- What to Do After a Car Wreck: Checklist
- Do I Have a Claim? Types of Auto Accident Claims?
- Common Car Accident Injuries
- Maximum Settlement: Factors Affecting Accident Claims
- How Much is My Claim Worth?
- Do I Still Have a Claim After a Minor Accident?
- Car Accident Rates Stats in US
- Should I Settle Quick or Use an Attorney?
- How to Choose a Car Accident Attorney
- List of Top-rated Car Accident Attorneys
What to Do After a Car Wreck: Checklist
After a car wreck, make sure you have done the following:
- Gather Contact Information: get the name and contact information of the other driver, passengers, and witnesses. Try to get a picture of a driver license. Ost insurance c
- Contact the Police: Call the police and report your car accident. A police offer will usually arrive on scene. He will complete an accident investigation and often write a report. This will make it difficult for the other driver to change his story about the cause of the car accident later.
- Take Pictures: In 2021 there is no excuse for not snapping photos with your smart phone. Take pictures of:
- The vehicle damages.
- A broader picture that shows where the vehicles were in relation to other fixed objects like street signs.
- Any debris from the vehicle and where it is located.
- Skid mark
- Any deployed airbags.
- See Medical Professional: You were just in a crash. Your body was jerked and twisted unnaturally. Go to an urgent care and get checked out. An urgent care doctor may prescribe you
muscle relaxers or other pain medicine to keep you comfortable in the coming days.
If the pain continues, consider seeking the medical of a medical health professional that specializes in car accident trauma. That professional might prescribe conservative care to reduce the chances of permanent injury. He or she might also order MRI’s or other diagnostic imaging to check for injury.
Special note: Car accidents are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injury in Florida. If you experience, nausea, headaches, dizziness after your car accident seek immediate attention!
- Report the Case to YOUR Insurance: You have a duty to notify your insurance company if there has been an auto accident. This is in your insurance policy contract. You will also want to open your auto property damage claim to get your vehicle fixed.
However, remember your insurance company is not your friend. Your insurance company is trained to get you to make admissions that could hurt you later. Do not speak about your injuries with any detail: That is for the doctors to handle.
Also, do not accept any money from your insurance company. Most insurance companies, like Progressive, will offer you $500 or some small money for your troubles. Then when you cash the check, they will claim you have waived any rights for any additional treatments. Always discuss your rights with a car accident attorney before taking money from insurance companies. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Special Note: You do not have any obligation to speak to the OTHER insurance company. The insurance company that represents the at-fault driver will often try to contact you to “begin working on your claim”. You are under no obligation to talk to these insurance adjusters. These insurance adjusters are in the business of paying you as little as possible for your claim. They are trained to record your statements on the phone and twist them to their advantage.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Help: A car accident attorney is a lawyer who spends his waking day handling all things car accident related for you. His job is to:
- Determine what car accident claims are applicable.
- Build your claims to maximize value.
- Guide you through the process so it is as enjoyable as possible (all things considered), and
- Settle your claims for the maximize amount of civil justice.
The Reality is that your situation was thrust into your life unnaturally. But even though you cannot change the past, you can make the best of the situation going forward. The right car accident attorney will help you through your car wreck claim in the best possible way.
|For more information, check out our in-depth guide on when to hire a car accident lawyer for your claim. We interview more than 30 lawyers, car accident experts, property damage professionals and more to help you understand when a car accident attorney is the smartest move for you and your family.|
Do I Have a Claim? Types of Auto Accident Claims?
Auto accidents in the United States come from a variety of factors. According to the National highway Traffic Safety Association, bad driving is responsible for 94% of car wrecks. Actual vehicle malfunction is responsible for 2% of crashes, as is the environment. These are nationwide stats that represent car crashes throughout all 50 states in the US. See below:
As for driver-related critical reasons, approximately 41% is because of a “recognition” error. 33% is related to bad decisions, 11% is related to performance.
Common causes of these car accidents include that contribute include:
- Drug or alcohol impairment
- Driving aggressively
- Texting while driving
- Taking eyes off the road
A car accident attorney needs to understand the cause of your vehicle collision to:
- Relate specific injuries to your crash.
- Go toe to toe with the insurance companies crash accident engineers.
- Retain the correct engineers and experts when needed to prove up your car accident claim.
- Determine fault: Is it the bad driver, the vehicle, or the road conditions?
