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What Do Car Accident Lawyers Do?

car accident lawyer in orlando

There are millions of vehicles and millions of drivers on the roads. Unfortunately, there are also millions of car accidents in the U.S.

Car accidents are a leading cause of death and serious injuries nationwide. In the United States, about 38,000 people die every year in automobile crashes. The victims of such accidents naturally want to know who is responsible for such a tragedy, and how to hold the at-fault party legally liable. Injured people and their loved ones are under enormous stress, and often know little about the legal process

When you get involved in a car accident due to another’s negligence, it is essential to consult a lawyer. Car accident lawyers practice in civil cases related to motor vehicle accidents, which fall into the category of personal injury law.

In these cases, one party (the plaintiff) sues another party (the defendant) for money or property. The person suing is typically called the plaintiff. The defendant is the person sued. A car accident attorney’s job is to seek full and fair compensation for their client’s losses. This usually includes medical expenses and lost wages but could also include property damage and possibly pain and suffering.

The vast majority of these cases settle before going to court, but a small percentage go all the way to trial. Either way, the knowledge and skills of an experienced attorney are invaluable. Such attorneys have many duties to perform in the course of their work. Each case is unique, but here is a closer look at some of the most important ways a car accident injury attorney can help you.

Legal advice

After being in a car accident, everyone you know may want to advise you on what steps to take. The flood of information from all kinds of sources you receive may leave you confused and unsure of how to proceed. Often, well-meaning people do not understand the applicable laws and the nuances of your particular situation that may affect your recovery.

However, a car accident lawyer can provide skilled, trustworthy legal advice and opinions based on their education and experience. They will review your car insurance policy, investigate the facts of the accident, analyze the legal issues to determine who might be responsible for the injury, and explain your legal options.

In addition, they will advise you on what you should do, and what actions might damage your claim. For example, they typically advise you to avoid signing any release or other documentation, especially from the opposing party, before having your own attorney review it.

An attorney can explain the legal process

An attorney knows the laws and procedures of the jurisdiction. They will explain the legal process involved in making a claim. They will guide you through the process in detail, including what to expect in the coming weeks and months.

Also, they will help you understand your rights as well as any compensation for which you may be eligible. For example, your lawyer may tell you that for your health and safety, as well as for your claim, it is essential to obtain proper medical care without delay.

Duties and responsibilities of a car accident lawyer

You may only know what you have seen on one of the countless courtroom dramas on television. Often, in these shows, a lawyer is hired and the case immediately goes to trial. In fact, car accident lawyers do a great deal of essential work preparing the case.

They investigate the case, interview clients and witnesses, research thorny legal issues, and handle a multitude of other details. The work of the lawyer can in general depend on the circumstances and complexity of your automobile accident case.

Your attorney is tasked with various duties and responsibilities that are essential to your case. They will represent your interests but also serve as your guide through various aspects of the case.

For most people, this is the first time they have pursued a personal injury case. However, lawyers deal with a variety of insurance companies and many kinds of claims. Your lawyer will send letters of legal representation. Thereafter, the attorney handles communications with the other party and insurance companies, thereby relieving a client’s stress and avoiding potential mistakes that might damage the claim.

Investigating the case

You cannot recover compensation for your damages unless you can prove the other party caused your injuries. Investigating, gathering, and preserving the evidence are important parts of the process because this information is the foundation of your case. A solid case is built on compelling evidence. Some of this information will come directly from you because you experienced the accident.

If possible, try to take pictures from various angles soon after the accident. Don’t forget to take photos of skid marks and debris from the crash. Such images also record such factors as the weather, visibility, and road conditions. Though you might have taken photos of the accident scene before, your lawyer or investigator will probably want to see the accident scene in person.

A lawyer or investigator will note any stop sign, traffic signal, or other traffic control device that may be evidence of who had the right of way. They may also locate and preserve evidence such as video camera footage and witness photos and statements. Other important physical evidence includes damaged vehicles or defective products.

The goal of the investigation process is to determine who was at fault for the accident. It is important to identify all the parties who may be responsible. In some cases, more than one person or entity may have contributed to the fault. In some cases, your car accident lawyer may hire experts and professionals, such as investigators, accident reconstructionists, medical experts, and engineers to work on your case.

The official report from law enforcement officers will contain the officer’s assessment of who was responsible for the accident. Although the officer’s conclusion is not necessarily the final answer, it can be compelling evidence.

Reviewing medical records

Medical records help establish the nature and extent of your injuries. It is important to obtain treatment for injuries right away. Otherwise, the opposing party may claim that you were not hurt in the crash.

