How Is The Viability Of An Auto Accident Claim Determined?
There are three things a client has to prove to win an auto accident case. They have to show that there’s negligence. In other words, they have to show fault. In Utah, a client can’t be 50% at fault or they lose. Next, they have to show damages. This includes injuries, medical bills, lost wages, mental and emotional anguish, and many other things. Finally, they have to show causation. A client must prove that the negligence of someone else or another driver in an auto case caused the damages they are alleging. In a lot of cases, attorneys will know early on about negligence. For example, say you have a rear-end collision: it’s clearly the fault of the driver who hit the victim from behind. In every case, an Ogden car accident lawyer must look at a variety of elements to determine if it’s a good case that warrants a settlement.
For instance, were there any pre-existing injuries, such as pain that was already there, perhaps chronic pain in the back that has been aggravated? Attorneys also must consider past, present, and future damages. Attorneys should always look at medical bills, but they also must look at lost wages, including if the accident caused the individual to change jobs and if a client lost out on a career opportunity as a result. Our firm looks at our client’s future damages, including if they will need maintenance care for the rest of their life or injections for the next three to five years to try to eliminate the pain that they’re having.
Those are the components of a case: negligence, causation and damages. A case could be completely hurt if the victim can’t prove that the accident caused the injury. Where this can be an issue is there are gaps in treatment. A quick example would be someone who gets treatment for a while; then they don’t treat for a couple of months but finally go back to treatment due to increased pain. How is the attorney going to prove that all of the new treatment, after this long gap, was related to a car accident and not to just everyday life? Maybe the client does a lot of physical activities or his work is really hard on him physically.
Those are the kinds of issues that will hurt a case and make it nearly impossible to show causation, which you have to prove to obtain a settlement.
Can Someone Resolve an Auto Accident Claim with Insurance by Themselves?
There are a number of things that attorneys do that add value to a case. The first thing is that insurance companies are not reasonable when it comes to paying for general damages. They’re occasionally fair about paying for medical bills that they think are related, but beyond that, they aren’t going to pay you for the pain you’re in daily, for the lack of sleep, lost wages and ancillary care from friends and family. They aren’t good about paying for the mental anguish that it causes people to be involved in an accident. In my experience, attorneys earn their fees by ensuring that insurance companies pay for those general damages.
Beyond that, attorneys can do a number of things. Our firm is very good about working with our clients’ care providers in making sure our clients get the proper care they need and that happens in a number of ways. In one way, we can basically coordinate all of the care to make sure that the client is seeing the right people. If the client already knows individuals they would like treatment from, then we know what the insurance company is looking for and what are red flags to them as far as treatment goes and how long it lasts. Attorneys add value when it comes to getting clients to the right people for the right kind of care so there are no red flags in the end when we’re trying to negotiate the case.
Another thing our firm does related to care is to set up liens with providers. Our firm has a number of care providers throughout the state of Utah that provide care for our clients on a lien basis, and that lien is held until the settlement is completed. There are no co-pays and no worrying about paying for care out of pocket. Another thing we do is seek reductions at the end of a case. If your health insurance has covered a lot of your care, at the tail end of the case we will work with your health insurance, which will have a lien, and ask them to reduce that lien so there’s more money for you to take home.
We can also protect clients from saying the wrong thing, especially when it comes to recorded statements. We’ll protect them from saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing and signing the wrong thing. Insurance companies often will send all sorts of paperwork to clients, asking them to sign different things, and there are certainly releases and documents that we don’t want them to sign.
Our firm also works to get our clients their lost wages. We know what is required as far as doctor’s notes and notes from employers so that our clients’ get all lost wages that they are entitled to.
Maybe the most important thing that we bring clients is some peace of mind. Immediately after I sign a client, I always tell them to only focus and worry about feeling better and we will handle everything else. Our clients don’t need to stress about the insurance company, about doing, saying or signing the wrong thing. All they need to do is follow the advice of their healthcare providers, and we handle everything else. So for some people, just that relief of stress, dealing with something they’ve never had to deal with before, is worth it alone, along with all the other things mentioned.
For more information on viability of an auto accident claim, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 499-5060 today.