A car accident can be quite traumatic to the parties involved, with most victims suffering from injuries to the neck, back, brain, chest, pelvis or abdomen, or diaphragm rupture. Just as any personal injury case, car accident cases also involve processes such as medical claims review to determine the medical necessity and appropriateness of the medical services provided to the victim. If the accident is caused by the negligence of another driver, the victim is entitled to recover the reasonable value of his/her medical bills, lost wages, and a reasonable value for the pain and suffering endured. Most victims may want to settle the case outside of court and get a fair settlement. However, if the person responsible for the accident refuses to offer a fair settlement, your only recourse is to file a car accident lawsuit. There are certain important things to take into account when filing a lawsuit.
1. Contact the insurer of the person responsible for the accident: Typically, victims will find that a representative from the defendant’s insurance company is assigned to their case and asked to give the victim’s version of the event, and also make a statement. It is best to hire a personal injury attorney to speak to these representatives. The attorney will provide the required guidance to ensure that your claims do not go unprocessed.
2. Ensure that you have the medical records to substantiate your injuries: This is a very important consideration. You should have all relevant medical documentation such as diagnostic testing results, hospital treatment records, drugs prescription from the doctor, and emergency room records. Make sure that you get receipts for every bill you paid, and the prescribed drugs you bought.
3. Treating physician’s statement: You will need a detailed statement from your doctor, providing particulars about the nature of your injury, recommended treatment, and drug prescriptions. If you have sustained permanent damage, your doctor would also provide details of care procedures you will need in the near future.
4. Pictures of the accident scene: If possible, take pictures of the accident scene such as color of the car, driver, plate number, damages caused to the car, and injuries sustained.
5. Collect witness statements as soon as possible: An experienced lawyer representing you will know what questions to ask the witnesses and how to ask them. They will be able to secure reliable testimony from the witnesses and keep it on file for future use.
6. Stay away from social media: Do not post pictures or videos of you drinking and driving, or texting while driving, or even doing physical activities such as exercise or yard work. This could affect your credibility and your own posts can be used against you in court to show that you are not injured.
7. Make sure that you understand all the options available for you: This is something that your attorney can advise you on. In fact, a settlement is not the only option available to you to fairly settle your case. Other options include
- A jury trial where a jury will hear both sides of the case, listen to all of the evidence, and decide what your injury is worth.
- A bench trial, where a judge would hear the facts of the case, consider the evidence, and make a decision.
- Arbitration, where you could file for a jury trial and then choose to agree to go to the binding arbitration.
- Mediation, which can be done before filing a lawsuit or afterwards. This is a good opportunity to assemble both parties in the same room with their attorneys to discuss the possible outcomes of the case, and have a full conversation to attempt to reach a decision.
Medical records are at the heart of an injury case, and lawyers rely on medical record retrieval services to collect all the relevant medical documentation and review it to obtain the necessary evidence. Victims will find it easier to have a lawyer to represent them than attempting to obtain the medical records on their own. A good lawyer can also advise them on all the possibilities to consider when dealing with a personal injury case and working with insurance adjusters. In each case, there may be specific laws and regulations applicable that victims may not be aware of. A legal professional can help them understand all those laws and obtain a fair settlement or court decision.