Sometimes “fault” or “liability” in an automobile accident is clear cut. A common type of accident occurs when one driver has to slow or stop due to the flow of traffic and is “rear ended” by another driver who failed to pay adequate attention to what was happening in front of him or her. In rear end accidents, fault is usually considered an open and shut case. Even in cases like this, where liability is clear, an experienced attorney can discover facts that make the case more valuable and allow the attorney to leverage a better result for his client.
In many automobile accidents, the issue of fault is contested. Sometimes there is an honest dispute in what the opposing drivers remember had happened in the accident. In other times, even though fault is relatively clear, an unscrupulous insurance company will focus on a minor aspect of a case and take the position that their driver is either not “at fault,” or that both drivers share a percentage of fault. In cases like this, it is crucial to have an experienced attorney fighting for your rights. Don’t let an unscrupulous insurance company low ball you!
In any automobile accident, an experienced attorney can be invaluable when it comes to discovering facts that prove who was at fault and maximizing the value of your case. An aggressive attorney can track down and secure the cooperation of independent witnesses, obtain video of the collision, or issue subpoenas for 911 calls. Don’t try to fight the other driver’s insurance company by yourself!
How Damages Are Calculated:
In any case where you are injured or incur damages because of the negligence of another person, the law says you are entitled to be “made whole” by the person or entity whose actions caused you harm. Put another way, you are entitled to be put back in as good a position as you were in prior to the accident. Generally speaking, an injured party is entitled to damages caused in the accident, including:
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Past, present, and future loss of income or property
- Past, present, and future pain, suffering, and emotional distress
- Past, present, and future loss of a normal life
When your damages are a loss of property or a loss of income, being “made whole” is a relatively straight forward issue. You are entitled to the value of the income or the property that you lost. An experienced attorney can help you avoid the pitfalls that sometimes prevent injured people from recouping the full value of their income or property loss.
Unfortunately, there are damages for which you can never be “made whole.” For example, a man who is paralyzed from the waist down in an accident may never be able to walk again or live the life he would have lived before his injury. Likewise, a woman who is badly injured in an accident and has to undergo multiple surgeries over several years before she returns to normal, never gets that time back. She doesn’t get to go back in time and be pain free for that period, or go on that once in a lifetime family vacation she had to miss out on. Since it is impossible to put the injured person back in the position he or she was in before the accident in these cases, the law says he or she is entitled to the monetary value of what he or she lost. An experienced attorney knows how to document and prove the fair market value of the damages in question.