Severe car accidents can ruin the victim’s way of life by a significant amount. In the most severe cases, the health of the victim is affected in such a drastic manner that he/she cannot lead a normal life anymore. If you have been in a car accident recently, you need to calculate and claim the average settlement for a car accident due to a whiplash injury right away.
Whiplash is one of the most serious types of injuries common with car accident cases. A whiplash injury can severely affect the neck, back, as well as the shoulders of an individual in an irrecoverable manner. Surgeries and other treatments related to the whiplash injury can easily consume your entire life’s savings in an instant. Therefore, you need the right legal help that will help you claim the necessary settlement amount from the insurance agency of the person at fault.
Getting the Best Legal Support for Average Settlement for Car Accident Causing a Whiplash
Here’s how you can get the necessary help for calculating the average settlement cost of a car accident.
Step 1: Collect Evidence
As soon as you get the necessary first aid and are in a condition to talk, your first course of action should be to get the necessary legal help. If your accident is not that serious and you can still walk away with a minor injury, take the pictures of your vehicle and the party at fault first. Then collect the statement of the nearby witnesses. Once you have collected the preliminary evidence, you can call your lawyer right away.
In case of severe accidents, you may lose consciousness and be hospitalized by the people at the scene of the accident. In such cases, you should approach the police and the lawyers as soon as you regain your consciousness. Do not sign any documents given by the hospital until you have a reliable lawyer by your side. If you do not have the contact of a reliable lawyer in hand, ask the hospital to provide you with the contact first.
Step 2: Get a Lawyer
Ideally, you should have the contact of a reliable lawyer from your friend/family list in your contacts. You should always keep the most trustworthy lawyer in your friend group close, to handle these situations for you correctly. Such lawyers will help you in dire situations. Their availability will ensure that you do not need to waste any time in approaching a new legal firm.
If you have the contact of such a lawyer, great! Contact them as soon as possible so that they can review the documents given by the hospital before you sign them. If you do not have such a lawyer, the police should help you get in touch with a reliable and certified lawyer from the state for the time being. The case can then be transferred to the lawyer of your choice at a later stage.
Note: It is important for the lawyer to review the documents before you sign them because a few hospitals ask you to sign a release form once you wake up. If you sign such a form, you lose the settlement case right away. This form suggests that you are giving up your rights to sue someone for the accident. If you know that you are not at fault in the accident, you do not want to give up such important rights.
Step 3: Sign the Necessary Forms and Get the Treatment
After the approval of a reliable lawyer, you can sign the necessary insurance forms and documentation from the hospital. Once you feel a little better, you should talk to your lawyer about the next steps for the claims process. The lawyer will talk to your doctor and get the necessary medical checkup completed as soon as possible. He/she will also collect the results of the treatment/checkup for the claims process.
The most experienced auto accident lawyers have witnessed multiple car accident cases in their careers. They know a lot about the kind of injuries that people usually suffer after the first impact. Therefore, they can ask the doctors to conduct specific medical checkups to find out more about your medical condition in the right way.
The auto accident lawyer will start preparing your case to help you win the best settlement amount, from day one. He/she will act proactively to collect more evidence that can strengthen your case further. After such practices, the lawyer will correctly file the evidence in the judicial system.
Note: It is extremely important that you stay up front about everything you remember from the accident with your lawyer. Upfront and honest attitude will help your lawyer prepare a strong case for you. If you try and hide pertinent information from the lawyer, the entire case may backfire at a later stage worsening the chances of winning it. You need to recall all the details about your accident as well as you can.
Step 4: Talk to Your Lawyer
The timing of filing the case against the third-party plays an extremely important role if you are unsure about the actions of the party-at-fault. Are you sure that the third-party was at fault 100%? Are you sure that you were following all the traffic rules and regulations before the accident occurred? If you are unsure about any of these parameters, talk to a lawyer immediately.
The person who files the case first in unclear situations has an advantage over the person-at-fault. Even if you are the victim, you need to ensure that the defense does not try to file a case against you by fabricating a completely bizarre story. A reliable lawyer will file your case with the judicial system as soon as possible to help you get the necessary advantage during the trial.
If you do not recall the events of the accidents correctly, do not try and make the story up. Be upfront about your situation and role in the accident. If you did not turn on the turn indicator or followed a wrong turn during the accident, your lawyer should know about it. This way, the lawyer can prepare your case without any loopholes.
