What is the History of Auto Law in the U.S.?
U.S. auto law started as a collection of state traffic laws and criminal offenses (e.g., drunk driving). As cars became a primary mode of transportation and the population of the U.S. increased, so did the number of drivers. The surplus of drivers created a need for greater safety measures. Some of these came from physical inventions like the seatbelt and airbag, but soon lawmakers realized that drivers and pedestrians needed legal protections as well.
Thus, in 1966, Congress enacted the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. The Act was passed in response to the rising level of motor vehicle accidents in hopes that the law would reduce the number of accident-related fatalities.
The Act also eventually led to the creation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is a federal government agency that is responsible for creating and enforcing federal safety standards for motor vehicles.
After the agency was established, it began implementing more federal laws regarding motor vehicles and uniform safety standards. The creation of these federal laws led states to adopt their own versions along with stricter requirements.
Today, we have numerous types of laws relating to motor vehicles, such as safety standards, traffic regulations, criminal offenses, and even laws that serve to protect the environment from high levels of vehicle emissions.
What is an Auto Attorney?
An auto attorney is a special kind of lawyer who has experience in handling lawsuits and other legal matters that arise in connection with a car accident. For instance, a car accident victim may hire an auto attorney to help them file a lawsuit against other drivers and to recover damages for injuries sustained in the accident. Alternatively, a person being sued for causing a car accident may hire an auto attorney to defend them against the claim in court.
In general, auto attorneys can provide a wide range of legal services. Aside from representing individuals in court or during settlement negotiations, auto lawyers can also assist their clients in collecting evidence, deposing witnesses, and obtaining medical or police records related to a case. Auto lawyers can also draft legal documents that are important to resolve auto accident cases, such as a settlement demand letter.
However, the majority of an auto attorney’s work involves communicating and negotiating with insurance companies on a client’s behalf. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to negotiate with and will try everything in the power to avoid having to pay for a claim. Auto lawyers already understand this fact and will be able to identify which provisions of a policy apply to their client and what rights their client has under the law.
Finally, auto lawyers also know how to calculate damages associated with car accidents. Thus, they will know the amount of damages a specific client should receive and can advocate on their behalf if the opposing party or an insurance company returns with too low of an offer.
What Kind of Cases Can Auto Lawyers Handle?
There are many legal issues that can arise after a car accident occurs. The most common and obvious of those legal issues involves filing a personal injury lawsuit. Auto lawyers primarily handle personal injury lawsuits. These cases involve situations where one, both, or several drivers collide and sustain injuries from the collision.
Depending on which party (e.g., the plaintiff or defendant) an auto lawyer represents, they will either need to prove the defendant was negligent in causing the accident or assert a defense against the plaintiff’s claim to reduce or eliminate the defendant’s need to pay for their damages. An auto lawyer may also be hired to help a person seek relief for property damages resulting from a car accident (e.g., a driver’s car or a person’s mailbox) as well.
Some other cases that auto lawyers might handle include defective automobile products, lawsuits related to state lemon laws, and cases brought against auto insurance companies for denying payment or coverage for a claim.
Should You Hire an Auto Lawyer for Help?
An auto attorney can be a valuable resource for individuals who have been involved in a car accident. Auto attorneys can assist car accident victims in filing a lawsuit, help defend individuals against car accident claims, speak to and negotiate with insurance companies on a client’s behalf, and can provide representation during court proceedings or at a settlement conference.
In addition, an auto lawyer will also know how to calculate damages resulting from a car accident and can determine whether a victim may be entitled to other damages or legal remedies. An auto lawyer representing a defendant to a car collision case will know when a plaintiff’s request for damages is too high and can raise defenses against a claim that may reduce or eliminate damages.
Therefore, if you have been sued for causing a car collision or have been injured in a car wreck and want to obtain relief for your injuries, you should contact a local auto lawyer as soon as possible. Regardless of whether you are being sued or wish to sue someone else, your lawyer can inform you of and protect your legal rights, and make sure you receive the most favorable outcome possible based on the facts and limitations of your case.