When people think about the major causes of death, they imagine cigarettes or cancer. Unfortunately, the leading cause of death is the vehicle you use to get to work each morning. Every year, tens of thousands of people die as a direct or indirect result of a car accident.
Regardless of severity, a vehicular accident is often a life-altering event. A car accident lawsuit becomes the only way to get compensation and justice. Yet even when the other driver is clearly in the wrong, fair sentencing may not come so easily.
Looking to ensure favorable results and sufficient vehicle accident compensation? We are here to help. In this guide, we’ll discuss 13 things you can do to make sure your lawsuit goes swimmingly.
1. Hire a Lawyer for Your Car Accident Lawsuit
It goes without saying that hiring a lawyer or hiring an attorney will be a huge plus for your case. After all, our entire legal system hinges on a civilian’s right to have legal counsel. Even a legal expert with extensive experience knows that hiring a lawyer is a no-brainer.
The reasons for this are numerous, and we will go over them one by one.
Lawyers Know the Law Best
There’s no getting around it, the law is a very complicated thing. Lawyers study in some of the top schools just to comprehend it. We’re talking about thousands of statutes, ordinances, and amendments.
The interpretation of the law is equally complicated. Throughout the history of the United States, many major Supreme Court cases have reinterpreted existing laws. The outcome has often reshaped our judicial system and culture.
A lawyer understands how case law and interpretation will play into your lawsuit. They may identify legal precedents that work in your favor.
Even when you are responsible for a car wreck, they can help you wiggle out of a difficult situation. For all you know, there could be legal loopholes or plea bargains that significantly increase your chances of success.
They Understand the Process
Assembling a case is just as complicated as the law surrounding the case itself. There are documents to file and evidence to collect. It’s not just gathering these items, it’s doing them in the right order as well.
If you aren’t familiar with how things work, then you are more likely to make mistakes. Remember, a lawsuit isn’t just about what happens inside the courtroom. It’s about what takes place beyond, too.
They Can Argue Your Case
What many lawyers do is find an angle. They latch onto a specific piece of evidence, or a particular argument. From there, they use this leverage to obtain your desired result.
Lawyers are equal parts legal experts and debate masters. They understand the power of language, and how to produce a convincing argument.
After all, they have to convince a judge to accept their side of the story. Judges hear hundreds of cases every week, and they’ve seen it all. It follows, naturally, that they won’t fall easily for cheap tricks.
2. Gather As Much Evidence As Possible
In popular media, we get the impression that witness testimony is paramount. As long as someone can attest to a crime—or lack thereof—that wins the day. To a degree, this is true, since witness testimony may convince a jury to make a certain vote.
But in reality, evidence holds heavier sway than testimony. Evidence is king because it is non-partisan. Although people can shape the arguments around what it signifies, it usually speaks for itself.
With that in mind, it’s crucial that you gather as much evidence as you can. It can be car black box data, such as that described in this article. Or it can be an empty bottle of alcohol and dash cam footage.
Gather Evidence When It’s Fresh
Some of the most important evidence is that which fades with time. The perfect example is dash cam footage. The footage overwrites itself every 24 hours or so, necessitating that you collect it ASAP.
Taking pictures is one of the most important forms of evidence available. With safety in mind, take pictures of the crash and the surrounding area. This may come in handy later to determine who was truly at fault—and how it happened.
Evidence can also come in the form of documentation. You may discover that the other driver had no insurance or no driver’s license. Even if this evidence is likely to appear in court, it’s important to gather it anyway.
3. Medical Treatment
Did you suffer an injury in a car accident? Many people make the mistake of refraining from treatment. They assume that they should wait until they have vehicle accident compensation before seeking treatment.
This doesn’t just put your health at risk. It weakens your case. The defendant’s judge could easily argue that any injury you have is pre-existing, and therefore not covered.
Go to the doctor ASAP after a crash if you have injuries. Even if you don’t, get yourself checked out. Having a medical record creates a legal breadcrumb trail that works in your favor.
4. Don’t Take the First Insurance Settlement
Insurance companies deal with crashes all the time. To reduce their liability, they often use a sneaky tactic. They offer you a seemingly large sum of money upfront.
With this compensation money comes a catch: you can’t get future compensation for this crash. They do this for a simple reason. Given time, you may realize that the initial compensation is not enough—but since you accepted it, it’s too late.
Both your insurance and the defendant’s insurance will provide some degree of compensation. However, give them a rain check on their initial offer.
Speak with your lawyer instead. In some cases, they may recommend that you take the offer. In others, they may tell you to wait since there is a chance for more fitting compensation.
