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Car AccidentsHow do I Choose a Car Accident Lawyer?

Car Accidents: How Do I Choose a Car Accident Lawyer?

What are the Steps in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

One of the most prominent types of personal injury lawsuits 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.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 1. Injuries may not come to your attention right away and could take time to recognize. Medical professionals can help recognize these issues.
    2. 2. A police report will be helpful and sometimes necessary for your insurance claims.
  • Get 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. 3. Driver’s license information from all parties involved in the accident
    2. 4. Insurance policy information from all parties involved in the accident
    3. 5. License plate numbers, make & model of all vehicles involved in the accident
    4. 6. 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 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 Auto Accidents

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.

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 an auto accident lawsuit.

 

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 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 of both options.

 

Settling Out of Court

Advantages:

  • 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:

  • 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. 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 are 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.

 

I Have a Car Accident Lawyer, What is Next?

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. 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 does not have proper auto insurance, then their lawyer will handle your claim.

The insurance company or defense lawyer will make a counter-offer for your demand. You can either agree to a settlement or deny the counter-offer. The negotiation process can be drawn out, and there might be multiple counter-offers. If you are unable to reach a final settlement, you will likely go to trial.

If you go to trial, your car accident lawyer will file a legal formal complaint to the court and to the other parties involved. You will enter a discovery process, where all evidence from both sides is shared. During discovery, you may also be asked to be deposed by the other side and vice-versa.

After discovery, you will enter a trial. The trial can either be decided by a judge or jury, depending on what option your car accident lawyer feels is likely to benefit you more. The judge or jury will hear both sides arguments, review all documents and evidence, and make a decision.

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

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