The Best Way to Understand the Car Accident Lawsuit Process is a Play-by-play Description:
The following information will outline the approach that we will take in your car accident case from start to finish.
Determining how your car accident case will play out largely depends on two factors:
- The severity of your injuries, and:
- The effectiveness of the law firm who represents you.
Let's begin by addressing the latter---choosing the right law firm.
How We Differ from Other Car Accident Lawyers.
Although our firm differs from most other car accident law firms in several areas, the most distinguishing difference is that we are not a bulk or mass plaintiffs law firm. High volume car accident lawyers run their firms by retaining a large number of clients, grouping them together by common insurance carriers, and settling their cases at mostly the same time. The obvious problem with firms that take this approach is that they fail to account for the unique facts and needs of their clients' cases, and thus often fail to obtain a recovery that fully compensates their clients for their injuries.
Another advantage to retaining our firm is that our attorneys and staff are committed to keeping you informed of every step and development in your case. We'll always disclose what's going on "behind the scenes" of your lawsuit. Regardless if you've suffered minor injuries, severe injuries, or your loved one was wrongfully killed in the accident, our firm will keep you informed about what is going on in your case.
Examples of How a Car Accident Cases Work From Beginning to End: A Tale of Three Car Accidents
Perhaps the best way to illustrate our approach is to provide three examples showing the play-by-play for three distinct car accident scenarios which result in different degrees of severity.
Minor Car Accident Cases
We'll first examine how a defendant car insurance carrier would address a claim filed against its policyholder that caused only minor injuries and property damage. In this example, the car accident victim is commuting home during rush hour when, upon coming to a standstill due to the highway's congestion, is negligently rear-ended by another driver. As a result, the accident victim suffers $1,000 in property damages, whiplash, and a small gash on his forehead, but walks away from the accident without severe injuries such as broken bones, brain damage, or extensive scarring. The accident victim then contacts our firm for assistance, and is advised of the arguments that the defendants and their insurance companies typically make in their effort to avoid liability, and how our firm can help defeat those baseless arguments.
The Defendant's Typical Arguments:
Through our 25 years of experience, our firm has developed the ability to predict what defendants and insurance companies will do in accident cases. Particularly, their game plan is to take the actions necessary to prove that their insured driver was either not at fault or only partially at fault for causing your injuries. For example, they may claim that your brake lights were broken, that you abruptly changed lanes, or claim that the accident was "unavoidable," all of which serve as valid excuses for why their insured driver may have rear ended you yet bears no liability.It's very important to note that, even if the insurance carrier does accept liability for your property damage, they'll likely downplay the severity of your physical injuries in an attempt to reduce their liability. For example, we've seen many insurance adjusters initially offer settlements to car accident victims for 10% of their value.
How We Would Help In This Scenario:
Over our 25 years of experience, we've developed the skill necessary to anticipate and overcome insurance companies' common defenses and tactics asserted to avoid liability for their policyholders' actions.
Our attorneys will first begin to help you recover for your injuries by conducting an investigation designed to preemptively counter the defendant's lines of defenses. Our investigations normally consist of:
- Gathering witness statements;
- Obtaining surveillance camera footage recorded near the scene of the accident;
- Obtaining the independent impression of the officer who wrote the police report by interviewing him (this is above and beyond what most other firms do, as they limit their investigation to simply reading the police report);
- Filing a claim against the insurance carrier on your behalf so that their representatives don't have the opportunity to damage your case by asking confusing or leading questions; and
We'll ensure that you're fully compensated for your injuries by establishing their existence and severity. To achieve this goal, we'll make sure that credible doctors treat your injuries. We've worked with and developed an extensive network of medical experts with credible reputations needed to appropriately represent and quantify our clients' damages. These doctors all have outstanding reputations, will testify on your behalf, and are a necessary element in connecting the accident to your injuries and validate that the compensation our attorneys are seeking on your behalf is fair and reasonable.
