When people are involved in a car accident, there are four reasons why they should seriously consider getting an attorney.
In 2013, the North Carolina Department of Transportation reported that more than 220,000 traffic accidents occurred throughout the state. Distractions, intoxicated drivers, speeding, reckless behaviors, weather conditions, overloaded semis and mechanical problems are rampant issues for motorists and this means a crash often occurs when people least expect it.
A sudden injury and the overall shock of dealing with a collision can be overwhelming for people to handle. However, the first thing they should do is consider getting legal representation. Even if an accident seems minor in appearance, there are four reasons why having an attorney is a wise choice.
1. Determining Accident Fault
One of the mistakes drivers make, according to American Family Insurance, is trying to blame the other driver or making a statement that could incriminate themselves. Before people speak to anyone, they should make a phone call to a personal injury attorney. The attorney will provide them counsel on what they should and should not say. For example, it is commonplace for people to automatically say "I'm sorry" in response to a tragic event. However, at an accident scene, saying this could give the impression that the person is taking responsibility for the accident.
2. Calculating Appropriate Compensation
Victims of negligence have the legal right to pursue appropriate compensation for their injury but the average person does not understand exactly what that means. An attorney can sit down with people and explain what kinds of compensation they may be able to ask for. This compensation includes the following:
- Pain and suffering - this category involves not only physical pain but mental and emotional trauma that the accident caused.
- Medical costs - any medical care connected to the accident can be claimed under this category. This includes emergency medicine, hospitalizations, the need for additional surgery, rehabilitative programs and ongoing care if the victim is left permanently disabled.
- Loss of consortium - spouses of victims can ask for financial compensation to make up for the loss of companionship or intimacy that the accident caused.
Additionally, if people were injured because a company acted in an especially reckless manner, the court may order that company or party to pay punitive damages. These damages can be significant as they are intended to act as a warning to others.
3. Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Attorneys have years of experience dealing with insurance companies, and they are familiar with the strategies these insurers use to avoid paying out what a victim may be entitled to. An attorney can examine the settlement offer to determine whether it is fair, negotiate on behalf of the client to reach a settlement that will give the victim the best results, or reject the settlement and pursue the victim's case in court.
4. Access to Other Professionals and Experts
Traffic accidents can become complicated very quickly and people who retain an attorney have the advantage of the attorney's network of accident experts. These include people who can reconstruct the accident, testify on a mechanical malfunction in the automobile and give testimony as to how the accident has affected the victim.
Injuries sustained in traffic accidents can cause problems for years afterward. People may find it beneficial to talk to a Winston-Salem attorney about their options.