Common Car Accident Injuries
Common injuries suffered in car crashes include:
- Brain Trauma
- Spine Injury to the Neck
- Spine Injury to the Lower Back
- Hip Injury
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Torn Shoulder Ligaments
- Torn or damages knee ligaments.
- Wrist injuries including carpal tunnel syndrome.
- TMJ or other jaw injuries
- Internal Bleeding
- Scarring or disfigurement
Often these injuries are permanent. Spinal injuries like herniated discs can cause permanent pain to the spine that radiates down on or both sides of the body.
Spinal injuries in the neck can lead to headaches and cranio-syndrome disorder.
When it comes to your injuries, A top-rated auto injury attorney must:
- Coordinate with your Doctors to make sure your injuries get the best care.
- Retain the right experts to prove how the accident caused your injuries.
- Understand the nature of your specific injuries and how they will affect your ability to function now and in the future.
- Worth with medical professionals to develop a life-care plan that itemizes your likely future medical treatment and costs.
Maximum Settlement: Factors Affecting Accident Claims
How do you know if your car accident claim is worth $10,000.00 or $1,000,000?
We can look at the different factors in your case and start to drill down your case value. Some of these include:
Who is Responsible for the Wreck? At the heart of a car wreck claim is responsibility. Except for when your own insurance company is screwing you on your total loss, car accident claims arise from another person’s fault.
A simple situation is when another person crashes into the back of your vehicle. In that scenario, we know the other person will be some or all the way at fault. All things being equal, your case will have higher value because we do not have to fight over negligence.
In another situation, you may have crashed into the back of another vehicle. All things being equal, your claim will have much less value because you may have caused your own injuries.
Sometimes we are in the middle ground. Considering a side swipe scenario where both you and the other driver might be equally responsible. That claims’ value will be in the middle.
Extent of Injuries: The more serious the injuries, the higher value of the claim.
On one hand of the spectrum, a victim in a car accident may have been sore for a few days and then gotten better. The value of the injury claim will be very small because the person got better right away.
On the other hand of the spectrum, consider a person who is permanently injured and needs surgery. The car wreck has significantly impacted this person’s life. The car accident attorney will seek compensation for what has been taken from the person because of the car wreck. And this can be significant.
|In America, we do not believe in an “eye for an eye”. We do not run out and hit people with clubs, or shoot them, or beat up their families if they wronged us. |
At the same time, we believe in accountability. Taking responsibility for your actions. And if a person injures another negligently, they take responsibility by paying monetary damages for what they took from another person.
We call this civil justice. It is the basis of a car accident claim. It is the heart of a car wreck auto injury attorney’s purpose.
Impact on your life
The impact on your life is the most important factor in a car wreck case.
- Job loss
- Future income loss
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of Use of Vehicle
- Poorly repaired vehicle
- Stress caused by bad faith insurance companies.
At its heart, the value of a car crash claim is an equal trade in money for what has been taken from you.
Do I Still Have a Claim After a Minor Accident?
Yes, you probably have a claim after a minor car accident.
Insurance companies do fight claims without much visible property damages very aggressively. But the heart of a claim is:
- Was another person negligent?
- Did the person’s negligence cause you harm?
If you suffered harm then you have a claim, regardless of property damage. However, we must be more proactive in building up minor impact cases, especially when there are heavy damages.
One way is to hire an accident engineer to examine the car. We have cases where the vehicle looks like it has not suffered any damage, but after pulling off a bumper we see bent metal.
Another way is to examine the repair estimate. If the frame had to be put on a machine and “pulled” then we have evidence of an impact severe enough to bend a frame!
Finally, we rely on doctors to help us prove the vehicle wreck caused your injuries.
We have had vehicle crashes with less than $500 in property damage that have settled for six figures. Never let a “minor impact” keep you away from bringing a just claim. If in doubt, discuss the matter with a qualified car accident attorney.
How Much is My Claim Worth?
Here is how we determine how much a claim is worth.
First, recognize there is no “formula”. Insurance companies try to make you think there is a formula. They do this to try to convince you your case is worth less than it is.
For example, car accident attorney Christian Denmon recently settled a case for the $100,000.00 policy limits. Interestingly the insurance companies first offer was something like $4,566.72. They made this “to the penny” offer to make Christian’s client think her claim must be valued at a small amount. Christian ultimately settled the claim for more than 20X the initial offer.
