If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you’ll be seeking fair financial compensation. But when you’re alone, negotiating a settlement or filing a lawsuit can be a stressful affair. With a good car accident attorney by your side, you’re well-supported and can build the strongest personal injury case possible. Let’s take a look at exactly how to strengthen your case and win a fair settlement in Houston, TX.
How to Build a Strong Case With Your Car Accident Attorney
Stay Calm at the Car Crash Scene
The moments following a car accident can significantly impact the strength of your case. Even if you’re reading this at a later date, it helps to understand what you did well at the scene or where you might have slipped up.
Always stay calm and avoid any urge to start throwing blame at the other driver. Likewise, don’t apologize, which can be construed as an admission of guilt. In fact, it’s best to speak as little as possible beyond asking the other driver for their name, phone number, address, license plate, driver’s license number, insurance details, and the make, model, and year of their vehicle.
File a Police Report Right Away
In Texas, a crash only needs to be reported to the police in the case of injury, death, or over $1,000 or property damage. So if you’re injured or your car is badly damaged, immediately file a police report.
Even if you feel fine and your vehicle seems undamaged, it’s advisable to file a police report. Adrenaline often masks the pain of an injury, and you might be more seriously hurt than you realize. Your car might also have internal problems that aren’t immediately apparent. Without a police report, it will be much harder to claim damages later on.
Collect Evidence at the Scene
While you wait for the police to arrive, unless you need urgent medical attention, start gathering vital evidence. An attorney can hunt down this crash-scene evidence later on, but anything you gather at that moment will greatly expedite the whole process. Always remember, the key to a super-strong personal injury case is proving beyond a doubt the liability of the at-fault party. In your situation, this is the other driver.
Take photos and videos of the crash scene, the vehicles involved, any physical injuries sustained, and any skid marks on the road. Approach witnesses and politely ask for their names and phone numbers. Note down any remarks made by anyone at the scene. When the police arrive, request their name, badge number, and department, and also ask for a copy of their report.
What If You Can’t Gather Evidence?
If you’re unable to collect these details because of your injury or some other reason, a family member or friend should do it for you. You can also contact your lawyer, if you already have one, who can hire an investigator to visit the crash scene on your behalf.
Get Immediate Medical Attention
As mentioned, the symptoms of many road accident injuries don’t become apparent until hours, days, or even weeks later. Always seek medical help following an accident. Not only will a doctor catch any urgent issues before they get worse, but they’ll also provide medical records that will be invaluable during your case. Follow up on the initial evaluation with a visit to your own personal physician.
In all your interactions with doctors, request copies of their medical records and note down any prescriptions and specialist treatments they recommend. Follow all doctor’s orders to the letter, including medication and further appointments; if you miss one, your injury won’t appear as genuine. And, of course, keep track of your medical bills.
Promptly Hire a Car Accident Attorney
Insurance companies love it when a claimant contacts them directly without a lawyer by their side. If you start trying to negotiate alone, you can easily say something wrong that will cost you your claim, so don’t give the insurance company this satisfaction.
Hire an attorney at once who can handle all the negotiations for you. It’s best to find an attorney who specializes in car accident cases in Texas and has plenty of experience winning large settlements for their clients. Also, hire one who works on a “no fee if no recovery” basis and has a great deal of confidence in your claim.
How an Attorney Will Strengthen Your Personal Injury Case
Hiring an attorney at the outset of legal proceedings is by far the best thing you can do to strengthen your claim and maximize your compensation. In fact, claimants who hire a personal injury attorney receive more than three times as much money in their final settlement, on average. Here’s how an attorney achieves this:
Put Legal Power Back in Your Hands
Insurance companies are experienced in persuading claimants that you don’t have a firm legal footing from which to stake a claim. But a good attorney has the legal know-how to clarify your rights to fair compensation, which are extensive in an at-fault state like Texas. At-fault means the individual proven to be responsible for the accident – the other driver – must pay for all damages.
An attorney will know exactly what damages you can claim for, including past and future medical bills, lost wages and benefits, car repair costs, pain and suffering, permanent disability, loss of consortium, and much more. They’ll also know how much compensation you can realistically expect and how to go about proving the worth of each factor.
Build a Case on Irrefutable Evidence
Once you know the full extent of the damages you can claim, the key to success is evidence. By presenting sufficient evidence, you must prove that the other driver was responsible, and you must also prove the claimed monetary value of your damages. Personal injury attorneys are experts at gathering just the right evidence, including things you might have trouble acquiring alone, such as surveillance camera footage and specialist expert witnesses.
The most important evidence in a car accident case is photos and videos of the scene, photos and videos of injured victims, the police report, and eyewitness reports and videos. You also need to produce medical reports and bills and proof of all expenses incurred as a result of the accident. If you’re claiming lost income, you’ll need to present pay stubs, tax reports, and letters from your employer and doctor. All of this evidence, and more, your attorney can help you collect.
Access Expert Witnesses in Houston, TX
Experienced attorneys have databases of local expert witnesses who can often further strengthen your case. For example, an accident reconstruction expert can resolve a disagreement over who caused the accident. A highway safety expert might testify about road conditions on the day of the collision.
An independent physician may be called in to testify regarding your injuries. Likewise, a mental health expert could verify any psychological suffering or damage you’ve experienced. A forensic accounting expert could help prove your loss of long-term income. There are many other kinds of expert witnesses available in Houston, TX and most big cities.
Bolster Your Negotiating Power
Above all, your attorney can negotiate expertly on your behalf. Most cases are resolved with a settlement agreement. But if your case ends up going to court, your attorney will be there to fight in your corner before a jury. Simply having an attorney with a reputation for taking trials to court further bolsters your hand in settlement negotiations.
Contact Houston Injury Lawyers today for an experienced attorney who can maximize your compensation. We work aggressively to win you the settlement and peace of mind you deserve.