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You are on your way to meet up with a friend for the premiere of a newly released movie, when suddenly out of nowhere a semi –truck broadsides you and now you are seriously injured. Unlike in a spectacular movie scene where people get out of the vehicle uninjured, you have serious injuries. The good news is that you will survive. The bad news is that you will miss time at work and the injuries sustained will more than likely alter your quality of life.
The first thing you need to do after you receive medical treatment is to contact your insurance company and report the accident. They will require information regarding the other driver such as their insurance, license plate number, their name, phone number, and their address. In addition, you will also need to obtain a copy of the accident report and provide all documentation regarding your injuries sustained and treatment.
A Proposed Settlement
Most insurance companies will do everything they can to settle a claim fast just like in the blockbuster movie Erin Brockovitch. Based on a true story the insurance company makes a low-ball offer knowing that to people living in that area it was a lot of money. Unfortunately, fast-forward to real life and the same holds true. If they settle they don’t have to appear in court. And, if a jury sees a sympathetic person in front of them that suffered serious injuries they are more than likely to rule in the victims favor for a handsome settlement.
Unfortunately, insurance companies do not want to pay out large sums of money so they offend dangle a carrot in front of you with an offer of a few thousand dollars. To many people, this is a good settlement and they accept it. Unfortunately, the settlement offer doesn’t factor in your loss of wages, pain, suffering, and reduced quality of life. Thankfully, you have another option; you can hire an accident attorney to ensure you get a just settlement. And, unlike the often bad portrayal of an attorney in the movies whose only real interest is getting as much money off their clients as possible, in real life, a personal injury attorney only gets paid if the insurance company agrees to the settlement or you win your case in court.
Personal Injury Claim
An attorney that specializes in personal injury will take a statement from you and gather the same information you gave to the insurance company. They will also obtain all of the medical records that pertain to the accident and ask you to also see a doctor that they select. Once they review all of the records they will call you back in for a meeting face-to-face at their office and propose a fair settlement based on their findings. Things factored in are your ages, type of injury, length of recovery, lost wages and your future quality of life.
Presenting the Offer
If you agree to the proposed settlement, your attorney will then contact the attorney for the insurance company and present the offer. If the insurance company agrees to the settlement offer then the claim is satisfied and you receive the settlement check minus the attorney fees. If however, the insurance company refuses the offer and counter-offers your attorney will contact you will the new offer and ask you if you want to accept. If you decide not to, then you and your attorney will appear in court.
Appearance in Court
If you have a reputable attorney, as in the movie The Verdict, where actor Paul Neuman wins offer the jury through facts and his passion about the case, chances are still good that even though you appear in court the case will settle. Once the trial begins, at any point you can enter the judge’s chamber with all parties and settle. The reason is that if the insurance company feels that the case is going against them, they now stand to lose a lot more money than the previous settlement offered by your attorney.
Life After the Accident
Unlike in the movies, if you suffered serious injuries in an auto accident you may not be able to keep the same job. For instance, if you have serious damage to your legs and you are now unable to stand for any length of time, a job on a construction site or as a firefighter is no longer. The biggest problem for many people is adjusting to a new way of life. Taking it one day at a time and remaining positive is important.An auto accident can happen suddenly and without notice. Pay attention and drive defensibly always when you are behind the wheel.