Second, determine the economic damages. Economic damages are medical bills or lost wages. These damages are for both the past and the future. Sometimes we need an expert life care planner to project the future damages.
Third, determine the non-economic damages. These are the pain, suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life damages. These are also for the past and the future.
It is difficult to put a dollar amount on the damages. But you must. Here is how we think about. What would you take, in a monetary trade, to have to go through everything you have been through? What if the car accident never happened, and a man dressed in all black came to you with a suitcase of money and offered you $10,000 in exchange for having to deal with injuries and suffering from the wreck? Would you take it? What about $100,000.00?
These damages can usually only be calculated after a term of months after the automobile accident. That is because it takes time for your car accident attorney to know if you have a permanent injury and will need pain and suffering damages into the future. Some people heal quickly after a wreck. Others hurt worse. Every case is different. What matters is determining equal trade for what has been taken from you.
Car Accident Stats in US
Some statistics on car crashes from the United States:
- In 2019 there were 33,244 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States. That means 11 deaths per 100,000 people.
- 17 % of fatalities were caused by a driver speeding.
- 2,800 people were killed in accidents caused by distracted driving.
Should I Settle Quick or Use an Attorney?
The average settlement with an attorney is 400% then the average settlement without an attorney.
All cases with even moderate value benefit from an attorney’s help. The car accident attorney will handle all the details and still secure a better net settlement for the client.
Ex) Consider a case where the best deal the insurance company will offer you is $5,000.00. A car accident attorney gets the insurance company to pay $20,000.00. Even after paying the attorney fee, the net proceeds available to you would be $13,800, or more than 2.5X the $5,000.00.
Also consider that an experienced car accident attorney has handled similar claims many times before. There is a benefit in having someone handle a claim who knows how to build it right from the get-go.
We highly recommend discussing your claim with an attorney even if you intend to settle it yourself. Most law firms will give free consultations so you can make an informed decision on whether to settle quick or fight for better value.
Finally, you can usually engage an attorney on a contingency fee basis. If the attorney secures a settlement, then he gets paid a percentage of the settlement amount. No money down. Nothing is owed if the attorney does not win. It is no risk and all reward when you hire an attorney on a contingency fee basis.
How to Choose a Car Accident Attorney
There is hyper competition in the car accident attorney space. You will see attorneys advertising on tv, billboards, and across the internet. It pays to do a little homework when choosing an attorney.
First, make sure an actual car accident attorney will be handling your case! Many of the big-time advertisers on tv are what we call “settlement mills”. The business model is to get a lot of claims and settlement them quickly in bulk with case managers.
The problem with this model is that the mills settle the cases, on average, for much less then they are truly worth. This means a lower settlement for you.
Second, interview a representative of the firm. You want to make sure the law firm will help you with property damage and handling insurance adjusters as well as handling your bodily injury claim. A good firm will be handling everything to make your experience as pleasant as possible.
Third, check out the car accident attorney’s reviews and testimonials. By reading reviews you can get a good understanding if the attorney and you will see eye to eye.
Finally, contact the car accident law firm to discuss your case. Most attorneys will offer free consultations over the phone or via zoom.
A good car accident attorney will allow you to begin the process from your cell phone. You need to rest and seek medical treatment. You do not need to be driving across town to see the car accident lawyer.
If you prefer in person attention, then ask the firm to send a representative to your home to being the claim process.
You only get one bite at the apple. Your car accident settlement must be a settlement for all time. Make sure you get full value for your injuries. Make sure you have a car accident attorney assigned to your case.
List of Top-Rated Car Accident Attorneys
Denmon Pearlman has a group of attorneys with extensive experience in all types of car accident claims. These car accident lawyers include:
- Christian Denmon, A “Super Lawyer” with experience in trucking, serious crash, minor impact crash, and property damage car accidents. He is top rated in Super-Lawyers, AVVO, and National Trial Lawyers association.
- Andy Plagge, a car crash attorney with more than 8 years of auto accident experience.
- Lee Pearlman: A highly sought trial attorney who has been in courtrooms throughout the State of Florida. He is top rated in Super-lawyers and National Trial Lawyers.
- Nicole Denmon: A National Trial Lawyer “Top 40 under 40” with experience in all areas of car crash litigation. She is top-rated in Super-Lawyers and National Trial Lawyers.
Click here to see our Florida Car Accident Attorneys.