There are three parts to every car accident case:
- First, there’s liability, that is, whose fault is the accident?
- Second, there are damages, which is the amount of harm that you have endured as a result of the other person’s negligence
- Third, there’s collect-ability, which speaks to whether the monetary value of the damages that you have endured can be collected from the other party and his/her insurance company.
Attorneys gather information in each one of these three categories. With liability, this includes whose fault it is, police reports, videos, recordings, pictures, eyewitness reports, etc. Depending on the nature of the accident, we may hire experts in accident reconstruction to help tell the story of how the accident happened.
There are several categories of damages – physical injuries, mental injuries or cognitive injuries, financial losses and future losses. When establishing a victim’s physical and/or mental injuries, we get evidence from health care practitioners, doctors, surgeons, nurses, physical therapists and, of course, the statements and testimony of the people who have been hurt. We sometimes interview family members and/or co-workers as to how the accident has observably affected the life of the victim.
If it’s an economic loss, typically lost wages, we would gather information from your work as to what you were being paid or your tax returns.
The last category is collectability. As part of the discovery process, first, we look into the extent of other party’s insurance coverage. This helps us determine how much can be collected from the other party’s insurance company.
Then, we look at your own insurance. Depending on what kind of insurance you have your own uninsured or under-insured insurance coverage may come into play. For example, if the other motorist who caused the accident didn’t have insurance, we could collect from your uninsured motorist insurance coverage if you had that type of insurance.
Much in the same way, if the motorist who caused your injuries didn’t have enough insurance, we would collect from your underinsured insurance policy. If your injuries are serious enough, you would collect the other person’s policy limits and then you could pursue your own underinsured coverage for the difference.
It’s a complicated process when you’re dealing with multiple insurance companies and issues can be missed if your lawyer is not well-versed in car accident cases. So choose your car accident lawyer carefully. It will be the most important decision you make to get the most successful outcome.