Berman & Simmons Trial Attorneys - Portland, ME

Consult with Maine car accident lawyers from Berman & Simmons when involved in a car accident. Our attorney’s expertise and guidance can significantly impact the outcome of your case, ensuring that your rights are protected. In fact, no other law firm in Maine can match our depth of talent, expertise, and financial resources to win your case.

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Portland Car Accident Lawyers

Have you suffered devastating injuries in a motor vehicle crash? Are you struggling with emotional trauma, physical limitations, and significant financial losses related to the accident? If so, you may have the right to financial compensation for your suffering. With help from an experienced Portland car accident lawyer at Berman & Simmons Trial Attorneys, you can heal from your injuries while our team works on building a powerful case against the at-fault parties.

Contact our office for a 100% free consultation today and learn more about what to expect from the auto wreck claims process, who is responsible for causing your injuries, and how much your claims could be worth if your case is successful.

What to Do After a Car Accident in Portland

The steps you take after your car crash could have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Failure to take certain steps could make it more difficult or impossible for you to hold the liable party accountable and recover the compensation you deserve.

Our Portland car accident lawyers will be by your side every step of the way to help build a compelling case and guide you through the claims process. With that in mind, here are the most important steps to take in the aftermath of your collision.

Call For an Ambulance and the Police

Immediately after the accident, you must call the Police Department and 911. Depending on where your accident occurred, you may also call the Maine State Police for assistance. The liable party may attempt to convince you not to call the police. However, this is often for self-serving reasons, such as a failure to carry auto insurance as required by law, having outstanding warrants, or trying to avoid having a claim filed against their insurance policy.

The truth is, if there are severe property damages or physical injuries, you may be obligated to notify law enforcement officials. Police will arrive at the accident scene and file a report. This accident report will have important information that can be used to support your claim against the liable party, such as:

  • The location of the accident
  • The names and contact information of all involved parties
  • The names and contact information of witnesses to the accident
  • A determination of fault
  • A description of traffic conditions at the time of the accident
  • A description of surrounding property damages

Accident reconstructionists can then use this information to re-create the collision and gather additional evidence to be used against those responsible.

Try to Collect Supporting Evidence

While you wait for police and emergency responders to arrive, start to gather as much evidence as you can to support your case. The accident scene will include a substantial amount of evidence that your Portland car accident attorneys can use to figure out who is responsible for causing the accident. Some examples of evidence you should gather wherever possible include:

  • A detailed personal account of how the accident happened, traffic conditions at the time of the accident, and other seemingly minor details, such as how fast you were going, whether the driver ran through a yellow or red light, and any other notable details
  • Photos of your injuries, any damage to surrounding property, vehicle damages, and traffic conditions
  • Video footage of the accident scene, including video surveillance of the damage to all involved vehicles
  • Notes that include the nearby businesses and home addresses that have noticeable video surveillance cameras
  • The names, badge numbers, and contact information of the responding officers
  • The names, contact information, license plate numbers, insurance policy numbers, and license numbers of all involved parties

If your injuries are so severe that you cannot do much of anything other than wait for emergency responders to arrive, do not worry. Your personal injury attorney will conduct a thorough investigation and gather as much evidence as possible. However, it is important to start working on your case as soon as possible, as time-sensitive evidence such as video surveillance footage may only be available for several days or weeks before being deleted.

Get Treatment for Your Car Accident Injuries

Next, once emergency responders arrive at the accident scene, you should get immediate medical treatment. Even if you do not believe your injuries are severe, you may not feel the full extent of the trauma due to the adrenaline coursing through your body caused by shock. Invisible injuries, if left untreated, can be life-threatening or fatal.

Furthermore, failure to get medical help could be devastating for your case. You can expect the liable party to argue that your injuries could not be as severe as you claimed, as you did not receive medical treatment immediately after the collision. They may also argue your injuries occurred in another way and are unrelated to the car accident in question.

Contact a Portland Auto Accident Attorney for Help

As soon as you have a chance to do so, contact a respected and knowledgeable Portland car accident attorney. You can call us at the scene of the accident or have us meet you in your hospital room at your convenience. This way, you do not have to worry about anything other than healing from your injuries.

Once you get a personal injury advocate on your side, we can start our investigation into the cause of the accident and begin quantifying your damages. We will be responsible for exploring your legal options for financial relief, negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf, and bringing your case to trial when it becomes necessary.

How the Car Accident Claims Process Works

It is not unusual for car accident victims to hesitate to move forward with a civil lawsuit or insurance claim. This is, in part, because they do not understand how the claims process works. When you are struggling to cope with your physical injuries and emotional distress, dealing with an insurance company and going to trial is the last thing you want to have to deal with.

