Being in a car accident can be a traumatic and stressful experience. Dealing with insurance companies and negotiating a fair settlement following the accident can be even more frustrating. Most people do not realize how important it is to have strong legal guidance when managing claims after an automobile collision.
Car accidents are unfortunately very common in Jacksonville. In 2021 alone, there were over 20,000 crashes reported in the city, many of them leading to injuries and expensive vehicle damage. The aftermath of these incidents almost always involves one or more insurance companies. Without proper representation, injured victims can often find themselves getting pressured into unfair settlements or even having their claims wrongfully denied. Having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference in getting the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Let see few reasons which is critical to involve a lawyer when dealing with insurance companies after a car accident in Jacksonville. Understanding these points will help you protect your rights and obtain maximum recovery for your injuries, vehicle damage, lost income, and other collision-related losses.
They Help You Understand Your Insurance Policy and Coverage
The first step after any automobile accident should always be reviewing your own insurance policy. It is important to have a firm grasp on the type of coverage included, as well as the limits and exclusions that apply. Some common coverages in a car insurance policy include:
- Liability coverage – Protects you if you are found legally responsible for injuries or damage caused to others in the accident. Includes property damage liability and bodily injury liability.
- Collision coverage – Covers repair or replacement costs if your vehicle is damaged in a collision with another car or object.
- Comprehensive coverage – Provides protection against vehicle damage from non-collision incidents like theft, vandalism, fire, or weather events.
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage – Provides compensation if you are injured by a driver who has no insurance or insufficient coverage.
- Medical payments coverage – Helps pay for medical treatment expenses resulting from the accident.
- Personal injury protection – Pays for medical bills, lost wages due to injuries, and other accident-related expenses up to policy limits.
The policy language can be complex and confusing. An experienced attorney can help you interpret your coverage and determine which types apply to your particular accident claim. They will also advise you on gaps in your coverage or areas that need improvement. Having full knowledge of your policy will put you in a stronger position when negotiating with insurers.
Document the Accident and Injuries
Strong documentation is key to getting fair compensation after a motor vehicle collision. Some important steps to take at the scene include:
- Calling the police – Obtain an official accident report documenting details like date, time, location, road conditions, markings, points of impact, and determination of fault.
- Gathering third-party information – Record the names, contact info, insurance details, and statements from all drivers, passengers, and witnesses involved.
- Capturing images – Take clear photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, injuries, skid marks, and any other relevant details.
- Seeking medical attention – Get prompt medical evaluation and treatment for any injuries or pain following the crash. Fully document symptoms and prognosis.
- Keeping records – Maintain complete records of accident-related expenses like medical bills, car repair estimates and invoices, towing services, and any other costs.
Having an attorney help you collect, organize, and manage this documentation will significantly bolster your claim. They have the resources and knowledge to gather police reports, obtain witness statements, request medical records, and compile evidence in a way that insurance adjusters cannot dismiss or minimize. Documentation is powerful leverage in settlement negotiations.
Determine Fault and Liability
After an accident, insurance companies will investigate to determine fault and liability for parties involved. This will impact their payouts under policy coverages. As the policyholder, it is critical to have legal counsel deal with insurance adjusters and investigators to establish your limited liability.
Your attorney is trained to demonstrate how factors like right of way, traffic signals or signs, speed limits, weather conditions, visibility, mechanical defects, and other evidence affect determination of fault. They will work to minimize your liability, while shifting maximum blame onto other responsible parties.
Lawyers also know how to counter questionable or adversarial tactics used by insurers to evade reasonable settlements. With attorney representation, insurance companies are less likely to falsely claim you made an admission of full liability or that the collision was completely your fault. They present your interests in the best light possible.
Calculate Damages and Losses
Figuring out the full scope of accident-related losses is essential to recouping fair compensation. Beyond just vehicle repair or replacement costs, there are many monetary and physical damages that can be claimed, including:
- Ongoing and future medical expenses – Bills for hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, physical therapy, prescription medication, medical devices, and more.
- Lost income – Wages lost due to missing work because of injuries. Calculated based on your salary and time out of work.
- Loss of future earning capacity – If injuries impair your ability to work to your full capability in the future.
- Pain and suffering- Compensation for any physical pain, discomfort, stress or mental anguish resulting from the accident.
- Property losses – Payment for damage or destruction of any personal items or belongings.
- Wrongful death damages – For fatal accidents, compensation for loss of companionship, burial costs and more.
Lawyers have the expertise to identify and accurately quantify all applicable damages. They work with professionals like accountants, actuaries, physicians, and vocational experts to substantiate losses with evidence and documentation. This typically results in far greater settlement offers from insurers than individual claimants could obtain on their own.
Negotiate the Settlement
One of the most critical reasons to hire an attorney is their skill in negotiating fair insurance settlements. With years of experience handling car accident claims against insurance companies, lawyers understand the strategies to employ to maximize your payout within reasonable timeframes.
Attorneys know how to use documentation and evidence of liability, losses and damages to press for the best possible settlement offer. They will start aggressively and work down to an acceptable number, rather than starting low and compromising further. Lawyers recognize when an insurer is delaying or stonewalling negotiations and can take steps to move things forward.
Unlike individual claimants, lawyers bring authority and leverage to the negotiating table. Insurance providers recognize that seasoned attorneys are ready and willing to litigate a claim in court if fair terms cannot be reached. This motivates companies to negotiate reasonably to avoid costly litigation. While an amicable settlement is usually preferable, your lawyer will take your case to trial if needed to get you maximum compensation.
Having persistence and tenacity are essential traits for accident attorneys. They will exhaust all options on your behalf and leverage the legal system to gain the maximum recovery amount under your coverage. Without an attorney, denied or disputed claims often get abandoned, costing you money that should rightfully be paid.
The process of dealing with insurance adjusters, seeking medical treatment, proving damages, and negotiating fair claims settlement can be incredibly draining and frustrating. During this difficult time, having a trusted attorney to handle the details and fight on your behalf can make a tremendous difference. Their expertise in insurance law, skill in calculating losses, and tenacity during settlement talks greatly improve the financial recovery for injured victims.
If you have been injured in an automobile accident that was not your fault, do not delay in contacting our experienced personal injury attorney for representation and counsel. At the Law Offices of Martino Mccabe, our knowledgeable car accident lawyers have helped thousands of injured victims recover over billions in compensation from insurance companies. Apply with us online today to discuss your potential claim and learn more about retaining our firm. We provide free case evaluations and only get paid if we win compensation for you. With an esteemed lawyer by your side, you can be confident your rights will be protected and you will get the maximum settlement you deserve.