You may think that calling a car accident Lawyer is only necessary if you've been injured in an automobile accident, but that's not true. Even if no one is physically hurt -- or you don't believe you're physically hurt immediately following an accident -- you should always call a personal injury Lawyer. There are many ways that a Lawyer can help you after you've been in an accident, and they can guide you and tell you exactly what you need to do in order to keep yourself safe and take the best possible care of your vehicle and yourself.
Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer
There are lots of different types of Lawyers. That's because the law is extremely extensive. There are many different papers and court documents that need to be filed, many previous cases that Lawyers may cite when they're making their arguments. Lawyers have to choose a specific branch of the law to focus on because there are so many details related to every single case and so many specific pieces of paper to file. A car accident Lawyer specializes in personal injury. While this can include any type of personal injury, injuries resulting from car accidents are the most common causes.
A car accident Lawyer may also be known as a personal injury Lawyer. These professionals know exactly what you should do after you've been in an accident, and they can tell you where to go and what to do next. Being in an accident is a traumatic experience. Even if you don't think you've been hurt, you should still consult with a car accident Lawyer. They can tell you how to best move forward and the steps you need to take when it comes to filing an insurance claim, making a police report, and dealing with the immediate aftermath of a car wreck.
Even if your accident occurred hours or days before, you can still use the professional services of a car accident Lawyer. Sometimes, injuries don't show up for even a few days after an accident. Sometimes, the process of filing a claim or getting the money you need from the other person involved in the accident isn't as simple as it should be. There are many reasons why you might need the services of a car accident Lawyer. Whatever they are, there are many options available to you.
Finding a Good Car Accident Lawyer
Do you know how to begin the process of finding a car accident Lawyer? There are lots of different law firms out there, and you probably know of several personal injury Lawyers who advertise on the TV, radio, and on local signs around our town. Most car accident Lawyers will only charge you if you win your case, and most cases are never taken into a courtroom. Insurance companies and businesses prefer to settle out of court, and almost every single personal injury case is decided this way.Start by looking for law firms and personal injury Lawyers in your area. All layers are licensed to practice law, so you now that they have studied and fulfilled all the requirements to legally practice law. Whichever Lawyer you choose, you'll end up with a professional who knows the law. Many Lawyers have their own websites where they display their credentials, customer testimonials, and other relevant information.
It's always a good idea to know how to contact a Lawyer or a law firm because there will be many times in your life when you have need of legal services. In addition to helping with personal injury cases of all kinds, business Lawyers can help you with real estate issues, custody and divorce problems, and inheritance issues. Among Americans over age 65, 50% have up-to-date wills. It's always wise to have a will, even if you think you don't have a lot of assets, to avoid fights and arguments that can poison relationships. Knowing how to find a good Lawyer means you know everything you need to know whenever you have legal troubles of any kind.
Frequently Asked Questions
Somatic Symptom Disorder - What is it and how can we prove it?
The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) recently crystallised the importance of considering how psychiatric injuries accompany physical ones. In Saadati v. Moorhead, Saadati was in a car accident and suffered psychological and emotional trauma. He was awarded damages for mental injury based on the evidence of a lay witness who explained that Saadati’s personality changed post-accident. Expert evidence was not necessary, and the award did not need an attached “recognizable psychiatric illness.” The court found that requiring mental injury to pass the threshold of medical-expert testimony showing a “recognizable psychiatric illness,” while not requiring the same “classificatory label” of physical injury, would amount to unequal protection for those with a mental injury.
This SCC decision confirmed that the law of negligence accords identical treatment to mental and physical injury. This is a decision that is often looked at, as of late, with an overwhelming increase in the diagnosis of somatic symptom disorder (SSD). In dealing with my fair share of personal injury cases, I’ve started to notice this increase. The criteria for the illness remain broad, and like so many other cognitive/psychological conditions, it tends to be met with quite a bit of push back from defendants.
The DSM-5 characterises the condition as follows:
“SSD is characterised by somatic symptoms that are either very distressing or result in significant disruption of functioning, as well as excessive and disproportionate thoughts, feelings and behaviours regarding those symptoms. To be diagnosed with SSD, the individual must be persistently symptomatic (typically at least for 6 months).”
I tend to see this diagnosis when clients are suffering from longstanding subjective physical symptoms. The client is in extreme physical distress, but there’s no explanation of where this additional distress comes from. The pain felt by the client is otherwise disproportionate to the actual seriousness of the injury. I’ve always viewed it as an uncontrollable dispute between the body and the mind. I say this because typically the body is ready to be healed but the mind isn’t.
The proof isn’t as solid as we wish it was. The driving force of the diagnosis is the client’s own reaction to assessment and medical investigation. An SSD case can often be met by an assumption of “fake” injuries or plaintiff malingering. However, the SCC worded it properly when stating that the trier of fact should “not [be] concerned with the diagnosis, but with symptoms and their effects.” This point should always be emphasised when dealing with SSD cases. Focusing on the genuine statement of lay witnesses and providing a clear historical approach of the impact caused by the negligent act, remains the best means to put forward a strong SSD case.
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What should I do if I am injured and someone else is responsible?
As a litigation Lawyer, I am often retained weeks, months or even years after a client has suffered an injury as a result of another’s negligence. Ideally, if you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you should contact a Lawyer promptly to review the circumstances of the incident. I routinely meet people for a no obligation consultation to discuss matters such as liability, limitation periods and evidence that must be preserved.
At the scene of the accident, you should take several steps immediately, whether it is a motor-vehicle accident or a slip and fall, a dog bite or injury caused by a defective product:
- Identify who is responsible (i.e. exchange of information). If possible, take photographs of obvious material damage (in the case of a motor vehicle collision, take photos of the other party’s car as well as your own);
- Record via photographs or notes how the incident occurred (e.g. slip fall on uneven pavement); and
- Identify and obtain contact information of any witnesses to the incident – this is crucial, as witnesses can be lost forever if not identified at the scene.
As a Lawyer representing injured people, I have found that taking these easy steps can be the difference between having a long drawn out fight about legal liability and moving to a meaningful discussion about compensation reasonably quickly.
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Three weeks ago I was at a retail store and tripped over winter matting near the entrance. I fell and broke my wrist. Today an Insurance adjuster called me. He said I was responsible to look where I was walking but he offered me $5000.00 to help me out as I have been off work. I am on sick leave and have not lost any income. Is there any reason not to just take the money?
Plenty of Reason. Leaving aside what happened, and what you might be entitled to recover as a result of your injuries, it is always a good idea to consult with a Lawyer before taking a settlement proposed by an insurance company. Insurance adjusters work for Insurance companies and they do not approach a settlement based on what you are entitled to. They offer money based on the risk of what you might receive by way of an award. Generally, they will try and settle a claim or potential claim for as little as they reasonable can in order to close off a risk.
A Lawyer will work for you. Many Lawyers offer a free consultation. I find I ask a lot of questions and do a lot of listening during a consultation. I try to give my client an understanding of the legal issues arising in their circumstances, and what the options are going forward.
Assert your rights. Over the years I have come to understand that people almost always benefit from at least consulting with a Lawyer before trying to settle with an insurance company. There is a significant imbalance between a lone individual and a huge insurance company. A Lawyer has the knowledge to help level the playing field. In my experience insurers will see a greater risk when dealing with an injured person who is represented by a Lawyer. Greater risk to insurers leads to better settlements.