After a car accident, it's only natural to focus on healing from the injuries caused by the careless driver. Unfortunately, sooner or later, you may need to address the way the accident has impacted you financially. While it's all too easy to sit back and accept whatever the at-fault driver's insurance company offers, it's not advisable. The other driver's insurer is not on your side and they don't have your best interests at heart. Before you make a move that you might later regret, speak to a personal injury lawyer about your case and learn more about the factors that can make or break your car accident case.
Fault and Liability
Of all the factors, fault is king. To be paid money damages from the other driver, fault must be clearly established. Whether you have a good memory of the way the accident happened or not, fault must be investigated and it starts at the accident scene. The responding officer may interview witnesses, observe the scene, and make an initial statement concerning how the accident occurred. If fault is in contention, your lawyer may gather additional evidence like videos, photographs from the scene, and rely on expert accident reconstruction opinions.
Physical Bodily Harm
You can sue and collect damages for a number of civil wrongs but car accidents are unique in that they require the plaintiff (you) to suffer from physical injuries. No matter how traumatic the accident might have been, to gain compensation for that trauma there must exist physical injuries. If you do have physical injuries, you can also be paid for pain and suffering, which is related to mental trauma. Be sure to seek medical treatment help immediately after an accident.
Evidence of Damages
The ways you were negatively affected by the accident are known as damages. You have to have proof of your damages. While you might not end up taking your case to court, any evidence you have available to show the below damages can still be valuable. Once you speak to a personal injury lawyer, the lawyer will get settlement negotiations going by sending the other driver's insurance company a demand letter. This letter contains, among other things, a list of evidence that could be used if you file a lawsuit.
- Physical injuries should be proven using medical records, billing statements, explanation of benefits, receipts, diagnostic test results, photographs of your injuries, and doctor's notes.
- Lost wage demands should be backed up using a pay statement, income tax return, or bank statement.
- Vehicle damage requires estimates.
To help you get a more detailed idea of the factors above, speak to a personal injury lawyer.