What do car accident lawyers do?
When you’ve been injured in a crash, a car accident lawyer will ensure that all steps are taken to maximize the value of your case. An injured party can pursue a civil action against an at-fault driver for damages including your medical bills, wage loss, disfigurement, disability, loss of normal life as well as pain and suffering. An attorney can guide an injured client through the numerous steps and considerations to ensure a successful outcome.
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Is it worth hiring a lawyer for a car accident?
Yes, it is worth hiring a lawyer if you’ve been injured in a car accident to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Consulting a car accident lawyer is free and confidential and the fee is usually based on a percentage of the money recovered in your case. So they only get paid if you do. There are many ways a top attorney can maximize the value of your case, they will:
- Identify all potential insurance coverage.
- Obtain a liability expert.
- Obtain a damages expert to detail and maximize all potential losses.
- Develop a cost effective strategy for medical expenses and liens.
- Properly document your injuries and accumulate all necessary evidence.
1. Identify all potential insurance coverage.
Insurance coverage plays a pivotal role in determining the outcome of your case. An attorney should examine your case to identify all potential sources of insurance coverage. It is critical for your attorney to identify all layers of potential insurance coverage. In Illinois, the minimum auto insurance policy is $25,000. In many instances, this amount of coverage is not sufficient to compensate for serious injuries. Therefore, it is critical to examine whether the at-fault driver has a homeowner’s or umbrella insurance policy. These policies provide excess coverage that may cover the accident.
Another source of coverage is through underinsured insured motorist coverage. This coverage exists through your auto insurance policy and can provide coverage once the at-fault driver’s policy is exhausted. For example, suppose you are injured in an auto accident and sustained a serious injury with $100,000 in medical bills. However, the at-fault driver only carries a state minimum policy of $25,000. If your personal auto insurance policy provided $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage, you can pursue the excess coverage, or $75,000, once you have collected the $25,000 from the at-fault driver. In short, this careful analysis increased the value of the case by $75,000! Lastly, many insurance policies provide separate coverage for medical payments which can further increase the recovery.
2. Obtain a liability expert.
Another mechanism for increasing the value of a case is through a liability expert. This expert may be able to develop a case out of a difficult set of facts. The expert can remove the defenses an insurance company may assert and add additional potential at-fault parties. For example, an expert may be able to determine whether multiple vehicles played a role in causing an accident. Multiple insurance companies contributing to a resolution will maximize your recovery.
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What does an accident reconstructionist do for my car accident case?
Following a multi-vehicle catastrophic accident, it is critical to immediately begin a detailed investigation into all causes of the accident. An accident reconstructionist is an expert trained to reconstruct the accident. Often this expert has a science, engineering or law enforcement background. A reconstructionist may inspect the vehicles to secure vital information from the vehicle’s data recorder. This information can be used to calculate speed and the force of impact, both critical points in a significant accident. The expert will determine the movement of each vehicle leading up to the collisions. Also, the expert will examine if weather conditions or vehicle maintenance played a role in the accident. Further, the expert will detail each motor vehicle code violation. Now, the injured party will potentially be able to recover from numerous insurance companies.
3. Obtain a damages expert to detail and maximize all potential losses.
Damages experts can identify losses that may not be apparent but are often significant and drive up case values. For example, if an injured party misses two weeks of work after an accident then their wage loss may simply be one bi-weekly paycheck. However, if an injured party loses their ability to work, the losses are far reaching. An economist can detail the effects of a loss of employment.
What does an economist do for my car accident case?
An economist is an expert who can detail all aspects of the financial loss. An economist will calculate lost wages; future lost wages; promotions; raises; and lost benefits. An economist will also examine future lost earning capacity. Essentially, an expert can calculate salary increases during a work life expectancy. For example, if a teenager in college who delivers pizza is killed in an accident, his future lost earnings would include the salary of a college graduate, not simply the delivery job wages. Further, an expert will calculate the teenager’s work life expectancy, meaning how many years the teenager would have worked. Often an economist adds substantial value to the loss of income damages.
What does a life care planner do for my car accident case?
Another damages expert is a life care planner. This expert will testify to all future medical expenses. The expert must be able to testify with reasonable certainty that the Plaintiff will incur the expenses. Oftentimes this expert can detail the costs of future home medical or nursing care; future surgeries; prescriptions; physical therapy; or the cost of a family member to provide you care. A home may also require expensive modifications such as wheelchair ramps; lifts; railings; or widening of hallways. A life care planner can be essential to thoroughly detail all future medical expenses. The future medical expenses can drastically increase the claimed damages.
4. Develop a cost effective strategy for medical expenses and liens.
A different way to maximize the value of a case is to decrease the amount of medical liens that need to be paid out of your recovery. Your attorney should develop a payment strategy for medical bills to maximize your recovery. Medical providers will often assert a lien against your case. A lien protects the provider’s bill and ensures it will be resolved out of the recovery. However, the amount of a lien can differ drastically depending on how the bill is handled. For example, an injured party incurs a $10,000 bill from a hospital. The client may have two options to resolve the bill. Option A, the client can choose to pay the bill through health insurance such as Medicare, Medicaid or Blue Cross Blue Shield. Option B, the client may elect to have the at fault driver’s insurance cover the bill. If the client chooses option A, the lien will be a fraction of the full bill amount. Essentially, the lien will be a subrogation lien and will reflect the reduced contractual payment the health insurance makes to the provider. However, under option B, the client will have a $10,000 lien. Your attorney should be versed on how to best reduce the amount paid to lien holders. Remember, the recovery stays the same therefore decisions made on how to handle bills will drastically impact a client’s net recovery.
5. Properly document your injuries and accumulate all necessary evidence.
From the moment an accident occurs, your attorney should be considering all evidence that needs to be preserved and obtained. Does the scene of the accident need to be photographed? Are there video cameras in the area from businesses or homes? An attorney may need to be on the scene as soon as possible to identify and obtain video evidence that may exist for only a short period of time. Subpoenas can be issued to obtain all available video evidence.
With regard to injuries, it is critical that an injured party seek appropriate, timely medical care. Oftentimes, injured parties will wait to see a doctor. These delays or gaps in treatment can create defenses in a case. Similarly, if an injured party does not see the right type of doctor, the appropriate diagnosis may not be obtained. It is vital for all pain to be reported to your doctors. Visible injuries should be properly photographed before they are healed. Journals should be maintained to document pain as well as limitations.
In terms of wage loss, a client should keep all pay stubs and off work notes. It is critical to keep track of days missed from work noting overtime, sales, bonus or promotion opportunities. Each case is different, but a top attorney should ensure this documentation is preserved to maximize the value of your case.
What should I do if I am injured in a car accident?
Call the experienced car accident attorneys at The Kryder Law Group to discuss your case, legal rights and options. The Kryder Law Group has experienced lawyers with the resources to handle your case. The attorneys at The Kryder Law Group have the experience and knowledge to successfully litigate your case and maximize your recovery. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, please contact the lawyers at The Kryder Law Group to discuss your legal rights at (312) 223-1700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.