Vehicle collisions usually involve monetary settlements, because driver error causes about 96 percent of these incidents. In a few cases, this driver error is truly accidental. Sarah might turn her head at exactly the wrong moment or Tom might not see a patch of black ice in the shadows. But in most cases, these errors are negligent.
If negligence was involved, a Buffalo, MN accident lawyer can usually obtain substantial compensation. The amount usually depends on how well an attorney adheres to the proper plan, as outlined below. Compensation might be available in other cases as well, such as crashes that involve bad tires or other defective products.
Car Wreck Investigations
Just like a house is built on a solid foundation, a car accident settlement is built on an investigation. That investigation includes both the facts and the law.
For Buffalo, MN accident lawyers, the factual investigation normally begins with the police accident report and medical bills. These two types of evidence are very insightful. The police report talks about the crash itself and the medical bills describe the aftermath of the crash. Additionally, this evidence is easily accessible. Buffalo, MN accident lawyers know how to get around privacy law red tape.
Sometimes, however, this evidence is not enough. For example, if the victim was killed, the police accident report probably does not reflect both sides of the story.
Additional evidence includes things like a car’s Event Data Recorder. EDRs often contain vital information, such as vehicle speed and steering angle at the time of the wreck.
The legal investigation is important as well. There are several basic theories in negligence cases, and both of them have pros and cons. For example, if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) violated a safety law and caused a crash, the tortfeasor might be liable for damages as a matter of law. Negligence per se claims are relatively easy to prove. However, monetary damages are often lower in negligence per se matters, because some jurors are more likely to say that the victim was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In both investigatory phases, experience matters more than anything. Buffalo, MN accident lawyer must know how to collect compelling evidence. And, they must use the right legal theory to put this evidence together.
Once medical treatment is at least substantially complete, attorneys usually send demand letters to insurance companies. The initial demand amount often greatly affects the amount of money in the final car accident settlement. In Minnesota, this process is not easy.
Economic losses are the total of lost wages, medical bills, and other tangible losses. Minnesota has a very complex collateral source rule. Sometimes, expenses paid by Medicaid or a private insurance company are included in this total, and sometimes they are not.
To ascertain noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, most Buffalo, MN accident lawyers multiply the economic losses by two, three, or four. The multiplier largely depends on the facts of the case, the applicable law, and some intangible factors, such as the legal venue.
The figure in a demand letter is the starting point for settlement talks. From there, a Buffalo, MN accident lawyer’s negotiating skills take center stage. An attorney must know when to give ground and when to stand firm. Otherwise, the settlement amount might be too low, or there might not be a settlement at all.
Buffalo, MN Accident Lawyers and Legal Action
If liability is not an issue, most insurance companies have a legal duty to settle the case in a few weeks. However, there is almost always at least some question as to liability. Possible insurance company defenses in car wreck cases include contributory negligence and last clear chance. These defenses can delay settlement and affect the amount of money the victim receives.
So, a Buffalo, MN accident lawyer must often file legal paperwork to preserve the victim’s rights. The statute of limitations in most negligence cases is two years from the date of the accident. Additionally, undue delay usually hurts victim/plaintiffs, because they have the burden of proof.
Legal advocacy skills are important. Most legal actions have basically two parts. First, there are pretrial motions which focus on the applicable law. Then, there is the trial itself, which focuses on the facts. If a Buffalo, MN accident lawyer is highly skilled in both these areas, the final settlement amount could be significantly higher.
Contact a Diligent Attorney
The amount of money you get from a car accident settlement largely depends on the skill of your Buffalo, MN accident lawyer. If you were hurt, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A., for a free consultation. You have a limited amount of time to act.