When you've been involved in a car accident, first get medical attention for your immediate injuries. Second, find a good attorney. You may have heard this advice before and wondered why you need a lawyer after a car accident. What can a car accident lawyer do for you?
A good car accident lawyer does more than just sue the other driver if their insurance doesn’t pay fair value for your claim. They’ll support you from the moment you step out of your car. Here are a few things an auto accident lawyer will do to keep your accident from becoming a nightmare.
How to find the best personal injury lawyer.
Collecting Evidence from the Scene
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you may have been overwhelmed at the crash scene or were being loaded into an ambulance. In these situations, it’s unlikely you took pictures of the vehicles and roadway, or collected witnesses’ names and contact information. If you did manage these tasks, you might not know what to do with the information you obtained.
Attorneys for car wrecks deal in this type of information. If you couldn’t get pictures at the time of the accident, they know where to look to see if some other source has pictures. For instance, they will look for:
- • Security cameras
- • Traffic cameras
- • Police cameras
- • News photos
- • Social media posts
Any of these may contain images of your accident and could be helpful to your case. Some are available as part of the public record, and some can be acquired with a subpoena or records request.
Say you obtained names and contact information from eyewitnesses. In that case, convincing people to be a witness for an insurance claim or a court case can be tricky. Many people “don’t want to get involved.” However, an attorney with experience in these cases has the skills to motivate witnesses and document their recollection. When a car accident lawyer calls and requests an interview, they often have the authority and professionalism to yield the best outcome.
Reports and Liability Evidence
Often, police officers who arrive on the scene will prepare a police crash report. These crash reports are available to you upon proper request. This document is what the responding law enforcement officer files after the accident. A skilled auto accident lawyer knows what they are looking at when they review the crash report. If anything is missing or appears to be in error, your attorney will spot it and get it corrected.
Your attorney will often suggest other reports you might not have considered. Fire, ambulance, and other responders have their own reports, which you can access. The emergency room doctor will have a medical report separate from your own doctor’s report. These documents are important and contain information necessary for your insurance claim.
Handling Your Insurance Claim
Filing your insurance claim may seem straightforward. Just fill out the forms, attach your doctor's bills, and await approval. But it is not that easy. An error, document omission, or accidental misstatement on the form can cause your claim to be denied. If you don’t meet the appropriate deadline, then your claim can also be denied.
A car accident law firm is well-versed in handling insurance claims. Your attorney will understand that you have other things on your mind besides collecting paperwork. Why risk your claim being denied or delayed? Let someone who reviews paperwork for a living ensure that all of yours is in order.
Insurance claims may seem uncomplicated, but that is far from the truth. People often think that they are only entitled to out-of-pocket expenses or co-pays for medical bills. Sometimes the insurance company’s adjusters lead car crash victims into that line of thinking. Even if medical bills are submitted for reimbursement, insurance companies will dispute that the medical bills are reasonable and necessary, or claim that the amount is too high. An attorney will argue on your behalf to get full value of your medical expenses.
Liability disputes are particularly problematic because insurance adjusters are sophisticated and can use their knowledge of the law to deny your claim. You may unwittingly “say the wrong thing” and create a liability dispute that prevents you from recovering altogether. An attorney will speak on your behalf in most situations to prevent any misstatements.
Although most people think of negotiations as something that happens at trial, attorneys on both sides typically settle disputes without litigation. Trials are costly and time-consuming, and if issues can be resolved without going to court, the outcome is usually better for everyone.
The court is only used when the parties cannot agree or there are questions of fact that negotiations cannot resolve. For example, if you believe you were not at fault in the accident, and the other driver says you ran two red lights and broadsided them in their driveway, that must be decided in court.
What You Need in a Car Accident Lawyer
Most people don’t look for a car accident lawyer until after an accident. You can do this, but bear in mind that there are time limits on filing some documents. Some insurance companies require that you file a claim within 30 days of an accident, and sometimes police reports are unavailable for 10 days.
States also have statutes of limitation for filing personal injury claims. For instance, in Maryland, it is generally three years from the date of injury or accident. Sometimes there are shorter formal notice requirements if you were injured by a local government’s vehicle. That isn’t a long time when you’re recovering from a car crash. Having an accident attorney in mind is responsible, even if you think you’ll never need one.
When looking for a car accident law firm, you’ll need a team with a proven track record of fighting and winning personal injury cases. Even if your case never goes to trial, you want an attorney who prepares each case as if it was going to court. The amount of documentation needed for a winning insurance claim is nearly as great as that required for a court case. If the attorney can win one way, they can often win another.
If you live or work in Maryland, the legal team you can depend on is D’Amore Personal Injury Law LLC. We have won personal injury and car accident cases in and around Baltimore for nearly two decades. When it’s time for representation on your car accident, call or contact us immediately — you pay nothing until we win your case.