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Using Police Reports As Evidence In Your Car Accident Injury Claim

A police report may be required as a part of the injury claim after a car accident. Although these reports admissible in court, they can still have a significant impact on your case. Let’s discuss how to get a copy of a police report and use it to strengthen your personal injury claim.

Obtaining a police report

As mentioned above, you cannot present a police report in court to prove that someone’s fault caused your injury. However, obtaining this report and using it before you bring your claim into court can help you significantly with your case.

If you know which law enforcement agency came to the accident scene to prepare a report, you can call on the non-emergency number of that agency to ask for a copy of the police report. In some cases, you may even request a copy online. Regardless of how you request a police report, you will not have to pay a larger amount to get that report.

Using a police report to gain an advantage in your personal injury case

Police reports can be very useful in personal injury claims despite their inadmissibility in court. You can put this report in the file along with other documents such as medical reports and other important records. You can also draft a demand letter to the company representing the at-fault driver. This letter will summarize case facts, explain your injuries, and demand compensation for your injuries during the accident. A police report can serve as an effective settlement tool if it indicates that the opposing party was at fault.

Another benefit of a police report is that it tends to provide crucial information about your case. This report typically specifies the date of the accident, names of witnesses, weather, and other information about surroundings. While you cannot use this report in front of the jury, you can provide reference to the witnesses. Those witnesses can record informal statements about their observations.

An inadmissible hearsay

You may wonder why you cannot use a police report in court. That is because a police report is considered hearsay in personal injury cases. That makes it an inadmissible reference. Wondering why is that so? That is generally because a police officer did not observe the incident directly. The officer had to get evidence from other people, including drivers and witnesses, to formulate a police report.

Another reason for the inadmissibility of the report is that it cannot be subjected to cross-examination in the courtroom. The key principle of any civil court is that the other party should have a chance to question any evidence present in front of the jury. That kind of scrutiny is not possible with a police report.

That, however, doesn’t nullify the importance of a police report. Just because it can’t be presented in court doesn’t mean you cannot use it to your advantage in your case. Moreover, you can get information from this report and gather its details to show in court. That will help you win your personal injury case.

When To Hire A Lawyer After A Car Accident

You will have a host of questions after an automobile accident. Whose fault was that? Who will pay for damage to your car? Who will pay for your medical bills? How much should you get for pain and suffering? Can you ask a compensation company to reimburse you for lost wages? To find answers to these questions, you can hire an experienced car accident lawyer.

Since most personal injury attorneys work for a contingent fee, it is best to hire an attorney if you want to win your case. This fee method binds you to pay your attorney only when you get the case concluded in your favor.

Knowledge of law

Hiring a personal injury attorney means you will have to professional dealing with your case. A car accident lawyer is highly knowledgeable about procedural rules and laws related to your case.

First off, your attorney will tell you about any limitations that may prevent you from filing a lawsuit against the driver at fault. For instance, most states have a rule that permits you to file a lawsuit only within a couple of years after the accident. After that duration is over, you will not be able to file a lawsuit. Your car accident lawyer may help know exceptions to such limitations.

Your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. He or she is well-aware of any possible defenses put forward by the other side. If you fail to get your case settled outside the court, your car accident lawyer will help you prepare a case for the trial.

Remember, having a skillful car accident lawyer by your side helps you even the playing field. You will be able to get a fair settlement against a company with vast resources and experience.

Car accident lawyers do the legwork

Negotiating a settlement and trying a personal injury lawsuit could involve a lot of work. After a car accident, you may not be mentally ready to deal with the immense amount of work that goes into the legal procedure to formulate a personal injury claim. The good thing is that your car accident lawyer will take care of everything.

Remember, it may be the first time you are dealing with the ins and outs or a personal injury claim, but your car accident lawyer has dealt with such cases for years. He or she knows well how to deal with defendants and companies offering compensation for car accident injuries. They also help you gather valuable evidence from the accident scene to make your claim strong.

If you are unable to get a settlement outside the court, your car accident lawyer will file the necessary paperwork to start the court case. Having a knowledgeable person by your side takes the burden of handling a personal injury case off your shoulders, particularly when you are injured and trying to recover.

Advocating for you

Your car accident lawyer will become your advocate when handling your car accident claim. That means he or she will act on your behalf even in the courtroom if a lawsuit becomes inevitable. He will make sure that you get fair compensation for your injuries and financial losses due to the accident.

Determining Pain And Suffering In A Car Accident Case

While making a car injury claim, you may wonder how much your case is worth. Companies that compensate for car injuries use several methods to calculate the worth of a personal injury claim. This calculation or evaluation usually involves reimbursement of lost income and medical bills, along with compensation for pain and suffering. Here, we will discuss the “multiplier” and “per diem” methods to calculate the value of a personal injury claim by a car accident lawyer.

