Car AccidentsHow do I Choose a Car Accident Lawyer?

Car Accident Lawsuit | Car Accident Lawyer | Car Accident Attorney | Car Accident Settlements

Car Accidents

Have you been involved in a car accident at no fault of your own? You may qualify to participate in a car accident lawsuit. Contact TorHoerman Law to talk to an experienced car accident lawyer and learn whether you qualify.

What are the Steps in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

One of the most prominent types of personal injury lawsuits that we see at TorHoerman Law is car accident lawsuits. Nearly half of all auto accidents result in injury claims, some of which go to trial while others are settled out of court. If you have suffered an injury, it is important to contact a car accident lawyer.

For injuries caused by other types of motor vehicle accidents, read the following: motorcycle accident lawsuits or truck accident lawsuits. If you were involved in an accident while in an Uber or Lyft, you may qualify for a Uber lawsuit or Lyft lawsuit.

The first step in handling an auto accident is to act accordingly on-scene.

This is a step-by-step guide of how to handle an automobile accident:

  • Move to a Safe Area: make sure that you have not sustained any major injuries. Analyze the situation to make sure it is safe. If it is safe to do so, move your car out of the hazard zone, preferably to the shoulder of the road.
    • Safety is always of the highest concern.
  • If it is not Safe to Move your Car: turn on your hazard light, shift into park or set your handbrake, turn off your engine. Establish a safe path out of the hazard zone before exiting your car and making your way off the road.
    • Do everything you can to avoid causing a hazard to other vehicles on the road.
  • Contact Medical Professionals as well as the Authorities: regardless of how small your injuries are or how minimal damages appear to be it is important to have both medical professionals and authorities involved in the situation.
    1. Injuries may not come to your attention right away and could take time to recognize. Medical professionals can help recognize these issues.
    2. A police report will be helpful and sometimes necessary for your insurance claims.
  • Obtain Information from all Parties Involved in the Accident: act objectively and under no circumstances allow your emotions to influence your interactions. Obtain all the following information-
    1. Driver’s license information from all parties involved in the accident
    2. Insurance policy information from all parties involved in the accident
    3. License plate numbers, make & model of all vehicles involved in the accident
    4. Name & badge number of any authorities involved in the process
  • Provide Only General Information to Other Parties Involved: do not interact with other parties with the exception of initially making sure that they are not injured and exchanging information. The only information that you should provide –
    1. 7. Driver’s license information
    2. 8. Insurance policy information as well as insurance agent information
    3. 9. Any information requested by authorities or medical professionals
  • Do Not Admit Fault: under no circumstance should you admit that you were the cause of the accident. You are not an expert; therefore, you don’t initially know who is at fault.

Follow this guide for a full explanation of gathering personal injury evidence.

Compensation for Damages in a Car Accident Lawsuit

There are many negative consequences that result from auto accidents, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises and small property damage, to more serious, even life-threatening injuries, and major property damage.

Especially for more serious injuries, time and monetary costs add up quickly. If you have suffered an injury in an auto accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation for those damages. If you have suffered from property loss, you are also eligible for compensation. You may also be able to receive additional compensation for punitive damages based on the severity of the accident and the circumstances surrounding the situation. In a serious car accident lawsuit, a car accident lawyer may decide to file for both compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Follow this guide for assessing damages to better understand what damages you may want to include in your demand for compensation.

Follow this guide for a full explanation of personal injury compensation eligibility.

You must establish that another person is liable for your damages to receive compensation. Personal injury liability due to negligence is the most common way that someone is held accountable for another driver’s damages in a car accident lawsuit. Shared liability, when liability is shared between one or more parties involved in the accident, is also common in a car accident lawsuit.

 

Car Accident Settlements -File a Lawsuit or Reach a Settlement?

After properly handling the on-scene situation, you will need to decide what legal action you want to take. You may be enticed to file a car accident lawsuit and go to trial with hopes of maximizing your payout, but a car accident lawsuit can be an expensive and time-consuming process. A safer and quicker option might be negotiating a settlement with the other parties involved.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both these options.

You should talk in detail with your car accident attorney to determine which option is right for you and your car accident lawsuit.

Settling Out of Court

Advantages of settling out of court in a car accident lawsuit:

  • Avoid high court costs
  • Avoid the hassle of a trial
  • Receive compensation right away
  • No chance of losing the trial and your compensation

 

Going to Trial

Advantages of going to trial in a car accident lawsuit:

  • A judge or jury may decide you are entitled to more than you would be in settlement
  • Less public disclosure of liable party’s actions

It just comes down to the cost-benefit of going to trial. Do you think that the potential costs of a trial outweigh the benefits? Will you get a higher payout for filing a lawsuit or settling out of court?

These are difficult questions to answer, so it may be beneficial to seek legal consultation to help you decide what option is best for you.

 

How Do I Choose a Car Accident Lawyer?

At our offices in Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Edwardsville, IL, we offer a free consultation with an individual member of our firm to discuss the specifics of your car wreck and potential car accident lawsuit. Once communication with the firm has been established, one of our car accident lawyers can help you decide if settling or going to trial would be the most beneficial option for you.  A car accident lawyer can also help you in the process of gathering evidence and assessing damages. At TorHoerman Law, our team of car accident lawyers is experts in the laws and legal process of auto accident lawsuits. Our law firm can help you make the important decisions to ensure that you receive the highest possible compensation for damages that you endured in your auto accident.

What Can I Do Before Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit?

There are a few things that you can do before you hire a car accident attorney or file your car accident lawsuit.