However, your attorney will be responsible for handling the legalities while you recuperate. Every person’s case is different, but the car accident process typically plays out in similar ways. Here is a general idea of what to expect from your Portland car accident case:

  • You hire a Portland car accident attorney to take on your case
  • Your lawyer begins investigating the cause of the accident
  • Throughout the investigation, we collect evidence to prove negligence and liability
  • We carefully evaluate your damages and the impact the accident has had on your life to calculate the value of your economic and non-economic damages and determine how much we should seek in insurance claims and through your civil lawsuit
  • Your auto accident attorney will prepare court documents and insurance filings
  • Next, we will negotiate with the insurance company to recover a portion of your damages
  • If the liable party does not have insurance or insurance is not enough to compensate you fairly for your suffering and losses, your attorney will prepare to bring your car accident case before a judge

Establishing Fault for Your Car Accident Damages

The only way you can recover compensation after a car accident is by proving someone else’s negligence was the cause of the collision. Many times, car accidents are caused by unsafe or negligent driving. The driver that hit you may have been drunk or drugged, distracted, drowsy, violating basic traffic laws, or simply reckless.

However, negligent drivers are not the only cause of car accidents in Portland. When dangerous road conditions are present, or vehicle parts are malfunctioning or defective, several parties could share the blame, such as:

  • Motor vehicle parts designers
  • Auto parts manufacturers and distributors
  • Retailers and motor vehicle dealerships
  • Government agencies
  • The Maine Department of Transportation
  • The city of Portland and other municipalities
  • Government-contracted construction workers and subcontractors
  • Independent contractors
  • Government safety inspectors and maintenance professionals

Your Auto Accident Claim Is Worth More Than You Thought

Few car accident victims understand the true value of their damages. You know the liable party should cover your vehicle repairs, the time you had to take off of work, and your medical bills, but there are many other damages you are entitled to.

Compensatory damages describe the losses you have the right to recover when you file a claim with the insurance company or bring your lawsuit to court. Under the law, you have the right to be made whole, so every single way you have been affected by the collision and your injuries should be considered accordingly.

Economic Damages

Economic damages consist of the monetary damages that have affected your life. Any out-of-pocket costs, bills, and other expenses related to the accident would fall into this category. Some examples could include:

  • Vehicle repair costs
  • Loss of income
  • Medical bills and devices
  • Future medical care
  • The diminished value of your vehicle
  • Loss of employee benefits, including health insurance
  • The cost of purchasing a new vehicle
  • Rental car expenses
  • Loss of household services

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages describe every other way your life has been affected by your injuries and the crash itself. These are not financial. Some examples of non-economic damages could include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Embarrassment from skin scars
  • Permanent disability
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement
  • Shame and shock
  • Indignity and fear
  • Reputational damages

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are also commonly known as exemplary damages. They have a reputation for dramatically increasing the amount of a victim’s settlement. However, they are not awarded in every case. In fact, they are awarded rarely, as punitive damages only apply when the defendant’s actions are intentionally harmful, malicious, egregious, grossly negligent, or reprehensible.

The Maine civil courts will often only impose punitive damages if they find it necessary to punish the defendant for abhorrent conduct or if they want to send a message to the public that they are taking the defendant’s conduct seriously in your case and hope to deter future liable parties from similar actions.

How Car Accident Insurance Claims Work

Filing a claim with the insurance company may not be the solution you were hoping for. Although you can recover a settlement from the liable party’s insurance company if they have insurance coverage, it may be significantly less than you previously thought. Remember, insurance policies are based on how much coverage the liable party has purchased. If they only purchased the bare minimum required by Maine auto insurance laws under M.R.S.A Tit. 24-A, §7305 may not be enough to cover your medical bills and property damages.

It is also important to keep in mind that insurance generally only covers a few economic losses. It rarely, if ever, covers any non-economic damages. If you hope to be made whole, you may need to prepare yourself for court. The insurance company will likely go to great lengths to pay out as little on your claim as possible.

If you hope to avoid being taken advantage of or blamed for causing the accident, the best way to protect yourself is to have your car accident lawyer negotiate with the insurance adjuster for you. That way, you do not have to worry about getting tricked into settling for less than you deserve and can show the insurance company you mean business.

Statute of Limitations and Other Essential Deadlines

Maine has some of the most car accident victim-friendly personal injury laws in the country. According to M.R.S.A. Tit. 14 § 752, you have up to six years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit. The insurance company may also impose deadlines that limit the amount of time you have to file your claim. If you fail to file before the deadlines, the insurance company and court system may prohibit you from moving forward with your claim or recovering an award at trial.

Meet With Our Portland Auto Accident Attorneys Today

Your car accident injuries may have had a considerable impact on nearly every aspect of your life. But that does not mean this traumatic experience needs to define you. You can take back control of your life when you hold the liable party accountable for their negligence and recover maximum compensation for your damages.

Our dedicated Portland auto accident lawyers at Berman & Simmons Trial Attorneys understand how overwhelming this time in your life must be. When you are ready to demand justice, turn to our legal team for a free, no-obligation consultation. Take advantage of this opportunity by filling out our quick contact form or calling our office to get started as soon as today.