Car accidents often cause injuries, and when that happens, a lawsuit often follows. If you have suffered this kind of injury, you may succeed in suing the person who drove the other vehicle for damages. To accomplish this, the plaintiff has to prove that that defendant caused his or her injuries because they acted without “reasonable care.” In legal terms, personal injury is the result of negligence on the part of some other party. The injury may be related to the victim’s mental state, rather than any harm to the body.
What you can do
If you are injured in an auto accident, begin by contacting anyone who could have caused it. At that point, there is no need to give those who were involved or their insurance company representative any details concerning your injuries or the accident itself. Simply acknowledge that the event occurred at a particular time and place, that you have been injured, and that you plan on filing a claim for damages.
Dealing with insurers
When discussing an accident with an insurance company, remember that their objective is to pay as little as possible, no matter how courteous their representative may be. Provide only basic information and make an effort to find out more, or consult with a personal injury attorney before you discuss the details.
In these cases, insurance companies can only settle if they are able to dispose of the entire claim. Plaintiffs are sometimes hasty in settling claims because they have substantial medical bills that they cannot afford, and as a result, the amount they receive is far from adequate. Remember that insurance companies are not concerned with the issue of fairness, and you will probably need an experienced, qualified personal injury lawyer to act as your advocate in being treated fairly.
You can also make an effort to research the settlement values of accidents that were similar to yours. Some of them are available via the Internet. You will also find calculators on insurance companies’ and attorneys’ websites that are to be used when determining the value of a personal injury claim.
It is inadvisable to discuss settling your claim until you know the full extent of your injuries and the amount of medical treatment you will need. Be sure to find out if you will be able to return to work and how your ability to perform normal, everyday tasks will be affected before you take that step.
Getting legal advice
Many personal injury lawyers do not charge for an initial consultation in these cases, and you can determine if it will be possible to reach a settlement or if you have to appear in court. In your search, remember that if a law firm is able to advertise extensively, this is probably a sign that they are succeeding in reaching settlements and winning lawsuits for their clients.
What you should know
There are three points that you and your attorney will have to make in court to prove that the other driver did not use reasonable care, causing the accident and your injuries: you must prove that the defendant was legally obliged to exercise care, you must show that the defendant failed to meet that obligation, and you must establish a direct connection between that failure and the injuries you suffered.