When you or someone close to you experiences a traffic collision, it can leave you feeling uncertain about the necessary steps to take.
The procedure for initiating a legal claim and seeking compensation can be intricate.
The majority of individuals are not well-versed in the complexities of the tort claims process.
Following a motor vehicle accident, you might ponder whether it’s advisable to enlist the services of a car accident attorney to advocate for your interests.
Certain victims of accidents and injuries may contemplate how to engage in negotiations for a car accident settlement without legal representation.
While opting to pursue a claim without a car accident attorney may appear to be a more budget-friendly choice, it often proves otherwise.
A proficient car accident attorney has the potential to assist you in recovering a substantially greater sum than you might manage to obtain independently.
Seeking Compensation Without a Car Accident Lawyer
Victims have the option of saving on legal fees by negotiating their own tort settlements.
However, most people do not have the skills or experience to successfully secure the maximum amount of financial recovery in a tort claim.
For this reason, you should understand what you’ll need to settle your own car accident claim.
In most cases, it is advantageous to hire an experienced car accident lawyer.
This is especially true if the circumstances of the collision aren’t clear.
Figuring out which party is legally liable is one of the most critical factors in any civil claim.
Cases with clear liability are easier for victims to manage without a car accident lawyer.
Determining legal liability in most traffic collision cases is a complex task.
Liability depends on the specific facts and circumstances of the accident.
In most states, the standard for determining fault in a car crash is negligence.
The legal concept of negligence involves four distinct factors.
To file a successful claim, the plaintiff must prove the following:
- The at-fault party owed the victim a duty of care
- The at-fault party did not fulfill their duty
- The at-fault party’s action was the reason for the accident
- The accident caused measurable harm to the victim
Providing evidence of these four elements of negligence can be challenging.
Because of this, most claimants choose to employ a car accident lawyer to fight for them.
A knowledgeable car accident attorney will consider the following circumstances of the situation to determine legal liability:
- Driving distractions
- The speed of the vehicles
- Reckless or careless driving
- The use of alcohol or other drugs
- Violation of traffic statutes or laws
- Vehicle component flaws and defects
- Failure to obey traffic signs or signals
- Inclement weather and road conditions
Some states and jurisdictions rely on a comparative fault system to determine car accident liability. Under a comparative fault approach, both parties can be held accountable according to the percentage of fault each party holds.
Gather Important Documents
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, make sure to request a copy of the police accident report.
These documents serve as powerful third-person accounts of the accident and injuries.
If you hope to pursue a claim without the help of a car accident lawyer, you will need a copy of your accident report.
Police reports often contain the following information:
- Contact information
- Names of the reporting officers
- Names of drivers involved in the crash
- Descriptions of weather and road conditions
- Detailed descriptions of the vehicular damage
It is also critical to secure any related medical documents.
If you have been injured, it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible.
A skilled medical care provider will ensure that your injuries are properly diagnosed.
This will allow you to begin appropriate treatment immediately.
Make sure to ask your physician for a copy of your medical records.
They will serve as evidence of the physical damage you experienced as a result of the car accident.
Gather Evidence of the Crash
Before you leave the scene of the crash, gather as much information as possible.
As time passes, it will become more difficult to remember the specific details of your motor vehicle collision.
If you are able, collect the following information before leaving the scene of the crash:
- Names and contact information for the drivers involved
- Detailed notes about your own experience
- Other drivers’ insurance information
- Descriptions of road obstacles
- License plate numbers
- VIN numbers
While it is vital to collect information about the crash, make sure to keep other conversations to a minimum.
You should never discuss legal liability with others at the scene of the collision.
Do not apologize, even if you believe you are at fault for the accident.
Admitting fault could result in the loss of the financial compensation to which you are rightfully entitled.
In most cases, it’s a good idea to pursue compensation with the help of a traffic collision attorney.
A legal professional will not allow an insurance provider to deny you the financial payments you need.
Estimating Financial Damages Without an Attorney
One of the most difficult elements of any car accident case is calculating the value of the claim.
Victims have the right to pursue repayment for any of the costs and losses resulting from the at-fault party’s negligence.
In most car accident claims, victims may seek compensatory damages.
These are financial payments meant to compensate for the person’s losses.
The two primary types of compensatory damages are special and general.
Estimating Special Damages
Special damages are payments that make up for the victim’s direct financial expenses.
Because of this, they are also known as economic damages.
Some of the most common types of special damages include payment for:
- Lost income and missed wages caused by an inability to work
- Property damage and vehicular repair
- Current medical bills and expenses
- Expected future medical expenses
- Travel related to medical care
Any type of direct monetary loss can be claimed as economic damages.
When representing yourself in a legal matter, it is critical to gather all related financial documentation.
Most victims underestimate the monetary losses resulting from their car accidents.
Skilled legal professionals will review the receipts, bills, and invoices from your case to ensure that you pursue every dime you are owed.
Estimating General Damages
General damages are also called non-economic damages.
These financial payments allow accident victims to secure financial recovery for the intangible harms they suffer.
Many of the worst outcomes from traffic collisions do not take the form of monetary losses. Examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional turmoil and anguish
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Depression, anxiety, and panic disorder
- Loss of relationship or consortium (when an injury is fatal)
These are only a few examples of the losses for which general damages can compensate victims.
It is difficult to accurately calculate non-economic damages without the help of a skilled traffic accident lawyer.