The “Multiplier” Method

The most common method used for evaluating pain and suffering damages is to multiply the sum of medical bills and lost wages by a particular number. Car accident lawyers have long been multiplying their clients’ damages by three to get a reasonable damage compensation amount. That means if the sum of your medical bills and lost wages made $6000, you would get $18,000 as compensation using the multiplier method.

Companies have become more reluctant to automatically multiply the sum of damages by three in recent years, though.

Today, companies get the sum of damage and multiply it with a figure determined by complex software programs. The result may often undervalue the victim’s claim. The system used to derive the multiplying figure usually considers the seriousness of the injury, aggravating circumstances, and the length of the recovery. That means the impact of a broken femur and the need to undergo several surgeries will result in a pretty bad experience for a victim as compared to the impact of a minor fender bender.

So, in case of a more serious accident, the multiplier can be three or four. However, the multiplier may be one or two in the case of a fender bender. The multiplier may be even higher if the at-fault driver was intoxicated. On the other hand, the system will generate a lower multiplier to evaluate your compensable pain and suffering if you were partly at fault during the accident.

The type of medical treatment also contributes to the evaluation of a reasonable multiplier. However, companies also check if the claimant asks for the compensation money required for chiropractic treatment of three to four months while there is only a minor soft tissue injury.

The daily rate method

Companies and car accident lawyers calculate compensation of pain and suffering using a daily rate method. This method refers to the calculation of the amount of money you need each you suffer the effects of a car accident.

The most viable method to calculate the daily rate or per diem is to look at the amount of income you earn on a given day.

The most efficient method to calculate the worth of your claim is to use both the multiplier and per diem method to get a reasonable figure. You will have to set your expectations based on a few factors, including the severity of your injuries, the injuries to other people during the accident, and lost workdays.

If you are not sure how to evaluate the compensation for your injuries, you can discuss your case with a car accident lawyer. That individual will help you win the case.

 

Evidence Needed In A Car Accident Case

After a car accident, you would want to build your best case for the injury lawsuit. That makes it crucial for you to gather as much evidence as possible about the crash. Look into the reasons for the crash and how it affected you. The more documentation you have to support your claim for your losses and injuries, the more likely you are going to get a fair settlement. In this article, we will discuss why evidence is crucial in a car accident case. We will also discuss the types of evidence you have to gather.

Evidence and the burden of proof

Coverage companies know that it is pretty rare for an injury claim to turn into a civil lawsuit. The person seeking damages bears the burden of proof. That means the injured party will have to collect every shred of evidence to prove that another driver was at fault during the car accident and that the plaintiff suffered damage and injuries. This burden of proof impacts the entire process of the car injury claim.

That means the injured person has to gather evidence that affirms:

  • His or her version of the story
  • Claims of injury
  • Claim for missed workdays and lost wages

There are many forms of evidence, including medical bills and records, witness statements, and photographs.

Evidence from the accident scene

Even an apparently minor car accident can have a devastating impact on an individual. After the accident, you first have to check on the well-being of every passenger and driver and call for medical help if there are any obvious injuries.

Regardless of the severity of injuries or the accident, it is crucial to call the police and wait for the preparation of the initial report. A timely created police report will help ascertain which driver was at fault.

Meanwhile, you have to take your time to gather all evidence at the accident scene. Information you have to gather may include the name, address, driver’s license number, insurance information, and vehicle plate number from the other driver involved in the accident. You also have to check whether the driver was driving for their employer when the accident occurred. In that case, you will have to get the employer’s name and contact information.

Additionally, make sure to get the names and contact numbers of any witnesses of the accident. You can use your mobile phone camera to take photographs of the accident scene.

Evidence of damage

A significant portion of the damage recovery is usually related to vehicle damage. That is why you have to gather all details of the vehicle repairs. It should also include information about any car repairs shortly before the accident. For instance, if your car was totaled in the accident, you can get higher compensation if you have proof that you recently changed all four tires of the car.

Additional evidence

In case you have filed a personal injury lawsuit, you can gather information from the driver responsible for the accident by using the car accident interrogatories. It is a set of written questions that the other party must answer within a certain time window. With the help of interrogatories, you can get information about the defendant’s conduct.

 

How To Preserve Your Rights After A Car Accident

If you were injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, the legal system allows you to follow a procedure to get compensated for all your injuries and damage. The compensation comes out in the form of a settlement between you and the at-fault driver.