If the defense catches your lawyer off-guard with a critical piece of information that you are trying to hide, you may lose the whole case in an instant. Therefore, tell your lawyer everything that happened before and after the accident as soon as possible without holding any information back.
Step 5: Submit and File All the Evidence
You need to share all the evidence that you collected from the scene of the accident with the lawyer. This is where the reliability of the lawyer plays a major role. A reliable lawyer will never misuse the information that he/she gets from the accident to help the defense. In fact, the lawyer will use all the evidence to fortify the case further.
Ideally, the best lawyers will complete the entire evidence collection and filing process without any help from your end. These lawyers have the experience of filing multiple cases over their long careers. Therefore, they are in the best position to assess the complexity of the case and take the necessary steps for the filing process. Over the years they have streamlined the entire process to a great extent to increase the efficiency of filing the case and the evidence. This efficiency helps them create the case for you extremely quickly which in turn gives you the advantage at the trial.
The lawyers also have the experience of filling the relevant legal forms judiciously. The most experienced lawyers almost never commit any mistake in the documentation and the filing process. On the other hand, the people who have no experience in fighting a legal case and the filing process face the risk of filling the form incorrectly. Even minor inconsistencies in the filing process can put your case ant risk. In the worst-case scenarios, your file may be stuck in the legal system for years which will further delay the process.
Step 6: Talk to the Defense
Once you have the leverage of filing the legal case first, you can rest a little easy and let the defense counsel approach you. Ideally, you should not have any conversations with the lawyers from the defense team without your lawyer in the room. In fact, you should always emphasize on getting more work done when your lawyer is available to monitor the conversation.
In most cases, people end up with lower than an average settlement for a car accident case when they end up negotiating the offer themselves. A reliable and experienced lawyer is in a better position to negotiate the terms and conditions of the settlement offer. Therefore, you should always take the opinion and suggestions of the lawyer into account.
Postpone the meeting with the defense counsel if you must, but never go to the meeting without your lawyer. Such practices will ensure that the defense does not lure you in with a seemingly generous settlement offer. People who go to such meetings unprepared face a higher risk of coming out of the meeting empty-handed.
Step 7: Start Practicing Your Pitch
Once you have talked to your lawyer about the settlement case, it is time to proactively search for different case studies. If you are establishing a partnership with the top legal firms for the case, you will get access to some of the most diverse collections of case studies. You can read these case studies to improve your knowledge of the case.
While your lawyer will help you prepare for the trial and calculate the average settlement offer, having a proactive approach towards the case always helps. With the right attitude, you can stay one step ahead of the defense counsel and make sure that you are prepared for the tactics that they might use. If the case finally goes to a trial, it is important that you have the necessary knowledge to tackle the cross-questioning sessions effectively.
The best lawyers will prepare you for the trial by conducting intense cross-questioning sessions in the practice mode. When you are on the stand, you need to act more like a salesperson than a victim. Such behavior will help you ensure that you present your case without in the most convincing manner.
Step 8: Use a Whiplash Settlement Calculator
A reliable lawyer will take multiple factors into account while calculating the right amount for the settlement. He/she will consider all the quantifiable as well as unquantifiable factors while calculating the final amount. You can put your proactive attitude to good use here and search for online whiplash settlement calculators.
Most whiplash settlement calculators will give you a rough estimate of the total settlement amount that you deserve. However, they take only the medical bills and the cost of car repairs into consideration. These calculators cannot consider the unquantifiable components of the claim accurately. This is where you need the right legal help. The best use of such online tools is to identify the major components of the quantifiable amounts in the claim.
Once you have picked out the necessary components of the overall claim, discuss them in-depth with your lawyer. All the components mentioned in the tool might not be applicable to your case directly. Here, the expert opinion of an experienced lawyer can help you identify the most relevant components.
Step 9: Talking to the Defense Counsel
Once you have committed enough time for the preparation of the pitch with your lawyer, it is time to talk to the defense counsel. The ideal situations, the defense lawyers will try and approach you from their end. In a few cases, your lawyer might need to reach out to the defense counsel. In any case, you must not approach the defense counsel directly from your end.
