Are Auto Accident Lawyers Necessary?
When a collision occurs, the initial reaction of all parties involved is often shock. And rightfully so, car accidents are a frightening event that can lead to much pain and suffering long-term, as well as a huge financial burden in the process of recovering. But even though that immediate shock is a completely valid reaction, it is important that the drivers involved consider turning to a car accident lawyer for guidance through the sometimes-convoluted process of getting their life back on track after a collision.
Auto Accidents: What Is Still Causing Them?
As long as there have been automobiles on the road, there have been auto accidents causing people serious harm and bringing families immense trauma and financial burden. And while safety features on vehicles continue to advance as new technology is introduced to the auto industry, those advances do not put a proportionate dent in the rate of auto accidents and severe injuries caused by those collisions. So what’s the cause for this consistently steady and sometimes rising auto accident rate?
Studies have shown that in the United States there are three major causes of car accidents in modern day. Two of the causes—drunk driving and speeding—have long been issues. The third, however, is a newer issue that has only grown over the past few years. That recent trend is, unsurprisingly, texting.
Texting and the sudden advancement of portable media devices in the last decade has led to a whole new category of auto accidents. These devices make it easy for otherwise competent and diligent drivers to remove their eyes and attention from the road and temporarily lower their ability to control their vehicle. With more and more distracted drivers on the road, it’s no wonder that there’s an increasing need for an adequate plan of action in case a collision occurs.
Automobile Injuries and Expenses
While the rates of harmful—even fatal—car accidents across the US is much higher than it should be in this modern time of enhanced safety features, the rates within South Carolina alone are alarming. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reports that an accident occurs approximately every 5 minutes on South Carolina streets. An accident that causes injuries to the parties involved happens every 17 minutes, and fatalities occur due to collisions every 10 hours. That amounts to around 800 fatal car accidents annually. And while the lives lost during these collisions are tragic and the accidents often preventable, the extensive hardships for the individuals who walk away from a collision with their lives is nothing to be laughed at.
The state of South Carolina estimates that 30,000 accidents every year cause some sort of bodily harm to the inhabitants of vehicles involved. Often those injuries lead to lifelong disabilities, chronic pain, and long-lasting financial burden. The immense cost of accidents in South Carolina alone is approximately one billion dollars annually, between lost time at work and medical expenses. Without assistance, the arduous road to recovery from a traumatic accident can consume entire lives and riddle them with debt and pain.
What an Auto Accident Lawyer Can Do for You
With the statistics and rates of collisions appearing as bleak as ever, it is increasingly important for individuals to know their rights and have a plan of action in place in case an accident occurs. A knowledgeable automobile accident lawyer can help you through the entire claims and settlement process.
Automobile Accident Report Filing
When a collision occurs, the very first thing a driver should do is inform local law enforcement. This is especially true if there is any property damage, bodily injury, or potential for physical pain. An auto or trucking accident lawyer would inform you that this is a legal obligation and should not be taken lightly. It is necessary to be vigilant during this step of the process and to remain as level-headed as possible when speaking to the authorities about the accident, as to avoid implying responsibility. Don’t say anything that could be turned around against your case later on.
Another crucial part of the first step is to gather evidence at the scene if able. In addition to getting the other driver’s name, insurance information, and contact details, it’s a good idea to take notes about the collision and take pictures if you can. If there are any witnesses at the scene, politely retrieve their contact information as well, as their perspectives could prove monumental to your car accident lawyer in proving your case down the road.
Seek Medical Attention
While going to the doctor after a collision is a great idea for your own health, it is also helpful for your legal case. Not only can you catch issues early on and begin treatment before they progress into painful ordeals, but you increase the likelihood that the insurance company liable will take your claims seriously down the road. Make sure the doctor’s visit is on official record, as this evidence gives your lawyer another tool during the claims process.
Determine Fault and Secure Evidence
South Carolina is a state with tort-liability, which means that if an auto accident occurs, the at-fault person can be held responsible for financial damages. Because of this, the more information your automobile lawyer has available to enhance your case, the better off you will be.
Before a lawyer can approach the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they must have as many necessary documents and reports as possible regarding the accident. While collecting all this information can be an exhausting ordeal, the burden rests as much on the lawyer who represents you as it does on you alone. Often this step involves contacting doctors, hospitals, rehab centers, radiologists, or any other medical office wherein treatment or assessment was sought after the collision. The reports and medical bills from all these places must be collected and constructed before a demand letter can be filed with the responsible insurance provider.
No matter the severity of the damages, the process of settlement often takes a long time. This is where the real skill and artistry of negotiation comes out in the lawyer representing you, as it is their job to insist the at-fault driver’s insurance company compensates you for the expenses accrued and the pain experienced. During this process, your lawyer must walk a fine line between ensuring fair compensation without rushing the settlement in case other medical expenses or issues arise. Once the case is settled, there’s no going back.
The attorneys at West Law Firm, LLC are here to help you. Don’t let your automobile incident slow you down. Contact an automobile attorney for an initial consultation today.
Call 843-761-5626 and ask for Mason West.