There are several factors involved in calculating the value of a car accident claim. In most cases, it is best to leave the final determination for the legal professionals. An injured motorist or passenger can easily forfeit rights to remuneration by dealing directly with the insurance companies. Any car accident claim should be evaluated by qualified legal counsel, and that includes for every individual involved in the accident. The insurance companies will have a team of lawyers, and the victims need representation as well. But, here are some general factors to consider for any accident victim who may have a claim:
The Accident Report
If an accident occurred on a public highway, there will be an official accident report on file at the police department of jurisdiction. Car accident cases are normally processed in local district or circuit court. The accident report should contain an evaluation of the accident by an accident re-construction specialist. There may also be a clear indication of fault, and possibly negligence. Negligence is normally assessed to the driver at fault. The accident report will also contain the name of the insurance status, along with the company. Any legal counsel, such as a Maryland car accident attorney, will want to see the accident report, and it helps to have a personal official copy.
Evaluating Insurance Coverage
This is where effective legal counsel becomes necessary. Damage recovery can include personal injuries, vehicle replacement, lost wages from disability, and punitive damages for negligence. Responsible parties can include the other drivers, as well as the insurance carrier. Additionally, if the accident involves commercial vehicles, the employing transportation company could be liable.
Furthermore, if the victim carries full coverage insurance with uninsured and under-insured coverage, the victims insurance company can also be liable. This puts the victim in an adversarial situation with their own insurance company. It is easy to see how an accident can get complicated in final determination, and an experienced professional personal injury and car accident attorney will know where to look and who to address when evaluating fault.
Accidents that involve negligent parties with significant resources can also mean that there are punitive damages that can be recovered. This is the most highly-contested type of claim, but a jury trial may find in the victim’s favor in cases of disabling injury or wrongful death. Insurance coverage is always capped in some manner, and pursuing multiple respondents may be the only way to receive full damage awards.
This situation also requires solid legal representation, as the responsible parties may arrive at appropriate figures for settlement that the victim’s personal counsel will contest. In this regard, car accident attorneys become negotiation agents for their clients. There are similarities in all cases, and an experienced car accident attorney can be effective in case comparison and long-term opportunity costs that impact punitive damages.
The novice victim should always seek appropriate counsel in assessing the value of a car accident. All claims are subject to jurisdictional determination, so accidents are all legal cases. Some just get settled out of court. If the insurance companies admit that they must pay, and want to settle quickly, reject the offer and go directly to an attorney. Insurance companies either settle quickly, or drag a case out. In the event of the latter, an attorney will be necessary to act as an agent to pressure the liable insurance company.
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Filing an accident claim can be a minefield, and author Georgina Clatworthy has written many informative articles to help claimants understand the process better. Maryland car accident attorney firm, Price Benowitz LLP, has many years experience in handling accident claims and can advise claimants fully on the value of their claim. An experienced lawyer can also help deal with insurance companies and ensure you receive the full damages to which you are entitled.