Car accidents can be life-changing events. Even if you walk away from the accident unscathed, filing a claim can become a nightmare. For example, complicated state insurance laws often dictate the success of insurance claims. To make matters even worse, if you suffer from debilitating bodily harm, then it only serves to muddy the waters even further. Aside from vehicular damage, you’ll likely have to contend with a long list of medical expenses. Who is responsible for these mounting bills?
It’s important to understand that even if your case seems as though it is cut and dried, you may still have trouble trying to maximize your settlement. Let’s face it: big-name insurance companies belong to an industry that is all about turning profits. That is simply not something that they can do if they are constantly involved in large settlement payouts. It is a business, after all. Of course, you can always combat this by making sure that you have a skilled legal team who knows how to challenge these corporations.
The Ward Law Group has nearly a decade of experience with a wide variety of insurance claims. Moreover, car accident claims are one of the most common types of cases that we take on. If you want to realize the maximum potential out of your settlement, there is simply not a better group of attorneys with which to partner.
Immediate Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Before anything, you’re going to want to contact the police in the event of an accident. Doing so will only serve to bolster your case in the long-run. The police, for instance, will document useful information that will later be utilized in a court of law. Of course, if you are injured in your accident, the most important thing to address before all else is your health. The same is true if the other driver is injured. Always make sure to contact emergency medical services if there are any injuries as a result of your collision.
If you are able, it never hurts to gather information for yourself. When filing a claim, there is never such a thing as having an overabundance of evidence. Everyone these days has a high-quality camera in their front pocket; so, take advantage of that. Obtain pictures of all physical property damages, the license plates of each automobile, and the location of the incident. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that you request a copy of the police report, the other driver’s contact and insurance information, and the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
It is important to note that in times of high stress, we do not always take the necessary steps that we need to in order to optimize our claims. Maybe we forget to take pictures or ask for contact information. And, that is understandable. If all else fails, the best thing you can do is contact an attorney as soon as possible. Collecting information is overwhelming on its own, but so is organizing it and presenting what’s important in court. An experienced attorney will help you with all of these processes.
What Forms of Compensation am I Eligible For?
This is kind of a loaded question, as it heavily depends on your state’s individual laws and the specifics of your case. Additionally, this only becomes more complicated if you or the other driver were injured as a result of the incident. This is especially true if you suffer from long-term injuries. By law, “permanent” injuries make you even more eligible to receive on-going compensation.
When people think of car accidents, the first things that come to mind are property damage and medical expenses. This makes a lot of sense, as these are the most apparent forms of damage that initially present themselves. One thing to note is that property damage does not begin and end with the damage to your automobile. It also covers other possessions that you may have in your vehicle at the time, such as jewelry, clothes, handheld electronic devices, and more. And, of course, medical expenses are exactly as they seem—visits to the doctor, treatments, physical therapy, emergency procedures, and so on.
But of course, your potential compensation doesn’t simply end there. For example, in the event that you are injured, you may be able to receive lost wages if your injury puts you out of work. Additionally, if the injury is permanent and debilitating, you may be able to receive reparations for lost earnings capacity. This is because there is a high possibility that such bodily harm will affect your ability to excel in your career. Other notable forms of compensation include intangibles, such as emotional trauma and the loss of consortium. The latter describes a situation in which your personal injuries affect your relationships with your loved ones. These kinds of damages are harder to quantify. But, it is certainly possible to do so with an experienced team of attorneys.
An Examination of State Laws
Sometimes, state laws really complicate things. There are, however, some general trends that many states follow. For example, every state has its own statute of limitations, although the time periods for submitting a claim may vary depending upon where you live. For example, in the state of Florida, you typically need to submit your claim within four years of the date of the car accident. If you fail to do so in this period of time, then the court may not hear your case.
Some states are no-fault car insurance states. This means that, when you have an automobile collision, you need to utilize your personal injury protection coverage to receive compensation for your financial damages. It is important to note that this stands true no matter who is at fault for the accident. In these states, there are only a few exceptions that actually allow you to file a claim directly against the third-party at fault. Basically, your injuries have to be defined as “serious” under the letter of the law. “Serious” injuries are categorized as causing significant disfigurement, bone fractures, or significant limitations of major bodily functions.
Another thing to consider is if your state follows the law of comparative negligence. The fact of the matter is, it is often rare for accidents to be 100% the fault of one person or another. In states that follow the law of comparative negligence, the courts calculate this element into the amount of compensation for which you are eligible. So, for example, if it turns out that you are 40% at fault for the occurrence of the incident, then you will only be eligible for reparations that sum up to 60% of your damages.
How The Ward Law Group Can Help
The Ward Law Group has been successfully handling a wide variety of cases for over a decade. Over the years, we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for victims of automobile accidents. Not only that, but our founder, Gregory Ward, once worked as an insurance adjuster. Therefore, he has earned a highly in-depth understanding of how both sides of the system work. Remember, insurance adjusters will fight to minimize your settlement. So, you will need an experienced lawyer on your side.
The Ward Law Group is also passionate about fighting for the compensation that you rightfully deserve. In addition, we care about reaching the widest audience possible while doing so. In fact, Jany Martinez-Ward (our other founder) created The Ward Law Group with this in mind. She wanted to serve both English- and Spanish-speaking clients throughout Florida.
If you are a native Spanish speaker, don’t let that stand in the way of receiving the compensation that you deserve. Contact The Ward Law Group today!