If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident through no fault of your own, you’re probably expecting a settlement to help with your medical bills and other costs. However, you may find that a lawyer will not take your case. While you may feel your case is strong, attorneys use different criteria to evaluate cases.
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Ethical lawyers will take only cases with a good chance of winning so that we can meaningfully help our clients without creating more bills that they cannot pay. Here are the major factors we consider when determining whether we will take a case.
1. Good Documentation (documented injuries, police report, truthful account)
Good documentation is one of the most important things with any legal case, not just those that involve injuries and accidents. Without quality documentation, legal issues can turn into a “he said, she said” scenario. When that happens, the chances of getting a favorable outcome diminish significantly. For an automobile accident, good documentation includes pictures of the crash and the damage done to the vehicle. It also includes images of your injuries, taken as soon as possible, as long as that doesn’t interfere with medical treatment.
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You’ll also want to promptly get a copy of your police department’s accident report. It’s important always to call the police to the scene of an accident, even if the other party doesn’t want to, as the police report is an excellent piece of evidence to use in any proceedings.
You’ll want to take pictures of the crash and your injuries and call cops to the scene, even if the collision is minor and you feel fine. Sometimes, it can take a few days for some crash-related injuries to emerge, and you don’t want to be caught flat-footed if that’s the case.
Another important factor in good documentation is honesty. You’ll likely have to file reports with your insurance company and local agencies. Insurance companies increasingly include clauses in their coverage that release them from a duty to pay what they owe injured victims, so honesty is always the best policy.
2. Prompt Doctor’s Diagnosis
Another vital document is your doctor’s diagnosis. The sooner you visit the doctor, the better. If your case goes to a trial, a delay in seeing the doctor could be argued to represent that your injuries are lesser than you claim, or that you’re faking them. While those claims may get made regardless, the sooner you see your doctor, the easier it will be to demonstrate that the accident has caused you real and serious harm.
Another step that people sometimes miss is keeping documentation of their medical journey. For example, you should:
- Keep copies of all prescriptions your doctor gives you.
- Keep the pill bottles you get at the pharmacy to prove that you filled the prescriptions.
- Keep a log of your visits to your primary care physician and specialists related to the accident.
- And keep records related to any surgeries or therapy that you undergo.
Producing these pieces of evidence during your case will go a long way toward a favorable outcome.
3. Having the Right Insurance
Because not all states require it, many people forgo uninsured motorist coverage. Not having that insurance is a huge mistake. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you when the other party doesn’t have insurance. Normally, if the person who hits you doesn’t have insurance, you’ll be able to collect only what they’re able to pay, and sometimes that’s nothing.
Uninsured motorist coverage allows you to collect from your insurance company in the event of an accident in which the other party isn’t insured. Of course, that doesn’t mean your insurance company will always pay out immediately, nor without putting up a fight. You may still need a lawyer to ensure that you get the full amount you’re entitled to.
In some cases, a lawyer may determine that you don’t have uninsured motorist insurance and that the other party is in a bad financial state. When that is the case, they may not take your case because recovering any money for you would be difficult or impossible.
4. You Stayed Off Social Media
Attorneys are often wary of clients with a large social media presence. Many cases have been undermined by the foolish things clients have done on social media, as those posts can be used as evidence. Suppose you go on social media and brag about the money you think you’re entitled to or participate in activities that might lead a reasonable person to believe you’re not as injured as you claim. In that case, you can seriously undermine your legal case.
Keeping a low profile is the best way to keep this from happening between the accident and the trial. That means you should limit or eliminate your presence on social media as much as possible.
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Additionally, you should avoid participating in physically strenuous activities, even if you’re on powerful medicine that makes you feel capable. If your case is going to trial, there’s a good chance the other party will hire a private detective to investigate you. You shouldn’t make the investigator’s job easy by posting about your injuries or doing something strenuous right out in the open.
5. You Contacted a Lawyer Right Away
Perhaps the best thing you should do when you’re in an accident is contact your lawyer as soon as possible. There are limits to what lawyers can do, and if you’ve already made a severe procedural mistake, many will reject you out of hand, as it will become exceedingly difficult to win a case. However, if you contact an attorney early, you get a benefit that is hard to undervalue: Attorneys can help you avoid common, painful pitfalls that can lead to a lost case. By doing so, they can often speed up the process and ensure that you get the maximum payout.
While you may not need a lawyer in all automobile accident cases, contacting one early can help you understand your options and ensure that you’re taking the right steps to take care of yourself and your family.
Please note that this article was created for advertisement purposes, and it does not constitute any contractual legal relationship, nor imply one.