Nearly 1,000 people in Tennessee lost their lives to traffic fatalities in 2015, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Tennessee’s highway fatality rate far outstrips the national average. Here, 14.51 people per 100,000 died on the roads in 2015, compared to only 10.92 per 100,000 for the national average. Car accidents are an all too frequent occurrence in Tennessee, which is why it is so important to have a Knoxville car accident lawyer on your side.
Unfortunately, many accident victims forgo hiring an attorney because they do not know how much an attorney can help their case. Below, we discuss three ways car accident lawyers can help you overcome your losses.
- Gathering Evidence
To prove your losses and get fair compensation, you must have evidence. Your car accident lawyer will evaluate your claim and determine the specific evidence needed for your particular case.
Some of the common types of evidence in car accident claims are:
Police report: The police report will show what happened at the scene of the accident. It will contain the names and contact information for all drivers. It will note all the damage done to every vehicle as well as the time, date, and location of the crash. Names of eyewitnesses may be on the police report or on a supplemental report. The report will also list any citations given to the drivers, if any, and an initial determination of fault.
Medical records and bills: Your medical records are an integral part of your accident case. Without an injury, you have no claim. The medical records illustrate the details of your injuries and link those injuries to the crash.
Your medical bills show how much the medical injuries harmed you financially. The details of your injuries and the financial losses from the medical bills are important factors in determining the amount of compensation you will receive for your injuries.
Employment records/paystubs/W-2s: If you lost wages because of your injuries, you should be compensated for that loss. Lost wages can include time away from work on the day of the crash, as well as the immediate treatment and recuperation time, and time lost from work by your having to go to follow-up or ongoing treatments. Your car accident lawyer will get the records from your employer to prove this element of your damages.
Expert witness testimony: It may be necessary for your lawyer to get testimony from expert witnesses to prove your damages. If you will have long-term or residual disability from your injuries, your lawyer might use a vocational expert to calculate the extent of your disability and how much it will impact you financially over the years. If there is dispute about who was at fault in the accident, an accident reconstruction expert can show what caused the accident.
Eyewitness testimony: Eyewitness testimony can show what happened before, during, or after the car accident. Because eyewitnesses are unbiased bystanders who have nothing to gain or lose, their testimony carries more weight than a driver or passenger.
While you can recover the police report and eyewitness testimony on your own, most of the other types of evidence listed are difficult for the average person to obtain.
- Getting a Full Prognosis and Value of Your Case
Many accident victims settle their cases before getting their full prognosis. The body takes time to heal. People heal at different rates, and with varying levels of success.
Until you know completely how the injuries will affect the rest of your life, do not settle. Many people do not understand that when you settle, you have to sign papers that take away your rights to ever get more money for anything to do with the accident. If you settle early, and later discover that your injuries are worse than you initially realized, you cannot go back to the insurance company for more money.
Note: Even after you are satisfied that you fully understand your prognosis, you should not settle your claim until a lawyer reads over the settlement documents. You can be sure that the insurance company had a team of lawyers when they wrote the settlement documents. The legal team wrote the documents to do one thing — protect the insurer. To protect yourself, you should have a lawyer read the documents to make sure the insurance company is not taking advantage of you.
- Defending You Against the Insurance Company
Insurance companies have an unfair advantage. They have you outmanned and outgunned. You are one person going up against a corporation with thousands of employees, many of whom have one job goal — to keep every dollar they can for the insurance company. They do that by paying you as little as they can.
When you are trying to deal with an insurance company on your own, you may feel like it is a battle of David and Goliath. This is the reason most people just accept what the insurance company offers. Having an attorney on your side evens the playing field.
Our team has decades of experience dealing with insurance companies and we know the tricks they like to pull. We will stand up against the insurance company and negotiate to ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve.
Call us today, and let the skilled lawyers at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC turn your wreck into a check: 865-546-1111.