Common Causes of Car Accidents
One of the keys to any auto accident injury case is the ability of the injured party to prove that the their injuries were caused by the negligence of the other driver(s). Below is a list of factors which frequently contribute to auto accidents that result in personal injury lawsuits:
- Texting while driving or use of a cellular telephone
- Other distractions inside or outside the car
- Drunk driving
- Driving while impaired by prescription drugs
- Driving during peak or rush hours
- Driving a car that is in disrepair or in need of maintenance
- Being a younger or inexperienced driver
Steps to Follow After an Austin Accident
The moments immediately after a car crash can be confusing. If there are no serious injuries and the cars are operable, the drivers involved in the crash should move their cars to a safe location out of the way of moving traffic. It is important to get the following pertinent information from the other driver, as police reports can contain inaccurate or missing information:
- Complete name, address, and phone numbers
- Name of the driver’s cell phone carrier, if you believe the driver was using his or her cell phone at the time of the crash
- Employer’s name and address
- Driver’s license number, insurance company and policy number, and license plate number
- Name and phone number of someone who can reach the driver if needed
- Names and contact information of any eyewitnesses
- Name, badge number, and phone number of any investigating police officer
Pictures should also be taken of the damage to the cars and the accident scene itself, especially if there are skid marks or debris. If you are injured, pictures should be taken of your injuries as soon as possible and throughout the healing process.
Things to Avoid Doing After a Car Accident
After an accident, you might be confused, scared and disorientated. You may not know what to do, or how to handle things. You have already suffered much and know that you don’t want to make your situation worse for yourself. There are a few things that you absolutely should not do after an accident, including:
1. Do not delay seeking the medical treatment that you need
If you are hurt, you need medical care. Do not let the fear of how much it might cost deter you from seeking the medical care you need. Do not hide symptoms or injuries from your doctor and tell your doctor everything about your injuries. While you might not feel badly right after the accident, a little bump to the head could actually be a serious traumatic brain injury that could have serious complications if not properly treated.
Similarly, you may have suffered internal injuries in your accident. Don’t ignore the doctor’s orders and complete whatever course of treatment that is prescribed for your injuries. Get the medical care that you need, so that you can get better as soon as possible.
2. Don’t communicate with the other party’s insurance company
The other party’s insurance company will likely try to contact you to discuss the accident. These people are not your friends, no matter what they might say, so do not talk to them. They represent the other person involved in the accident, and do not represent your interests.
3. Don’t delay in contacting a lawyer
Do not hesitate when it comes to getting in touch with a personal injury attorney. You need legal assistance on your personal injury case as soon as possible. Your lawyer will need to get to work building your case, conducting interviews and collecting evidence, and every day that you delay you risk evidence disappearing forever.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your auto accident case is in your best interest because your lawyer knows the legal process and can take care of a lot of the legal aspects of your case for you, which gives you more time to focus on what truly matters – getting better and getting your life back on track. Your lawyer:
- Will have experience dealing with insurance companies and personal injury claims.
- Will work with your insurance company to figure out what kind of coverage is available for your accident.
- Will also work, negotiate, or fight the other party’s insurance company, claim adjuster, and lawyer, on your behalf to get you what you deserve for your injuries, pain and suffering.
- Will also have the knowledge required to handle all of the paperwork associated with your personal injury claim and will be familiar with all of the deadlines that are associated with filing your claim.
Having a personal injury lawyer standing by your side and helping you handle your personal injury claim allows you the chance to focus on your recovery.
How Much Will it Cost to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
At Sutliff and Stout, we handle our auto accident clients on a contingency fee basis. This means that clients pay nothing unless their case is successfully resolved either by winning at trial or by negotiating a settlement. The purpose of a contingency fee arrangement is to help clients in seeking the justice they deserve by making personal injury legal representation affordable. If the client doesn’t win, no payment is due.
Upon winning or settling the client’s case, the attorney’s fee will be paid out of a percentage of the client’s award or settlement, rather than out of the client’s pocket. The percentage that will be paid is something that the client and the attorney decide prior to agreeing to representation, when preparing a representation agreement. How much the attorney’s fee will be can depend on whether the case settles or goes to court, and could also depend on how long and complicated the case ultimately turns out to be. A contingency fee payment arrangement eliminates the financial risk to the client so that our clients can get the justice they deserve. Hiring an attorney should ever get in the way of your ability to obtain justice.
Will I End Up In Court?
It may be surprising to learn that very few personal injury cases actually make it to court. Normally, personal injury cases, like automobile accident cases, get resolved through settlement negotiations. Cases only go to court when no settlement agreement can be reached between the parties involved.
There are a number of reasons why personal injury lawyers try to resolve cases via settlements rather than going forward to trial. For instance, when going up against an attorney or law firm with a proven track record of winning in court, it might be a good legal strategy to try to settle so that circumstances can be controlled, rather than leaving things to be decided by a judge or jury. Settlements are also a popular resolution method since they are generally quicker than going to court. Court proceedings are complex, advance according to a schedule, and can drag on for months or years. Court proceedings can be stretched out even further by the appeals process.
Settling a personal injury case is a good option since this route of resolution is often more affordable, quicker, and easier to complete than taking a case to court. Settlement negotiations give a lot of control over the outcome of the case to the parties involved. The parties have the opportunity to hash out mutually agreeable terms to resolve their dispute. Settlements are also often a preferred route of resolution because they are less stressful than court proceedings and they take up considerably less time than court proceedings.