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How Do Car Accident Lawyers Investigate a Case To Determine Liability?

Claims adjuster looking over a car accident.

If you’ve been in car accident in Cody, Cheyenne, Casper, Laramie, Wyoming, or anywhere in our great state, it’s crucial to work with accident lawyers who understand the state and local laws. Not only can such lawyers help you navigate the laws, but they also have the expertise and connections to properly investigate the accident in order to help you determine liability.

Why Is Liability Important?

Wyoming is an “at-fault” state, which means that the person who is at fault for a car accident is responsible for paying for the damages caused by the accident. If you are injured in a car accident in Wyoming, you will need to prove that the other driver was at fault, or at least more at fault than you are, in order to recover damages.

Why “more at fault than you are”? Wyoming follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that you can still recover damages even if you were partially at fault for the accident. However, bear in mind that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were found to be 10% at fault for an accident that caused you $20,000 in damages, you would only be able to recover $18,000.

It’s crucially important that you prove your level of liability not only to get proper compensation but also to protect yourself. You can be sure that the other driver (and their insurance company) will be happy to pin liability on you if they can. Even if they can only increase your liability from none to 10%, that could mean shaving an enormous amount off what they have to pay you. Accident lawyers can protect you from this.

How Do Car Accident Lawyers Investigate a Case To Determine Liability?

Gathering Evidence

The first step in investigating a car accident is to gather evidence. This evidence can include things like police reports, medical records, video evidence, and witness statements. The lawyer will also want to inspect the scene of the accident to get a better understanding of what happened. In some cases, this means hiring a special investigator.

Gathering all this evidence sounds simple when you first read it, but the actual process of getting it can be difficult. Take witness statements, for instance. Tracking down witnesses is one step. Getting them to agree to talk about what they saw is a whole other step. Some people just don’t want to get involved in anything like this, and experienced lawyers know how to be kind yet persuasive, so witnesses understand what it means to you for them to tell the truth.

Evaluating Evidence

Once the evidence has been gathered, the lawyer will need to determine who was at fault for the accident. This can be a complex process, as there are often multiple factors that contribute to an accident. The lawyer will need to consider things like the weather conditions, the speed of the vehicles, the actions of the drivers, and the actions of any pedestrians in the area at the moment.

Calculating Damages

If the lawyer is able to establish that the other driver was at fault, they will then need to calculate the damages that you have suffered. This includes things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Damages may also include damaged property, costs for childcare or home care while you were recovering, and many other things.

Next Steps

Once your lawyer has determined liability and damages, he or she will then negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf. The goal is to get the insurance companies to pay you the full amount of damages that you are entitled to. If the insurance companies are not willing to pay a fair amount, the lawyer may need to file a lawsuit.

You Must Act Quickly

It is important to act quickly after a car accident. For one thing, evidence can disappear quickly. If you wait too long, witnesses may forget what happened or the scene of the accident may be cleaned up. Also, the other driver’s insurance company may try to contact you and get you to give a statement before you have a chance to talk to a lawyer. They’re hoping to trip you up and get you to say something they can use to prove you are more liable. By acting quickly, you can stop these calls with a simple statement: please contact my lawyer.

Finally, it is important to start the process of getting the compensation you deserve as soon as possible. This will help you cover your medical expenses and lost wages, and it will also help you get the closure you need after a traumatic experience. It is important to note that Wyoming has a four-year statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits. If you miss this deadline, you may be barred from recovering any damages.

Don’t Talk to the Insurance Companies

Do not give any statements to the insurance companies without first consulting with a lawyer. The insurance companies are not your friends, and they are not looking out for your best interests. They will try to get you to say things that will help them reduce their liability, and you may accidentally say something that could hurt your case.

Remember: anything you say to the insurance companies can potentially be used against you in court if you do decide to file a lawsuit. It is always best to talk to a lawyer before giving any statements. A lawyer can help you protect your rights and make sure that you do not say anything that could hurt your case.

Keep Everything

Be sure to keep all of your medical records and receipts, even though you may be tired, overwhelmed, and feel like just throwing everything out and putting it all behind you. All this documentation will be important in proving your damages. Medical records and receipts can provide evidence of:

  • The exact nature and full extent of your injuries
  • The costs of your medical care
  • The impact of your injuries on your ability to work and earn income
  • The pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of your injuries
  • The money you’ve expended to keep your household going while injured

Don’t Settle

Our final piece of advice is this: do not settle for less than you deserve. There may come a time when you just want the whole thing to be over and are tempted to take the lowball offer the insurance company makes. They know that accident victims are in pain and feeling frustrated, and they will often take advantage of this to get you to take less than you deserve. Listen to your accident lawyers on this. You deserve to have all your expenses covered.

Talk to Us in Cody, Wyoming, Cheyenne, Wyoming, or Casper, Wyoming Today

If you’re in the area and ​have been in an accident, work with local lawyers who know the local laws, courts, and law enforcement. Contact Ochs Law Firm today to talk to compassionate attorneys who understand what you’re going through and want ​to help you get ​the compensation you need to return ​life to normal.

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Our experienced Wyoming personal injury lawyer, Jason E. Ochs will fight to help you recover proper compensation in a class action, pharmaceutical, and medical cases throughout multiple states. Contact us today.

Jason E. Ochs

Jason began his legal career in 2002 with a national multi-district litigation law firm in Newport Beach, California. There he worked on a variety of high-profile, complex-litigation projects including pharmaceutical and medical-device litigation across the country.

The Ochs Law Firm epitomizes professionalism and commitment to all of our clients, regardless of the size of the case or the might of the Defendant. We practice in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and California in personal injury litigation, medical malpractice, defective products, class action lawsuits, Qui Tam lawsuits, litigation across multiple districts, bad faith insurance, and civil litigation.

We look forward to providing top quality service and representation for you and your family.