What do car accident lawyers do?

5-7 minute read | Published: March 28, 2024 | Updated: April 20, 2024

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Car accidents often lead to serious injuries and in many cases, the victims never fully recover.  In fact, according to a 2006 data from the NHTSA, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people from 2 to 34 years of age.

If you or a family member recently suffered injuries and incurred financial losses as a result of a car accident, it’s important to be aware of how a car accident lawyer can help you.

A car accident lawyer can:

1. Gather important evidence to prove that the other party/parties are negligent.

Your lawyer will comb through every detail to uncover the truth behind the accident in a bid to show who’s responsible for the mess.

2. Serve as your liaison with the at-fault party’s insurance company.

They will handle all the nitty-gritty negotiations with the other party’s insurance company, making sure your rights are front and center in every discussion / meeting.

3. Make sure the outcome of the negotiation will be favorable to you.

Your car accident lawyer is a seasoned negotiator and when it comes to dealing with insurance companies, they know all the tricks of the trade. They will push for a settlement that doesn’t just cover your expenses but also reflects the true impact of the accident on your life.

4. Collect your medical records and bills.

Your lawyer will gather every paperwork related to your injuries and expenses, so they can create a clear and compelling picture of your case. Lawyer cost varies based on case complexity & location. Factors like experience & legal needs affect fees. Consultations can provide clarity.

car accident lawyer

5. Present a strong case for you in court.

Your lawyer will strongly argue your case before the judge and jury. With their skills and expertise, they will fight tooth and nail to ensure your voice is heard and justice is served.

Defining Negligence in a Car Accident

The legal definition of negligence is:

Failure to exercise the degree of care expected of a person of ordinary prudence in like circumstances in protecting others from a foreseeable and unreasonable risk of harm in a particular situation.”

Drivers are expected to be reasonably careful on the road so as to avoid injuring others – passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. Anything that leads to injury or harm to another makes this individual negligent in the eyes of the law.

Classifications of Negligence

There are 2 classifications of driver negligence. First, there’s Comparative Negligence which means that both parties that figure in an accident are at fault.

Let’s say you’re driving down the road, and suddenly someone pulls out of a parking lot right in front of you without looking. You slam on your brakes, but you collide with their car.

In this scenario, it might seem like the other driver is completely at fault for the accident. However, upon closer examination, it’s found that you were also slightly speeding at the time.

So, while the other driver’s actions were the main cause of the accident, your speeding contributed to the severity of the collision.

This is an example of comparative negligence, where both parties share some level of fault, but the degree of fault can affect how compensation is allocated. The court may determine you are responsible for a percentage of the damages.

The other kind of negligence is known as Contributory Negligence. Under this, the victim has zero chance of receiving compensation if it’s determined that they are at fault in the accident.

To cite an example, let’s say you’re texting on your phone while driving and then a speeding vehicle struck you. If the court rules that you were negligent, you would not receive compensation for any damages.

Types Of Driver Negligence

Driver negligence cases are among the most common causes of vehicular accidents in the U.S. with Texas being the most dangerous state for negligent driving.

Although most people only recognize DUIs and distracted driving as grounds for negligence, there are actually several types of driver negligence, including:

1. Distracted Driving

When a driver’s attention is diverted away from the road, such as when they are texting while driving, talking on the phone, eating, adjusting the radio, or even putting on makeup while behind the wheel.

2. Reckless Driving

Reckless driving involves operating a vehicle in a manner that shows a disregard for the safety of others. Some examples are: excessive speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, ignoring traffic signs and signals, etc.

In 2018, Justin Bieber was arrested in Miami Beach for reckless driving and DUI after he was caught drag racing.

3. Disobeying Traffic Laws

This refers to any violation of traffic regulations, such as speeding, running a red light, failing to yield, illegal lane changes, and others.

4. Driving Under The Influence (DUI)

DUI occurs when a driver operates a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications and illegal substances.

5. Drowsy Driving

When a driver operates a vehicle while fatigued or sleepy, their ability to drive safely is impaired.  In 2014, comedian Tracy Morgan was seriously injured in a crash on the New Jersey Turnpike when a tired Walmart truck driver failed to notice slow-moving traffic and crashed into Morgan’s vehicle. The truck driver was reportedly awake for more than 28 hours prior to the crash.

Dealing with Negotiation and Settlement

After a car accident, determining who is liable and responsible for covering damages can be a complicated and difficult matter.

The strength of your case hinges on the evidence gathered, fortunately for you, car accident lawyers have the resources and experience to collect vital evidence. These include witness testimonies, expert reconstructions, and documentation of the accident scene, all of which are crucial in proving liability and securing fair compensation for your damages.

Moreover, because car accidents can result in significant financial losses, (medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, to name a few) you need to be compensated for these too. Car accident lawyers specialize in accurately assessing these damages, ensuring that you receive the full compensation you deserve.

Car Accident Settlement

Dealing with insurance companies is another difficult matter you need to deal with but not if you have a seasoned and experienced lawyer by your side. They level the playing field by handling all communications with insurers on your behalf including providing evidence to negotiating settlements to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive fair treatment.

Handling the Litigation Process

If the insurance company fails to offer a reasonable settlement, pursuing a lawsuit may be necessary to ensure you are properly compensated.

Throughout the litigation process, your lawyer will do the following:

  • Prepare and file the lawsuit.
  • Collect pretrial discovery from the at-fault driver.
  • File and argue pretrial motions.
  • Present your evidence to the jury during trial proceedings.
  • The jury will then evaluate the evidence presented, assess negligence, and determine the extent of your losses before deciding on a verdict.

Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer

Car Accident litigation

While you can certainly handle a car accident case on your own, it’s not recommended. The experience of a car accident lawyer can greatly increase your chances of receiving fair compensation.

Proving negligence of another driver is not always easy, especially in complicated accidents. But a car accident lawyer with extensive experience on the matter will leave no stone unturned in determining all liable parties in your accident and gather the necessary evidence to prove liability and fault.

Category: Car Accident FAQs