Your legal team will review your medical records and consult with your physicians. They work with your doctors to ensure that they give the necessary medical facts and proof to substantiate your damage claim.

Medical records typically include:

  • Medical reports from the emergency department that saw you soon after your injury
  • Written reports which were taken by emergency medical personnel at the scene of the accident
  • Surgical notes
  • Results from diagnostic testing such as CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays
  • Results from laboratory testing, such as blood tests
  • Notes from physical therapists or occupational therapists
  • Patient charts with information from any medical professional that provided treatment

Preparing and filing paperwork

There is an enormous amount of paperwork necessary in a car accident lawsuit. Trying to handle a mountain of paperwork on your own is stressful. Also, it is difficult to know what paperwork is involved and how, when, and where to file these documents.

However, missing filing deadlines can be very damaging to your case. Your attorney will file any necessary claim forms with insurance companies. They will also put your health insurance, Medicare, and/or Medicaid on notice of the claim and contact the adverse party’s insurance company to put them on notice of the claim.

Prepare and file the summons and complaint required for a lawsuit. The deadlines associated with filing a lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations, are crucial. Once the attorney files the lawsuit, they must serve the paperwork on the defendant. In some cases, it can be difficult to find the defendant to serve them.

Other paperwork includes drafting and responding to written discovery documents, such as interrogatories, requests for production, and requests for admissions. Draft or respond to any pre- or post-trial motions if necessary. File all necessary documents with the court identifying witnesses and exhibits.

Dealing with the insurance company

Your attorney identifies the insurance companies that might be liable for your claim. He reviews each insurance policy to determine coverage, which may include liability insurance, PIP coverage, underinsured motorist coverage, and other coverage applicable to an injury claim. Your attorney files insurance claims and handles all ongoing communications with the insurance companies, making sure the company continues to process your claim on time.

If an insurance company acts in bad faith, your attorney might file a bad faith insurance lawsuit to hold the company liable for its actions. Bad faith insurance claims refer to an insurance company’s failure to uphold its obligations to its clients, which may mean they refuse to pay a valid claim, or they fail to examine and process a policyholder’s claim on time.

Calculating the value of damages

Compensation is another important aspect of the legal process. To collect compensation, you must prove your damages or your losses. Determining the exact amount of money that fairly compensates you for your losses is difficult because each situation is unique.

You must document economic damages.

Your attorney knows how to calculate the full value of your damages. In a car accident case, these may include:

  • Financial losses, including past and future medical expenses, loss of income, reduced future earning capacity, adaptive equipment, necessary modifications to the injured person’s home and car, personal care expenses, and more.
  • Pain and suffering damages, including physical, emotional, and mental trauma and distress
  • Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life
  • Permanent impairments, including scaring, disabilities, and disfigurement
  • Wrongful death benefits

Your attorney will obtain evidence of the consequences of your injuries, such as financial, physical, and emotional losses.

Negotiating

Usually, the goal of insurance companies is to pay as little as possible. Injury victims often consider only the short-term effects of their injury and fail to take its future impact into account. That is why you need an experienced lawyer to negotiate on your behalf.

Your attorney will understand the long-term consequences of your injury and the ways it has diminished your life. Their negotiation skills will help you obtain a fair settlement.

Representing you in court

Although most car accident cases settle out of court, the case may proceed to court if the parties cannot reach an agreement. Even though only a small percentage of cases end up in court, it is good to have solid legal representation that is willing to fight for you in court, rather than accept a low settlement to avoid a trial. Therefore, your lawyer should analyze potential legal issues that could help or harm your case and build a strong case against those responsible for your injury.

Your lawyer represents you throughout the court case, preparing you for trial and appearing at all court hearings. Your lawyer can arrange for experts to testify in court regarding your physical, emotional, and financial losses. Participating in a trial requires knowing the basics, such as choosing a jury, conducting a direct and cross-examination, presenting evidence, and giving a powerful and persuasive opening statement and closing argument. However, it also means knowing the applicable rules of procedure, which can be used for the benefit of the client’s case.

How can a car accident attorney help you?

There are countless details involved in a car accident claim. An experienced car accident attorney will prepare your case with meticulous attention to detail and fight to obtain the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies typically offer low settlements to injured persons who aren’t represented by an attorney. You need someone in your corner to champion your best interests: That’s what an attorney does.

Are You in Need of Legal Assistance?

Contact us to schedule your free consultation today.

We know that accidents don’t always happen during business hours. That’s why our experienced lawyers are standing by, 24/7/365, to listen to your story, evaluate your claim, and help you decide what to do next. Call us now and we’ll see if we can pursue compensation for your injuries!

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