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Role of Car Accident Lawyers – Securing Full Legal Damages

Find the help you deserve with an experienced Florida Car Accident Lawyer on your side

Florida Car Accident Lawyers and How They Can Help You Win Your Case

Car accident lawyers help injury victims win the full damages to which the law entitles them. They investigate claims, build cases, prove damages, negotiate with insurers, and, when necessary, take cases to trial.

Provides an Initial Consultation

While this may seem obvious, conducting an initial consultation effectively is an important skill for car accident lawyers. Though the lawyer wants to sign new clients with good cases, an initial consultation differs from a sales pitch. During this meeting, the lawyer needs to analyze your case and determine its strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the attorney needs to explain the legal process and make clients comfortable going forward.

 

After introductions, lawyers typically establish a rapport. As you will be working closely with the attorney, it’s important to know if this individual is an effective communicator and good to work with. A rapport demonstrates this.

 

Naturally, the discussion must turn to the accident. As the potential client, you provide a detailed account of the incident. The lawyer will ask about specific details important for your case, such as the date, time, location, weather conditions, and other factors. Additionally, the attorney will want to know about the injuries you sustained, what treatments you have received, and whether the condition has been resolved or still requires medical attention.

 

Remember to bring any evidence with you to the meeting. These may include photos, videos, medical records, police reports, and witness statements.

 

Based on the information you provided, the attorney provides an opinion as to your legal position and the potential outcome of the case, including what damages you may be entitled to receive. However, it’s important to note that the lawyer may need to engage in the legal discovery process to find additional evidence and determine an exact figure for your targeted settlement amount.

 

The attorney also explains the fee structure and potential additional costs. Car accident lawyers work on contingency, so no retainer is required. Instead, the law firm takes a share of the settlement or the award as its compensation. Typically, car accident lawyers charge a ⅓ contingency fee plus expenses, such as court reporters. However, if you never collect, you owe nothing.

 

The attorney will discuss the next steps. This may involve filing a lawsuit right away or engaging in negotiations with the insurance company as a precursor to a lawsuit if no agreement can be reached.

Negotiations With the Defendant

In a sense, you can consider the entire process a negotiation, so your lawyer will be working to this end the entire time. Sometimes, the lawyer will communicate with the defending insurance company and attempt to facilitate a settlement without a lawsuit. However, in some situations, this is impractical, such as when the insurer insists it has no liability.

 

If the insurer is willing to negotiate at this stage, the lawyer sends a letter of engagement informing them that he is representing you. He may speak with the insurance adjuster and present his reasoning why the insurer should offer a more generous sum.

 

This approach tends to yield fruit when there is little doubt about liability and the damages are relatively small. On the other end of the spectrum, the insurer is likely to litigate aggressively against claims where liability is less certain and the damages substantial.

Filing the Complaint

Often, insurers refuse to offer a reasonable settlement unless you take them to court. In that case, the attorney will apprise you of what the insurer offers, if anything. Ultimately, the decision of whether to settle at any juncture is yours, but you can expect the attorney to advise you on whether the offer is commensurate with what you are likely to receive by continuing to litigate.

 

If you decide to sue, the lawyer prepares and files the complaint.

 

The complaint is the paperwork that initiates the lawsuit. Lawyers file them with the court, and the court then schedules an initial court appearance and serves the lawsuit on the defendant.

 

Car accident lawyers go through several steps in preparing a complaint. Firstly, they gather relevant information and evidence. Likely, you provided much of this during the initial consultation, but there may be some additional information your lawyer must obtain.

 

A civil court complaint includes the following:

 

Caption 

The caption is the uppermost part of the complaint’s first page, which identifies the jurisdiction, the parties involved, and the case number.

Introduction

This section provides an overview of the allegations and the damages.

Factual allegations

Here the lawyer outlines the facts as you allege. The allegations must describe the events that caused the accident, a chronology of the incident, and the resulting damages.

Legal Claims

The complaint must also include the specific statutes under which the complaint has a basis. 

Damages

This part of the complaint explains the damages sought, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage.

Prayer for Relief

The prayer for relief asks the court to grant specific remedies, such as monetary damages or injunctions.

Build a Case During Discovery

After the filing of the complaint, the parties to the lawsuit engage in discovery. Discovery is a procedural process where the plaintiff and defendant must disclose their evidence to the other side. Also, each side has the opportunity to gather additional evidence, such as by interviewing witnesses and subpoenaing documents.

