Not all car accident victims need to take the matter to court in order to get the compensation they deserve. For example, if personal injuries and property damage are minor and the insurance company is cooperative, offering you a fair settlement, you may not need a lawyer.
However, if injuries are severe, requiring long-term treatment, a car accident attorney can help tremendously. He or she knows how to calculate the amount of a fair settlement. Having a car accident attorney on your side will almost always secure a higher settlement amount than you will get on your own.
How to Determine if the Settlement Being Offered is Fair
A settlement is fair if it fulfills the following requirements:
- It pays all your medical bills not covered by your insurance.
- It pays for wages that you lost due to the accident.
- It pays for the physical therapy you need to recover loss of movement.
- It pays for mental pain and suffering caused by the accident.
If You Believe That You Deserve Compensation for Pain and Suffering
- Receipts from visits that began after the accident to a licensed psychiatrist
- Testimony from your doctor and medical records showing the change in your mental and emotional condition after the accident
- Insurance payments for prescription medications you have been prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of depression, fear, insomnia and other conditions
A good car accident lawyer will discuss with you the details of your pain and suffering. He will compile each piece into an argument to be presented to the court. He will collect and organize the documentation needed for the judge, jury and the insurance company’s lawyer.
Some of this information will come from you. Other records will come from the hospital, doctors, pharmacies, ambulance service, police records of the accident and the like. For example, if your accident was in New York State, accident reports can be found – by lawyers on both sides of the case – at https://dmv.ny.gov/get-accident-reportM\.
Since this documentation is available to the court, be sure you know what it says. If you contract the reports, the success of your case will be in jeopardy.
Being awarded money for pain and suffering is more difficult than being compensated for actual expenses, such as hospital bills. A lawyer with a good success record will know exactly what is needed to increase the chances you will receive a financial amount for this aspect of your car accident case.
Three Valuable Pieces of Advice You May Hear from Your Car Accident Attorney
Following the advice of your attorney may make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. It can influence whether or not you win your case as well as how much financial compensation you are awarded.
Also, it’s important to contact attorney regarding your car accident case as soon as possible. The ideal time is on the day of the accident. If you are too injured to contact a lawyer, ask a trusted family member to make the call for you.
Never agree to or participate in a recorded conversation about your car accident. This is especially true when it comes to talking with your insurance company.
The questions they ask are carefully crafted. You may not have the answers, which will show you to be uncertain on the details of your car accident. In court, the insurance company’s lawyer may use your vague answers to discredit your other answers. Always ask your lawyer if you need to agree to a recorded conversation in order to get your bills paid. He will tell you which questions you must answer, when and how.
Also, a symptom stemming from the car accident may become apparent after you talk with the insurance company. They may use your recorded conversation to say that the injury occurred after the accident since you didn’t mention it.
 Mention Every Symptom
Be sure to discuss with your doctor every symptom you have, no matter how small it seems at the time. As you know, symptoms can get worse over time. The symptoms you mention on your first visit to your doctor’s office or emergency room may be the ones that will be easiest to be compensated for.
Your physician will record your injuries and the treatments in your medical files. These files may be used in court to determine your settlement. Tell your doctor about physical, mental and emotional problems that are a result of your car accident. Don’t act as if you feel better than you do. Be honest and tell the doctor about everything that is hurting. At the same time, don’t exaggerate anything. Chances are, embellishments will not be believable in court and may greatly hurt your case.
 Medical History
Tell every doctor that treats you about your medical history. Include all your pre-existing condition, prior injuries, accidents and surgeries. In some states, more compensation may be awarded if your pre-existing condition is made worse by the accident.
There are many other tips that you car accident attorney will mention to you. Follow his advice and your case will go smoother.
What if Both Drivers are Partly to Blame? Can There Still be a Case?
In most states, it is understood that there are times when both drivers share in the blame. After looking at all the evidence, a jury will determine the percentage of blame to assign to each driver. A skillful lawyer will put your side in the very best light. He is experienced in knowing what the judge and jury will accept and how to present it in the most understandable and convincing way.
For example, if the jury decides that you are 51% at fault and the other driver carries 49% of the blame, you may not receive any financial compensation because you were mostly to blame. These percentages may not be right or fair, but if your opponent’s attorney makes a compelling case and put your actions in the worst light, then it may appear that you were more to blame than you were.
Your attorney will work hard to present your side in the very best light while revealing the blame that belongs to the other driver. Your settlement may depend on the skillfulness of your lawyer to put forth a persuasive argument.
So as you can see, a lot goes into presenting a good case if you hope to get a sizable settlement. A good attorney who has successfully handled car accident cases may be able to help you get a good and fair settlement. The wisest course of action is to contact a lawyer as soon after the accident as possible. If you are too injured to do so, ask a family member to make the call.
Tell your doctor and lawyer everything and follow their advice to the letter. They are your best advocates and have your best interest at heart.
Speak to a car accident attorney before speaking to the insurance company. You may decide that your attorney should do the talking for you, since he or she has more experience in getting financial settlements for accident victims.