Essential Elements That Affect the Results of a Car Accident Lawsuit
A common question is how much money car accident victims can anticipate receiving in a settlement or judgment. The response is based on many variables.
For example, the severity of a victim’s injuries affects the settlement amount. Typically, permanent injuries lead to larger settlements than temporary ones. In addition, medical records are valuable documentation that supports a claim.
The first step of a car accident lawsuit involves determining who caused the crash. It will require reviewing all evidence, including pictures of the crash scene and vehicles involved. Your lawyer may also look at any security or traffic camera footage from the area.
Witness statements are essential as well. It is best to consult witnesses as soon after the accident as possible so that memories do not fade over time. In addition, eyewitnesses may move away or become unavailable for other reasons. An attorney will also review the crash scene for any evidence indicating who was negligent.
Your lawyer will better understand the potential compensation you could get to make up for your losses once they have documented the full degree of the crash’s financial, emotional, and bodily effects. It will include monetary awards for current and projected medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering.
The other driver may try to shift some of the liability onto you. It is because some states have laws known as contributory negligence and comparative negligence that reduce or eliminate the at-fault driver’s responsibility in some circumstances.
Injured car accident victims can recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and other quantifiable costs. Harder to measure are non-economic consequences like pain and suffering. These damages focus on the impact your injuries have had or will have on your daily life. Examples include the inability to participate in hobbies and activities you enjoyed before your crash, loss of companionship with your spouse, humiliation, or disfigurement.
To calculate your non-economic damages, an insurance company will often use a multiplier on your quantifiable losses to develop a rough estimate for the value of your injury. This multiplier is typically based on age, pre-accident medical condition, and other factors.
Your lawyer will then present a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and explain the legal reasons for their insured being held responsible under New York law. The insurer will usually respond with a counteroffer, and the negotiation process will begin. If an agreement cannot be reached, your attorney may suggest mediation under the supervision of a judge.
Car accident settlements are determined mainly by the severity of any injuries. Severe injuries are costly, resulting in hospitalization and extensive medical treatment, often including rehabilitation. It is also important to consider property damage caused by the crash and lost wages if an injury prevents you from working.
Documentation is essential to proving these damages, including all expenses and costs associated with the injury. Medical bills, travel expenses, loss of income, and the cost of assistive devices are just a few examples. A comprehensive list of all financial losses is used to determine the value of your case.
Moreover, more than one party may be liable in your case. For instance, if a drunk driver was overserved at a pub before the collision, that establishment might be held accountable. A knowledgeable auto accident lawyer will name all parties at fault to pursue the most compensation for your claim. This process can take a few months or even more than a year. However, a successful trial will be worth the investment in your claim.
Every case has a statute of limitations, which means there is a set amount of time in which you can file to hold another party responsible for your injuries and losses. If you try to file outside of this deadline, the court will typically reject your claim. It is based on the idea that over time, witness memories fade, and important documents can get lost.
Your lawyer will need to spend a lot of time collecting evidence for your car accident lawsuit. It can include receipts for any repair expenses, medical records, accident scene photographs, videos, police reports, and eyewitness statements. It can take weeks or months to acquire this information.
The nature of your case also impacts how long it will take to settle. For example, the extent of your financial losses will impact how much the at-fault driver must compensate you. It may also take longer if more than one person is at fault. That is because liability must be apportioned between each party, which can require investigating each party’s role in the crash.
In an automobile accident case, an expert witness can be quite helpful. They are there to give the court information outside the knowledge and experience of a judge or jury (Criminal Practice Direction V Evidence 19A Expert Evidence). Expert witnesses include scientists, forensic engineers, financial experts, forensic psychologists, employment consultants, and senior physicians.
An essential part of your attorney’s job is to gather and organize the necessary documentation for your claim. It can include medical records, receipts for any property damage, witness statements from those who saw the accident, and a record of your pain and suffering, calculated on how severe your injuries are.
A qualified, knowledgeable, and experienced lawyer can get this critical information for their client. They will understand the complexities of your case and be able to break down technical jargon for the jury. They will also be able to identify an expert witness who may be biased and the expert’s conflict of interest. This information is disclosed in court so the opposing party can research this expert witness before they testify.