Automobile accidents can not only leave the victim in a lot of pain but also create unbearable financial pressures for them. Unless you exercise your legal rights and get compensated for the damages, getting by would be near impossible in such a tight economy.
Car accident cases present several challenges even for the most capable lawyers, after all, there is the investigation, evidence gathering, damages calculation, and then exerting oneself fully in getting a fair settlement for the client. On the victim’s end, the ordeal is no less challenging with the mounting physical, emotional, and financial burden in the aftermath of the accident.
However, since most states of the USA practice an at-fault statute, you can simply sue the liable party for fair compensation, if you can prove that they were negligent. In some states, a no-fault statute is in practice which means that your insurance provider will compensate you for the damages no matter who caused the auto accident, however, there are exceptions to this rule too.
In either case, you need the support and guidance of capable and experienced car accident attorneys who not only understand the law but boast a track record of success in dealing with such cases. At the Porter Firm, you’ll get just that – a team of lawyers devoted to helping you get the justice and reimbursement you so rightfully deserve.
Why do car accidents usually happen?
It takes only a split second of inattention or negligence on part of the at-fault driver to cause havoc. Even a moment’s distraction is too much, and the responsible party will be held liable for any damages incurred upon the victim. However, in certain instances, the victim may also be partially responsible for causing the accident, and if that share is less than 50% (comparative fault rules), then they will still be entitled to compensation, however, the sum will be slashed accordingly.
In any case, the leading causes of car accidents are:
Distracted driving, i.e. texting while driving, phone-calling, eating, talking with the passengers, etc.
Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs
Drowsy driving or driver fatigue
Bumpy, uneven, or slippery roads
Violations of traffic laws
Rough handling or aggressive driving
Malfunctioning vehicle, i.e. defective brakes, non-responsive steering, etc.
And so on…
Understanding the cause of any given accident is step one because this is where the foundation of the personal injury claim lies. Your personal injury lawyer will have to establish negligence on part of the reckless driver and prove how their careless actions or inaction led to the accident. They’ll paint a picture of how the accident could’ve been avoided or at least controlled in intensity if the said driver had acted responsibly.
Your personal injury attorney will start by discussing how the accident happened, and then they’ll show you how you can prove liability on part of the negligent party. However, that is merely a snippet of how this whole thing works, read on to understand how we handle car accident cases and why each stage is important.
How We Handle Car Crash Cases
The biggest trouble with car accident cases is that the victims are usually desperate for compensation, so much so that they sometimes settle for the very first offer put forward by the liable party, even if it is highly inadequate. This is irreversible, later down the road, when you need more money to cover your losses, you won’t get it.
Thus, we first start with an initial consultation session with our clients and show them why their patience is of the utmost importance here. Plus, since we don’t pressure our clients to pay upfront, it is very easy for them to open up to us about their case and seek our help. We work on a contingency basis which means that we’ll only ask for money after we’ve won our clients the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Here’s how it all works:
Investigating The Details Of The Case & Gathering Evidence
We first start with what the victim has to tell, how much they can remember about the event. If they, by any chance, recorded any evidence, we begin our work from there. If not, then our lawyers will investigate the event from the beginning, using the post-accident scene as a reference.
This phase may also unveil some other evidence as well such as footage from surveillance cameras or a passerby’s dashcam. If not, then our lawyers will seek out the services of accident reconstruction experts to get a better idea of how the crash happened.
When all the facts are revealed here, it becomes very easy to assign blame, determine whether one party is solely responsible for the crash or if there are multiple liabilities, and whether or not the victim has a share in the blame. With these details in the picture, the lawyer can start forming a basis for the case and the main argument in favor of the client.
Police reports are also vital here, and hopefully, you did not leave the crash scene before the reporting officers showed up. Their observations will also affect your position in the case, so be sure that you’re there to report your version of the narrative. This will help your lawyers strengthen your case by many folds.
Identifying All The Liable Parties
The list of potential at-fault parties in car accidents is not as big as in some other cases, but your case may as well have two or more responsible parties that you can sue for compensation. Negligence on part of the other driver is the baseline, of course, but there is much more to it.
Perhaps they were drunk, if so, then where did they get the drinks? Were they at a bar that over-served them, or perhaps they had a bit too much at dinner? In either case, the bar or restaurant will be considered partly liable for your damages.
Maybe the brakes did not work as effectively as they should have. This could be due to maintenance inadequacies, or maybe the manufacturer didn’t do a good enough job with the brakes in the first place. Thus either the manufacturer or the maintenance crew will be partly liable in such a scenario.
Was the negligent driver driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the accident? If so, then their employer will also be dragged into the commercial truck case for failing to exercise enough control over their employees and preventing compromise on road safety.
Note that in the event of an Uber or Lyft ride accident, things may be a bit tricky, but there are certain situations where the company can be held liable.
Perhaps the road was too uneven or congested, or there were numerous hazards in the way which somehow made it hard to exercise caution. If you can prove that the relevant government agency knew about the trouble and had a reasonable window of time to act, but they didn’t, then they’ll be considered liable too.
However, in the last case, your time limit for filing a lawsuit, as per the statute of limitations, against the liable party, a government agency, will be much shorter, so delays are not possible here.
The possibilities don’t end here, the specifics of every case will be unique, so it is best to discuss the details with your lawyer before proceeding.
