ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS
STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU ARE IN A CAR ACCIDENT
If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident that was not your fault, you’re likely going to have a lot of questions about how to handle the situation. When a new client asks me for help, here is what I tell them I can do to help with their case:
1) I investigate the accident to prove who was at fault in the wreck. This usually includes obtaining photographs of the vehicles and the crash scene, obtaining video surveillance of the crash if possible, obtaining witness statements from any eyewitnesses, speaking to the investigating officer, and obtaining the police crash report.
2) I communicate with all the car insurance companies to ensure that your claim for injuries and damages is handled to your best advantage. This includes the auto insurance company for the at-fault driver as well as your own car insurance company. In some situation, 3, 4 or 5 insurance companies can be involved. I let them know that I am involved and investigating the accident. After my investigation, I document your injuries and damages to the at-fault insurance companies to ensure that you receive a full and fair settlement offer.
3) I review all of your medical records and medical bills so that I can fully understand your injuries and how much money you owe to medical providers. I have a former nurse on my staff who will go through all of your medical records to make sure that we document every injury related to the crash. I will summarize your medical records for the insurance company in a way that forces them to calculate your pain and suffering settlement as high as possible. I will also contact your doctors and have them provide statements that detail your injuries to the insurance company.
4) I will file a lawsuit if necessary. Sometimes insurance companies refuse to make a reasonable offer in your case. When this happens, I will file a lawsuit and litigate your case to trial If necessary. While it is not always necessary, filing a lawsuit is the only way to force insurance companies to act reasonably in some situations. I have handled dozens and dozens of cases where I have dramatically increased the insurance company offer after having filed a lawsuit and proceeded to litigation.
5) I will try your case before a jury if necessary. Many personal injury lawyers will avoid trying your case if at all possible. Insurance companies know which lawyers are afraid to talk to juries. Because I have tried cases and won, insurance companies are likely to make better offers to my clients to prevent the case from going to trial.
6) I will work to reduce how much you owe in medical bills. When I review your medical bills, I will look at ways to reduce your bills through filing with health insurance and Medicare or Medicaid. I will also look at ways to negotiate your bills to a lower amount with your medical providers. Reducing your bills after settlement allows you to receive more money in your pocket to compensate you for your injuries.
Most importantly, my goal is to allow you to work on recovering from your injuries with the knowledge that I am taking care of everything else. I will gather all the needed documents. I will obtain statements from witnesses. I will negotiate with the insurance company. Your job is just to work on getting better. Contact an Asheville car accident lawyer today for a free consultation.
“I’m leaving a 5-star review for Lakota Denton and his excellent team because of their utmost care and compassion. I came to them drowning in the turbid waters of despondent lawyers and sketchy doctors, and they put me on a plan to physical recovery, while they recovered my case. Lakota is a lawyer with keen awareness, dignity, and most importantly, heart. Thank you, Lakota.” – Ganesh Braymiller
“Excellent in every way. Lakota is easily the best lawyer I have ever worked with. Effective, efficient, honest, compassionate, friendly and fair. Hiring a lawyer can be stressful, but Lakota transforms that stress into confidence. And that confidence is then justified by the results he gets. Thanks for your help Lakota!” – Stephen Barnard
“I couldn’t be happier with the job Lakota Denton and his awesome staff did for me after I had my accident. They all really cared about my outcome and stayed in touch every step of the way. I can’t recommend him enough!! 5 stars all the way. Thank you!” – Peter Estrada
“In an accident? Need Help? This is your turn-key, set-it-and-forget-it solution! Lakota and Jenny are two of the best friends you will meet in Asheville! If anything can go sideways, be atypical or oddball… it seems like it will happen to me. True to form, several legal obstacles cropped up, even though I was not at fault in the accident.” – Christopher McGrath
“Lakota provided me with a free consultation and gave me crucial information on how to handle my accident case with an 18 wheeler. His guidance set me on the right path to maximizing my settlement while feeling confident I understood the process. I cannot recommend his services enough, he was an incredible help to me.” – Amy Fisher
“Lakota Denton is a champion for the people. He worked with me on a car accident case and won the maximum settlement. He has a strong reputation as an experienced trial lawyer so insurance companies know he doesn’t mess around.” – Chalkley Matlack
