Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | March 14, 2020
Most car insurance industry experts say you’ll be involved in a car accident once every 18 years or so. That makes it likely that if you haven’t been in one yet, you probably will be at some point.
When that time comes, you will need to prove four things in order to win your car accident case: the other driver owed you a certain level of care, the other driver failed to provide that care, that failure to provide care led you to experience an injury, and that injury made you suffer damages. If you’re in this situation, your new best friend will be a personal injury lawyer who can make sure you’re compensated for medical bills, property damage and other costs.
How Do I Win a Lawsuit From a Car Accident?
It can be incredibly frustrating when legal action is required to get the at-fault driver to do the right thing. Thankfully, there are legal remedies in place to protect you.
Like most other personal injury cases, there are certain thresholds that must be met in order to prevail in court.
- The other driver owed you a certain level of care. Essentially, this means that if you have a driver’s license, you are responsible for taking steps to prevent an accident with those who share the road. This includes obeying traffic laws, giving the right of way when appropriate, and observing traffic signals and speed limits.
- The other driver failed to provide that level of care. This can be proven any number of ways, some obvious and others not as much. For example, if your lawyer can prove the other driver was speeding or was driving drunk, this particular threshold will have been met.
- The failure to provide a level of care led directly to you to experience an injury. Proving a direct link to your accident often causes the most headaches. The key is to show that the other driver’s negligence was a significant contributing factor to the crash.
- You suffered damages. In a car accident, this threshold is usually easy to prove. Whether it’s bodily injuries or damage to your property, the damages are usually rather obvious. Often, though, some common car accident injuries (concussion, whiplash, etc.) show few outward signs, but can be proven through medical examinations.
It does virtually no good to prove a couple of these thresholds. It takes proving all four to prevail in court.
What Can I Do to Strengthen My Car Accident Case?
There are several proactive steps you can take that will add muscle to your case.
- Get results from medical exams. As soon as you’re able, you need to be seen by a licensed doctor – even after a minor fender bender. Even if you aren’t feeling any initial symptoms, your doctor will know exactly what to look for. Plus, your doctor’s office visit begins a documentation trail that can prove invaluable to your case.
- Take photographs of the accident scene. If you have a cellphone, use its camera for photos of anything that could be helpful to your case. This includes shots of vehicle damage, license plates, road conditions, working condition of traffic signals, etc.
- Get eyewitness information. If you’re physically able, collect contact information from anyone who may have witnessed the accident. Their statements can be vital to your case.
Again, your first priority should be your physical health. If an ambulance arrives on the scene, take that ride.
Do I Really Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
Proving fault and liability in a car accident case is more difficult than you may think. While the at-fault driver’s insurance provider is supposed to step up to the plate and do the right thing, most will look for any way possible to delay or even deny compensating you.
A personal injury attorney with a successful track record in winning car accident cases is invaluable for several reasons.
- Dealing with professional negotiators. Despite what they say on the phone, the at-fault driver’s insurance provider has virtually no interest in your health, recovery, or doing what’s right for you. Rather, they are trained pros whose top priority is to somehow convince you – by hook or by crook – to settle for as little as possible, and as quickly as possible.
- Securing the justice and compensation you deserve. Left to their own devices, the insurance provider will drag your case out forever – even as your bank account dwindles. While your personal injury lawyer will initially try to negotiate a settlement, your case should be taken to court for a speedy decision if no settlement is possible.
Keep in mind that the legal environment is far different than anything you’ve experienced. Taking your chances on your own is never a good idea with legal matters. One wrong move can cost you big time.
With a personal injury lawyer by your side, you’re in a much better position to recover costs for lost wages, repairs to your vehicle, loss of earning power, the costs of renting a car and other expenses.