What Do Car Accident Lawyers Do?

Mar 20, 2024 | Pierre Prialé
What Do Car Accident Lawyers Do?

Being in a car accident is usually a scary and stressful experience. Not only do you have to deal with any injuries and vehicle damage, but there is also a lot of paperwork and legal issues to sort out afterward. This is where car accident attorneys in Manassas can help. But what exactly do they do?

Read on to find out.

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Investigating the Accident

What Do Car Accident Lawyers Do

One of the first things a car accident lawyer will do is investigate what happened to cause the accident.

They will gather evidence like:

  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Photos/videos of the accident scene
  • Vehicle damage reports
  • Medical records documenting injuries

Your lawyer needs to prove the other driver was at fault and negligent in order to get you compensation.

Dealing With Insurance Companies

Dealing With Insurance Companies I How Car Accident Lawyer do

One of the biggest challenges after a car accident is dealing with the insurance companies. Whether it's your own insurance provider or the other driver's, these companies are not on your side. They want to protect their profits, not pay fair compensation for your losses.

Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators. Their job is to minimize how much money the company has to pay out on claims. They will use any tactic or loophole they can find to devalue, delay, or outright deny valid claims to save their employer money.

This is why you need an experienced car accident attorney advocating for you. A skilled lawyer has spent years going up against insurance companies and their underhanded strategies. They know all the games adjusters play and the deceitful language they use. Without professional legal representation, it becomes extremely difficult for the average person to obtain the full compensation they deserve.

Your lawyer will handle all communication and negotiation with the insurance companies, so you don't have to. They understand the intricacies of insurance policies and coverage inside and out, whereas most people struggle to even comprehend the fine print in their own policy. An attorney knows exactly what you are entitled to in terms of damages under the law and your policy contracts.

When insurance adjusters inevitably try to lowball settlement offers or find reasons to limit payouts, your lawyer will push back with negotiation backed by proven legal arguments.

They collect all the evidence to demonstrate the extent of your losses and fight to recover every penny owed to you. The insurance company is not going to simply hand over a fair settlement without your advocate applying firm, sustained pressure.

If the insurance companies negotiate in bad faith, your attorney can take the matter to court with a lawsuit to get you the money you deserve.

Simply having a lawyer on your side causes the insurance companies to take things more seriously from the start. Having legal representation levels what is otherwise an extremely unbalanced playing field between corporations and individual victims. Your lawyer can fight against dishonest insurance tactics.

Determining Damages and Losses

To properly seek compensation after a crash, your lawyer can calculate and evaluate all your damages and losses. This includes:

Vehicle Repairs or Replacement

Determining Damages and Losses I Vehicle Repair

If your car was damaged in the accident, you may be entitled to compensation to cover the costs of repairing it. An accident lawyer will obtain repair estimates and documentation of the vehicle's condition before the crash.

If the car was totaled and you cannot fix it, they will make a claim for you to recover the full replacement value based on fair market prices for the same make, model, and age. The lawyer ensures you are not shortchanged on these property damage costs.

Medical Expenses (Current and Future)

Injuries from a car accident can easily lead to huge medical bills between emergency care, hospital stays, surgeries, medication, rehabilitation, and ongoing treatment.

An attorney documents every medical expense related to the accident injuries. This includes not just current bills but estimated future costs as well if you will need additional care or suffer permanent effects. Medical experts are consulted to evaluate your long-term needs and associated expenses.

Lost Wages From Time Off Work

When you miss work due to accident injuries, whether for days, weeks, or months, you lose out on wages and income you would have otherwise earned.

Your lawyer obtains records from your employer about your pay rate, bonuses, benefits, and other compensation to calculate exactly how much you have lost by having to take time off. If you cannot return to the same job or have a diminished future earning capacity, they pursue recovery of those losses, too.

Pain and Suffering

Physical pain and emotional trauma from accident injuries are considered "non-economic" damages. These more subjective damages are just as real as financial losses.

An attorney understands how to quantify and put a fair dollar figure on things like chronic pain, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring or disfigurement, and other emotional impacts of the accident and injuries. Expert testimony and your own accounts are used to establish the extent of your pain and suffering.

Disability or Disfigurement

Severe injuries could leave you permanently disabled, disfigured, or otherwise impaired. When an accident robs you of full physical capabilities, your quality of life is diminished.

An accident lawyer seeks not just compensation for medical bills and income losses but also monetary damages that account for your newfound disabilities or disfigurement. Life care plans from medical experts estimate associated costs.

Reduced Future Earning Ability

Even injuries that do not qualify as a permanent disability could hamper your ability to remain in the same job or earn a similar income going forward. Your attorney investigates and documents how your injuries might prevent certain types of work or limit your future career prospects and earning potential.

You may recover the loss of income you would have reasonably expected to earn over your lifetime if not for the accident.

Emotional Distress

Being a victim of an unexpected, violent accident can leave psychological scars like post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and more. These invisible wounds are just as compensable as physical injuries.

