Clients of an accident attorney will often want to know what it takes to process a claim. No motor accident lawyer can guarantee success. However, successful cases usually have several common components.
Liability and Proximate Cause
Foremost, an auto accident lawyer will try to prove that the other motorist was liable for the incident and that their choices or inaction were the proximate cause. Liability means the law recognizes that a defendant had a duty under the circumstances to avoid harming others through their negligence, recklessness, or malice.
The issue of the proximate cause centers on who or what predominantly contributed to the accident. For example, a defendant might assert that the weather was bad or that they were trying to avoid hitting a pedestrian. A motor accident attorney may use video, scene reconstructions, witness testimony, and evidence from the damaged vehicles to show that at least one of the other driver's actions was the proximate cause.
The strength of a claim or lawsuit often boils down to what an auto accident attorney can document. Medical reports, especially ones from the day of an accident, are crucial in establishing damages. Similarly, reports from cops and first responders are often essential to showing liability. Witness testimony can be compelling too. Thanks to the rise of digital technologies, videos from cell phones, traffic lights, ATMs, and even vehicle dashes are often available and useful. Even GPS and text data from phones and map systems can document what happened.
Sometimes there is not enough harm caused to trigger an injury claim. An accident lawyer will want to see evidence of real medical damages. For example, you might have suffered several cracked vertebrae from your head and neck snapping forward and backward during the collision. Medical damages cover the initial treatment costs, any drugs, surgical expenses, and projected future costs for therapy, additional surgeries, and long-term care.
Especially in auto accident law, few incidents are entirely one driver's fault. Even when a motor accident lawyer can prove the defendant was the one most at fault, the claimant may receive only the portion of the claim that reflects the defendant's comparative negligence. For example, the driver might have been 70% at fault for $100,000 in damages. In that scenario, the defendant would pay $70,000 in compensation to make up for their contribution to the accident.
Contact a local law firm, such as the Law Office Of Timothy M. O'Donovan, to learn more.