What Questions Should I Ask My Car Accident Attorney?
Car accidents tend to bring about severe injuries and other losses. They can also create far more questions than answers. In fact, many auto accident victims don’t know what steps they should take after their accident to secure favorable monetary compensation and damages for their injuries.
Consequently, accident victims should always retain a car accident lawyer to represent them in their case and pursue the compensation they need.
First, your lawyer can help you investigate your accident circumstances and determine your eligibility to file a successful auto accident claim in the first place.
Next, your attorney can help you gather the documents necessary to prove your claim. Those documents may include police reports, witness statements, and medical records.
During the settlement negotiation process, your attorney can negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf to pursue a fair settlement offer. Finally, your lawyer can litigate your case in the court system if the insurance company refuses to offer you appropriate monetary damages.
Throughout the entire settlement and litigation process, your attorney will be by your side, advocating for you and helping you recover the monetary compensation you deserve. Your lawyer can also answer all your legal questions and address your concerns about the case at every stage.
Reasons Why Most Auto Accidents Happen
Statistically, auto accidents continue to plague this country. Most of the time, these accidents directly result from another driver’s careless, negligent, or reckless actions.
Negligent drivers drive in an unsafe and unreasonable manner under the circumstances.
One of the most common causes of car accidents is traffic law violations. Many drivers do not watch the road attentively and violate common traffic laws. These drivers are far more likely than others to cause serious accidents that lead to debilitating injuries.
Common traffic laws that drivers violate include:
- Speed limit laws
- Right-of-way laws
- Turn signal laws
Accidents can also occur when drivers fail to utilize the various safety devices in their vehicles, including front cameras, backup cameras, rearview mirrors, and side view mirrors.
Motor vehicle crashes may also result from impaired or intoxicated driving. Passenger vehicle drivers are illegally under the influence if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) meets or exceeds 0.08 percent.
In many accident cases, drunk and impaired drivers cannot drive safely because they experience limited concentration, blurred vision, dizziness, and other physical and mental symptoms.
Due to the slowdown in their reaction time, an intoxicated driver might be unable to hit their brakes in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian or automobile. In addition, drunk drivers who incur a criminal DUI conviction may have to pay high monetary fines – or even serve jail time.
If a drunk driver causes a car crash that leads to injuries, they may have to pay the accident victim monetary damages through their insurance company.
Another common cause of automobile accidents – distracted driving – occurs when a driver does not watch the road attentively but instead turns their attention to something in their vehicle.
Some of the most common distractions that motor vehicle drivers experience include:
- GPS navigation systems
- Cellular phones and tablets
- Music systems
- Rowdy vehicle passengers
- Young children who misbehave
When a driver loses focus on the road, they are more likely to cause a severe accident, especially if they look down or turn their head to the side.
Finally, many car accidents result from road rage or aggressive driving. When a driver speeds excessively, tailgates other vehicles, or cuts other vehicles off in traffic, they may inadvertently cause a single crash or multi-vehicle pile-up.
If you sustained injuries in a recent car crash because another driver behaved negligently, a skilled car accident lawyer in your area can help. Your attorney can review your accident circumstances, determine your eligibility for bringing a claim, and assist you throughout every step of the process.
When drivers fail to drive their cars and trucks carefully, they may cause:
- Rear-end accidents occur when a driver tailgates or speeds, negligently hitting the back of the vehicle in front of them.
- T-bone or broadside accidents, where a negligent driver causes their vehicle to hit the side of another car on an intersecting road
- Sideswipe accidents, where the sides of two vehicles hit one another while traveling together on the same road
- Head-on collisions, where two vehicles hit one another directly, often causing one or more fatalities
If you suffered injuries in a recent car crash, you should involve a car accident attorney as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can answer your questions and help you secure the monetary recovery you deserve through a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Driver and Passenger Injuries in a Car Crash
Both drivers and passengers may suffer debilitating injuries in an auto accident that results from someone else’s negligence. The extent of a driver or passenger’s injuries will depend on the force of the collision, the type of accident that occurs, and the circumstances surrounding the accident – including how the victim’s body moves at the time of impact.
When a driver or passenger’s body moves backward and forwards very abruptly, for example, they may suffer a soft tissue neck and back injury, such as whiplash.
Other common injuries that accident victims suffer include:
- Traumatic head and brain injuries, such as concussions or comas
- Internal organ damage
- Open cuts
- Internal bleeding
- Bone fractures
- Rib fractures
- Spinal cord damage
All of these injuries may require ongoing medical care, along with a strict medical treatment regimen. Accident victims must complete all their recommended medical treatment, including undergoing medical procedures, consulting with primary care doctors and specialists, and participating in physical therapy.
