Once the shock of being in an automobile accident has worn off, you likely have quite a few questions. You’ve already started to gather the evidence you need to launch a case against the negligent party, and you’ve started your search for an attorney who can help you. Naturally, you want to know what will happen with your case and how to proceed. These are questions that you can discuss with your personal injury attorney. Keep in mind though that all cases are different, and the rules and regulations can vary from state to state. These are some of the most common questions and the basic answers. Always listen to what a qualified attorney in your area has to say about the matter.
How Much Could You Receive in Damages?
After an accident, the bills start piling up. You are paying medical expenses, and you might not be able to work. This results in lost wages and more missed bills. You want to know that your case could help you to make up for the losses caused by the accident. However, it can be difficult to come up with an exact number. You need to first show that the other person was liable, or at least partially liable, for the injuries. If they are fully liable, the damages that you receive would be higher. Another factor is the extent of the damage and injuries. If the injuries are severe, it could increase the amount of potential damages you could recover.
Other determining factors include the amount of the medical bills and the amount of the lost wages. There could also be some intangibles that affect the outcome, such as mental anguish.
Should You Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company and Attorney?
No matter how nice they might seem to you at first, this is one of the worst things you could do. They are looking out for their own interests, not yours. They will ask you how you are and seem as though they are showing general concern. If you answer that you are fine, they can use your statement against you when it comes to rewarding damages. In addition, they may try to get you to sign a settlement agreement. This can seem like a fast way to get the money you need for your growing bills, but it is never a good idea. They will try to offer a far lower amount than what you deserve most of the time. Never talk with them on your own. Always work with an attorney.
Do You Have to Go to Court?
One of the other questions that many have is whether they will have to go to court. Most people dread this idea, and that’s normal. The answer will depend on whether you and your attorney can come to a settlement agreement with the other insurance company. The attorneys will negotiate with the company to try to reach a settlement deal that is fair to you. If you are unable to come to an agreement, then your attorney may say that you should go to court. Most of the time, people do not have to go to court. Settling long before a trial is the norm.
If you actually do need to go to court, your attorney will let you know exactly what you should expect. Going to a trial could actually be beneficial. If the insurance company is unwilling to offer a higher amount during the negotiations, the idea of a trial bringing their name into the public in a negative fashion could be enough to get them to raise their offer. In addition, a trial could help to garner more sympathy for the injured party, and the potential for receiving higher damages is possible.
How Long Does It Take?
How much time will you have to spend on the case? Most of the time, these cases will settle in less than a year, and many actually settle around the six to eight month mark. It really depends on a number of different factors, including the amount of evidence available that points to the other party being negligent, the type of injury, and the amount of money that is involved in the case. The first few months after the accident usually involved getting those facts straight and unraveling what really happened. It may also take this long to determine how extensive the injuries are and how long it will take to recover fully. Even after you know all of these factors it still takes time to go back and forth in negotiations with the insurance company.
When you speak with your own attorney, he or she will be able to give you a better idea of exactly what will happen with your personal injury case, including an estimate of how long it might take. It is very important that you realize that it is only an estimate though.
How Long Do You Have to File?
After you’ve been in an accident, the amount of time you have to file your case before the statute of limitations runs out is usually two years. However, different locations and circumstances could alter this. You do not want to wait to start the proceedings, and that means you should get in touch with an attorney as quickly as possible after the accident.
Working with an attorney from the start allows them to have access to everything that’s happening in the case while it is still fresh. They may want to interview witnesses, for example. The information they get from a witness who saw the accident a week ago is likely going to be better than information received from a witness who saw something happen six months ago.
When you are choosing an attorney for your auto accident case, make sure that you choose someone who has plenty of experience in the field and who has a good reputation. If they aren’t able to answer your questions, it might not be a good idea to work with them.