Some victims still want to know the role of personal injury lawyers, and for good reason, the insurance company has contacted them and provided their expertise and services. It is therefore lawful that accident victims already in trouble rarely refer them ex officio to personal injury lawyers, mistakenly thinking that the lawyer’s role is in litigation.
Accident victims are usually in shock and are naturally guided by their insurance company, sometimes even when the victim is a pedestrian. This is the first mistake not to make as the relationship between insurance companies is governed by internal agreements and therefore the relationship between insurance companies. For road accidents, liability will be managed by the IRCA convention.
It is therefore possible under this convention for the victim’s liability to arise where, in fact, under criminal law, the victim’s liability is fully exonerated or, under a certain ceiling, the victim’s own roadside insurance will have to compensate him. The paying insurer assesses how much it has to pay.
The administrative role of the lawyer
The victim’s attorney will interview the victim, if his or her condition allows him or her to speak, to learn the exact circumstances of the accident. Then he will gather all the information necessary to establish all the legal consequences of the liability case. Therefore, a car accident lawyer has the skills in the field of road traffic criminal law, to be able to challenge a possible criminal or civil liability, aiming at reducing the compensation of a car accident victim.
The lawyer’s role of advice
The medical expertise is a key moment for a road accident victim because it determines the compensation of personal injuries. In addition, the lawyer will himself appoint a medical adviser for the victims, with whom he usually works. The objective of the road traffic victim is to have a counterbalance to the work doctor (amicable opinion) or to the medical expert and work doctor (medico-legal opinion). In practice, personal injury lawyers already have a network of medical advisors and relatives, so they have no doubt. The objective of road accident victims is to be balanced with regard to company doctors (friendly expertise) or with regard to medical experts and company doctors (contentious expertise). In fact, lawyers involved in personal injury law usually already have a network of medical consultants and a certain affinity.
The victim’s physician, in cooperation with the attorney, will call the victim for a simple medical consultation, just prior to the formal medical examination. The consulting physician will then listen to the victim’s complaints and difficulties so that they can be documented and recalled during a medical evaluation for intervention. The victim’s lawyer has a network of professionals dealing with the repair of personal injury, such as: neuropsychologist, psychiatrist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, architect (for the adaptation of the victim’s home) etc. On the day of the medical examination, the victim’s lawyer and doctor will be present at the medical-legal discussion.
The legal role of the lawyer
In a landmark ruling, the Court of Cassation ruled that advice on personal injury compensation is reserved for lawyers only, followed by sanctioned associations, insured experts and others who then illegally pursue the case. Indeed, there has been a lot of fraud, the victims have once again found themselves victims, because the “pseudo advisors” have agreed with the insurers that they could not de facto be absent from the legal proceedings or have accepted the funds received to the point of sometimes taking more than 20% of the sums recovered. A personal injury attorney takes an average of 8-10% of the total amount.
At the same time, an insurance broker and consultant acted as a consultant to settle insurance disputes out of court. Then he agreed to help three victims of road accidents in exchange for a certain percentage of the expenses stipulated in the agreement. The Grenoble Court of Appeal (CA Grenoble, 3 July 2014, No. 13/05 517) held that this type of paid and repeated intervention is characteristic of illegal legal advice. Subsequently, the Supreme Court decided to reject the broker’s appeal.
Victims’ attorneys intervene early in the entire process, but if car accident compensation negotiations fail, they have a powerful weapon: appealing to the courts. The car accident victim’s lawyer will analyze the expert’s final report to calculate the elements of damage and obtain compensation for personal injury.
The lawyer’s judicial role
If negotiation fails, at the stage of drafting an expert report when the doctor disagrees on certain bodily injuries, or at the stage of calculating the victim’s bodily injury, based on an undisputed expert report, the victims’ lawyer will be able to take the case to court with a final decision. Indeed, the best law firms involved in traffic accident law are all familiar with the principle of operation of this special procedure, which allows for the compensation of personal injuries and damages to victims of traffic accidents.