To protect these rights, you have to make sure to document everything related to the accident. Then, you will have to be persistent with the procedure and wait patiently for a positive outcome. It can be hard to settle a car crash claim without resorting to formal litigation. However, you can negotiate for a satisfactory resolution to your case if you have the appropriate support on your side.

Documenting the scene of the accident

A car crash can result in chaos. Your top priority should be to get immediate medical attention. However, if your injuries are not severe, you can take some time to document the scene and collecting evidence in your favor to strengthen your case. Remember, good evidence can help you win the case.

First off, get as much information as you can. For this purpose, speak to witnesses. Ask them for their contact information. Ask them if they are willing to make any written or verbal statements. Ask them everything regarding what happened in the accident.

You will want to add some levels of documentation to your claims. Speaking to the police is one of the steps to follow in this regard. A report by the police will help you significantly when making an injury claim. In many cases, the party responsible for the crash will do everything to keep the police out of the case. You can leverage this situation to your advantage.

Get a camera or phone to take photos of the accident scene. That will help you put forward a solid reference to the situation when the time comes.

Seeking medical attention

Be quick to get the medical attention if you are injured in a car crash. That way, you will have all treatment records, medical bills, and doctor notes. You can use these documents as evidence of your injuries. These documents will help you prove your point in front of the parties involved in the accident.

When you have filed your claim, be sure to adhere to your doctor’s instructions. You have to avoid any physical exertion to avoid getting caught in a situation that might weaken your claim. Remember, the perception of your condition plays a key role in you getting paid or not. If the adjuster thinks that you are malingering, he or she will deny your claim.

Getting repair estimates for property damage

After documenting everything and getting medical attention, get started with the estimation of the costs of repairs to your vehicle. Be sure to have enough evidence to prove your point.

Getting a car accident lawyer

Finally, getting a car accident lawyer is the best thing you can do to win the case. Although you will have to pay a fee at the case conclusion in your favor, it is not a bad bargain. A car accident lawyer will have the knowledge and skill to help you win the case comfortably.

 

Defenses To A Car Accident Injury Claim

Whether you are bringing a car accident injury claim or defending one, it is a good idea to get familiar with common defenses in such cases. Defenses usually fall into two categories: legal defenses and factual defenses. Legal defenses prohibit legal rule-based claims. Factual defense depends on the underlying accident specifics.

Car accident lawsuit filing deadlines: the statute of limitations

A statute of limitations bounds individuals involved in the accident to file a civil lawsuit within a specific time limit. The type of case and the jurisdiction dictate the length of the statute of limitations. That means there is no standard statute of limitations deadline. The average limitation, however, is two to three years.

The statute of limitations defense falls into the legal defense category. That means if you fail to file a lawsuit within a specific time limit, you will not be able to do it afterward. However, some exceptions to the statute of limitations may allow an individual to file a lawsuit after the time limit is over. Such exceptions mainly include the discovery of the injury or the legal incapacitation of the injured person. The general rule is if the case is filed too late, the court will not hear it.

Car Accident Liability or “Fault” Defenses

One of the most common factual defenses to a car accident injury case is a fault. The person accused of causing the car accident will try to limit their liability to damages by proving that the person at fault was the claimant. The two personal injury law rules that states use to deal with the cases in which both parties share the fault are contributory negligence and comparative negligence.

Comparative negligence falls into the category of factual defense to the liability in an injury claim case. In the states whose legal systems have adopted a version of comparative negligence rule, courts assign both parties a percentage of the fault-based on facts. On the other hand, states that have adopted the pure comparative negligence rule allow a person to bring a lawsuit and recover damages against every individual responsible for causing the accident. States that use modified comparative negligence rule bar an injured claimant from recovering damages if he or she shares 50% or more of the responsibility to cause the accident.

Another rule to discuss is contributory negligence. This rule is a crippling factual defense. According to this rule, any party that contributed to the accident in any way and caused injury to another party is barred from getting compensation.

Failure to mitigate damages

In almost all jurisdictions, the injured party must mitigate their damages. In simple words, you are bound by the law not to make your injuries worse after getting injured in a car accident. Doing so will reduce the amount of recovery you get.

It has happened in the past that car injury plaintiffs had exaggerated their injuries, failed to follow medical instructions, and engaged in activities that could worsen their injuries. All these practices, intentional or unintentional, can be detrimental to the integrity of your claim.

 

How To Get The Best Injury Settlement

As soon as the personal injury settlement negotiation begins, you have to make sure to have an effective strategy in place. Here are some settlement tips to help you formulate a strategy.