We'll then assemble the evidence gathered thus far and file an injury claim with the other driver's insurance company. We do this by compiling a demand packet that outlines our legal position, details the existence and extent of your injuries, preemptively disproves the arguments we believe they'll make in their efforts to defeat your claim, illustrates the law that favors our demand, and lists the steps we'll take to enforce your rights if they fail to respond.
Nine out of ten times we'll get a response from the insurance company to our demand packet, and we'll begin a constructive discussion and negotiation of the merits of your case. In the event that the insurance company fails to respond to our demand packet or the defendant refuses to offer an adequate settlement, we then aggressively and persuasively litigate your case in the courtroom.
Serious Car Accident Cases
Next, we'll consider a serious car accident case. In this example, the accident victim was driving down the road when the defendant driver (traveling in the opposite direction) makes a left turn on a yield (green light instead of green arrow) which causes the defendant's car to cross right in front of the victim's car, resulting in the victim T-boning the defendant. As a result, the victim's airbags deployed, causing the accident victim to suffer several broken bones and extensive scarring. The accident victim contacts our firm and we explain to him what he may soon encounter.
- The Defendant's Typical Arguments
In response to injury claims for severe accidents, insurance carriers will intensify and broaden their defensive strategy because they have much more to lose. Although insurance companies are only normally held responsible to the upper-limits of their client's' policy, an experienced attorney may be able to obtain additional damages, higher than the policy limits, from them where they have acted in bad faith. For example, additional damages may be available if the insurance carrier acted in bad faith by denying your claim in violation of the Stowers Doctrine.
In all severe injury claims, auto insurance carriers will attempt to reduce or eliminate their liability by asserting the doctrine of comparative fault. Why? Because they can. Under Texas' comparative fault laws, defendants can reduce their liability by proving that the injured driver making the claim was partially responsible for causing the accident, or could have done something to avoid the collision. Through comparative fault, a defendant can reduce his liability by the percentage he was not at fault, and can avoid liability altogether if he can prove that the plaintiff (you) was at least 51% responsible for causing the accident. Did you catch that? If the defendant can shift enough of the blame to the accident victim, they can avoid ALL liability. So even in a case where the defendant is obviously at fault, they just have to half-way convince a jury otherwise and they will effectively win.
For example, the adjuster may assert that their client isn't 100% liable for your injuries because another vehicle blocked their view, that you failed to take evasive action, that your brakes weren't properly working, you were speeding, or you were otherwise distracted by texting or adjusting your radio.
- How We Would Address The Above
Simply put, recovering for serious injuries under Texas' comparative fault laws requires an attorney with considerable experience. In order to defeat the defendant's common claims and receive compensation for injuries arising from serious car accidents, our attorneys may need to take several additional actions on your behalf that would not be necessary in minor car accident injury cases. For example, we may need to depose the doctors and surgeons that treated your injuries and we will likely need to file a lawsuit to obtain a proper recovery for your injuries. By taking the deposition of your doctors, we will now have official testimony to prove the extent of your injuries (thereby securing the value of your recovery should you prevail in proving the defendant's liability), rather than relying on the medical records alone. By filing a lawsuit, we will apply extra pressure to the defendants since all eyes are now on the case (a case settled out of court happens behind closed doors, but a case where suit is filed is a matter of public record).
In addition to the litigation-based resources and benefits we offer our clients, we are also committed to ensuring that trained medical professionals quickly treat their injuries, even if our clients don't have access to such medical care through their own insurance. Our firm realizes that expenses associated with obtaining medical care for injuries suffered in a car accident can be overwhelming. In reaction to our clients' concerns, we're committed to working with doctors, hospitals, and anyone else involved in your medical treatment on suspending payment obligations until your claims have been resolved.
Perhaps most importantly, our firm realizes that many severely injured car accident victims require long-term medical attention. With that in mind, we'll assert claims on your behalf to recover compensation for both your current and future medical treatment, as well as how the accident will affect your ability to earn a living. Common claims our firm asserts against car accident defendants are for their current and future costs associated with medical procedures not yet performed, claims for your inability to earn a living while you recovered from your injury, and claims made to obtain compensation for any future detriment on your ability to earn a living.
