While today’s cars do a fantastic job of keeping us safe, a car accident can still result in severe injuries and even death. A car accident can leave you unable to work, unable to pay your bills, and unable to care for your family. Despite all of that, people are often reluctant to contact an attorney. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, there are some things you should know before deciding whether you should hire a Billings car accident attorney.
What Should I Do if I’ve Been in a Car Accident in Montana?
The very first thing you should do is take steps to ensure your safety. Move your car out of the way of traffic (if possible) and get yourself to a safe location.
If you think you need immediate medical attention, have someone call 911. If not, call the non-emergency number for the police. An officer can direct traffic to keep you safe, as well as take down information concerning what happened and who was at fault – you may need the police report later if you decide to pursue a claim.
Of course, you should also exchange information with the other driver. If they are angry, do not get into an argument with them, but do not admit fault. You should also get contact information for any witnesses at the scene.
What Will I Have to Prove?
Most car accident cases are based on proving that the other driver was negligent. Negligence is when the other driver fails to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. This is determined by comparing their actions against what would be considered ordinarily prudent. Here are some common examples of negligence in car accident cases that we have handled:
- Driving while distracted
- Driving while intoxicated
- Running a red light
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failing to pay full time and attention
Negligence can take on many forms and seemingly insignificant facts can help prove that the other driver was negligent. An experienced Billings car accident attorney can help you determine whether the other driver was negligent and should therefore be held accountable for your injuries.
What is My Claim Worth?
Generally speaking, the value of your claim is the sum total of the following components:
- Your medical expenses
- Your lost income
- The repair or replacement cost for your vehicle
- Your pain and suffering
Non-lawyers typically undervalue their claim by a significant margin and, as a result, wind up settling for far less than what their claim is worth. A knowledgeable Billings car accident lawyer can give you a reliable estimate of what your claim is worth so that you can make an informed decision as to how to proceed with your claim.
Am I Required to Hire a Billings Car Accident Attorney to Pursue a Claim?
There is no legal requirement that you hire an attorney to pursue your claim. However, you should be aware that the other driver’s insurance company will certainly get their lawyers involved. If you decide to file a lawsuit, the insurance company will even provide the other driver with an attorney to defend them. As a result, you will be at a distinct disadvantage if you choose to represent yourself. The claim process and the legal system can be notoriously difficult for non-lawyers to navigate. Hiring an experienced Billings car accident attorney is the best way to get the compensation you need.
The Other Driver Claims the Accident Was My Fault. What Do I Do?
The other driver may be blaming you as a way to protect themselves and avoid accepting responsibility. However, you should be aware that this could affect your claim even if you think they’re wrong. Under Montana law, your claim could be reduced or even barred if you are even partly responsible for the accident. If the other party is blaming you for the accident, it is critical that you speak with a Billings car accident lawyer. They can evaluate the facts of your case and formulate an aggressive strategy to prove that you were not at fault in the accident.
Contact a Billings Car Accident Attorney if You’ve Been Injured
If you’ve been injured, don’t rely on the insurance company to make things right – you need someone on your side. With over 30 years of experience, Billings car accident attorney Jim Ragain has the knowledge and skill you need to get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 406-651-8888 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.