Once a meeting date is fixed, go to the meeting with the mindset to take the defense counsel to trial. Do not go with a mindset to settle. Instead, be as ardent as you can about taking the defense to trial. If you are sure that the third-party is completely at fault here, you can threaten the defense to take them to trial.
Novice lawyers and inexperienced individuals fighting their own cases often let their emotions rule the entire meeting. On the other hand, the experienced lawyers know how to take control of their meetings in a completely rational and logical manner. A professional lawyer will help you control your feelings during the meeting.
Ideally, you should not utter a single word during the meeting and converse only through your lawyer. Say the words that you wish to speak to your lawyer, and then the lawyer will put the words across in the most suitable manner. Even slight miscommunication can cost you the entire case.
Step 10: Negotiating the Settlement Offer
Negotiating the settlement offer is much like playing a poker game. You should never show your emotions to the defense counsel. Do you think you are getting a great offer? Great! Do not show your emotions. Do you think that you are not getting the amount that you deserve? Okay. Still, do not show your emotions to the defense counsel. Do not react to any bait put across the table by the defense.
The defense lawyers will most likely put the worst-possible offer on the table at first. They will try and gauge your reaction. If you do not have a financially stable background, the offer that you receive will be considerably worse. Therefore, do not reveal your emotions to the defense counsel and let your lawyer handle the entire discussion.
Ideally, you should assess the offer in the presence of the lawyer but maintain a poker face. Once the defense counsel leaves the room, you can have a lengthy discussion with your lawyer about the offer. You should talk about how they offer makes you feel and if you deserve a better offer. If your lawyer thinks that it is the best offer that you can get, he/she will ask you to settle. On the other hand, if he/she thinks you can get better, it is time for further negotiation.
Step 11: Deciding If You Want to Make the Case to Trial
Most first offers are unfavorable for the victim. They are far from the best deal that the victim deserves. Therefore, negotiation is always in the picture. The defense, on the other hand, might refuse to negotiate the terms and conditions of the offer. Under such circumstances, you have two options. You can either take them to court for a trial or settle.
Case 1: Taking the Case to Trial
If the defense is not ready to negotiate and you think that you deserve a better settlement offer, you need to take the case to a trial. Most defense lawyers will not prefer settling the case outside the court since they know that the jury will rule in favor of the victim.
You should take the case to trial if you know that the defense cannot put up a solid case against you. If you are upfront about the conditions of the accident and know that the defense is completely at fault, you can take the case to trial safely. On the other hand, if you had any role in the accident (However minor it seems), it is unsafe for you to take the case to trial. Under such situations assess your role in the accident with discretion and take a decision accordingly.
Case 2: Settling
You should ideally settle if you think that there is a chance where the defense has some evidence against you. If you think that the defense can put your reputation at risk during the trial, you should settle after a few rounds of negotiation. In such cases, you face the risk of losing the case because the jury suspects you as well as the party-at-fault.
If you know that you also played a role in the accident and did not follow the necessary traffic rules and regulations, you should settle.
Step 12: Get the Necessary Counsel
You have the choice of fighting your case without professional legal help. So, if you decide to go and fight your case without a lawyer, you can do so. However, do consult a lawyer at least for the paperwork and core judicial activities. A reliable lawyer will make sure that you do not commit any mistakes in filing the necessary paperwork for the case.
Ask for help whenever you think that you do not understand a legal term or a judicial process. Do not let your ego and overconfidence cost you the entire case. Always have a friendly lawyer on your list of priority contacts in case the things do start going south during the trial.
You can fight your own case without the guidance of a professional lawyer. However, it is strongly advisable for you to take expert legal help in such cases. In case of the highly complicated cases, you should not risk your chances of getting an excellent settlement by fighting your case all by yourself. Instead, you should contact a professional auto accident lawyer as soon as possible.
A good lawyer will not only help you win the case with a huge settlement offer. He/she will also do the necessary legwork to file the papers for the case. The documentation process can easily take several weeks if you do not have the necessary experience in handling the situations with expertise. Therefore, you must consult a professional lawyer at all places.
You can use the whiplash settlement calculator tools but only to take suggestions from it. Let the expertise of your lawyer guide the trial and negotiation meetings. Never contradict your own statements or the statements of your lawyer since this can easily cause the jury to lose faith in your case.