First and most importantly, you should mitigate your current and future injuries by seeking medical attention right away. Even if your injuries don’t seem significant, it is important to the strength of your claim to seek an expert analysis of any and all injuries.

After you have mitigated your injuries, you should begin to organize evidence. You should begin gathering evidence as soon as possible to help support your claim in your car accident lawsuit. Evidence can include but is not limited to videos and photos of the car accident site and injuries that you sustained, authority reports, personal written accounts, witness statements, medical expenses, property damage expenses, and other bills.

You can also familiarize yourself with the steps in the civil litigation process so that you know what you should expect in your car accident lawsuit.

You will need to choose a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in handling auto accidents. In the unfortunate event that you are representing a loved one who has died in a car accident, you may need to seek representation from a wrongful death attorney who is experienced in auto accident lawsuits.

Because of states’ statute of limitations, you are limited on time you have to file a car accident lawsuit. So do not wait to seek a car accident attorney for too long or you may not be able to file a lawsuit.

Your attorney can work with your auto insurance provider – depending on the type of auto insurance you have, you may be covered regardless of the negligent party’s insurance.

I Have a Car Accident Lawyer, What is Next?

Do You Know What to Expect in an Auto Accident Lawsuit?

With the burdens of injury, destroyed property, medical costs, lost wages, and everything else that comes in dealing with an auto accident, the last thing you want to worry about is handling an auto accident lawsuit. That is why most people choose to hire an experienced auto accident lawyer to take care of the legal hassles involved in an accident.

But after hiring a lawyer, clients can sometimes feel disconnected from their case. It can help to have a general understanding of the steps of an auto accident lawsuit so that you know what to expect and don’t feel left out of the process.

After you have hired a car accident lawyer, the next step will be filing a demand letter. Your car accident lawyer will put together all the evidence and a list of damages. This letter is a claim. A claim explains what you believe you are entitled to, with evidence to support your claim. After the claim has been reviewed by the other party, all parties involved enter settlement talks.

The other driver’s insurance company will likely handle the claim. If the other driver is uninsured, then their lawyer will handle your claim.

In the case that the liable party is insured, the claim will be reviewed by an insurance adjuster who can either agree to your demands or, more likely, send a counter-proposal based on their assessment of the accident. If a counter-proposal is sent, the next step is to negotiate until a settlement is reached. This step is pretty self-explanatory. Both parties work together to negotiate an agreed upon a settlement amount. Each party can continue to make counter-offers on each other’s proposals. You can either agree upon a final settlement or continue to deny counter-offers. The negotiation process can be drawn out, and there might be multiple counter-offers. If you are unable to reach a final settlement, the next step may be filing a formal lawsuit.

If You File a Car Accident Lawsuit

Generally, the first step is to file a formal legal complaint to the court and to the liable party. After the complaint has been filed, a hearing date is set. The next step is the discovery process. During discovery, all evidence is shared between both sides and the court. During discovery, you may be asked to be deposed for testimony by the defendant or even by your own attorney. Witnesses and passengers may also be deposed. Depending on the severity of the accident, experts may be brought in for depositions or to give testimony.

After discovery, if a pretrial settlement is not reached, you will start hearings. The trial can either be decided by a judge or jury, depending on what option your lawyer feels is likely to benefit you more. During the hearings, the judge or jury will hear arguments from both sides, review all documents and evidence and make a final decision. This final decision is completely up to the jurors or judge who participate in the hearing. If either party is not satisfied with the decision, it can be appealed. If appealed, the trial will be moved to the appellate courts where it will go through another trial process.

After discovery, if a pretrial settlement is not reached, you will start hearings. The trial can either be decided by a judge or jury, depending on what option your lawyer feels is likely to benefit you more. During the hearings, the judge or jury will hear arguments from both sides, review all documents and evidence and then come to a final decision. This final decision is completely up to the jurors or judge who participate in the hearing. If either party is not satisfied with the decision, it can be appealed. If appealed, the trial will be moved to the appellate courts where it will go through another trial process.

The process of an auto accident lawsuit can be extremely time-consuming and potentially expensive. Trials can take days to weeks. Court costs add up quickly, and while our personal injury team works on contingency, these costs still come out of the final settlement or award. You should consider these factors before deciding whether or not to take a pre-trial settlement.

 

How Involved Should I be in My Auto Accident Lawsuit?

That decision is almost entirely up to you. Auto accident attorneys appreciate clients who are helpful and comfortable expressing their concerns. But remember, as your legal representative we have your best interests in mind. One of the biggest advantages of hiring an auto accident lawyer is having a legal expert who is able to look at your situation from an objective view – leaving emotions out of decision-making. With that being said, participation is encouraged. A client’s personal testimony, evidence from the scene, and input on decision making can be very helpful. At TorHoerman Law, we never want to give our clients the impression that their participation is discouraged, and we never want our clients to feel “out-of-the-loop” when it comes to their case. If you ever have these feelings of disconnect, you can feel free to reach out to your attorney and express your concerns. With all the work that goes into an auto accident lawsuit, it is easy to forget to keep clients completely up-to-date with their cases.

TorHoerman Law – Your Car Accident Lawyers

This process can be extremely time-consuming and potentially expensive. While our car accident lawyer work on a contingency fee basis, court costs can still add up. Trials can take days to weeks. You must consider this when deciding whether to take a settlement.

At TorHoerman Law, we have a team of experienced car accident lawyers and support staff available to help you throughout your car accident lawsuit. We are happy to discuss your potential car accident case for free and with no obligation. So, feel free to contact us anytime to discuss your potential car accident lawsuit.

 

 


Last Modified: November 6th, 2019 @ 04:04 pm