How do you win a car accident lawsuit?
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you are unlikely to ever forget the crash. For some victims, the emotional impact is as devastating as the physical injuries. Moreover, many victims suffer financial hardship on top of the physical and emotional injuries. If another party was at fault in the collision, you may be entitled to compensation for all of your injuries.
Hiring an experienced traffic crash attorney is the first step toward recovering damages for your injuries; however, additional steps you can take other steps to improve your chances for compensation:
- Seek medical treatment immediately. Have a medical examination immediately following any collision, even if you think you were not injured. First, this helps ensures that all injuries, including any internal injuries, are diagnosed properly. Second, it provides a clear relationship between the accident and any injuries for which you seek compensation down the road.
- Document the collision. Keep records of hospital bills, time missed from work, car repairs and prescription medication costs. Also, keep a pain journal to document your daily pain level as well as the accident’s mental and emotional effects.
- Follow through. Keep all doctor appointments and follow the prescribed course of treatment.
- Do not communicate with anyone. Once you hire an attorney, let your attorney speak for you. This includes commenting on social media websites such as Facebook or Twitter. Remember, your comments could be used against you or misconstrued down the road.
- Negotiate with your head, not your heart. When it comes time to consider an out-of-court settlement, listen to your attorney’s advice and discuss your options. All victims feel their case is worth a large amount of money. Your attorney, however, will be able to give you a good idea of what a jury would say.
Scenarios Leading to Car Accident Lawsuits
What you must prove to win your car accident lawsuit depends, at least in part, on how the accident happened. Even the process of proving a claim for damages can vary depending on the circumstances. Some common scenarios that lead to someone having legal liability for a car accident include:
- Another driver violates traffic laws.
- Another driver operates a vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
- A medical emergency resulting from medical malpractice leads to a car accident.
- A poorly maintained road with potholes, sinkholes, or another hazard leads to an accident.
- Malfunctioning traffic signals or train crossing signals lead to an accident.
- A defective motor vehicle or motor vehicle part causes an accident.
Improving Profitability for Plaintiff’s Attorneys
Because most plaintiff’s attorneys get paid through a contingency fee agreement, the sooner a case settles, the sooner the plaintiff’s attorney gets paid. All else being equal, a quicker settlement payment is more profitable for the plaintiff’s attorney. This is because the longer a case goes on, the more time and work the plaintiff’s attorney must put into the case, with no guarantee of an increased settlement offer.
While settlement offers often rise as the lawsuit goes on, that’s not always the case. Even if a settlement offer goes up over the course of the lawsuit, there’s no guarantee the increase will rise in proportion to the additional work the plaintiff’s attorney must put in. Then there’s always the risk that if the plaintiff refuses a settlement and the case goes to trial, the plaintiff loses and the plaintiff’s attorney gets nothing.
How You Can Increase the Chances of A Successful Outcome
You can take several steps to support your claim in a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident. First, collect any evidence of the accident. This may include paperwork such as a police accident report, insurance and contact information for the other driver, hospital and ambulance records, and photos of the accident scene. Any documentation that supports your version of how the accident occurred will be helpful to your attorneys.
Second, write down as much as you can remember about the accident. This could be a description of what happened and the times that events occurred (such as when the police and/or ambulance arrived). It’s best to make notes of this information as soon as possible after the accident, while your memory is fresh; the longer you wait to chronicle the accident, the more likely it is that you may forget crucial details, such as whether the other driver made a statement to you about the accident. Third, make a list of potential witnesses along with their contact information. This may involve listing each person riding in the car with you or the other driver, anyone who saw what happened, and the police, firefighters or medical personnel who responded to the scene. These people may help your attorney put together your claim for damages. Fourth — and most importantly — do not speak to the other driver or their insurance representative about the accident. If they want to speak to you, you can simply tell them that you are considering filing a lawsuit and that they can talk to your attorney. Allowing your lawyer to handle conversations with insurance adjusters and other parties will help to ensure that you obtain the best possible outcome for your case. Of course, if you have been seriously injured in a car accident, you may not be able to take these steps; these are only suggestions for anyone who is capable of gathering this information.
These innocent errors can affect a car accident lawsuit
There are many ways an unsuspecting auto accident victim’s case can be harmed – even when you’re trying to do the right thing. Here are 18 mistakes identified by our car accident lawyers that unfortunately, play a crucial role in hurting good people with legitimate car accident lawsuits.
Lying about injuries in a car accident in Michigan
Lying about injuries in a car accident is easy to avoid with your Michigan car accident lawsuit but the consequences can be disastrous for those who don’t. Providing false information on an insurance application can be used to VOID PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS you may have, such as for uninsured motorist coverage.
Mistakes on your No-Fault forms
Paperwork involved in No-Fault claims include the submission of forms for replacement services (household services) and attendant care (nursing care) claims. These forms are required for you to receive reimbursement/payment for the services provided. But the accuracy of these submissions is critical to your car accident lawsuit. In the Michigan Court of Appeals opinion in Bahri v IDS Property, the court held that inaccurate submissions can result in a person losing all No-Fault benefits. In summary, the court stated the Plaintiff committed fraud because her replacement service claim was 19 days before the accident occurred and defense surveillance showed her doing things on certain days by herself, which her replacement services submissions claimed other people were doing for her. So please ensure your No-Fault submissions are accurate. Mistakes – even innocent mistakes – can get any accident victim labeled a “fraud” under this new case and result in the termination of all of your No-Fault insurance benefits.
Expect that your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company will conduct surveillance and hire investigators to take photos and videos of you at some time during your car accident lawsuit. If you have tried to do a task, admit you’ve tried it. Most people will understand if you had a good day, and attempted to do something. But no one understands when an auto accident victim denies something that is later caught on surveillance video.
Do not talk about your case
Insurance adjusters, defense lawyers, and sometimes jurors may try to contact you about your car accident lawsuit. Do NOT talk about your case with ANYONE hired by the at-fault driver or insurance company. If an adjuster wants to ask about your case, have her call your car accident lawyer.
Facebook, Twitter & other social media sites
Insurance adjusters and defense attorneys will investigate your Facebook, Twitter and related social media accounts, blogs or web pages – even when set as ‘private’ – and look for things that can help them avoid taking full responsibility for the harms they’ve caused. The purpose of this Internet research is to attempt to show that you are not as injured as you claim. Please be very careful about postings and photos of your activities. Avoid posting new items.