Before You Settle a Car Accident Case, Talk to a Lawyer
No matter what you think of your negotiating abilities – and they might be considerable, depending upon your background – the odds are that your experience does not include repeated negotiations regarding claims arising from traffic accident injuries. If you find yourself with injury claims arising from a traffic accident, you should retain an attorney whose expertise includes handling such claims. No matter what you do for a living, unless your profession involves pursuing claims arising from traffic accidents, you will be in foreign territory and at a disadvantage in dealing with the attorneys and adjusters on the other side. They surely will have considerable experience at their craft and will use that experience to their best advantage in an attempt to leave you with the smallest possible settlement or award of damages.
Retaining an Attorney Allows You to Focus on Your Recovery
If you have been injured in a traffic accident, you are unlikely to immediately begin thinking about from whom you should pursue damages. Nor should you. Your attention should be focused on seeking medical treatment, tending to your recovery from any injuries, repairing or replacing your vehicle, getting back to work, and other immediate practical concerns. Once these immediate concerns are addressed, though, your thoughts will turn to taking action with respect to your accident claims. If you believe the other party is clearly at fault, you might be inclined to let your insurance company handle any damages claims, but that could be a mistake. If your insurance company believes it will not be liable for your damages, its interest lies not in getting the best possible deal for you but in simply avoiding having to make a payout itself. Your attention should be focused on whether you are receiving everything you are entitled to in compensation for your injuries and damages. Your interests and those of your insurance company likely will diverge, and you should find someone to help you determine how much that compensation should be, and how to obtain it.
Find an Accident Attorney Who Can Get You the Compensation You Deserve
You could attempt to pursue compensation yourself, but that course of action likely would be ill-advised. Modern traffic accident compensation negotiations generally are too much for amateur negotiators to handle. The circumstances involved in personal injuries from accidents can be quite complex. The situations involved can be complicated, requiring investigative, legal, and negotiating skills and abilities that most people simply don’t have. Complex legal and factual issues can be involved. The other side will have car accident attorneys involved who have expertise in these situations and experience in dealing with the experts who have the knowledge to assist in building a case that could involve expert testimony relating to medicine, engineering, physics, automobile design. You need to have someone on your side with the same expertise.
The annual cost of traffic accidents is astronomical, and getting higher every year. Importantly for you if you are injured in a traffic accident, the majority of those costs fall upon the insurance industry. If you think the insurance companies aren’t employing the best talent they can find to minimize their payouts, you don’t understand the business. In 2010, the annual cost of traffic accidents exceeded $242 billion. That includes lifetime economic costs for accident victims. Those costs stemmed from nearly 33,000 deaths, 4 million injuries, and roughly 24 million vehicles damaged or destroyed. When considering quality-of-life valuations for accident victims, the total cost of traffic accidents in 2010 were roughly $836 billion, and private insurance companies paid 54 percent of those costs. Insurance companies would dearly love to reduce their expenditures in these matters, and doing so at your expense won’t bother them. You need someone with the experience to help you maximize the amount you recover for your damages, whether from the other party’s insurance company, your own, or from the responsible party personally.
If You’ve Been in a Traffic Accident, how do You Recover for Your Damages?
When you have been involved in a traffic accident and suffered injuries, you face a lot of questions. Once you seek medical attention and deal with any damage to your car, you need to determine whether you are entitled to compensation for your losses. Your own insurance should cover the cost of your injuries, your loss of time at work, and the property damage to your vehicle. However, if you were not at fault in the accident, you might be entitled to compensation beyond that paid by your own insurance. Your insurance company, likely, will be willing to seek recovery from the at-fault driver but that benefits your insurance company, not you. It will not increase the amount you receive from your insurance company, and that amount might not truly compensate you for your losses. At that point, what are your options to obtain full compensation for your losses?
The complexity of the legal system means it is unlikely that you will be able to successfully pursue an injury claim on your own. In any effort to obtain full compensation, you likely will be opposed by a team put together by the insurance company that covers the at-fault driver. The team assembled by that driver’s insurance company – from the adjuster to the lawyers to the expert witnesses it might retain – will be working to minimize the amount of damages you can recover. They have extensive experience in dealing with car accident claims, and you don’t. You will need legal counsel to help you through the process. Even before you hire a Miami accident attorney, there are things you should do, including:
- Get the medical treatment you need. Make sure you document that the injuries you suffered were a result of your traffic accident, and account for every nickel of your treatment costs. Don’t scrimp on treatment. Get treatment immediately, partly for your health and partly to short-circuit any claims that your injuries were not caused by your traffic accident, and get any treatment that is deemed by professionals to be medically necessary.
- Don’t just contact your own insurance company – notify all relevant insurance companies regarding your accident, your injuries, and your other damages. Obviously, you will contact your insurance company. Initially, your insurance company will be paying for your medical and other expenses arising from the accident. However, because the other driver could be at fault, you should put the other driver’s insurance company on notice that if such is the case, you intend to pursue compensation.
- Gather any evidence you can regarding the accident: this ultimately will support your claim. Get a copy of the police report, as well as any pictures that are available of the accident scene, damage to your vehicle, and pictures of your injuries, if applicable. Names and contact information for witnesses also could prove vital.
- Get thorough medical treatment for any injuries you suffer. If your medical treatment is ongoing, either complete your treatment before you settle your claim or make sure any settlement you reach includes future costs of unfinished treatment.
If You Have Been Injured in a Traffic Accident, Contact a Miami Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a traffic accident in the Miami area, you should talk to a Miami personal injury attorney. It is possible that you have options for recovering damages, and you need someone who can maximize the compensation you recover for your damages. To schedule a free consultation, contact Flagler Personal Injury Group at (305) 424-8445 or through our online contact form. Flagler Personal Injury Group serves the greater Miami area.