Calculating The Total Damages Caused By The Accident
Next comes the part where your lawyer will assess the severity of damage caused by the accident. Even in moderately intense crashes, the damages can be unforgiving. The odds of sustaining catastrophic injuries are too high to be ignored. A head-on collision, for instance, is most certainly going to leave the victim with severe trauma, but even a rear-end collision can be dangerous.
Thus a more accurate way to judge the severity of an accident is to brush through the injuries and the associated damages rather than basing the argument on the type of the accident itself. Here are the possible damages sustained by accident victims:
Car Accident Injuries
The first and foremost observation will be the medical records to see how bad the crash was. In severe cases, the victim can face serious trauma in the form of traumatic brain injury, neck injury, spinal cord injury, internal organ damage, broken bones, paralysis, and amputation.
Bruises, lacerations, scarring, and surface damage is bound to happen even in medium intensity situations, however, they may become more serious if the crash is more severe. In any case, most of these injuries can be long-term or permanent in which case, the compensation for medical expenses will be higher.
After assessing the severity of the injuries, to get some context, your lawyer will then brush through your medical bills and receipts to see how severe the economic losses are. The economic damages are not limited only to the medical costs but also cover property damage (in this case, the repair costs for your car), loss of income, loss of earning ability (even if partial), and extra expenses necessitated by the accident.
Your lawyer will simply sum up these costs, factor in any long-term expenses and inflation in case of prolonged therapy, and then present an estimate of your financial losses.
However, this is only one half of the picture.
Wrongful Death Damages
In the case of a fatal car accident, the deceased victim’s survivors (parents, spouse, or children) will be entitled to compensation for the financial and non-economic losses (loss of consortium) incurred upon them. In this case, the survivors can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable parties.
The details for a wrongful death settlement are a bit different since the actual victim is no more.
In rare cases, it may come to light that the negligent party had some mal-intent in the tragedy or that they hurt you on purpose. If so, then your compensation will further swell with punitive damages which serve to financially punish the liable party either for their nefarious intent or gross negligence. However, this does not apply in every case, but if it can in yours, then your lawyer will see to it that it does.
The injuries will also cause the sufferer immense pain and emotional trauma. This pain and suffering is collectively defined under the umbrella of non-economic damages. The sufferer will have to bear this burden for a limited time, or perhaps even for life, i.e. in the case of an amputation, or if some motor functions are irreversibly damaged, loss of enjoyment of life due to severe emotional trauma, etc.
However, there is no way of putting a number on these sufferings.
Your lawyer will instead use the multiplier method and use a multiple between 1.5 and 5, based on how bad the crash was, and the resultant number will be the sum of your economic and non-economic damages.
Legal Representation For Settlement Negotiations & Lawsuit
You have two ways to get compensated in a car accident case, the simpler of the two options is to settle matters via negotiations. Of course, if things don’t work out as you’d hoped they would, you can file an accident lawsuit and let a jury decide the outcome of your personal injury case.
However, in most cases, personal injury legal claims are resolved via settlement negotiations rather than lawsuits. Here, you’ll have to discuss the case with the insurance adjuster representing the liable party and present your accident claim before them. However, there are some problems with doing so on your own, most prominently you risk accidentally downplaying your losses.
Even if you don’t say anything of the sort, the insurance adjuster will get you to follow their line of questioning so that they can trap you somehow. This won’t happen if your lawyer accompanies you here, and that is what every professional would do. Not only will your lawyer represent you effectively but also prepare you for any exchange with the insurance adjuster, if needed.
Of course, you always reserve the right to skip the negotiations if you feel that they’re going nowhere. If your case goes to court, your lawyer will deal with the eyewitnesses to prepare the witness statements, produce evidence before the court, bring expert witnesses on board, present accident reconstructionist reports to further support your narrative. In short, if you do get to see the inside of a courtroom, your lawyer will strive to make it as simples as possible for you.
However, you can settle the case before going to trial if you want to.
At all stages, you’ll have our support and guidance to help you make informed decisions.
What Can Our Attorneys Do To Help You?
Additional to everything that was mentioned above, we'll go the extra mile for you:
We Offer Free Initial Consultation
Don't hold back from contacting us for your case because we offer free consultations to all of our clients. When you come to our office we'll assess your case and lay down all the options before you so that you know how you can better take up your fight for financial compensation.
Don't hesitate in reaching out to us.
We'll Ensure That your Interests Are Represented Well
For us, you are not only a client but someone who has gone through a major trauma. We'll make it a point to represent you in the best possible way so that your position is always strong in the case, your interests are our interests.
Professionalism is our core value
We believe in laying down all the possible options for our clients instead of forcing them to move down a fixed path. Once they've made up their mind. we'll begin our step-by-step meticulous operation to explore the intricacies of the case and use them in the favor of our clients.
No shortcuts here, professionalism is like oxygen to us.
We'll Fight For You Without Any Advance On Our Attorney Fees
Most people hold back from getting experienced lawyers on board and instead settle for an inadequate sum on their own because they feel that hiring legal help will set them back by a lot when they have very little to spare. This is a genuine concern but a flawed reaction.
We Are The People Law Group is a nationwide operational legal firm with a history of serving clients without upfront payments (contingency fee model), thus you should not let money problems get in the way. Remember that your decision here will be irreversible, so make the smart choice.