Unfortunately, car accidents are common — 2020 alone saw 5 million collisions reported to the police. Studies also show increased fatalities, a reverse of previous trends. If you’ve had an accident, hiring a lawyer is more important than ever. An experienced attorney can help you through the claims process and even boost your chance of favorable compensation.
Explain Your Options
First and foremost, a car accident lawyer can evaluate your situation and determine whether you have a case. Certain factors impact your ability to win a lawsuit:
- Statute of limitations
- Who is at fault
- Whether you experienced physical or emotional damages
Attorneys who work car accident cases understand what it takes to win a case and can estimate damages. Pursuing a lawsuit may not be in your best interest if you’re unlikely to win or the potential payout is less than the cost of going to court. A lawyer can lay out your chances, saving you time and money by avoiding futile litigation.
An attorney can also help you pursue compensation without going before a judge. Sometimes, it’s in the defendant’s best interest to settle out of court, which means a shorter time frame and fewer costs. Experienced lawyers can gauge the likelihood of a settlement based on your evidence and legal precedent.
Handle the Details
After a car accident, you have a lot to deal with:
- Recovering from injuries
- Tending to your mental health
- Repairing or replacing your vehicle
You need time to get your life back on track, and filing claims or a lawsuit can complicate matters. Those unfamiliar with the insurance industry or legal process may find it challenging to keep track of essential details. Attorneys provide relief by managing paperwork, tracking deadlines and responding to the defendant’s legal counsel. Additionally, your lawyer will keep you abreast of proceedings and answer your questions.
A legal representative also advocates for you. When insurance companies fight claims, they depend on you getting frustrated or drained with all the hoops you have to jump through. Many people give up even though, according to companies’ own policies, they should receive compensation.
A law firm has a team to communicate with your insurance company. Their experience allows them to soar through those hoops or avoid them altogether, and you don’t have to endure the stress of endless customer service calls.
Negotiate Payout Amount
If you paid for your vehicle with a loan, the lien holder will get involved in the insurance claim process, as it has a vested interest in the car’s value. Should the insurance company deem your car “totaled,” things may get complicated.
“Totaled” cars require more money to repair than they’re actually worth. It’s a better financial decision to scrap the vehicle and give the insured funds equal to the actual cash value. Insureds can then use that payout to purchase a new truck.
However, when a vehicle has a lien, the payout goes to the lien holder first. You only receive what’s left over after paying down the loan.
Unfortunately, cars usually depreciate. That means you could owe significantly more than the vehicle is worth. However, the lien holder doesn’t care what happened to the car — you signed a legal contract stating you would pay a certain amount, and you have an obligation to do so. As a result, you may end up paying for a vehicle you can’t use.
A lawyer can help you avoid this situation by negotiating with the insurance company. You have the right to dispute the offered settlement, though you must prove your vehicle’s ACV. An attorney can take on this challenge on your behalf.
If your case goes to trial, you will need to provide physical evidence of your claims. For example, if you sustained injuries from the collision, you must show the following:
- The crash caused your injuries.
- Your injuries are as extensive as you claim.
- You have medical costs associated with treating your injuries.
Your attorney will know the threshold of evidence necessary to win a court case, and the legal team can initiate the evidence-gathering process. Medical records, billing statements and witness testimony are invaluable for arguing your case.
Obtaining all this information by yourself can be time-consuming and frustrating. Records request procedures vary by institution, and failing to adhere to them can cause delays. Law firms have assistants to navigate these complex systems and organize documentation.
Provide Sound Legal Advice
Getting proper compensation after a car accident shouldn’t be difficult. With the help of the attorneys at Jeffcoat Law Firm PI, you can access funds that are rightfully yours. We put clients first, including traveling for consultations. To schedule a free appointment, call (803) 200-2000 or contact us online today.