Accidents can occur for a wide range of reasons, which means they are sometimes unavoidable. You might be a well-trained, responsible driver with a clean driving record, but other drivers on the road may be intoxicated or texting while driving. The weather outside might also not be conducive for driving. A thin layer of ice on the road can send your vehicle skidding out of control and crashing.
As you can see, there are many risks associated with operating an automobile. That is why every state has a minimum auto insurance coverage requirement that every driver must meet. In case of an accident, the insurance companies of the parties involved can compensate the injured parties. However, some insurance companies may deny liability or simply refuse to make a payout. What would you do then?
The cost of medical treatment may be far beyond your financial reach. Furthermore, you will be out of work at least while you recover—and longer if the injury leaves you disabled.
Sometimes, the only option you may have is to hire a personal injury lawyer, specifically a car accident attorney, to help you get compensation.
Insurance Laws by State
There are basically two types of auto insurance laws: fault and no-fault.
States like California are fault- or tort-based insurance jurisdictions, so when there is an accident, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will cover all the liabilities associated with the accident.
In a no-fault insurance jurisdiction, such as New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, fault is not considered when a payout is made. The insurance company of the policyholder simply makes a payout to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering experienced by the injured party. There is no need to investigate who was at fault before the insurer can make a payout.
However, property damage, such as the damage to the vehicle and other personal belongings that were in the vehicle at the time of the accident, will be paid for by the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
Why You Need an Injury Lawyer
1) You Have Limited Legal Knowledge
Different states use different insurance laws. Some use tort-based laws while others use no-fault rules. There are also those that provide policyholders with the option of choosing between the two systems when purchasing a policy.
Because you may not know all the insurance laws in your state or the state where you got in an accident, you may want to hire a competent personal injury lawyer to represent you. A personal injury lawyer knows all the legal statutes, procedural law, case law, and state-specific insurance laws so he or she can effectively represent you during negotiations with insurance firms, as well as during court hearings.
2) Insurance Firms Hire the Best Lawyers
When insurance firms deny liability or refuse to compensate you for whatever reason, they are usually ready for anything. If you take them to court, they are likely to win the case because they have a team of highly competent lawyers to defend them from lawsuits. These lawyers are usually the best in the industry. They are also paid the best salaries to get their client off the hook time and again.
For you to win a lawsuit, you must hire an equally competent lawyer to ensure you get justice. Never make the mistake of thinking you can negotiate with the insurance company on your own. That’ll leave you likely to get a raw deal.
3) You’ve Suffered Serious Injuries
If you sustained serious injuries from a truck accident, for example, the pain and suffering you experienced must have been immeasurable. Furthermore, the medical bills you are likely to incur before you fully recover may be beyond your comprehension.
While no amount of money may be enough, you should hire a great personal injury lawyer to help you get a decent payout that will cover all your medical bills and lost wages, as well as compensate you for some of the pain and suffering you experienced.
The payout should also take into consideration the damage to your property, among other financial losses associated with the accident.
4) Disputed Liability
Insurance companies normally dispute liability when the cause of an accident has not been clearly determined. This means you might not be able to get any form of compensation. This usually happens in fault-based states like California.
When your insurer disputes liability, you can hire a personal injury lawyer to properly investigate the case and file the necessary paperwork in court.
5) You Have Suffered Long-Term Disability
It is always nice to be optimistic after an accident, but the reality is that there are some accidents that cause long-term or permanent disabilities. If that describes your injuries, that means you will not be able to enjoy the quality of life you are used to.
Furthermore, you may be out of the workforce forever. In addition to that, the injuries may cause chronic pain.
If you have sustained serious injuries that cause long-term or permanent disability, you should find a competent injury lawyer to help you get some form of justice.
Obviously, the compensation you get should be able to cover all your living expenses and pay all your medical bills, in addition to compensating you for the pain and suffering. A highly qualified auto accident lawyer can help you get that compensation.