Protecting Your Rights in Auto Accidents
Why do you need legal advice or assistance in auto accident cases? Because ordinarily the at-fault party’s insurance company will not want to pay you what you deserve and they ordinarily will not do so unless they are forced to do so. An auto accident attorney will represent your interests and work to get you a fair settlement.
To handle an auto accident claim so that the victim gets everything to which he or she is entitled, an attorney must be able to correctly analyze, anticipate and solve several important issues that usually arise with auto accidents. These issues include:
Simply put this question is: “Whose fault caused the accident?” Since the investigating police officer’s opinion on fault is usually inadmissible, your attorney must prove fault by use of witnesses, photographs of the scene and cars and sometimes by the use of expert testimony. If you are in an auto accident caused by someone else, you should try to get the names and addresses of all witnesses and have pictures taken of the scene and the cars. Different states use different ways to determine fault. In many cases, however, an independent investigation may be warranted.
Auto accidents can cause all kinds of losses and damages: medical bills, lost wages, emotional suffering, temporary or permanent disability, impairment, scarring, loss of earnings, loss of use of your car, death of a loved one and other losses as well. Your spouse and children may suffer losses if you cannot provide for them even if they were not in the accident. An auto accident attorney can help you determine the value of your case.
State law requires that every car be insured by its owner so that money will be available for anyone they injure. You are likely to need attorneys who are used to dealing with insurance companies. The person causing the accident may not have any insurance (“uninsured”) or may not have enough insurance (“underinsured”) to pay for the damages they cause you. In those situations, you need an attorneys who know how to access other types of insurance such as Underinsured Insurance Coverage and even the personal assets of the at-fault party if necessary to cover your damages and costs.
In almost all cases, the doctors and other health care providers who treat you will be called as medical experts to prove the extent of your injuries. The insurance company may call experts to try and disprove your injuries. In some cases, engineering experts will utilize accident recreation technology to demonstrate how the accident occurred. Such recreations may be used to show fault or how the injury actually occurred or even the severity of the injury. Sometimes accounting experts will be needed to show losses of the victim’s income and the present value of that loss. You need an attorney who can determine when such experts are needed and how to best use them in negotiations with the insurance company and/or at trial.
Statute of Limitations:
The law requires that you bring your lawsuit against the at-fault driver within a certain time after the date of the accident. Different states have different statutes of limitations; in some cases, those statutes and requirements vary if the other party was driving a government-owned vehicle. It is best to check with an attorney to verify the appropriate statute of limitations for your accident.
At Merritt Webb, we usually handle these kinds of cases by contingency fees. That means we do not get paid a fee unless we obtain money for you through settlement with the insurance company or judgment rendered by a jury. If we do recover something for you, we get an agreed-upon percentage of the total recovery received, prior to the subtraction of any costs or expenses. Any costs or expenses will be subtracted from your share of any amount recovered in the lawsuit.
Costs and Expenses:
Bringing auto accident claims against the insured at-fault driver’s insurance company can be very expensive for the injured party. Doctors and other experts will be needed and usually depositions must be taken and defended. Such costs can often times exceed thousands of dollars. In many cases, Merritt Webb may be willing to pay these costs for the victim pending repayment from settlement or judgment with the insurance company.
Keep these facts mentioned above in mind as you consider whether you should hire an auto accident attorney to represent you in your matter. Often, even in simple and obvious cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may not be reasonable in its settlement negotiations with you. Usually, insurance companies believe that by dealing directly with the injured party they can either convince or bully you into taking less. At Merritt Webb, our job is to make sure they pay you what is fair.
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Our lawyers at Merritt Webb are anxious to aggressively represent your interests and ensure you receive just compensation for your injuries and losses. If you need an auto accident attorney, call us at 1.800.556.8404.
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