The most important reason for having a lawyer after a car accident is to have your rights protected. Everybody involved in a motor vehicle accident; the at-fault driver, the insurance company for the at-fault driver, and the insurance company for the victim, all have their own interests they are protecting. Without a Dunedin car accident attorney, the injured party does not have anybody protecting their interests.
Furthermore, an injury case is dependent on whose fault the accident was, the severity of the injuries and how those injuries were pitched to the insurance company, all of which an attorney can assist with.
The insurance companies know which attorneys file lawsuits, who goes to court, who will accept lowball offers, or who will fight to maximize every case they have. Therefore it makes a major difference to not only have a Dunedin injury attorney, but to hire the law firm that can actually add value to your case.
Injury Claims Process
When a car accident occurs, usually a client seeks medical treatment and then will hire a Dunedin car accident attorney. The attorney can then start putting together the claim by taking the individual through the paperwork, such as fee agreements and HIPAA waivers so the attorneys can obtain the necessary medical records and bills.
With that said, it is very important the client follows doctor’s orders and completes treatment. When treatment is completed, the attorneys will gather all the medical records and medical bills, compile them into a demand package, and send it to the insurance company. This explains in detail what injuries were suffered and how they affected the client’s life. The insurance company can then make an offer and the attorneys may negotiate a settlement at that time. If they are not able to negotiate a settlement at that time, the car accident attorney in Dunedin will file a complaint and take the matter to court.
Preparing For Trial
The attorneys go through the discovery process and take depositions. The insurance company again has an opportunity to make offers and negotiate a settlement. If they are again unable to negotiate a settlement, the attorneys will proceed to trial. Once the case is taken to trial, the jury renders a verdict and the case is over.
A person should not consider settling their case until their treatment is complete, their attorneys have an opportunity to present the medical records, medical bills, and the testimony of their clients to the insurance company, and the insurance company offers a fair amount to settle the case.
Burden of Proof
The first element is to prove liability in a car accident case. In order for a person to be held liable, it must be proven that the person driving their car:
- Had the duty to drive safely.
- They breached their duty to drive safely.
- AND their breach of duty, driving unsafely, is what caused the damages to the injured party.
The injured party is the victim in the case who suffered injury as a result of the car accident. If the Dunedin car accident lawyer proves that the unsafe driver breached their duty and that the breach of duty caused the victim’s damages, liability has been proven.
Car Accident Damages
The next step is to prove what the damages are in the case. Damages, the money received in the car accident settlement, often include payment for:
- The medical bills resulting from treatment
- Lost wages and inability to work because of the injuries resulting from the accident
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress caused by the accident
These things can be proven by the medical records, medical bills, the testimony of the doctors that treated the victim, as well as the victim’s testimony of the impact the injuries have on their life.
Role of an Attorney
A Dunedin car accident attorney can help a person collect more than the initial medical bills. Very often, an insurance company only offers to pay for the hospital bills and same-day medical treatment when an individual is in a car accident.
Many times, even if a person seeks valid and necessary medical treatment prescribed by doctors, if the injured person does not have a lawyer, the insurance company does everything they can to avoid paying those medical bills. An attorney, however, will try to get all medical bills covered.
In other cases, the insurance company may not acknowledge anything else except medical bills. When this occurs, a Dunedin car accident lawyercan fight to collect the pain and suffering and the emotional damages done to you as a result of the physical injury, as well as any lost wages or any loss of capacity to earn in the future.