After an accident, you will most likely have medical expenses and other damages. Some people believe they can get a settlement for a car accident without a lawyer-and they can.
However, they rarely get the compensation they deserve. Wisconsin and Minnesota have very different insurance laws, but the reasons why you should always use a car accident lawyer are the same.
Differences in the Law
Wisconsin is a tort state, which means that the other person’s insurance covers you if they injure you in an accident. On the other hand, Minnesota is a no-fault state. Your own vehicle insurance would cover you regardless of fault. You could then seek compensation from the at-fault driver if the cost of your injuries exceeds your no-fault insurance policy.
Why the Insurance Company Is Not on Your Side
Regardless of which insurance company rules your state has, the insurance company is not on your side. Insurance companies are in business to make a profit. Thus, any claim they pay is a cut into their profits.
Insurance companies will look for any reason to deny a claim. Barring that, they will find reasons to offer you the least amount possible to "make you go away." Even if you have no-fault insurance and paid your premiums faithfully and on time, the insurance company will take a hit to its profits, and that is not going to sit well with it.
Your no-fault insurance will pull the same tactics the at-fault driver's insurance will pull. It is not about being a good customer or even a friend with someone in the office. It is all about the almighty dollar.
What to Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident
If you have severe or catastrophic injuries, you should not do anything at the scene. It is better to keep still so you do not injure yourself further.
However, if you can move without causing further damage:
- Call first responders and check on others involved in the accident.
- Take photos of the accident scene. Be sure to get pictures from all angles. Include damage to the road, lawns, mailboxes, utility poles, and other property damage.
- Obtain contact, insurance, and registration information from other drivers involved.
- Obtain contact information from witnesses, including passengers in the potential defendants’ vehicles.
- Allow emergency medical technicians to check you over. Seeking medical attention is one of the first steps in documenting your case. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, get checked out at the scene.
- Give a statement to the police.
- Do not talk about the accident to anyone except the police.
- Do not post about the accident on social media.
- Do not post your activities on social media. Insurance companies troll social media sites to see if you are hurt as bad as you say. Even an innocent dinner with your spouse could cause an insurance company to accuse you of insurance fraud.
- Seek medical attention immediately, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Never take a chance as some injuries manifest hours or even days later.
- Contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Everything that you can do helps document your case, especially detailed photos. After the car accident, the defendant could purposely or inadvertently destroy evidence. If their attorney tells them to get their vehicle repaired, the repairs could destroy evidence.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help
While the insurance companies will investigate the accident, never trust them. Again, keep in mind that they are looking out for their interests-not yours; even if the insurance company is the one you have been paying for years and years.
Insurance companies will have car accident attorneys. You need your own attorney.
Your legal team will:
- Investigate the accident, including visiting the scene and inspecting the vehicles involved.
- Depose witnesses under oath.
- Correctly apply the law as it pertains to the accident to determine fault.
- Gather evidence, including medical bills, driving records, police reports, witness testimony, and the depositions of the other drivers.
- Set up reports and testimony from expert witnesses. Even if you plan to settle your case, you might need a report from an expert witness, e.g., if doctors expect your injuries to cause long-term or permanent injuries and accident reconstruction experts.
- Direct you to specialists you might require for your injuries.
- Ensure that you obtain the compensation you deserve not some token amount the insurance company tries to offer to make you go away.
- Conduct settlement negotiations with insurance companies. In some cases, more than one person or entity might share the responsibility for your injuries. Cases become exponentially more complicated when more than one defendant is responsible for your damages.
- Prepare for trial if settlement negotiations break down. Your legal team will also represent your interests if you have to go to court.
So, while you can settle yourself after a car accident, you will most likely not receive the compensation you deserve, especially if you cannot hire the experts needed. Most personal injury attorneys have the resources to front these expenses for you.
How Do I Pay an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer?
You do not. At least, not upfront. Your initial case evaluation is free and without obligation. Once you decide to retain a personal injury car accident lawyer, it is on a contingency basis. Thus, you do not pay unless the attorney wins your case for you.
Once you win a satisfactory settlement, the attorney takes a percentage from your winnings. It works the same way if you have to go to trial. If the attorney does not win your case, they do not get paid their attorney’s fees.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident, do not take chances on leaving money on the table. Contact an expert car accident lawyer as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.