Lawyers understand how to make claims for emotional distress and trauma, using expert psychological evaluations and testimony about your emotional suffering and its reasonable value. This allows you to recover financially while also getting the mental health treatment you need.

An experienced lawyer knows how to accurately tally all these costs, accounting for long-term effects. They bring in experts like doctors, mechanics, accountants, etc., to help establish the true monetary value.

Filing Lawsuits and Litigation

Filing Lawsuits and Litigation I What a lawyer do in car accident

If insurance companies are unwilling to provide a fair and appropriate settlement after negotiations, the next course of action is filing a formal personal injury lawsuit.

This kicks the legal process into a higher gear by taking the matter to the civil court system.

Your car accident attorney will draft and submit all of the required legal documents to officially initiate the litigation, such as the complaint, summons, and any necessary motions.

Once you file a lawsuit, the litigation process involves an extensive back-and-forth between the two sides as they make their respective cases. Your lawyer will handle this entire complex process seamlessly on your behalf. They will engage in continued negotiations with the defendant's attorneys, but from a position of greater leverage.

Both sides will request evidence, documentation, records, and any information relevant to proving negligence, fault, and damages.

Depositions may need to be given under oath. Your lawyer will prepare you thoroughly beforehand. Motions may request the court to allow or exclude certain evidence. You may need to attend hearings and court conferences and your lawyer may need to make arguments before the judge.

Throughout it all, your attorney's deep legal knowledge allows them to advocate strongly using the applicable statutory laws, prior case precedents, and rules of evidence and civil procedure.

The litigation process often goes on for months or even years as the two sides negotiate, exchange evidence, make court filings, and argue their positions in front of the judge.

Your lawyer prepares every detail of your case for trial to build the strongest possible arguments and evidence. Expert witnesses like doctors, mechanics, accident reconstructionists, and others will be called upon to provide testimonies that strengthen your claims.

The goal of the litigation process is to get you maximum financial compensation. 

An experienced injury attorney is an outstanding negotiator, but also a litigator fully prepared to take your case in front of a judge and jury. The mere fact that your lawyer has the skills, resources, and resolve to see things through a trial motivates insurance companies to avoid that costly outcome by offering a reasonable settlement.

However, many cases do end up going all the way to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations during litigation. This is why you need a car accident lawyer from the very start who has trial experience.

Being involved in an accident that causes injuries creates all sorts of legal issues and complexities most people aren't familiar with.

Your lawyer is there to counsel you and clarify things like:

What Damages You Can Pursue

When you've been injured in a car accident caused by someone else's negligence, there are various types of damages you may be able to pursue compensation for. 

This includes economic damages like:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage costs
  • Loss of future earnings

Non-economic damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life are also recoverable. Your lawyer will evaluate the details of your case to determine which specific damages you have grounds for which to make claims.

How Fault/Liability Is Determined

In order to recover damages, your attorney must establish that the other party was at fault and liable for causing the accident and your injuries through their negligent actions.

This involves investigating all evidence like:

  • Photos
  • Witness accounts
  • Police reports

In some cases, fault may be split between multiple parties based on the level of negligence. Your lawyer understands the legal theories and doctrines used to properly assess degrees of fault.

What to Do (or Not Do) To Protect Your Claim

There are certain actions you should and should not take after an accident to avoid inadvertently hurting your ability to recover full compensation.

An attorney will advise you on what documentation to keep, what information to avoid posting online, dealing with insurance adjusters, getting proper medical treatment, and other factors that can impact your injury claim. Following their guidance is crucial for protecting your legal rights.

What to Expect Through Each Stage of the Process

From the initial investigation and filing of your claim, all the way through possible settlement negotiations, litigation, and even a court trial, the legal process has many stages to go through. Your lawyer will walk you through exactly what happens at each step so there are no surprises.

They'll explain what types of documentation and participation may be needed from you as things progress. Understanding what to expect provides peace of mind. 

They give advice based on their years of experience and deep knowledge of personal injury law. Having a professional guide can provide tremendous peace of mind during a very difficult time.

So in summary, car accident lawyers investigate the crash, battle with insurance companies, determine the value of damages, file lawsuits and litigate if needed, and provide vital legal counsel through it all. Their mission is simple. It's to get you maximum financial compensation so you can recover and move forward with life after an accident.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

If a car accident injured you or a loved one, don't try to handle the legal claim alone. Having an experienced accident attorney on your side from the start gives you the best chance of receiving the full, fair settlement you deserve.

Contact a qualified personal injury lawyer today to go over the details of your case. The initial consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose.

Pierre Prialé Author Image

Pierre Prialé

Over the course of his career, Prialé has handled approximately 2,000 criminal defense and traffic cases, including DUI, reckless driving, weapons charges, and personal injury cases. His dedication to helping clients in difficult and desperate situations has earned him a reputation for being a committed and knowledgeable attorney.

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