If you need to file an insurance claim for serious injuries or wrongful death resulting from an auto accident, you probably need a lawyer. Below are 5 things a lawyer can do to help you get the compensation you deserve and hold negligent parties accountable.
- Find All Responsible Parties. In many accidents, the at-fault driver is not the only party legally responsible for the injuries resulting from the accident. For example, Driver A is hit from behind by a semi truck hauling a trailer filled with oil. At the scene of the accident, the state patrol does a breathalyzer test and makes a preliminary determination that the truck driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident and also at-fault for the accident. In addition to the at-fault driver, you may have claims against the trucking company that owned the semitractor, the owner of the trailer, the company that hired the trucking company to haul the oil, and a bar that served alcohol to the truck driver prior to the accident (dram shop claim). Note that you may lose your right to sue some parties if you sign a settlement agreement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You need to have your attorney review a settlement agreement before you sign it.
- Find Buried Evidence. Some evidence is hard to find. An attorney can force a company to provide copies of relevant documents that could lead to additional defendants, more evidence of fault or evidence of gross negligence giving rise to a punitive damages claim.
- Make Sure You Don’t Lose Money because of a Statute, Regulation or Rule. The law if fraught with complexity and legal requirements. For example, you only have a limited amount of time to file your claim. This is called the statute of limitations, and if you miss it, you will not be able to sue for compensation. There are also notices and other filing dates that need to be met.
- Help You Get Full, Fair and Adequate Compensation. Your lawyer should have an idea what your case is worth, and you most likely do not. Insurance companies want you to sign settlement agreements without the help of a lawyer for this and many other reasons. A lot of work and skill goes into putting all of the pieces together to get full, fair and adequate compensation. To provide the best legal representation to my clients, I make sure I know the laws involved inside out, hire the best experts, dig until I am sure I have every relevant piece of evidence and take the time needed to put it all together and have a winning case.
- Listen. This seems pretty basic, but it is the most important thing I can do for my clients. I want to listen to your story, to know how the car accident changed your life and the lives of your family members. This is critically important information that helps me know what your case is worth and how I can best help you and your family.