages. Proving this involves a complex legal process that only experienced car accident lawyers can handle. When you choose the right lawyer to represent your best interests in your car accident injury claim, he or she will argue that you should receive the maximum compensation allowed under the law, so you can make a full physical recovery.
Difficulties Proving Liability
Part of maximizing your financial recovery is proving the other driver was at fault for your car accident.
To do this, you must establish four elements:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care to drive in a reasonably safe manner.
- The other driver breached that duty of care by driving in an unreasonably safe manner.
- The other driver’s breach caused the accident.
- As a result of the accident, you suffered injuries and actual damages.
While it may seem easy, proving these elements to a legal standard can prove quite challenging. The at-fault driver and the insurance company will have their own team of lawyers trying to make the case that you played some part in the accident. That’s why you need to have trusted legal counsel at your side from the beginning, especially when the insurance company asks for a recorded statement.
The insurance company wants a recorded statement to dissect your words and try to hold you responsible for the accident. Even saying something seemingly innocent, like “I looked away for a second,” could have catastrophic consequences on your ability to recover damages. However, when you work with an experienced car accident lawyer, your attorney will ensure that you don’t say anything that may jeopardize your claim in the future.
Negotiating a Settlement
Settlement negotiations are often like a chess match. Much positioning happens on both sides of the table, but it also requires a keen eye for detail and a significant amount of investigatory work. Your car accident lawyer wants to give you the best chance of maximizing your settlement recovery, so he or she will fully investigate your car accident to uncover the facts of your accident and build a strong legal argument for your case. Your lawyer will use this information to argue for your best interests during settlement negotiations, all to ensure that you do not pay a dime out of your own pocket for your expenses and your losses.
Most car accident claims settle out of court. Even so, you still want a lawyer by your side who has experience in car accident trials. Your lawyer must prepare you to go to court, even if a trial seems unlikely. Sometimes, insurance companies refuse to negotiate with reason and will not settle your case for a fair amount. When that happens, your lawyer must be ready to take your case to trial to ensure that you have your best shot at recovering fair compensation.
Even while preparing for trial, your lawyer can work hard to negotiate a fair settlement for you. Settlement negotiations are complex, and the more experience your lawyer has, the better for you. The big insurance companies will use strong-arm tactics in an attempt to scare you into accepting a low-ball settlement. We do everything in our power to prevent that from happening and work hard to maximize your compensation.
Speak With a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer
Using the right car accident lawyer can make a significant difference in your case. Your ability to recover maximum compensation depends a great deal on the experience and the skill of your car accident attorney. Do not settle for a novice or someone with whom you don’t feel comfortable.
By reaching out to an attorney sooner rather than later, you ensure that your attorney has sufficient time to investigate your accident and develop a strong legal argument to support your claim. Car accident lawyers need time to research the facts of an accident, which may include investigating witnesses, reviewing official reports, and interviewing you, and by reaching out immediately after your accident, you are ensuring that you remain one step ahead of the insurance company.