Regardless of severity, a vehicle collision is a traumatic experience for those involved and those unlucky enough to witness it. All collisions create damage and leave scars, even without a physical injury. Everything from ruined property to impacted mental health should be considered when assessing the fallout of a vehicle accident. One of the only methods of recourse for victims in these cases is hiring legal representation, especially when the liable insurer is only offering the bare minimum. Keep reading for Martin G. Schulz & Associates’ four easy-to-follow steps to working with a personal injury lawyer after a vehicle collision.
STEP 1: The incident occurs
Vehicle collisions are often referred to as “accidents,” despite the fact that they are almost always preventable and one party is usually deemed responsible. Very few victims see the collision or resulting injury coming, so it may seem overwhelming to get all the necessary information in order immediately after it occurs. First: get proper medical attention! This can be overlooked and failing to do so may void any claim you have to remuneration. Collect detailed notes, save receipts, take photos of injuries or damages and seek proof of any financial losses (missed work, for example).
STEP 2: First meeting with your lawyer
Once you have decided to hire legal representation, make sure to test the waters by seeking referrals, interviewing potential candidates and settling on the attorney that best suits your needs. Our first step above should have you mostly prepared for the first meeting with your personal injury lawyer, bring any and all collected information related to your vehicle collision and its consequences. A good lawyer will expect these documents, but can also help add to your resources and strengthen your claim. Another aspect of ethical representation is an honest assessment of your case’s chances; beware anyone who guarantees success.
STEP 3: Filing a lawsuit
Before the legal proceedings, your lawyer should first help you file a claim with the insurer of the at-fault driver in the collision. You may do this yourself, but a good attorney will ensure you avoid low-ball offers or settlements with unfair terms hidden in the fine print. If the insurance company refuses to meet your demands, it is then time to file your lawsuit– a process that is easiest when employing legal representation. Soon after, each side of the case has an opportunity to gather information from one another and it is in your best interest to be as transparent as possible.
STEP 4: Settlement or trial
Once filed, there are still many opportunities to decide the suit before anyone steps foot in a courtroom. Both sides will first meet to attempt another settlement, which is almost always the final step in personal injury law. Once face-to-face, possibly in the presence of an arbitrator or mediator, the two parties of a vehicle collision are much more likely to reach a conclusion that is acceptable to the victim. Should this solution not be reached, the case will then proceed to trial– where a judge or jury will decide the final outcome based on all evidence presented.
The steps above are only a summary of the detailed and complex legal consequences of a vehicle collision. If you have recently suffered an injury due to this all-too-common occurrence, contact or visit us today! We here at Martin G. Schulz & Associates pride ourselves on legal prowess, ethical practice and client care.