If it’s obvious the other driver was at fault in an automobile crash, and you just need to collect compensation for damage to your car, then you should be able to file a claim with their insurance company without an attorney.
On the other hand, if there’s any disagreement about who was at fault, you want to consider hiring a personal injury attorney to help you make your case. They can help you make sure you’ve got the right evidence and documents to support your side of the story.
Pain and Suffering
If you’re just trying to collect compensation for damage to your car and/or medical bills, asking for that amount is straightforward and may not require a lawyer. However, if you plan to claim compensation for pain and suffering (mental and physical damage), then it’s more difficult to quantify. If you’ve suffered intangible damage as a result of a crash, you are entitled to compensation and there are ways to calculate how much you may be able to claim.
A qualified personal injury attorney can help you determine how much you should be compensated for your pain and suffering, as well as help you produce documents to support your case. These documents generally include:
• Medical records and bills;
• Doctor notes;
• Disability reports;
• Future medical care, costs, and physical limitation reports;
• Police report of the accident;
• Witness statements; and
• Photos of any scarring or disfigurement as a result of injuries suffered during the accident.
A personal injury lawyer can also help you present the necessary documents to the other driver’s insurance company. If you let the insurance company conduct their own investigation, they’ll choose which documents to consider and which ones they’d rather ignore when determining the value of your pain and suffering.
If the other driver was at fault and didn’t have insurance, or had the minimum amount of insurance required by law and it’s not enough to cover the damages you suffered, you might want to consult a personal injury attorney to help you argue your case. You might have to take the other driver to court and ask for a court order requiring the other driver to pay your expenses out of their own pocket.
A professional attorney can help represent your rights in court, but more importantly, they can advise you as to whether you should go that route at all. Ideally, you should have your own insurance and most automobile insurance plans include coverage for uninsured and underinsured drivers. This means, even if the other driver was at fault, your insurance company will pay for the damages not covered by their insurance. But you have a window of opportunity after the accident in which to file a claim with your insurance company, and in some cases, taking the underinsured driver to court might negate your ability to file a claim with your own insurance company. A personal injury attorney can look over your plan, talk with your insurance company, and advise you about the best course of action for your situation.
Keep in mind, if the other driver doesn’t have enough money to purchase adequate automobile insurance, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to pay you for the damage they did, even with a court order for them to do so.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or some other type of accident, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.