Should I get an attorney after a car accident?
Yes, you should, at least if you suffered significant injury. Your chances of winning improve when you hire an attorney to represent you, but remember — it’s not just whether you win or lose, it’s how much compensation you end up with. And people represented by lawyers typically receive far more compensation than people who attempt to represent themselves, even after legal fees are deducted.
“But I can’t afford an attorney!”
This should be the least of your worries. At DLE lawyers, you don’t need a dime to retain us. Our initial consultation is free, and we charge no upfront fees. If we don’t win your case, you will never receive a bill from us — our legal services will be free of charge. And if you win, our legal fees will be based on the amount you win. It is the strength of your claim that matters to us, not the thickness of your wallet. Here is how a Miami car accident lawyer can help you:
Uncovering admissible evidence
The Florida Evidence Code is complex, and in many ways arcane. Not all relevant evidence is admissible in court. For example, suppose you are alleging that a dangerous road condition caused your accident. You probably cannot introduce evidence that the defendant remedied the condition after the accident to prove that it was dangerous in the first place, even though this evidence is relevant.
Understanding the Florida Evidence Code, and knowing how to locate and generate admissible evidence, is where a good Florida car accident lawyer comes in handy. Remember, in court (and by extension, during settlement negotiations), the truth doesn’t matter except to the extent that you can prove it with admissible evidence.
Determining comparative fault
The insurance company will almost certainly try to paint the accident as your fault, or at least partly your fault, in order to reduce their payout or eliminate it altogether. Under Florida’s “pure comparative negligence” system, you can still win compensation even if the accident was partly your fault, but you recovery will be reduced by the “percentage of fault” that is assigned to you. A good personal injury lawyer can influence how this percentage is calculated.
Negotiating with the defendant or the insurance company
The de facto defendant in most car accident claims is an insurance company, because they will be the one paying the claim if you win. Insurance adjusters are professional negotiators with only one goal — to save as much money as they can for the insurance company. We have dealt with insurance adjusters more times than we can count, and we can do the negotiating for you.
Filing a Complaint
A lawsuit is initiated by filing a formal Complaint with a court. Of course, a Complaint can also be filed to gain advantage on settlement negotiations in the hopes that a trial can be avoided (it usually is). Either way, a Complaint must be drafted with great care, because every sentence has consequences.
Winning at trial
The public perception of “what lawyers do” is cross-examining witnesses and making arguments in court. Although our courtroom success record is stellar, we prefer to keep our clients out of court where it is possible. If a trial does become necessary, however, a lawyer is a near-necessity.