Do I Still Need a Lawyer if the Car Accident Wasn’t My Fault?
Exploring the Role of Legal Representation in No-Fault Car Accidents
Maybe a tired night shift worker rear-ended you at a stoplight. Maybe a pickup truck fails to yield and pulls out in front of you. Brakes screeching, there's no time to stop. You brace for impact as your car slams into the side of the truck. Maybe a drunk driver swerves into your lane, causing you to spin out of control - shattered glass spraying the interior of your car, your shoulder crunching as it hits the passenger door. In an instant, your world is upended. Though the collision was clearly the other driver's fault, you’re now facing injuries, expenses, and major disruptions to your life, including possible medical treatment, lost wages, and emotional trauma.
Navigating the claims process after a car accident may become complex quickly - especially when you’re dealing with injuries and financial strain. Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side is critical - even if the car accident wasn’t your fault. This article explores both how fault is determined in different states and the benefits of legal counsel after no-fault wrecks. With expert legal help, you can protect your rights and obtain the maximum compensation you deserve. Don’t wait - call Wettermark Keith at 877-715-9300 for a free consultation.
How Fault Laws Work in Determining Liability
To truly understand your options after an accident where the other party was at fault, you first need to know how “no-fault” and “at-fault” laws determine liability.
In no-fault states, like Florida, each driver's auto insurer pays for their own medical bills and expenses after a crash, up to a set limit, regardless of who was responsible. The at-fault motorist is only liable for reimbursing the not-at-fault driver once their costs exceed a no-fault coverage limit of $10,000. For other categories of damages - property loss, lost income, pain and suffering - the victim of the accident still has to demonstrate the at-fault party’s liability in order to claim those amounts from their policy.
In contrast, most states, including Alabama, follow an "at-fault" auto insurance model, where the negligent driver who caused the accident is liable for all damages and losses of the not-at-fault victim(s). Under at-fault laws, the victim must prove the other driver's liability through evidence like police reports, witness statements, photos of the scene, etc. If the other driver’s negligence - such as running a red light, distracted driving, or uncontrolled speed - is demonstrated, their insurer pays the accident victim's claims.
In this system, the at-fault driver will be held responsible for covering any and all of the innocent victim's expenses. This might include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Having an attorney on your side can be crucial to help you prove liability in an at-fault state. That being said, an experienced car accident attorney can be helpful in far more ways than one.
Why You Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident
If you've been in a car accident that wasn't your fault, you may be wondering if a lawyer is necessary to help recover damages. Could you recover damages on your own? Maybe, but statistically speaking, far less than what you could recover by working with an Attorney. At Wettermark Keith, we strongly recommend hiring skilled legal counsel to protect your rights and interests. Here's why our experienced personal injury attorneys are so critical:
Proving the other driver's liability in your car accident is the key to obtaining compensation from their insurer. Without irrefutable evidence establishing fault, an insurer can easily deny a claim. Our attorneys have intricate knowledge of the negligence laws and standards of evidence required in each state - we know what it takes to prove liability and win cases.
Our lawyers work with respected accident reconstruction experts, forensic specialists, and investigators to thoroughly analyze the wreck. We gather compelling evidence like police reports, eyewitness statements, video footage, skid mark patterns, and more to clearly demonstrate the other driver’s acts of negligence, such as speeding, distraction, failure to brake, etc. Poor road conditions and mechanical or auto part defects can also be contributing factors that our skilled lawyers know how to identify.
Once we win your case, our attorneys present a demand letter to the at-fault driver's insurer seeking just compensation for all your losses - medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, etc. Unfortunately, insurers often try to deny, delay, or minimize valid injury claims through aggressive tactics, hoping victims will take smaller payouts to avoid hassle. Our attorneys aren’t intimidated by this behavior - we counter dishonest adjusters through persistence, leverage negotiation strategies, and assure them of our willingness to take cases to trial.
Our experienced car accident lawyers are well-versed in negotiating to secure the compensation you deserve - and a key part of this involves working with your health insurance company. After a settlement or verdict is reached, we thoroughly review your medical bills and costs. Drawing on our knowledge of the health insurance industry, we identify areas where the initial charges are inflated or unreasonable and negotiate directly with the health providers to reduce these costs. This process of negotiating down your medical costs often yields significant savings, ensuring your compensation goes directly into your pocket rather than towards inflated medical bills. Our attorneys will fight for your best interests at every step.
In the disorienting fog after a bad wreck, accident victims often focus solely on immediate medical issues and expenses. But severe crashes frequently have lasting physical, psychological, and financial impacts. You may miss months of work and require extended medical treatment or rehabilitation services. Chronic pain or disabilities can linger for years.
Our attorneys understand how to properly quantify these long-term injuries, in addition to more complex damages like permanent loss of earning capacity, if disabilities prevent you from returning to the same career. An initial settlement offer typically does not include these significant but harder-to-measure long-term damages.
When insurers refuse to offer reasonable compensation - even with irrefutable liability evidence and extensive damages - our attorneys aren’t afraid to take your case to court. Our proven trial attorneys will take your case as far as necessary to force negligent insurers and at-fault drivers to provide fair compensation to our injured clients. We don't make empty threats in settlement negotiations - we follow through. Most importantly, our attorneys have the legal knowledge and rhetorical skill to present evidence in the best possible light, painting a compelling picture of fault that leaves insurers little room to maneuver.
After a wreck, we understand your financial situation may be strained. In light of this, our attorneys handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only collect fees if we successfully win compensation on your behalf. No fees or costs will ever be charged upfront or out-of-pocket.
Even collisions that were clearly another driver's fault can bring extreme challenges and stress. Protect yourself from day one - reach out to Wettermark Keith’s car accident attorneys for a free consultation at 877-715-9300. With an expert in your corner, you stand the best chance of recouping fair compensation for your damages and moving on from your accident. The law is meant to provide justice - don't leave your recovery to chance.
Frequently Asked Questions
In car accident cases, 'no-fault' refers to a system in which your own insurance company covers certain expenses, such as medical bills and lost wages, regardless of who caused the accident. It is designed to provide prompt compensation to accident victims without the need to establish fault. However, the specifics of 'no-fault' systems can vary by state, so it's essential to understand your state's laws and insurance coverage. Contact our attorneys for more information on liability in your specific situation.
Liability in a car accident is typically determined through an investigation that may involve examining evidence, police reports, eyewitness accounts, and sometimes expert testimony. The party found to be at fault, meaning their actions or negligence led to the accident, is responsible for covering the expenses resulting from the accident.
If you're not at fault in a car accident, the other driver's insurance should cover your expenses. However, the extent of coverage and the ease of obtaining compensation can vary. It's essential to work with a personal injury lawyer to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for all your expenses, including medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.
If the other driver denies being at fault or if fault is shared, it can complicate the claims process. In such cases, your lawyer can help gather evidence, including witness statements, photographs, and expert opinions, to establish liability. The goal is to build a strong case that supports your claim - if you are found to be even 1% at fault for your accident in an at-fault state, you may not be eligible to obtain compensation.
A lawyer can assist you in several ways. They can handle the complexities of your claim, negotiate with the at-fault party's insurance company to ensure you receive full compensation, and, if necessary, file a lawsuit on your behalf to protect your rights. They will guide you through the legal process, ensuring that your interests are represented and that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages.
Pain and suffering are significant components of car accident claims. They are typically calculated based on the extent of your injuries and their impact on your daily life. Working with a lawyer can help you determine an appropriate amount.
HERE'S WHAT TO DO NEXT
If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.