“Attorney Lakota Denton was super effective at isolating the issue, building a strong case, and achieving immediate results on behalf of clients in a matter that is so key to our constitutional rights. If looking for an attorney, look no further. You need him in your court!” – Zachery Adam
“Incredibly helpful folks- whether you end up utilizing their services or not. They provided me with peace of mind on a terrible day when I had no idea what steps to take. You won’t find a friendlier or better informed personal injury lawyer in Asheville! Even if you’re just not sure of your rights or the steps to take, it’s definitely worth making the call!” – Chessa Budai
Car Accident Law Firm In Asheville, NC
A lot of people want to know the value of their car accident claim and whether or not their bills can be paid by the at-fault insurance company. Some people even find a “personal injury settlement calculator” online and punch in the amount of their bills to try and determine the value of their case. When you hire an Asheville personal injury lawyerfor your auto accident case you will have a accident lawyer who understands that there is no single formula to calculate the value of your case. Instead, there are a number of variables in a car accident case to determine the value. Every case is different, and it is difficult to estimate the value of your case without reviewing everything. Here some of the most important factors in determining the value of your injury case:
1) The extent of your injuries. When you’ve been in a wreck and you’ve suffered only minor bumps and bruises, the value of your case is low. This makes sense, as juries do not put as much value on a sprained ankle as they do on someone with a fractured neck. Generally, the more serious your injury, the more value a jury or insurance company will place on your case.
2) The behavior of the at fault person. Juries do not appreciate people who cause crashes and then refuse to take responsibility for their behavior. When the person at fault accidentally crashes into your car and they jump right out and apologize and tell you that they’ll pay for your medical bills – juries don’t really add much value to your claim because of their behavior. However, when the at-fault person was drinking and driving or refusing to accept responsibility for a wreck that everyone knows is their fault, juries tend to get more upset and place more money on the case.
3) The severity of the crash. The more serious the crash, the more value an insurance company or jury will place on your case. You can imagine that a small bump to the back of your car will not arouse a jury the way it will if your car is totaled. A picture of the damage to both of the involved vehicles will be a helpful way to determine the severity of your crash.
4) The amount of your medical bills.Generally, the more bills you have, the more value for your case. However, be careful. Many “personal injury calculators” will try to tell you that your claim is worth 3 times your medical bills. This is way oversimplified. As you can imagine, some people have $20,000 worth of medical bills just from X-rays, MRI’s and CT Scans – all of which show no injuries. A case with no injuries is not worth $60,000. On the flip side, some people are catastrophically injured but only have medical bills of $10,000. For example, I represented a person who had a concussion that left him with permanent vertigo – a pretty serious head injury. His bills were only $18,000. But I recovered $100,000 for his case after filing a lawsuit – much more than 3 times his medical bills.
5) Who your attorney is. There a lot of personal injury lawyers out there who will never actually take your case to a jury. Jury trials are a lot of work; They take a sophisticated understanding of your case to handle correctly. Because of this, many personal injury law firms don’t bother with jury trials. Insurance companies know this. Insurance companies know which lawyers are willing to take cases to trial, and which of those lawyers have been successful at it. The bottom line is that if you have a lawyer who only ever settles cases, the insurance company will low-ball an offer to them, hoping that they are scared to take the case to trial. Lawyers that consistently take cases to trial will consistently get higher offers from insurance companies. Insurance companies are in the business of managing risk – and there is no greater risk to their bottom line than a lawyer who will place the value of a case in the hands of a jury. I routinely try cases in front of juries. During one stretch, I tried a case every month for three months. Insurance companies know this, and they consistently offer more on my cases because of it.
Asheville Car Accident Lawyer
How to hire an Asheville auto accident lawyer:
If you are looking for a car accident lawyer to handle your case, keep in mind a couple of critical factors in hiring an attorney:
- The attorney’s recent trial experience. Whether a personal injury lawyer wins or loses at trial, it’s important that a lawyer consistently tries cases before a jury. Here’s why: Insurance companies know who is willing to try a case and who is not. Those willing to try cases in front of juries will always get higher offers than those who are not. Lawyers with recent trial experience are also better for your case because, well, you may end of having to try the case and you want someone with experience.
