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Car Accidents

The impact an auto accident can have on someone can be tremendous and costly. Auto accident injuries occur on a large scale. An auto accident lawyer understands the complexities that auto accidents entail, including both legal and insurance matters. Determining who is at fault for an auto accident can be difficult.

Many causes of car accident collisions are due to:

  • drunk driving
  • drowsiness
  • negligence
  • distractions
  • cell phone misuse
  • aggressive driving
  • rain or snow
  • mechanical failure
  • speeding

Do you have a case?

For a case to be successful there must be liability, causation, and damages. The chances of success for the case depend on the individual circumstances of your case. An attorney can advise you on the success of the case.

How long does take to settle an injury claim?

Settlement depends largely on the injury, the at fault party, the insurance company, the insurance adjuster and the attorneys involved. The time for settlements changes if a claim escalates to an actual lawsuit. A personal injury attorney will be able to give you more information after a thorough evaluation of your specific circumstances.

How much will it cost to hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

There is no fee for talking to a personal injury attorney about your claim; initial consultations are free. Generally in personal injury cases, once an attorney makes commitment to represent you and/or your family, they only charge an attorneys' fee when they are successful in obtaining a recovery for you.

What information should I gather at the accident scene?

First ensure your safety and those with you. Obtain the medical attention necessary to ensure the health and safety of your loved ones.

Do not sign any legal documents until you have come to understand your legal rights. Do not give a statement to an insurance company unless it is in your best interests.

You should gather as much information and supporting documentation as possible at the scene of an accident and in the days following, if possible. Try to get as many of the following items as possible:

  • Name and insurance company of the at fault party
  • Identity and contact information of all possible witnesses
  • The make, model, year, color and license plate number of other vehicle.
  • Photos of damage to your car which was damaged as a result of the accident.
  • Police report, if applicable.

What documents should I bring with me when I meet with a lawyer?

Bring any documents that might help your case. Police accident reports, for example, contain eyewitness accounts and details about auto accidents. Copies of medical reports from doctors and hospitals which you have obtained will describe your injuries. Information about the other driver is extremely helpful, as are any photographs you have of the accident or of your injury. If you do not have these documents in your possession, do not worry.

What can I expect at the first consultation?

You should expect to obtain a sense of confidence. Your lawyer should be able to tell you if you have a case with merit. If your case is one the law firm is willing to accept, you will likely be provided with a retainer agreement. All aspects of the retainer agreement should be explained to you. Be aware, a lawyer generally cannot represent you without a written retainer agreement. Once that agreement is in effect, your counsel should start gathering the documents and information he or she will need to try your case. No competent lawyer should tell you what your case is worth at the first visit. In order to arrive at a figure for damages, your lawyer will need to determine the extent of your injuries, including pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, the cost of medical treatment, and lost wages. Many times these elements of damages cannot be determined without extensive research and consultation with expert witnesses. Your lawyer, once retained, should be able to provide you with a proposed rough timeline for the pre-litigation, litigation and potential appeal phases of your particular case.

How long should I wait before contacting a lawyer?

It is imperative that you contact a lawyer as soon after an incident as you are able to do so. In almost all cases, evidence begins to be spoiled or be altered almost immediately following an incident, and it is imperative to preserve evidence to maintain your claim. Consequently, the sooner your lawyer can get started working for you the better. Remember the insurance adjuster you may be dealing with settled hundreds of cases in the past year alone. He or she is also highly trained at negotiations. It is important not to give any information to the insurance adjuster without first consulting a personal injury attorney. Also, letting your claim languish could affect its value as often witnesses and memories of the accident fade away. It is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible about any potential claim because you should get legal advice on your time limits for filing a lawsuit or claim. The investigation of claims can be lengthy. Remember that you should not accept legal advice about your claim from anyone other than a qualified lawyer.

Should I give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster?

You are absolutely not at any time obligated to give a recorded statement without the presence of a personal injury attorney to represent you, and if you do, it my later be used against you. It is the best practice to consult and attorney prior to giving a recorded statement so that your rights regarding your claim are not prejudiced.

What Amount of Money is "Fair Compensation" For my Personal Injury Claim?

Most people simply want fair compensation for their injuries from an auto accident. They are not trying to get rich or get something for nothing. However, what is "fair compensation?"

There is no exact formula for determining the amount of compensation you recover. A variety of factors are considered, whether by your lawyer, the Defendant and insurance companies in negotiations or by a jury in court, in determining fair and just compensation. These factors include severity of the accident, severity of injuries, impact of the injuries on the victim's employment and day-to-day life, and extent of medical care, just to name a few. Aggravating factors such as drunk driving can both hasten settlement and affect the settlement amount.

Fair compensation certainly includes more than just reimbursement for your medical expenses. Depending on your jurisdiction you may seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses already incurred,
  • Medical expenses to be incurred in the future,
  • Lost wages,
  • Loss of earning capacity,
  • Physical pain,
  • Mental or emotional suffering,
  • Physical impairment,
  • Property damage, and
  • Other losses.

In some cases, the injured person's family members may be entitled to compensation, depending on the severity of the injuries and their dependence on the injured person.

How do I file an injury claim?

The proper procedure for bringing an injury claim completely depends on the circumstances of each case. Variables such as the type of injury, nature of the at fault party, and the nature of insurance coverage can drastically effect the method by which a victim must bring a claim. Also, different types of claims are subject to distinct time limits. So it is important that you take action without delay. A personal injury attorney can advise you as to the proper method and timing to properly file a claim in your particular case.

Feel free to visit attorney Kamal Nawash for a consultation.