Being in a car accident can cause substantial injuries that disrupt the victim’s life and lead to major financial losses.
The victim will almost certainly incur medical bills, property damage, and other expenses. During his or her recovery, the victim won’t be able to work. It’s possible that the victim will never again be able to work the same job at the same productivity level if the injuries are severe enough. A decrease in quality of life, permanent disability, and long-term pain and suffering are also possible.
If you’ve been in a wreck, you naturally want the at-fault party to be held liable. How can an attorney help your case? The California car crash lawyers of Text Kevin Accident Attorneys take a look at this issue.
Investigating the accident and obtaining evidence
Generally, it is the plaintiff’s responsibility to establish the necessary elements of a car accident lawsuit. To do this, it is essential to investigate the accident and the factual circumstances surrounding it. Although civil authorities like law enforcement may conduct their own investigations, it is better to have an attorney do so independently.
When a personal injury client hires us, we get to work examining the accident. We view photos and videos recorded of the scene, including from surveillance cameras and dashcams if they are available. We talk to witnesses, find out what they saw, and prepare to have them testify if needed. We examine official reports like those made by police officers and interview the victim to learn what he or she observed during the incident.
After a lawsuit has been filed, we can use a formal process known as discovery to obtain even more evidence. Discovery involves various methods such as document requests and depositions to acquire relevant evidence from the parties who have possession of it. The victim may receive discovery requests too, and we can help respond to those.
Identifying the potential defendants
During the course of investigating the accident and gathering the evidence, our firm begins to build a case. We can also find out if parties besides or in addition to the at-fault driver may have played a role in the collision.
As an example, the brakes on the at-fault driver’s vehicle may have failed due to a manufacturing defect. Even though the driver could be partly liable for speeding, the manufacturer’s role in installing poor brakes should not be overlooked. This could potentially bring in the maker of the vehicle as a defendant in the lawsuit. More defendants means it is likely that the victim will receive a larger amount of compensation.
These are parties besides the driver who may be liable, depending on the circumstances:
- The company that manufactured the automobile or a defective part
- A negligent repair shop or mechanic
- A construction crew that caused a dangerous traffic situation
- The employer of the negligent driver, if at the time of the accident the driver was working
- A bar or restaurant that served the driver too much alcohol
- A government entity responsible for road maintenance
Determining the value of your case
One of the key responsibilities of a car accident lawyer is to determine how much in damages to ask from the jury. This is an often complex calculation that will take into account the nature of the victim’s injuries and their likely consequences in the future. Every car accident case is different, but damages may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost income-earning ability
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Permanent disability
In some cases of extreme wrongdoing, the victim may also be entitled to receive punitive damages. As the name indicates, these are designed to punish the at-fault party.
Consulting expert witnesses
Expert witnesses are individuals with technical or specialized education and training who can explain complex subjects to a jury. They don’t simply testify about facts like lay witnesses do; rather, they help explain and interpret those facts. In car accident cases, a number of expert witnesses could prove useful to the victim’s case. One example is an accident reconstructionist. This person examines the evidence from the crash scene and then explains how the accident likely occurred in a way that implicates the defendants.
Medical experts are another group of expert witnesses. These individuals can explain the likely prognosis of the victim’s injuries and medical condition, along with treatments the victim will probably need later. Vocational experts can discuss what type of work the victim will likely be able to do in light of his or her injuries. Both of these groups of expert witnesses can provide testimony that supports the victim’s demand for future damages.
Our firm has a reliable network of expert witnesses with whom we consult to testify on behalf of our clients.
Negotiating with insurance companies
If you are ever in a car accident, there is a good chance you will hear from the negligent party’s insurance company. However, it is not recommended that you speak with the adjuster or other representative without legal counsel. That’s because insurers use a number of dishonest tricks to obtain information that may be used against the victim. Even though the insurance adjuster may sound sympathetic to your accident, you should refer this individual to your lawyer. At the end of the day, the insurance company is a for-profit business that will work to deny or underpay your claim if at all possible.
We can also assist if you are encountering problems with a claim that has been filed against your own insurance carrier.
Mediation and litigation
Many car accident cases settle outside of court through a process called mediation. A neutral third party known as a mediator can help the victim, the at-fault party or parties, and the insurance company come to an agreement to resolve the lawsuit without the need for a trial. A victim can and should have legal representation during mediation. An attorney can help you weigh the benefits of a settlement offer versus the potential risks of trial and help you make an educated decision about which route to take.
However, if the insurance company and lawyers representing the at-fault parties will not negotiate in good faith, your attorney can take the matter to court. An experienced car accident attorney will understand not only personal injury law but also other court rules like those concerning evidence and civil procedure. These rules are complex and failure to abide by them could jeopardize your case.
Text Kevin Accident Attorneys: Dedicated Legal Counsel for California Car Crash Victims
Were you or a loved one injured in a California car accident? Are you unsure which steps to take next, or perhaps you’ve been contacted by the insurance company seeking a settlement? Before speaking with the at-fault party’s lawyers and insurers, speak with us. Text Kevin Accident Attorneys are committed to helping car crash victims seek the justice and monetary compensation they deserve. Give us a call today.