Accidents happen all the time. In fact, there are, on average, 17,250 car accidents on American roads every single day. That’s nearly 12 crashes every minute of every day.

Even if you’re extremely careful behind the wheel, there’s still a good chance that you’ll get into an accident. Why? Because you can’t control how other drivers act behind the wheel. You can’t force them to pay attention and you can’t force them to follow the speed limit.

What you can control, however, is what happens after you get into an accident. You can make sure that you work with an attorney who can conduct a thorough, in-depth independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding your accident. You can make sure that you work with an attorney who has access to experts throughout the course of that investigation.

Here’s why.

Fault Isn’t Always Clear After a Car Accident

You might think that you’re responsible for causing an accident. However, before you volunteer that thought, it’s important to ask some experts to confirm your suspicion. Why? Accidents are complicated. A variety of factors can contribute to a collision or crash. The actions and/or negligence of multiple parties can potentially cause an accident to happen. However, it’s difficult to establish fault without an investigation.

It’s important to make sure that fault is allocated properly. Sharing fault can prevent you from getting compensation or reduce your damages, depending on where the accident occurred. In a state like Texas, you can be barred from getting compensation if you share more than 50 percent of the blame for a car accident in Austin. In other states, like Virginia, sharing any degree of responsibility will keep you from getting any money, at all.

An experienced personal injury attorney in your area will have established relationships with various accident and injury experts. When you get hurt, your lawyer can call on these individuals for help investigating your crash.

Medical experts might be able to shed some light on how you likely suffered your injuries. This could give your attorney some insight into the angle at which your car was struck or whether or not your seat belt or airbags worked properly.

Accident recreationists can help your lawyer see how the collision likely occurred, and, in turn, identify contributing factors. With this information, your attorney can begin to understand who likely shares responsibility.

Mechanics can look over your vehicle to determine if everything on the car was working properly at the time of the collision. A simple once-over might raise questions about potential defects in your brakes or steering column. Your attorney can then turn their attention to the company that manufactured or sold the car.

The bottom line is that an investigation, conducted with the assistance of skilled experts, can provide critical information about why an accident happened and who is responsible.

Valuing a Personal Injury Claim Is Tough

After an accident, you’ll want to get as much money as you can to compensate for your injuries and suffering. At-fault parties and insurance companies will want the opposite. They’ll want to pay as little as possible. A thorough investigation can help to ensure that your car accident injuries and damages are valued properly.

There are generally two types of compensatory damages available to car accident victims - economic and non-economic.

Economic damages are intended to compensate victims for verifiable financial costs related to an accident and resulting injuries. Easy enough, right? Not necessarily. While things like medical bills might be straightforward, damages relating to lost wages or disability can be more challenging. How much will your injury affect your ability to work? You might say that you can’t work in the same capacity, at all. Insurers might argue that you’re exaggerating and that your injury will only cause a minor inconvenience when you get back on the job.

How can you resolve this dispute? You can be certain that insurance companies have experts lined up to support their arguments. When you have an attorney on your side, they can turn to trusted injury and vocational experts of their own. They can explain the level of your injury and how it will most likely impact your ability to earn a living. It’s easier to fight the insurance company when you have expert-backed evidence and testimony of your own. At the very least, this should help to move settlement discussions in the right direction.

Non-economic damages are intended to compensate victims for injuries that are more difficult to value in terms of cold hard cash. This can include things like emotional distress or pain and suffering. In truth, these injuries will affect every accident victim differently. So, the value can vary from one case to the next.

Once again, insurers will work hard to downplay the consequences of your accident and the toll they take on you. You can counter these efforts by enlisting the assistance of psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health experts. They can evaluate you, consider your injuries, and how they can (and will probably) impact your life. Then they can provide some guidance as your attorney tries to translate your suffering into dollars and cents.

About the Author: Ted Lorenz is an experienced personal injury lawyer and founder of Lorenz & Lorenz, LLP, an Austin, TX based personal injury law firm with offices in Austin and Waco, TX.