Should I Contact a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
Car accidents can result in severe or catastrophic injuries. It is generally in your best interest to consult a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. This is especially true if you or a loved one has been seriously injured or if a family member was killed.
Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd has been serving Providence and all of Rhode Island for more than 40 years. With more million-dollar and multi-million-dollar results than any other law firm in the state, our lawyers have the experience and expertise you need to recover compensation for your injuries.
Please contact our car accident lawyers today for a free consultation.
1. Understanding the Seriousness of Your Injuries
Your first priority after a car crash is to seek medical attention. Although bruises and lacerations should always be taken seriously, these highly visible injuries often belie the more serious internal damage that often occurs in motor vehicle accidents.
Emergency room staff will evaluate you for serious injuries such as:
These injuries may well be a medical emergency. They often require extensive treatment and rehabilitation. Even with the right care, victims may not recover fully.
If you find yourself or a family member in this situation after a car accident, it is important to begin working with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Ideally, the attorney you choose should focus on catastrophic injury claims.
Personal injury cases that center on catastrophic injuries require extensive knowledge of the medicine behind severe trauma. They also require expert testimony to prove the extent of damages in your case.
Your priority after a car accident should be recovering, not trying to understand medical terminology or hire the right experts. An experienced lawyer can handle these aspects of the case – and more – on your behalf.
2. Calculating the Damages in Your Claim
If you are seriously injured in a car crash, you will likely face a wide range of losses related to your injuries. You may have significant medical expenses, be unable to work, and experience chronic pain and suffering – to name only a few.
To recover fair compensation for these and other damages, it is important to work with an experienced car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will know what constitutes compensable damages in your case, and be able to calculate how much you may be entitled to recover.
Calculating damages in any personal injury case requires knowledge and experience. In the event of a catastrophic injury or wrongful death, expert testimony is often required to account for all of the losses you and your family have sustained.
It is difficult for car accident victims and their families to account for the totality of their losses and determine the full value of a claim. Some types of damages, such as pain and suffering, require expert legal guidance to calculate accurately. Therefore, it is in your best interest to contact a car crash lawyer for help building your claim.
3. Handling Complex Liability Issues
Different factors can make questions of liability in a car accident claim more complicated. Your attorney will investigate the crash fully to collect evidence of who is at fault.
Fully accounting for the facts of the case will enable your attorney to help you navigate potential liability issues such as:
- The at-fault driver claims that you caused the accident.
- The insurance company states that you are at fault and denies your claim.
- Multiple parties may be at fault, as in accidents with common carriers (e.g., rideshare drivers, taxi drivers, truck drivers, etc.) or cases where an intoxicated driver was overserved alcohol (dram shop liability claims).
- A government entity is at fault (e.g., car accidents caused by a government employee in the course of his/her duties or crashes caused by dangerous or defective roads).
- A vehicle defect, such as bad tires or faulty brakes, causes the crash (defective product claims).
Insurance companies will attempt to minimize what they have to pay on car accident claims. These companies have teams of investigators whose job is to report to accident scenes and gather evidence that may help the insurance company dispute liability.
Investigating and collecting evidence on your own to counter disputed liability is difficult. A car accident lawyer can help you hold the at-fault parties accountable for your injuries.
4. Protecting You from the Insurance Company
Insurance companies are well-prepared to defend accident claims. Adjusters may offer you a low settlement when you are still recovering from your injuries and before you file a claim. They may also contact you to ask questions about the crash, request a recorded statement, or consent to release your medical records.
If you talk to a representative from the insurance company, you risk saying or agreeing to something that may damage your claim. Even casual remarks regarding the accident and your injuries may be used against you. Your car accident lawyer can protect your rights in interactions with the insurance company.
5. Resolving Your Car Accident Claim
Broadly speaking, there are two ways to resolve a personal injury or wrongful death claim:
- Trial verdict
Some car accident victims ask if they really need a lawyer and if they can handle the claim on their own. In reality, you are at a serious disadvantage in both settlement negotiations and at trial if you attempt to proceed without experienced legal counsel.
Settling Your Car Accident Claim
Most car accident claims are resolved through settlement. Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to attempt to reach a fair settlement.
Settlement negotiations are informal meetings between your attorney and representatives for the at-fault party or parties. Negotiation is a process of give-and-take, and your lawyer will strive to maximize the compensation you receive in your car accident settlement.
Before undertaking settlement negotiations, it is important for you and your attorney to discuss what constitutes an acceptable settlement offer. During negotiations, your lawyer should keep you apprised of any offers and discuss the benefits of settling versus proceeding to trial.
Taking Your Car Accident Case to Trial
If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, you may need to file a lawsuit to recover damages. Your car accident attorney will handle the initial filing as well as all other aspects of trial preparation, including:
- Submitting written questions about the case that the opposing party or parties must answer in writing
- Officially requesting documents and other evidence from the opposing party or parties
- Conducting depositions (interviewing witnesses out of court and recording their testimony)
- Filing motions to admit or exclude evidence
At trial, your lawyer will present the evidence, question witnesses, and make arguments before the jury or judge for why you should be awarded full compensation. Settlement negotiations may resume during the pre-trial phase or during the course of the trial; if the defendant offers a favorable settlement, you have the option to accept, at which point the trial will end. Otherwise, the jury or judge will review the facts and decide whether or not to award you compensation.
Compensation won through trial verdicts is often higher than what you can recover through settlement. However, any courtroom proceeding comes with uncertainty. Choosing an experienced trial lawyer to handle your claim increases the likelihood of, but does not guarantee, a favorable outcome.
It is important for the insurance company to know that your lawyer tries cases in court. If the insurance company believes your lawyer only settles cases, but will never try them in court, it is much more likely to offer a low settlement.
Contact Our Providence Car Accident Lawyers Today
The law firm of Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd has more than 40 years of experience assisting clients who have been seriously injured or lost loved ones in vehicle crashes. We have obtained many large recoveries for our clients in car accident claims.
For a free case review, please call Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd at (401) 273-8330 today. Our attorneys provide expert legal guidance and compassionate service to clients in Providence and throughout Rhode Island.