If you’ve been involved in a car accident, there are probably plenty of questions running through your mind:
- How am I going to deal with the medical bills?
- Who’s responsible for repairing or replacing my vehicle?
- Will I have to go to court?
Fortunately, most car accident cases aren’t as complicated, or as full of surprising twists and turns, as your typical television courtroom drama. On average, only a small percentage of accident cases actually end up in a courtroom; even if a lawsuit is filed, the opposing parties often reach a settlement on their own, sparing the expense and uncertainty of a trial. We recently published an article to explain car accident court process.
Every case is different, of course. But whether they end up in the court system or not, car accident cases that have successful outcomes tend to have certain key elements in common. Attorneys talk about the necessity of establishing liability, proof of damages, and, in some cases, obtaining solid expert testimony.
But what it comes down to is this: having the law, the evidence, and professional expertise on your side.
Here are some significant factors that can improve your chances of getting your accident claim resolved in a fair and timely manner.
The Importance of Prompt Medical Care
It’s surprising how many people decline to get checked out by paramedics or other medical personnel in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. They may think they’re “just shook up,” but certain injuries from a collision, such as a head injury or whiplash, may not be apparent right away.
“We do see delayed symptoms,” says Bill Marlin, a personal injury attorney with FDAzar. “Immediately after the event, some clients feel like they’re okay — and the next day they’re in pain or nauseous.”
Sometimes people who’ve been involved in an accident decline an ambulance trip to the emergency room because they are worried about the expense involved. But even if you don’t take that ride, it makes sense to go see a doctor right away, preferably the same day, in order to receive proper care.
Such a move is not only good for your health, but it helps down the line, in any possible accident claim you might have. Insurance companies have been known to use a delay in care to try to justify reducing the value of your claim.
Calling the Police and Gathering Evidence
Your first priority should be medical care, but it’s also important to summon the police after an accident. The police will investigate the circumstances of the accident, and the evidence they gather can be important in determining who’s at fault in the crash.
In Colorado, the police will file an accident report if the accident involves injury or death or the property damage exceeds $1000, and that record can also be important to your case.
In addition, you can do some evidence-gathering yourself in the wake of an accident. After checking everyone for injuries, you should exchange insurance information with the other driver, get contact information for any witnesses before they leave the scene, and, if possible, take photographs of the damage involved and the scene surrounding the accident.
Getting the Professionals Involved
If you believe you’ve been injured or suffered property damage through no fault of your own, then you’re probably going to be pursuing an accident claim against the responsible party and his or her insurance company.
And that may well mean consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney, one who specializes in car accident cases, to determine the best way to proceed.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can review the police reports and the insurance coverage involved and make a detailed assessment of the impact the accident has had on your daily life.
The attorney should also have an array of resources to draw upon to resolve your case as effectively as possible, from ways to help with your medical bills to calling in credible experts, who can assist with everything from accident reconstruction to evaluating lost wages and rehabilitation costs.
In addition, a skilled car accident lawyer will know what procedures and deadlines you’re facing in filing a case — a particular concern if a government entity is involved, as in some bus accidents — as well as what actions to take to preserve evidence that might otherwise get lost.
No one can guarantee that an accident victim is going to prevail in every instance. But having the law, the evidence, and qualified professionals on your side can greatly increase your chances of success.
Contact a Car Insurance Lawyer at Franklin D. Azar & Associates
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Greenwood Village, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation.