As finance professionals, CPAs play many important roles, but most people know them as the individuals who handle their taxes. However, if you’re ever involved in a car accident, you may be surprised to learn that a CPA could play a key role in helping you recover damages. Partnering with your lawyer, a CPA with special training as a forensic accountant is an important member of your team and can ensure you receive a fair settlement.
Accidents: The Aftermath
In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, after receiving any critical medical care, one of the first things you’ll do is contact your lawyer – and once you’ve done this, they’re likely to be your intermediary in just about every interaction. They’ll collect key documents, talk to insurance companies, and contact any additional experts who are needed to evaluate the situation. These outside experts may include doctors who can provide medical testimony, crime scene analysts who look for hazardous road conditions, skid marks, and other clues, and a forensic accountant who will evaluate the financial aspects of your claim.
Forensic Accounting: Beyond The Basic CPA
CPAs know a great deal about finances; preparing for the CPA exam means studying topics across multiple areas, including basic business concepts, auditing, and regulations. For those who want to expand their skills, however, becoming a forensic accountant can be an exciting opportunity. Forensic accountants work in various fields, including government, hospitals, non-profits, and independent consultants, and one task they may take on is litigation support.
When a forensic accountant consults on your car accident case, they’ll look at a number of issues, but the main areas they’ll consider are the financial impacts your case may have on your life. In other words, what damages should you claim based on the value of your vehicle, medical costs, lost wages, and related considerations. They’ll also evaluate whether or not there are ways you could have mitigated the damages, which reduce the value of the damages.
Accountants In Conflict: The Other Side
Almost any time a lawyer brings an expert on board to evaluate a case, the other side will bring on a similar professional to bolster their case. When it comes to car accidents, then, you can expect that the defense will also hire a forensic accountant to look for spurious claims or inflated damages. They want to reduce the payout owed by shifting the blame or making counterclaims regarding what losses you actually stand to suffer.
Whether you’re the plaintiff of the defendant in a car accident case, you won’t be tasked with finding your own forensic accountant. Typically, lawyers have a stable of preferred professionals that they work with on a regular basis. However, you will have to provide various documents to the forensic accountant, including pay stubs, insurance information, and medical bills. Like your lawyer, this is someone who is here to help you navigate a challenging process and they’re on your side. Cooperate with them and they will fight for what you deserve.