Motor vehicle accidents lead to thousands of injuries in Indiana each year. Recently, despite a 13 percent decrease in traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic fatalities increased 8.1 percent in 2020 over 2019.
Increases in stress and the use of drugs and alcohol likely contributed to these higher numbers, according to experts. Additionally, distracted driving continues to increase as vehicles come equipped with large screens and other devices. Drivers still use mobile phones more than they should, which puts themselves and other drivers at risk.
While you might think you won’t face a motor vehicle accident because you’re a safe driver, sadly there are still many drivers on the road who are not as safe as they should be. One wrong move from someone else could lead to a serious accident.
When do you need a motor vehicle accident attorney? And what does the attorney do for you if your case never goes to court? Here are answers to these common questions and more when it comes to motor vehicle accident legalities.
Who Needs a Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney?
It’s wise to seek a free consultation with a motor vehicle attorney following an accident no matter what. Even if you end up not needing their services, the consultation can guide you in the proper steps to prevent missteps in working with the insurance company.
Some clear signs it’s time to talk to an attorney after a car accident include:
- You experience serious or long-term injuries due to the accident.
- The insurance company is denying your claim or only agreeing to partial payment.
- The insurance company is requiring documentation, statements, or sign-offs on things that seem suspicious to you.
- Another driver is trying to claim you were at fault and you’re concerned about your rights.
- The insurance company is claiming that, under Indiana’s modified comparative negligence rule, you cannot pursue compensation for the accident.
What Does an Attorney Do in Motor Vehicle Accident Cases?
Even if your case never goes to court, having an attorney can be invaluable to protecting your rights and maximizing your financial recovery. Some examples of things your attorney will handle for you include:
- Discussions with the insurance company.
- Negotiating a settlement.
- Collecting evidence and case documentation, such as police reports, witness statements, receipts for medical bills, and employment documentation showing missed work and wages, etc.
- Filing required paperwork, including a formal lawsuit should it come to that.
- Leveraging the insurance company due to the threat of legal action.
- Drafting and sending a demand letter.
- Meeting all required deadlines, including the 2-year statute of limitations.
Cases in which the accident victim hires an attorney tend to resolve with a higher settlement amount due to expert negotiation skills and tactics. Plus, attorneys know how to value a claim based on previous experience with other cases. Putting a dollar value on items like pain and suffering can be challenging as it won’t come with a bill as your medical bills do.
You’ll experience many great benefits in addition to ensuring you get the highest compensation possible. Some benefits include:
- Protecting your ability to sue even if you don’t plan to right now.
- Talking to an attorney has no cost to you. Most attorneys will speak to accident victims for a free initial consultation and won’t collect a fee unless they win your case.
- Help you make a full recovery by guiding you about when to seek medical care.
- Reducing stress, so you can focus on getting better.
Stewart & Stewart offers a free consultation to provide you with an overview of what to expect with your case and to offer advice on how to handle motor vehicle accident claims with the insurance company. Contact us now to schedule your free consultation.