Any auto collision can be stressful, scary, and overwhelming, but if you've been injured in a car accident, you may also be wondering how to pay for your medical bills or support your family. While the insurance carrier may offer you a settlement, it may not be fair. For this reason, you need someone in your corner, fighting for you. Check out these three reasons you should hire an accident attorney after an auto collision.
You Shouldn't Have to Talk With Anyone About the Accident
There are many reasons you may not want to talk about the accident, such as emotional trauma caused by the collision. However, regardless of the severity of your physical or emotional injuries, talking about the accident may actually negatively impact your settlement. In particular, you must be mindful when speaking with the other driver's insurance carrier. They will want to speak with you to hear your version of the accident. However, they are looking for anything to poke holes in your story to reduce your settlement. Even an innocent comment may be used against you to accuse you of causing the accident or lying about your injuries.
This knowledge alone may cause added stress, but if you hire an attorney, they will speak with the insurance carrier for you. In fact, they'll speak to everyone regarding the accident, including witnesses, doctors, etc., so you can focus on healing. An attorney knows what information must be reported and what words or statements may be misinterpreted.
You May Need to Prove You Didn't Cause the Accident
In some cases, one driver isn't 100 percent responsible for the accident. You may be considered partially responsible because you weren't being a defensive driver. You may have been distracted, following too closely, speeding, etc. This can affect your settlement in one of two ways. In most cases, your claim will simply be reduced. This is known as comparative negligence, and most states follow this rule. With comparative negligence, your settlement is reduced to adjust for your responsibility. If you are considered 20 percent responsible, your settlement is reduced by 20 percent. If you are more than 50 percent responsible, however, your claim will likely be denied.
A few states follow the contributory negligence rule. If your state follows this rule and you are found partially responsible, then you get nothing. It doesn't matter if you are less than 50 percent responsible; with contributory negligence, anyone who contributed to the accident is responsible and does not qualify for a settlement.
Your Injuries May Be Long-Term or Include Pain and Suffering
Different types of accidents result in different types of injuries. If you break your arm in a collision and it heals well, leaving no long-lasting effects, your medical bills are easy to calculate. However, if that broken arm caused nerve damage, it causes long-lasting effects, which are often considered pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can include emotional and physical injuries. For example, with the broken arm, the nerve damage is a long-lasting (or permanent) physical injury, but having some or all loss of movement in your arm may also affect your metal health, causing depression, anxiety, anger, etc.
These injuries are harder to prove and even harder to calculate, especially if they involve difficult-to-measure injuries like mood disorders. Without an attorney, it's up to you to prove you need a bigger settlement to pay for future medical bills, therapy, lost income, etc. An attorney, however, will have a better chance of proving you deserve a bigger settlement because they know what proof is needed and how to negotiate well.
If you've been injured in an auto accident, you may feel partially responsible, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't fight for a fair settlement to pay for your injuries. With an attorney, you can focus on overcoming your physical and emotional injuries instead of insurance and lawsuits. For more information about accident settlements or how an attorney can help you, contact an auto accident attorney at a law firm like the Labine Law Firm in your area today.