The stress and emotional trauma after a car accident can be quite an unpleasant experience. The incident could have you worrying about a host of issues; car repairs, insurance companies, loss of income, etc. However, your first priority should be recovering from your injuries. Number two on your list should be hiring a car accident lawyer.
Herschensohn Law Lawyers – Washington Personal Injury Lawyers can help to put your mind and ease while you focus on your recovery. A personal injury attorney has many different responsibilities. They’ll give you the time to heal while they fight for your right to receive compensation for your damages.
5 Responsibilities of a Personal Injury Attorney in a Car Accident Case
While continuing your medical treatment or recovering from your injuries, your legal team will be busy taking care of the many responsibilities of ensuring that your personal injury case recovers all the damages you seek.
Your lawyer’s responsibility is to navigate the legal system and ensure that all of your ducks are in a row for the case. If this is your first experience with a car accident case and you are uncertain what your lawyer will do for you, here are a few things they’ll do.
Not all car accident lawsuits are the same. What may seem like an easy case to win may have potential flaws that the defendant’s legal team will exploit. Your personal injury attorney and their team of experts will evaluate your case and determine the best course of action. After carefully evaluating all the facts, they’ll determine the best way to proceed with your case.
Gathering of Evidence
Before moving forward with filing the lawsuit, your attorney will begin the time-consuming process of gathering evidence to prove that the other party was negligent and the cause of the accident and your injuries. This evidence can include the following:
- Police accident reports
- Video and photos of the scene of the accident
- Eyewitness statements
- Medical records
- Employer documentation of time off from work
Evaluation of Damages
Your personal injury attorney will also evaluate the full extent of your damages. This goes a bit deeper than just medical expenses and can take some time. Your legal team will evaluate and determine a monetary value for things like:
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Lost current wages and the possibility of lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- The price of emotional trauma
- Spousal or dependant loss of consortium
Discovery Phase Negotiations
Your personal injury lawyer’s responsible for negotiating with the defendant’s legal team to ensure you receive a favorable settlement. The discovery phase of a lawsuit takes place when both parties legal teams meet and present their evidence. The ultimate goal of the discovery phase is to come to a mutually agreed-upon outcome to avoid a costly and sometimes lengthy trial. Many personal injury cases result in a settlement during this phase.
Discovery phase negotiations can include:
- Eyewitness and expert depositions
- The use of mediators and arbitrators
- Negotiating a settlement package
Preparing for Litigation
The case will go to trial if neither party can reach an acceptable settlement amount. Your lawyer will formally file the lawsuit with the court and prepare their strategy. Each state has different rules regarding how long a personal injury case can be filed. The Washington State Personal Injury Lawsuit Statute of Limitations is wet three years from the accident date.
Responsibilities of a Personal Injury Attorney: The Bottom Line
When boiled down, your personal injury attorney’s first and most important responsibility is to give you peace of mind by feeling confident they’re working for you. This includes the preparation of your case and handling the sometimes difficult negotiation phase with the defendant’s legal team to ensure that you’re properly compensated for your damages.
Fortunately, most attorneys that take on car accident cases work on a contingency basis. This means that they won’t ask for any up-front payment for taking on your lawsuit. They’ll be paid a percentage of your settlement if, in fact, there is one.
If you’ve been the victim of a car accident, don’t hesitate to hire legal representation. Your lawyer will be responsible for successfully negotiating a settlement. Your responsibility is to regain your health and let them do the legal work.