Having a specific settlement amount in mind

It is necessary to figure out your claim worth when putting together a personal injury settlement demand letter. Be sure to have a minimum settlement figure in mind before speaking to an adjuster. You do not need to reveal this figure to the adjuster.

However, you do not have to cling to that specific figure. The adjuster may bring forward some points you hadn’t considered before, but they might make your claim weaker. In such a scenario, you will have to agree to a lower minimum settlement. The adjuster can suggest a settlement close to the minimum figure you have in mind. At that time, you may find some points that make your claim stronger for an increased settlement.

Reacting to the first offer

The adjuster will offer a very low amount as a part of the negotiation process. by doing so, he or she will try to figure out what your claim is worth. If the amount is reasonable, you can make a counteroffer that is just a bit lower than the amount mentioned in your demand letter. This way, the adjuster will know that you are a reasonable person and that you are willing to negotiate. You will not have to bargain much to get to a final settlement amount that you both consider fair.

Getting the adjuster to justify a low offer

During the first conversation, the adjuster will make an offer so low that it seems a negotiating tactic to see if your claim is genuine. That is why it is unwise to lower the amount you put in the demand letter immediately. Instead, you can ask the adjuster to give reasons for the low offer. Depending on the reasons, you can lower your claim slightly. However, it is best to see whether the adjuster can negotiate a bit further.

Injured hand writing injury claim procedure on screen

Emphasizing the emotional points

During the discussion, mention any emotional points going in your favor. For instance, you can refer to a photo of the smashed car or a severe injury sent to your adjuster. You can also refer to the possibility of alcohol consumption if there was a bottle of beer found in the driver’s car. Remind the adjuster if similar accidents had occurred at that location in the past. Also, mention your inability to take care of your child as a result of the injury. Mentioning all these factors can help you get fair compensation for your loss.

Waiting for the response

Ensure not to reduce your demand more than once until your adjuster puts forward some solid reasons to do so. Do not reduce your demand twice because that’s a way to lose in the bargain.

Evaluate every reason your adjuster puts forward to encourage you to lower your demand. After going through every factor, you will either get a reasonable offer, or you will find that no reasonable offer is coming. At that point, you can try some legal options to put additional pressure on the coverage company.

 

Car Accidents That Involve Pedestrians – Lawsuits

Getting hit by a car can be traumatic. The aftermath of an accident can be so chaotic that you might even forget about the lawsuit. However, you may want to keep your legal options open if the accident occurred because of someone else’s negligence and you have received a lot of injuries. In this article, we will give an overview of lawsuits brought by pedestrians against car drivers.

Fault for pedestrian accidents

Before filing a lawsuit, a pedestrian should see who is to blame for the accident. Just because you were not driving a vehicle doesn’t mean you can’t be at fault.

Did the driver keep the car running when there was a red light? Was the driver over-speeding? Was the driver drunk? Did the pedestrian walk into the middle of the road while texting? Could either of two people have avoided the happening?

In many cases, a pedestrian can recover in a lawsuit when the driver was partially at fault. If the pedestrian wandered out on the road, and there was nothing much the driver could do to avoid the accident, the pedestrian would not be successful in the lawsuit.

There is also the possibility of more than one person causing the accident. Imagine a driver ran a red light. Another driver who had the green light had to apply breaks to avoid the accident. But, the sudden swerve caused that driver to lose control and hit a pedestrian on the sidewalk.

In such a scenario, the person at fault is the first driver. The pedestrian can file a lawsuit against that driver even though he was not the person actually hitting the pedestrian. Although the second driver was partly responsible because he wasn’t able to control the vehicle, it is the first driver who would pay for most of the damages.

Damages in a pedestrian accident case

A personal injury lawsuit demands the parties at fault to pay for all damages the victim had to suffer. Although it is hard to equate money with injuries, that’s how the legal system works.

Damages in this scenario fall into the following categories.

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of enjoyment

Medical expenses and injuries are the simpler categories. The medical expenses paid by the victim can be reimbursed. If the pedestrian misses workdays, the driver has to compensate for all those lost wages.

It will be challenging to work on the other two categories. How can you calculate the value of pain and suffering? Well, that is all up to the jury to decide. Some injuries do not result in long-term impacts. Some injuries, however, can initiate some lifelong health problems.

The second hard-to-evaluate category is the loss of enjoyment. It refers to the negative impact of the injury on the victim’s life. Some injuries result in permanent or long-term paralysis of the lower body. Inability to walk and run is severe damage to the quality of life.

If you have been a victim of a car accident in any way, be sure to discuss your case with a car accident lawyer. It is crucial not to discuss anything with coverage companies and the opposing person in your lawsuit.