Every year, car accidents kill or seriously injure millions of Americans. So, at one time or another, your family will almost certainly feel the impact of these incidents. These wrecks affect life in ways that are difficult for people who have not endured them to understand.
Essentially, there are both immediate and long-term concerns. A lawyer can help you find solutions to these problems, but only if you take the first step. Therefore, it’s very important to schedule a free consultation for your personal injury as soon as possible after the accident. The sooner a lawyer knows about the problems you face, the sooner s/he can fix them.
Dealing with Medical Care
In the immediate aftermath of a car wreck, most people go to the closest hospital or to their family doctors. It’s always very important to seek such treatment immediately. Otherwise, the insurance company will later claim that your injuries must not have been very bad. These professionals do the best they can. But they sometimes lack the tools and expertise to properly diagnose and treat car crash injuries.
Whiplash is a very good example. This wound is not a trauma injury, like a broken bone. So, whiplash does not show up on many common diagnostic devices. But it is a serious injury that causes day-to-day impairment for months or even longer. Targeted physical therapy is the only way to treat this condition.
An experienced attorney can connect victims with doctors who focus on injury-related matters. That means you get better faster.
As a bonus, most victims pay nothing upfront for this treatment, even if they have no medical insurance. An attorney sends a letter of protection to the provider. This letter guarantees payment when the case is resolved. Additionally, this letter also gives a lawyer the power to negotiate for a lower fee.
Post-accident stress often creates a downward spiral. Victims are worried about bills and that stress hinders their recovery. An attorney replaces this downward spiral with the best possible care which the victim can also afford.
Winning Compensation for Victims
Interim help is only the beginning. Victims are legally entitled to financial compensation for all their economic losses. That includes not only medical bills but also property damage, lost wages, and other such items.
Furthermore, most victims experience significant noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, emotional distress, and loss of consortium (companionship). Money is available for these damages as well, in most cases.
To obtain such compensation, a victim/plaintiff must establish liability by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). The evidence in a typical car crash case includes:
- The Accident Report: Emergency responders usually prepare accident reports. These documents are excellent starting points. But they are often incomplete. First responders only use the evidence that’s available at the time. Furthermore, if the victim was seriously injured or killed, the reporting officer may only hear one side of the story.
- Eyewitnesses: Witness statements usually form the bulk of additional evidence in these cases. Attorneys often partner with private investigators to reach witnesses who did not initially come forward, for whatever reason.
- Electronic Evidence: Cameras are everywhere, from red-light cameras to surveillance cameras to amateur videographers. Furthermore, most cars have Event Data Recorders. Much like a black box in a commercial airliner, an EDR measures and records items like steering angle, brake application, and vehicle speed.
An attorney must begin work quickly to secure this evidence. Witnesses often move away and physical evidence, like the EDR, is often lost or destroyed.
The bottom line is that so much is at stake. So, it’s important to reach out to an attorney straightaway. Most accident lawyers do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases, so there is no risk.