 

The process begins with requests for the production of documents.  Attorneys for either side demand the opposing party to produce documents related to the case. For instance, the defense may ask for a personal injury plaintiff’s medical records, while the plaintiff may request copies of the relevant insurance policy.

 

Your attorney carefully scrutinizes the defense’s discovery documents to gain a strategic understanding of the strength and weaknesses of its case.

 

With initial discovery out of the way, your car accident lawyer prepares requests for admissions. Requests for admissions require defense witnesses to affirm or deny material facts. Likewise, the defense prepares requests for admissions for the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s witnesses. These requests help narrow the points of contention, which makes negotiations and subsequent legal procedures more efficient.

 

Car accident lawyers must also write interrogatories. These are written questions to opposing witnesses. They consist of questions that bring out specific information about the incident, such as whether the defendant exceeded the speed limit. 

 

The defense also writes interrogatories for the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s witnesses. Your car accident lawyer advises you on answering interrogatories.

 

In some cases, car accident lawyers consult expert witnesses. For instance, the plaintiff’s attorney may hire an accident reconstructionist to determine how the accident occurred. The expert completes the analysis and furnishes a report to the lawyer. As part of the discovery process, this report must be shared with the other side. Opposing counsel has the opportunity to depose expert witnesses and cross-examine them at trial.

 

Depositions are the final stage of discovery. Attorneys from both sides depose the other side’s witnesses, usually in a face-to-face setting. The interview is recorded and transcribed. All witnesses are under oath. 

 

Depositions often prove dispositive in car accident cases. The defense often becomes more willing to settle before depositions because they are expensive. Also, if your car accident lawyer discovers damaging information or tarnishes the credibility of the defendant in a deposition, the defense may conclude it has a losing case and offer more to avoid further litigation expenses.

 

During depositions, car accident lawyers have several objectives. Firstly, depositions provide opportunity information. Lawyers can pose detailed questions and elicit information about particular circumstances. As a result, they gain a comprehensive understanding of the case that helps them identify points of strength and weakness for the defense.

 

During a deposition, car accident lawyers assess the credibility of the opposing witnesses. This is their first chance to observe their demeanor, consistency, and response to challenges. Often, lawyers draw out inconsistencies or contradictions that later prove useful at trial.

 

Also, depositions preserve witness testimony. The record created ensures that the witness is bound to his statements. He cannot readily change his story in a way that contradicts what he says in the deposition.

 

During the discovery process, a car accident lawyer continually engages in negotiations with the defense. Most cases settle during the discovery process. However, if the defense remains intractable, the car accident lawyer has more work.

 

Motions for Summary Judgment

Defense lawyers may ask the court to dismiss the claim through a motion of summary judgment. For this strategy to work, the court must be convinced no trial is needed because no material facts are in dispute. Car accident lawyers work hard during discovery to show that the plaintiff disagrees with the defendant’s rendition of the facts.

 

Your car accident lawyer files a response to s summary judgment motions. In this response, lawyers include a memorandum of law outlining their legal arguments, a statement of material facts in dispute (key), and supporting evidence and documentation. The lawyer must show there are genuine issues of material fact that require resolution through a trial.

 

Also, your car accident lawyer may file a counter-motion for summary judgment. Here, he turns the situation around and argues there are no genuine issues of material fact that support the defendant’s position; therefore, since the case is proven, there is no need for a trial.

 

Almost always, car accident cases end before the trial date. The plaintiff has proven his case, and the insurance company would only cost itself more money by proceeding to trial. On the other hand, a few cases do go before a jury. In that case, the car accident lawyer prepares for trial, presents evidence, examines the plaintiff’s witnesses, cross-examined defense witnesses, and persuades the jury that the damages resulted from the plaintiff’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions.

 

Car accident lawyers serve a vital function in the civil legal system. Without them, injury victims would be on their own in fighting for justice against deep-pocketed insurance companies. By building a strong case, negotiating to win, and convincing judges and juries, car accident lawyers help their clients obtain justice.

 

Rosen Injury Law’s car accident team is available to assess your case through a free consultation. Contact Rosen Injury Law for expert legal help.

 

Related Content: How Much Can I Sue Someone for a Car Accident in Florida?

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