You were in a car accident in Philadelphia. Maybe you live in the city or you are just a visitor. Regardless, you will be wondering what steps you should take next. If you have an injury, you may need medical help and time off from your work.
There may be significant costs for the damage done to your vehicle. Can you sue someone to help compensate for some of your losses? What should you do next?
Not all car accidents can result in a lawsuit. To prove that someone was the cause of the car accident, you will more than likely need to prove that they were negligent.
Negligence is a legal term that is the foundation for many car accident cases. To prove that someone else is responsible for the accident and your injury, you will have to prove several things:
· The person or people that you are suing had a duty of reasonable care to you. This often means that they need to act in a reasonably careful way when interacting with other drivers or pedestrians.
· That the person did not fulfill their duty of reasonable care. In legal terms, this means that the person breached the duty of care. To show this, the court will ask whether they acted in a way that a reasonable person would act in a similar situation. If they did not act this way, then they violated their duty of care.
· You must also show that the breach of care was the direct cause of the injuries. You cannot have pre-existing conditions that you claim were caused by the accident.
· Finally, you must show that there were losses because of the accident. For example, you may not have any costs if you only have a minor cut or your insurance covered all damage fees to your car.
Get Well and Gather Evidence
Take pictures of the car accident scene if you are able to. These should include damage to your car, other cars involved, and any surrounding areas. It is also good to make sure to capture images of factors that could be important showing why the accident happened. This may include road signs, the weather, or the condition of the road.
Even if your injury is minor, it is best to go to a doctor and make sure that you don’t have any serious issues. You may not even be aware of some injuries until later like a mild concussion. You also may not even notice some cuts or bruises until days after the accident. Any symptoms you have after the crash, and recorded proof of them from a doctor, will be important if you decide to later sue the person responsible for the accident and your injury.
Get a Good Lawyer
There are a lot of personal injury lawyers in the world. It is important that you find one who will fight for you and advocate on your behalf. This could be your insurance company, the insurance agents representing other drivers in the accident, or in court if you take your case to trial.
You want to conduct in-depth due diligence before hiring an attorney. Make sure to research several in the area and find one that has experience with your type of accident and injury. This can be done by reading reviews online or asking for referrals from friends.
Once you have picked a few you like, schedule initial meetings. Most lawyers offer these consultations for free. It is an opportunity to present your case and for the lawyer to decide if they can or want to represent you. Have a list of questions ready to ask them including:
- How many similar cases like mine have you taken part in?
- What is your success rate in car accident lawsuits?
- What is your current caseload like?
- Who usually does the work on the cases? Is it handled by attorneys or other admin staff?
- What type of communication do you prefer with your clients?
- Do you have references of past clients you have represented?
- How do you prefer to be paid? Is it hourly or do you only get paid after the case is over?
You want the lawyer to be transparent with you. If they cannot or do not want to answer your questions, they may not be a good fit for you. You also want to feel comfortable with them and be able to trust that they can make decisions on your behalf.
Once you have met with several lawyers, pick the one that you like the most and get ready to proceed with your case.