5. Keep Track of Losses After the Accident
We said that you should visit the doctor ASAP after an accident. But don’t stop there. Keep a paper trail of all the ways that the car accident affects your life.
For example, document how much time you need to take off work for injuries. Include the time that you take off for legal action, too. Part of the car accident lawsuit includes the lost wages it causes.
Further, this may provide evidence for a decreased ability to work in the future. If you are unable to work to the best of your ability, the other driver may have to compensate you for that. A reduction in earning potential will factor into your compensation.
6. Explore All Insurance Coverage Options
Remember, you shouldn’t take the first offer they give you. But in the meantime, dig deep into their claim documentation. You may be surprised at what you find.
Insurance companies often provide multiple layers of coverage. There is coverage that applies only to a specific situation, and is more appetizing than their initial offer. Of course, your insurance company may neglect to inform you about these options.
Get a lawyer to help you sift through the documents. There’s a good chance—with their help—that you will find options that you didn’t know you had.
7. Stay Away From Social Media
Everyone suffers the temptation to post their grievances on social media. It’s a natural reaction. You are looking for support and validation as you go through the process of a lawsuit.
This is one of the biggest mistakes people make, one that harms their case. The reason is simple: everything you post on social media is evidence against you.
For example, suppose you wish some cruel fate upon the other driver. This may seem harmless.
From a judge’s perspective, though, it makes you look unhinged and aggressive. There may be a reason to believe that you caused the accident. Or, your nature exacerbated the outcome.
Even with a private profile and close circle of friends, do not post about your accident. This includes if your post is completely harmless. You never know the damage it could do.
8. Get Witness Statements If Possible
Sure, witness testimony is not as strong as cold, hard evidence. But it still holds weight in a case.
Remember, the jury will play a part in your court case sentencing. Juries are not a group of people with legal knowledge. They are an assortment of strangers who have to serve jury duty by law.
Juries pay more attention to emotions than facts. If witness testimony makes a powerful implication about the defendant, the jury will listen. A witness testimony could easily turn your case towards a favorable result.
9. Be Consistent With Your Recollection
The memory of a crash can easily get hazy with time. Even in a traumatic situation. In fact, trauma can actually decrease your memory acuity in some cases.
It’s important to write down everything you recall when it is fresh. These can be details as minute as what you were doing before the accident happened. They can include not just what you perceived, but what you felt.
Writing it down helps to solidify your memory and create a record. You need to get your facts straight, especially when appearing in court. If parts of what you say contradict each other, that will weaken your case.
10. Don’t Speak to the Defendant
It’s understandable that you may feel strong emotions towards the other party. However, avoid all interaction with them. Even with a lawyer present, things can get ugly.
An altercation with the other party will only cripple your case. Even if the other party is kind and cordial, limit interaction with them.
11. Be Levelheaded
It’s easy to lose your cool during a prolonged lawsuit. Most people do at some point. However, keep your emotions tamped down as much as you can when in public.
Expressing too much anger or frustration makes you look unstable. Even if your emotions are completely valid and reasonable, don’t let them get the best of you.
12. Don’t Do Anything Your Medical Condition Wouldn’t Allow
Many, many people will make a false medical claim and then get caught proving it wrong. For example, somebody suffers a back injury during an accident. Shortly after, a private investigator snaps a picture of them carrying a bag of cement.
Even if your injury is legitimate, don’t do something you shouldn’t be doing. If an injury affects your arm, don’t go out and play catch with your son—even if you feel fine doing it.
It doesn’t matter if your injury is legitimate. It doesn’t matter if a doctor documented it. Your actions can still give the impression that you lied about your symptoms.
At the end of the day, your health is paramount. Even if your actions don’t work against you, they could work against your health. Take care of yourself and avoid further injury.
13. Be Careful What Information You Share
Say for example you experienced a leg injury from the accident. Over time, your leg heals faster than usual. Soon, you are able to bike like you used to.
Now, imagine during a family dinner that you brag about your rapid recovery. A family member overhears this and unconsciously conveys it to a friend. That information spreads and reaches your defendant and their lawyer.
It may seem like a comical, unrealistic turn of events. But this is a small world. The things you say get around, even when you say them to people you trust.
Things you say could reach the ears of those who are not on your side. Without the proper context, these things could deal a death blow to your case. Until there is a verdict, keep a tight lip on any case-related details.
Seek Legal Representation Today
A car accident lawsuit is often the primary means by which you get compensation after a car wreck. That said, don’t go into it alone. Have a lawyer at your side, and consider the above tips when you bring your case before a judge.
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