An additional obstacle presented in many severe car accident cases is when the other driver is under-insured or uninsured, meaning that their insurance policy alone will not fully compensate you for your injuries. In these cases, our firm will normally take two actions in seeking full compensation for your injuries: perform an asset investigation on the defendant and investigate third-party liability.
Our firm routinely performs asset investigations against under-insured and uninsured defendants to discover if they have assets that they could obtain a judgment lien against in a lawsuit. Additionally, if our investigation reveals that a third party was also liable for your injuries, such as if your airbags didn't work properly or seat belt was defective thereby insinuating that the manufacturer of your car is also culpable, we can also assert claims against the third party defendant.
Car Accidents that Result in a Wrongful Death
Finally, we'll consider the additional concerns that must be addressed in car accident cases where someone is killed. In this example, the accident victim, a husband and father of three young children, was killed when another driver negligently ran a red light and crashed into his vehicle. Shortly thereafter, the car accident victim's wife called our firm regarding what can be done to recover for the economic and emotional injuries their family has suffered as a result, and is advised of the typical arguments the other driver's insurance company will make to avoid liability as well as how our firm can help her recover for their injuries.
- Typical Defense Arguments in a Wrongful Death Car Accident
Although somewhat similar to car accident cases where a victim has suffered severe injuries, wrongful death cases present a few additional concerns that must be addressed before surviving family members are likely to fully recover compensation for their loss.These additional concerns are amplified by the increased effort of the insurance company to prove that their client was not at fault for the death of your loved one. For example, an insurance company in the above example may attempt to shift liability to the city by claiming that the cause of the accident was that the traffic light was defective, not their client's negligence.
Moreover, the defendant's insurance company will likely attempt to prove that your emotional damages aren't as severe as you claim. In doing so, they will ask insensitively and invasive questions to you and your family regarding the strength and fidelity of the relationship shared with the deceased.
- How We Can Help
Our firm has developed the skills and techniques necessary to win wrongful death cases, and we've won literally hundreds of these cases. We have the experience necessary to avoid common mistakes made by less seasoned attorneys and firms, such as ensuring that every eligible plaintiff is represented (usually spouses, children, and parents of the deceased) before asserting a lawsuit.We'll make sure that your family's current and future economic and emotional injuries are entirely and fairly represented. It's important that you retain an attorney who has an eye toward the future, as recovery in your case will have to sustain each child until they reach 18 years old (or graduate college), as well as the spouse for the rest of his or her life. In order to prove the existence and extent of your economic and emotional injuries, we'll research appropriate tax records, household expenses, and retain an economist to forecast your loved one's future income and the contributions he would have made to the family.
Additionally, we'll rebut the defense's attempt to limit their liability for you're your emotional damages by conducting recorded interviews with you and your family, introducing family photos, and anything else that helps show the closeness of your relationship.
- Typical Defense Arguments in a Wrongful Death Car Accident
The Importance of an Attorney.
As you can see, navigating the road to recovery in car accident case requires employing the most appropriate strategy relevant to the specific facts and circumstances and by taking into consideration the defenses that will inevitably surface as the defendants look to limit their financial exposure.
Don't travel it alone or with a firm that merely views your case as another number on their docket. Our attorneys and staff firmly believe that car accident victims who have been severely injured or have suffered the loss of a loved one deserve to be treated fairly, respectfully, and given transparent access to their lawsuit. In other words, the experienced Texas car accident attorneys and staff at Grossman Law Offices will treat you with the dignity and respect that you deserve, while making sure that your rights are protected and that you are kept adequately informed regarding the progress in your case, every step of the way.
If you've suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed due to a negligent or reckless driver's actions, our attorneys invite you to give them a call any time, day or night, for a free consultation regarding how they can help you obtain the compensation you deserve at (855) 326-0000.
Related Articles For Further Reading:
- An Overview of Texas Car Accident Law
- How Citations and Tickets Can Affect Your Car Accident Case
- What Information Is in a Police Report?