Common Questions Auto Accident Victims Ask
Those injured in car accidents often have a number of common questions, and many have never been in a lawyer’s office before. A thorough understanding of what is involved in a personal injury case can help the matter progress as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
If you were injured in a Colorado auto accident, here are some questions you may have:
Q: What Should Be My First Step After My Injury?
A: The most important thing for you to do is follow your doctor’s advice and focus on recovering from your injury. The law requires injured people to mitigate their damages, meaning do whatever is necessary to improve your physical condition and recover from your injury.
Q: Should I Retain an Attorney to Represent Me?
A: While hiring an attorney to represent you is a personal choice, not hiring one will likely put you at an extreme disadvantage. Attorneys understand how the personal injury lawsuit process works, are experienced in negotiating with insurance companies, and are probably not as expensive as you might think, as most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they won’t take a fee unless they recover damages on your behalf.
Q: What Will an Attorney Do for Me?
A: After an initial consultation, your attorney will thoroughly investigate your claim. He will do this by reviewing witness statements and accident reports, potentially traveling to the scene of the accident, analyzing your medical records, preparing your claim, and negotiating with the insurance company to settle your case.
Q: What Damages Can I Potentially Recover?
A: You may be eligible for economic damages, such as reimbursement of medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, as well as non-economic damages, such as loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering. Although Colorado law prevents you from asking for punitive damages when you file your lawsuit, if clear and convincing evidence demonstrates that such damages should be considered you may be entitled to them, although punitive damages cannot exceed the amount of actual damages awarded.
Q: How Long Will It Take for My Case to Settle?
A: When and if your personal injury case will settle depends on a variety of factors, including whether or not liability is clear, how long it takes you to conclude your accident-related medical treatment, the strength of your case, and whether the insurance company believes that your claim is worth what you are asking to settle it.
Q: How Much Is My Case Worth?
A: This question is very difficult to answer in the early stages of a claim, but some factors that may affect how much your personal injury case is worth include:
- The amount of your present and future medical bills
- Whether alcohol or drugs were involved in the accident
- How much present and future income you lost because of your injury
- Whether you sustained a permanent injury
- Your own degree of comparative negligence in the accident
- Whether the insurance company believes you were injured as badly as you say you were.
Q: Will My Case Go to Trial?
A: Just because your case gets filed in court does not mean it will automatically go to trial. Litigation is just another step in the negotiation process, and your attorney will continue to try to settle the case. According to a study published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, between 80 percent and 92 percent of all cases filed in court settle prior to trial.
If you’ve got more questions, contact an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney who will work hard to explain the process to you and aggressively pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.