If you’ve experienced injury in a car crash and need a settlement to cover your medical expenses and other costs associated with the injury, then in most cases you’ll need the services of an auto accident law firm. But what services, exactly, will you need? There’s actually more than one legal route for you to get car accident compensation, and you may be able to go through the whole process without going to court. Here are the basics of what you need to know:
Auto Accident Injury Claims
Most of the time, the first step you’d want to take is filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company; the at-fault’s driver’s liability insurance will cover your injury-related expenses up to a certain point (remember, if you were at fault, your own insurance will not cover you unless you’ve added personal injury protection). Car accident settlements from the insurance company can be handled without an attorney if they’re very simple, but hiring an auto accident law firm can expedite your claim and ensure you get a fair settlement.
Having a lawyer to back you up is even more important if you don’t want to accept the first offer the insurance company gives you; at this point, negotiations can take place. If you reach an agreement, then you’re done. No lawsuit is necessary, and you can get back to your everyday life.
Auto Personal Injury Lawsuits
If negotiations break down and you can’t reach an agreement with the insurance company, then you’ll need to actually file a personal injury lawsuit. Again though, the lawyers from an auto accident law firm can help you avoid court by negotiating up until the last minute. If your case is actually scheduled for a trial, the process may take much longer. However, there is also a possibility of your getting a larger settlement depending on the facts of the case. In addition to the compensatory damages meant to reimburse you, the court can even decide to add punitive damages (intended to punish the defendant) if he or she was driving particularly recklessly.
You’ll want to discuss with your lawyer the pros and cons of accepting a slightly smaller settlement versus extending the legal battle in court. The choice that’s better for you will depend on how strong your case is, the difference between the offered settlement and your desired settlement, and how soon you need to receive your compensation.
Do you have any other questions about the claims process or whether you should file a lawsuit after being hurt in a car accident? Join the discussion in the comments.