Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident that Wasn't My Fault?
There are roughly 6 million car accidents in the US alone every year. Unfortunately, St Louis in Missouri is ranked as one of the worst cities in the country for car accidents, coming in third place. The city is known for confusing road systems and an alarming rate of drunk driving incidents. This leaves countless people every year left in a harrowing situation that was not their fault.
Being involved in a car accident caused by somebody else is not an isolated situation. In most cases involving more than one car, somebody is an innocent party. That person may find themselves feeling lost and unsure how to proceed. One thing they absolutely must do is contact a trusted car accident lawyer to file a claim.
Reasons Why Anyone Involved in a Car Accident Should Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Whether the car accident happened because of a drunk driver, bad weather, a faulty street light, or just pure distraction: somebody is at fault. Car accident injuries can change a person's life, if not kill them. If a victim of an auto accident believes the fault is not theirs, they must hire a lawyer as soon as possible.
There are many ins and outs to claims following car accidents, which an experienced personal injury lawyer can navigate like the back of their hand. A person with no legal representation recovering from a traumatic incident could get lost in the claims process and end up with nowhere near what they are entitled to.
Here are some of the primary reasons why hiring a personal injury law firm to provide an expert car accident attorney is an essential step after becoming the victim in a car accident case.
Car Accident Law Gets Complicated
There are so many elements involved with auto accidents. When parties seek compensation, it is not just one thing they look at. Insurance coverage (the policy of the other driver) should cover several different expenses, both tangible and intangible.
Examples of tangible expenses that an auto accident attorney pursues as part of a claim include:
These expenses are more straightforward as they have a set figure attached, but it can still take a lot of proof and persuasion to convince the insurance company they need to pay.
The other element of a personal injury lawsuit is the pain and suffering damage. Bodily injuries, especially severe injuries, can have a lasting impact on a person's life that must be compensated. Some possible claims include:
Future expected medical costs
Lost quality of life
Long-term lost income
In a case where the victim of a car accident dies from their injuries, the family can pursue legal action in a wrongful death case. There are more elements involved in this type of case that can make it even more complex. Such claims are extremely difficult to successful fight without the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
Focusing on Recovery Should Be the Number One Priority
Anyone involved in a serious car accident is likely to have serious injuries to match. Recovering after a car crash, even from minor injuries, takes time. It is also a lot more difficult if the person is stressed about negotiations, medical bills, speaking with their own insurance company, and trying to manage their entire claim.
If they let an auto accident lawyer step in and take over, they can focus on themselves and their recovery. The attorney can run proceedings on the victim's behalf and fight for the compensation they deserve.
Help Negotiating With the Insurance Company
The chances are that the at-fault driver's insurance company wants to pay the minimum possible amount. Negotiating with an insurance adjuster can be a difficult, drawn-out process with ups and downs and twists and turns. Auto accidents are traumatic already without being put through the emotional distress of a bitter negotiation.
An experienced car accident attorney knows exactly what to expect, including what tricks they may try to use and how the process normally plays out. Pursuing injury claims with insurance carriers is a huge part of what personal injury attorneys do, and they can do it very effectively.
Avoid and Fight Against False Fault Claims and Denials
The other driver may claim that they are not to blame or they push for partial blame (contributory negligence) to be placed on the victim. Shared blame dramatically reduces the potential settlement amount and diminishes the chance of receiving fair compensation.
In some cases, your claim could be denied based on lack of evidence or various other reasons. An experienced attorney can also help in this situation by fighting against the decision through an appeal.
Receive a Better Out of Court Settlement
Statistically speaking, a personal injury claim made through a professional car accident lawyer ends in a higher payout than those without. Although there is a fee to pay, the additional compensation usually more than makes up for it.
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis (a settlement percentage fee). That means that the claimant does not have to pay anything until the settlement check is confirmed and the fee comes from there. The check is likely to be a lot more substantial with an experienced personal injury attorney on the team.
What Else Should Car Accident Victims Do Immediately?
Call the Police
It is essential to call the police straight away at the scene to file a police report. If one party tries to negotiate on the spot instead of involving the authorities, it is extremely ill-advised to pursue it as an option.
Without a police report, the car accident victim has a much harder journey to receive compensation- if it is even possible at all. In most incidents where no police reports are filed at the time of the accident, the case gets dismissed.
Exchange Contact Information and Insurance Company Details
All involved parties need to have a way of getting in contact to proceed with an insurance claim. Although the idea is not for the involved parties to discuss anything directly, the lawyers and insurance adjusters negotiating a settlement require them.
It is important to get the other driver's insurance company details to give to the attorney once things are underway. If the at-fault driver does not stop at the accident scene or refuses to share their insurance information, try to get a note of the license plate and involve the police. They can try to track down the person using CCTV footage and eyewitness statements.
On that note, the more evidence collected, the stronger the case. At the accident scene, the victims should collect witness information, including what they saw and their contact information if they are willing to confirm on record. Take photographs of the accident, the vehicles involved, the number plates, and anything else that may be relevant.
Victims of a car accident that was not their fault may likely be injured or in shock. They should try to video what is around them (surroundings, weather conditions, other vehicles, etc.) and repeat as many details of what happened, or get somebody else to do it.
Do Not Speak to Anyone Other than an Attorney
Sometimes, the person who caused the accident may reach out, or have their insurance company contact you directly. Victims should not discuss the details of the case in any way. Instead, they should simply refer them to their attorney.
The purpose of this is to protect them and reduce the chance of something said on the phone being twisted and misconstrued in court. Without a St Louis MO car accident lawyer to act as an intermediary, the victim is exposed and vulnerable to manipulation, whether they realize it or not.
Why Choose The Powell Law Firm?
Anyone who wants the best personal injury attorney in St Louis, MO, should contact The Powell Law team. Years of experience handling the car accident claim process and winning excellent settlements for clients haw proven this team to be at the front of the pack for quality representation that makes a difference.
Having grown up in St Louis, MO, the head attorney at Powell Law Firm is passionate about protecting the rights of auto accident victims and getting them the compensation they deserve. Any victim working with this team can rest in the knowledge that they are being looked after by one of the sharpest, most detail-focused minds in the industry who also genuinely cares about clients' wellbeing.
Speak To an Expert Car Accident Lawyer at Powell Law Firm Today for a Free Case Evaluation
If you are asking yourself, "Should I get a lawyer for a car accident that wasn't my fault?" the answer is a resounding yes. This is not something you want to face alone- nor should you have to. They can assist with many other situations such as being involved in a car accident that is your fault but no ticket was given.
Don't delay- call us now to arrange a free legal consultation and prepare yourself properly for what is to come.