Are You the Victim of a Car Accident?
If you have been in a car accident, whether you are injured or not, and whether you were at fault or not, it is in your best interest to be represented by a Columbiana lawyer specializing in car accident law. Now is not the time to handle things on your own.
Car Accident Legal Issues
You may have heard that the driver who runs into the back of another vehicle is at fault. That is not always true. For example, if the car in front abruptly stops and you do not have time to stop, you may not be at fault unless you were following too closely or speeding.
In a serious collision that involves injury or death, determining what happened is crucial in order to win your case in civil court. If you think you were not hurt, think again. Injury to the neck and back, commonly known as whiplash, may not be immediately noticeable. It could be days or even months before you feel pain. It is best to keep a diary regularly detailing how you feel to help prove your injury.
What should you do after a car accident?After a car accident, you should call the police to give a statement and file a report. You should always get checked by a doctor or by first responders at the accident scene. Adrenaline may mask the pain of injuries right after your accident, and having documentation will help your claim. If you are able, you should also take pictures of the accident scene.
How much can you get in a car accident settlement?Your settlement will depend on the seriousness of your injuries and what kind of financial damage those injuries cause. If you require extensive medical care and miss a lot of time from work, your claim will likely be more valuable. It will also depend on what the defense offers and what they feel they can prove if a case goes to trial. An attorney can help make a reasonable estimate of current and future losses.
How long do you have to make a car accident claim?All states have statutes of limitations for filing personal injury and car accident claims. In many states, there is either a limit of two or three years to file a claim. It is important to talk with an attorney to make sure you do not miss any deadlines for taking action.
Can you get money without a lawyer?In many car accident claims, the negligent driver’s insurance company may make you a quick settlement offer. In all likelihood, this settlement offer may not be enough for any financial losses that you have yet to consider, such as ongoing medical needs. So while it is possible to collect compensation without an attorney’s help, having a skilled car accident attorney evaluate your case and negotiate on your behalf could increase your chances of recovering more than that initial settlement offer.
How an Attorney Can Help
An attorney can often resolve your particular legal issue faster and better than trying to do it alone. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, while avoiding costly mistakes or procedural errors. You should seek out an attorney whose practice focuses on the area of law most relevant to your issue.
Tips on Approaching an Initial Attorney Consultation
- Use the consultation as a means of gaining a better understanding of your legal situation.
- Ask the attorney how many cases similar to yours he/she has handled. An attorney’s experience and knowledge can speak to their expertise (or lack of) in addressing your situation.
- Your attorney should be able to articulate roughly how long a case like yours will take to resolve and what sort of procedures to expect.
- Determine how comfortable you are working with the lawyer and/or law firm.
Does firm size matter?
For most consumer legal issues, the size of the practice is much less important than the experience, competence, and reputation of the attorney(s) handling your case. Among the most important factors when choosing an attorney are your comfort level with the attorney or practice and the attorney’s track record in bringing about quick, successful resolutions to cases similar to yours.
Common legal terms explained
Plaintiff – a person or party who brings a lawsuit against another person(s) or party/parties in a court of law. Private persons or parties can only file suit in civil court.
Judgment – A decision of the court. Also known as a decree or order. Judgments handed down by the court are usually binding on the parties before the court.