Completing medical treatment helps ensure that accident victims will fully recover from their injuries. It also shows insurance companies and their adjusters that the accident victim’s injuries are serious – and that they deserve appropriate compensation.
While you treat your injuries, your lawyer can begin handling the various legal components of your case, including gathering relevant medical documentation and bills, along with various investigative documents, such as police reports. Once you have finished your medical treatment, your lawyer can submit a claim on your behalf and begin settlement negotiations in your case.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help You?
As soon as possible after your auto accident, you should retain a skilled attorney to handle the various components of your case.
Investigating Your Accident
First, your lawyer can help you investigate the circumstances leading up to your accident. If those circumstances are unclear, your lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist to serve as an expert in your case and testify at a discovery deposition or jury trial.
Obtaining Documents and Filing a Claim
As the accident victim in a car accident claim, you will have the burden of proving various legal elements. To satisfy this legal burden, your attorney can introduce multiple documents, such as medical records and bills. Your attorney can also help you gather these documents and submit them to the insurance company as part of a settlement demand package.
Handling all Communications with Insurance Companies
Your lawyer can help you aggressively negotiate with insurance company representatives and pursue a fair settlement offer in your case.
You need legal representation at this stage since insurance companies regularly undervalue claims. Your lawyer can point to medical records and other documentation supporting your case or, if necessary, threaten the insurance company with courtroom litigation if they fail to compensate you appropriately.
Litigating Your Case in the Court
If the insurance company does not offer you favorable monetary damages, your lawyer can help you litigate your case in court and, if necessary, take your case to a civil jury trial, mediation hearing, or binding arbitration proceeding.
Obtaining Monetary Damages
Finally, your attorney can help you achieve the monetary settlement or litigation result you need. The total financial award you recover will depend on several factors, including the extent of your injuries and the cost of your medical treatment.
Damages may include compensation for:
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Related past and future medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
Questions to Ask a Prospective Auto Accident Lawyer
When seeking legal counsel to represent you in your auto accident case, you want an experienced legal team in your corner. Therefore, there are several questions that you should ask prospective attorneys about their experience.
If, for any reason, you don’t feel comfortable asking questions of an attorney, it may be a sign that that attorney isn’t a good fit for you.
How Many Car Accident Cases Do You Handle Every Year?
Ideally, you want a personal injury attorney representing you whose practice consists heavily of motor tort cases. Your attorneys will understand the tactics and tricks insurance companies and their adjusters routinely use to try and undervalue car accident claims. They can negotiate on your behalf and pursue total monetary compensation for your injuries.
How Many Cases Have You Successfully Taken to Trial?
In addition to a seasoned car accident attorney, you want a lawyer on your side who regularly – and successfully – takes car accident cases to court. Insurance companies are often aware of lawyers who settle all of their cases and are less likely to offer these lawyers significant settlement amounts.
However, insurance companies are more likely to respect attorneys who regularly litigate their cases and take them to trial. Therefore, it is a good idea to ask a prospective lawyer about the number of cases they regularly take to trial or arbitration in a given year.
Questions to Ask During Your Case
After you retain a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to represent you in your case, there are specific questions that you may ask while your case is pending.
Will My Case Go to a Jury Trial?
One common concern that accident victims have is about taking their case to a jury trial. Most car accident claims settle out of court, even after a personal injury attorney files a lawsuit on their behalf. Courtroom litigation costs insurance companies a lot of money, especially when adding expert witness fees.
A lawyer can tell you whether your case will likely go to trial, depending on the circumstances of your accident, the nature and extent of your injuries, and whether or not the insurance company is cooperating.
Ultimately, you decide whether to accept a settlement offer or litigate your case in court.
What Is the Likely Monetary Value of My Case?
Every car accident case is different, and some accident victims receive higher monetary compensation than others. Although a car accident attorney cannot pinpoint the exact value of your claim, they can provide you with a ballpark figure.
A seasoned lawyer will most likely have handled similar cases to yours and can provide you with a range of likely damages based on the type of accident, property damage involved, injuries, and medical treatment.
Contact a Skilled Auto Accident Attorney Today
When securing experienced legal counsel in your case, time is of the essence. This is because accident victims only have two years from their accident date to file a lawsuit seeking monetary damages. If you wait too long to seek compensation, you risk losing your legal rights completely.
You should always start seeking the financial recovery you deserve under the law immediately, and your first step is a legal consultation. A qualified personal injury attorney in Orange County can file a timely lawsuit in your case, address all of your legal questions, and help you maximize the total monetary damages you ultimately recover.