Always Seek Medical Attention - Document Injuries for Your Car Accident ClaimEven if you think you've only had a minor accident and suffered few if any injuries, it's best to seek medical attention at the scene. And along with this, visit a doctor on your own, so that any additional injuries that may appear days or weeks later can be properly documented.
Get Information from Witnesses - Providing Information to Your Car Accident AttorneyIf you are physically able to do so, always get pertinent information from other drivers as well as witnesses while at the scene. This can include: --Names and Addresses of other drivers --Names and Contact Information of witnesses --Driver's Licenses, Insurance information from other drivers --Take photos of the scene, damage to cars, property damage, your injuries By doing so, you'll be able to provide this crucial information to your car accident attorney during an initial consultation.
Do Not Admit Fault - Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer FirstWhether at the accident scene speaking with police and other drivers or later on if speaking with insurance company claims adjusters, never under any circumstances admit the accident was your fault. If you do, you'll essentially be throwing away any chance you have of receiving compensation for your injuries. And along with this, you could be opening yourself to possible criminal charges as well, so keep your wits about you and never discuss who was at fault until you've consulted with your car accident attorney.
Don't Accept Settlements from Insurance Companies - Seek Legal Advice before Filing a Car Accident ClaimIn most of these situations, the other driver's insurance company will contact you in an attempt to convince you to accept a settlement offer. However, don't do it. If you do, you will not only forfeit your legal rights to pursue a lawsuit, but you will also likely receive far less money than you will need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Instead, let your attorney handle all future communications for you, which will ensure your legal rights are protected.
Do Consult with an Attorney - Seek Advice from a Car Accident LawyerIf you find yourself the victim of a car accident, always consult with an attorney as soon as possible. By doing so, you'll be able to discuss your case with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, knowing your legal rights will be protected at all times while you seek the compensation you deserve.
Duty of CareWhen it comes to a driver's duty of care, negligence is a big factor. With negligence being defined as a "careless or willful act that results in the injury of another person," this is the critical factor in any personal injury case. If you are filing a lawsuit, be prepared to show the other driver acted recklessly, and that your injuries were the result of their recklessness. Examples of negligence can include talking on a cell phone, reading a map, or speeding.
Judges and JuriesTo convince a judge or jury to rule in your favour, you'll need to prove the other driver was negligent. This can be done by using police reports, video from surveillance cameras, or the testimony of witnesses. In addition, you must prove the negligence led to your injuries. For example, if a surveillance camera or witnesses prove you were stopped at a red light when hit, and you suffered whiplash injury or any other injury afterwards, chances are good the judge or jury will rule in your favour.
What Damages are Awarded?If you file a lawsuit and get a ruling in your favor, various types of damages can be awarded to you. These can include money for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, property damages, expenses associated with rehabilitation of your injuries, and other punitive damages the judge or jury may deem necessary.
What If I'm Being Sued?If, however, the shoe is on the other foot and you find yourself being sued by the other driver, that doesn't mean you have to panic. By working with a whiplash injury attorney who has experience and knowledge of these cases, there are a variety of defenses you can use to prove your case.
Don't LieAlways Be Truthful With Your Auto Accident Lawyer: If there is one thing that will doom your lawsuit from the start, it's lying about the circumstances surrounding it to your attorney. Therefore, it's crucial that when the accident happens, take as many photos and notes as possible, along with getting the necessary contact information from other drivers and witnesses. In doing so, you won't have to rely on your memory alone to recount critical details, reducing the chances you may embellish the story when discussing it with your attorney.
Beware of Social MediaThe Downfall of Auto Accident Claims: While many people see social media posts as harmless, they can be anything but that to an auto accident victim. All it takes is one photo on Facebook showing your injuries to not be as serious as you have claimed, and chances are the defendant's lawyers and insurance company will know about it in no time. To keep from making this mistake, always remember the following: - Do not reveal confidential information about the lawsuit online - Never threaten anyone with online posts - Remember that one photo will be seen by potentially thousands of people Even though it may feel like you are doing nothing wrong by discussing your accident with online friends, the fact is the defendant's attorney and their insurance company are looking for anything they can use against you. By acting recklessly with social media, you're almost sure to lose your case.
Remember the Statute of LimitationsTime Limits to File Your Auto Accident Lawsuit: As with virtually any legal case, there is a statute of limitations regarding how long you'll have to file a claim. While these vary from state to state, in general you'll have between two and five years to file your claim. Therefore, it's important to not delay getting your case started, since you may find out that by waiting an extra day or two, you're too late.
Contact an AttorneyIf you have been involved in an auto accident, don't hesitate to contact an auto accident attorney like Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. as soon as possible to discuss your case. By doing so, you'll be sure to have an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable about these cases, ensuring your case will be handled in a professional and responsible manner.
Training and ExperienceSince DUI cases can be complex due to changing regulations and laws, most attorneys who specialize in this area participate in additional training once they complete law school, and in many cases even after they have been practising attorneys for several years. In general, attorneys receive 25-40 hours of instruction from the National Highway Safety Administration, as well as additional training from other organizations.
Office Costs and Additional OverheadAlong with the specialized training in DUI law, most attorneys also have office costs and additional overhead that must be factored into their costs for the client. This can include paying salaries of secretaries, legal assistants, and investigators, as well as rent for office space and other expenses.
Your First OffenseIf this is your first offence for DUI, most attorneys in DC will charge clients a minimum of $2000-$3000. While this may sound high to some, this money buys you a lawyer who will investigate the case thoroughly, consult with experts, and prepare a case for trial. If you try to go cheap and spend $1000 or less for legal representation in these cases, chances are you're only going to get a lawyer who will have you plead guilty, just to get the case over with as soon as possible.
Second, Third, and Additional DefensesIf you find yourself facing a second or third DUI arrest, be prepared to see your legal bills increase substantially. In these cases, you'll be spending anywhere from $4000-$6000 or even more, depending upon the circumstances surrounding your case.
Expert FeesIn complex DUI cases, your lawyer may consult with expert witnesses and even have them testify at trial if necessary. The typical cost for these experts varies from $300-$500, and all of these costs are passed on to the client. However, be wary if you are using a lawyer who is guaranteeing results because they are using expert witnesses since in any legal case no reputable lawyer will guarantee a win. Even though you may have to pay thousands of dollars to get a quality DUI lawyer in Washington, DC, it's usually money well-spent. By working with a lawyer who has years of experience and knowledge handling these cases, you'll have a much better chance of coming out on top. Whether they need to bring in expert witnesses or spend hours pouring over police reports, doing so can lead to a much better outcome.