Accidents happen in the blink of an eye. The next thing you know – you’re stuck in a hospital with a pile of medical bills you need to pay, unable to work, and worried about your recovery. Maybe it’s easier to get help online, with your laptop or mobile phone in your hands.
Dealing with situations like these isn’t easy. Focusing on the healing process is difficult when there are financial troubles you’re dealing with at the same time. For that reason, it’s best to contact a law office specializing in personal injury cases, such as Law S&B. You can contact them even online.
Now, you must be wondering if that’s something you really need, especially if you didn’t sustain any injuries. Well, ultimately, it’s up to you. But, hiring a lawyer has its perks.
So, let’s explore them.
The first thing your personal injury lawyer will ask you to do is bring all the evidence you have in your possession. People often think that documentation is the only form of evidence used in personal injury cases, but there are other forms of evidence as well:
Depending on what happened, your lawyer will want to know if there is any physical evidence that’s relevant to the case. It might be a weapon the defendant used, the clothes and shoes you wore the day of the accident, equipment, tools, vehicles, and even information about the weather patterns.
When a car accident takes place, there’s usually some evidence left on the scene, such as skid marks on the road from attempting to stop the car or broken glass from a window. To better explain what happened, your lawyer may use the photos from the scene.
As mentioned, documents are also used as evidence. They can take the form of medical records and bills, incident and police reports, statements, receipts, and other paperwork.
Of course, not all documents are relevant to the case. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, for instance, your lawyer will definitely ask you to bring all medical records. But not all medical records are important because some may not be related to the car accident and the injury at all.
Though witnesses are often thought of as the least reliable source of information, they can also provide important insight into the case. Anyone who was present at the scene or took part in the accident is considered a witness and can be questioned before the court.
Photos and videos are often used as evidence. A surveillance camera in front of the store, for instance, may have a recording of the scene of the accident.
Photographs can also be useful in determining the extent of the injuries and demonstrating the severity of the accident.
Reaching a settlement
Going to trial is in nobody’s best interest. It is way more expensive and time-consuming than settling with an insurance company.
Now, this may not always be possible as some people have no insurance policy. But in most cases, you’ll have to deal with insurance and your personal injury lawyer is the right person for this.
They will file a claim against the insurance company and try to negotiate a fair settlement. Since they’re experienced in these cases, they will also be able to provide you with a larger settlement.
Why would you settle for less if you don’t have to?
Insurance companies are not your friend
Nobody likes to lose money, right? For that reason, the insurance company will often resort to unfair treatment and will act in bad faith when negotiating the settlement.
Some common examples of bad faith insurance practices involve:
- Refusing to communicate. The insurance provider has to provide you with new information on your claim promptly. However, they don’t always do this. Insurance company representatives sometimes “forget” to communicate their conclusions with you.
- Denying the claim. The insurance company may deny your claim for no reason.
- Making unreasonable demands. Insurance companies often ask for unnecessary documentation and try to stall the negotiation process. Of course, they need to be able to determine what happened, but if they’re asking for something completely unrelated to the case, they may be acting in bad faith.
- Offering significantly lower settlement. If the actual value of your claim is much bigger than what the insurance company is offering, they’re most likely acting in bad faith.
It’s important to have a good lawyer in these cases because they’ll be able to stop the insurance company from acting this way. They will not mess with someone who has extensive legal knowledge and experience.
Humans are flawed. We’re not always honest with ourselves and tend to stick to our old patterns and opinions. This often prevents us from seeing the bigger picture and moving forward. Not to mention that reliving a traumatizing event can stop us from noticing some details that can be extremely important for the case.
Your lawyer is your friend here. They can keep their emotions out of the way and objectively assess all evidence and information to make the strongest case.
Creating a strategy
Depending on the complexity of the case, your lawyer might need to create a detailed strategy. This strategy will cover all areas relevant to the case:
- Identifying case strengths and weaknesses, and finding a way to successfully integrate them into the rest of the narrative
- Developing a persuasive case theory and outlining the strongest and most critical elements
- Planning for demonstrative exhibits
Creating a strategy is not easy, but it is necessary, especially if you go to trial. Knowing your jury and convincing them of your story is of utmost importance.
Assessing the extent of the damage
There are different types of damages you may have been subjected to: general, special, and punitive.
General damages have non-economic nature, which means they’re not easily calculated. Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement or dismemberment, and mental anguish are some typical examples of this type of damages.
Special damages, on the other hand, are economic damages that emerge as a result of personal injury. Medical costs, future costs of medical care, and lost past and future earnings are considered special damages.
Punitive damages are not compensatory. They are awarded as a punishment when someone’s behavior was exceptionally harmful.
Those that aren’t legal professionals often overlook details related to all types of damages, and settle for smaller compensation, as a result.
You might need to go to trial
Unfortunately, you may not be able to settle with the insurance company or the defendant. When that happens, the only thing you can do is go to trial. That, however, is not easy for those that don’t have proper legal representation.
The first problem you may run into is failing to file the claim within the statute of limitations. Each state has a different deadline for filing a lawsuit. If you don’t do it in time, you will lose the right to sue. This is just one example of the troubles you may face by trying to handle your personal injury case on your own.
So, don’t waste your time and energy anymore. Consult with a personal injury lawyer instead and seek the best possible legal representation.