- How the attorney advertises. Attorneys who advertise on billboards or T.V. will almost always have a more difficult time trying cases in front of juries that have seen their ads. Juries assume that attorneys who advertise are “ambulance chasers” and not to be trusted. Consequently, attorneys who heavily advertise rarely try cases, and insurance companies know it.
- How many clients the attorney’s firm handles. Generally speaking, personal injury law firms who handle hundreds of clients try to settle their cases quickly and cheaply. This can hurt your case if your attorney sees your case as a number and not a client who needs help. Look for a personal injury firm that handles fewer cases, and has fewer lawyers – these firms tend to treat cases with more attention and consequently get higher offers and better results in trial.
- Exactly what to look for: Look for a small firm and a lawyer who has recently tried cases. Talk to the lawyer and ask about his trial strategy and how he or she intends to prove your case. He or she should have a trial plan off the top of his or her head during your first meeting. A good lawyer will be constantly thinking how to try your case, not just how to get the insurance company to make an offer.
Do I really even need a lawyer for my car crash?
Not every case needs a lawyer, and you don’t have to have a lawyer to resolve your car accident claim with an insurance company. Here’s how to know if you need a lawyer:
- If the other driver is denying fault in the crash, or the insurance company is blaming you for the crash. If this is the case, you will need a lawyer to prove who is at fault. A good car accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate the crash and look for witnesses and a theory to support your claim. Do not try and handle a claim without a lawyer if the insurance company is saying the crash was your fault.
- If your injury is more serious than a strain or a sprain, you probably need a lawyer. Smaller claims with minor injuries involve less money – so if you make a mistake you won’t hurt your case too badly. The more serious the injury, the more money is at play so you want someone to handle it who has experience handling car accident cases.
- If you have more than $5,000 in medical bills you will probably need a lawyer. The more medical bills you have, the more money you will be handling in the case. Having a lawyer help you in the case can also help you negotiate the medical bills down after you settle the case – putting more money in your pocket.
- If any of your injuries are permanent you will need a lawyer. Negotiating with an insurance company about your injuries can be difficult. You will want to articulate the exact nature of your injury and the future prognosis, and you will need your doctor to use specific language to help you do that. A good car accident lawyer will know how to get these statements from your doctor to help increase the value of your case.
Many people ask if they will lose money by hiring a lawyer. In smaller cases, you will likely end up with the same amount after attorney’s fees as you would if you handled it without an attorney. In larger cases, you will far and away do better with a true trial lawyer with a reputation of trying cases. Once an attorney gets involved, insurance companies take your case more seriously, and a good attorney will find many ways to increase the value of your case. If you meet with me about your case, I will honestly let you know how I can increase the value of your case with my representation. If I cannot help you increase the value of the case, I will let you know and recommend you to handle it on your own.
Contact our Asheville car accident lawyers today to schedule a free consultation, where we will make a plan to move forward so that you can focus on your health. Call (828) 333-5996 for a free consult.REQUEST FREE CONSULTATION
WE LEARN FROM SOME OF THE BEST PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS IN ASHEVILLE, AND AROUND THE COUNTRY
We work with some of the best personal injury lawyers in Asheville, and around the country, always striving to learn new strategies that increase the value of car accident cases. Our goal is to ensure that our clients are treated fairly and reasonably by insurance companies, who are looking to save money any way they can. Attorney Denton travels all over the country to attend seminars and conferences with some of the country’s most preeminent trial lawyers, to learn cutting-edge theory and trial strategy so that he can help you get full and fair compensation for your injuries.
If you’ve been in a car crash and need help, contact us today. I routinely meet with people for no charge and talk with them about their car crash claim. About 50% of the time I meet with someone, I tell them how to handle the claim on their own because I don’t think they need a lawyer. The other 50% of the time I explain exactly why they need a lawyer and exactly what I can do to help. I never charge for a consultation.