How Retaining Legal Counsel Following an Automobile Collision Can Protect a Person’s Interests
Automobile collisions are an unfortunate fact of modern life. According to the online business data platform Statista, in 2018—the most recent year from which comprehensive statistics are available—some 6.7 million passenger cars were involved in traffic crashes in the United States. Nearly all of these involved property damage of some sort, and a large percentage involved bodily harm, permanent injury, and fatality.
In dealing with the fallout from an automobile collision, whatever it may be, retaining the services of legal counsel is essential. But why is this? Why shouldn’t a private citizen act on their own behalf and deal with their own problems? Are the services of a lawyer worth the expense? What precisely are the advantages to hiring a trained legal advocate after a car crash? To some people, the answers to these questions may not be immediately apparent. So, by means of responding, Evans C. Agrapidis provides a concise synopsis of some of the many ways that a lawyer specializing in traffic accidents or personal injury can protect a person’s interests after being involved in a vehicle collision.
Evans C. Agrapidis is a personal injury and accident lawyer with more than thirty-five years of experience practicing law. He is also a founding member of the Agrapidis law firm in Jersey City and Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, where he specializes in cases involving work-related accidents, motor vehicle accidents, fall down accidents, construction site accidents, and wrongful death.
Issues Concerning the Gathering of Evidence
According to Evans C. Agrapidis, "In the immediate wake of a traffic accident, collecting and officially documenting pertinent evidence is of paramount importance." Evidence like photos or videos of the affected vehicles, miscellaneous physical evidence such as debris, and contact information for witnesses can be used in multiple facets of an auto collision case file—everything from insurance claims to court proceedings. Retaining a lawyer to assist with this task carries with it the benefits of streamlining all the evidence through a professional trained to deal with such materials properly, as well as adding an air of legitimacy to the process. In certain situations, a lawyer may dispatch a letter of spoliation, which is a document informing other parties involved in the crash to preserve specific evidence in their possession relevant to any pending litigation.
Issues Concerning Severe Injury or Bodily Harm
Whether a driver, passenger, or simply an unlucky pedestrian in the wrong place at the wrong time, an experienced lawyer has many avenues to help a client in the event of severe injury or bodily harm resulting from a traffic accident. In fact, traditionally, this area is where legal counsel can prove the most effective. Typically, when submitting an insurance claim involving injury or bodily harm, a lawyer can negotiate with an insurance adjuster far more effectively than an ordinary citizen can on their own. The results of a 1999 study by the Insurance Research Council determined that accident victims who hire attorneys receive payouts averaging forty percent larger than those who do not.
If the accident is indisputably the fault of another party involved either through negligence or misconduct, a lawyer can help to bring lawsuits against the offending parties. These lawsuits can claim damages not only for medical expenses incurred that are not covered by insurance, but also for things like past lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and loss of valuable services, such as housekeeping and home maintenance. Of course, depending on the details of each particular accident, the outcome of any given lawsuit will vary. In many cases, the offending party may wish to settle out of court by agreeing to pay the victim a fixed dollar amount in return for dropping the matter altogether. Some cases will make it to court, at which point each side presents its arguments and a verdict will be rendered by a jury. In each of these situations, retaining the services of a lawyer is essential to successfully navigate through complex legal procedures and guarantee a maximally favorable financial outcome.
Issues Concerning Wrongful Death
Should the worst-case scenario come true, and a death or multiple deaths result from a traffic accident, the services of a lawyer become all the more indispensable. If a person dies because of a reckless, careless, wrongful, or criminal act committed by another, their dependant relatives have the right to sue on the grounds of wrongful death and seek financial recompense.
An attorney specializing in the litigation of wrongful death lawsuits can serve as a knowledgeable guide through this process, acting as the primary agent on behalf of the deceased, thus allowing their remaining loved ones the time and space needed to properly grieve and adapt to the tragic disruption in their life circumstances. Some financial damages that can be recovered by a successful wrongful death suit include medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of income and financial support, and loss of companionship and parental guidance. It ought to be noted that wrongful death actions must be filed within two years of the traffic accident in question, or else the right to collect damages may no longer apply.
Issues Concerning Non-Economic Losses
"One of the many significant repercussions of a car accident can be the physical pain and mental anguish experienced by its victims" states Evans C. Agrapidis. By nature, these concepts are immeasurable; however, there are quite a few legal routes available for assigning dollar figures to these intangibles and pressing the responsible parties for payment. With the assistance of a personal injury or traffic accident lawyer, elements such as emotional distress, physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and even inconvenience can be assessed and factored into any insurance claim or lawsuit. In seeking damages of this variety, certain evidentiary components such as medical examinations and mental evaluations must be obtained and methodically documented. This is yet another domain where trained legal counsel can prove helpful.
According to Forbes, the automobile insurance industry estimates that the average person will file a claim resulting from a collision approximately once every eighteen years. Assuming an individual drives a vehicle regularly from the ages of sixteen to eighty-five, the math puts that at roughly four major crashes during their driving career. Considering these projections, it is not so much a matter of if a person gets into a car accident, but a matter of when. With respect to the medical, financial, and legal consequences that inevitably follow an automobile collision, a lawyer specializing in traffic accidents or personal injury acts as an advocate for their client in numerous forms and fashions. These include negotiating with insurance companies for compensation, dealing with the other participant parties in the accident, and, should the circumstances dictate, representation in a court of law. So, in the aftermath of any kind of car crash—after the airbags deploy, any injuries are addressed, and proper statements are made to the police—it is far and away in a person’s best interest to retain legal counsel.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes