When Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Any time you have been hurt in a car accident and suffered damages as a result, you can benefit from the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Damages are the costs associated with an injury, such as medical expenses or lost wages from work.
The only time you may want to handle the situation without a lawyer is when damages are minor. If you were not hurt in an accident or if the damage to your car is minimal, you can probably handle the insurance claim without a lawyer’s advice. If you aren’t sure you need a lawyer, talk to someone to be safe. Reputable car accident lawyers offer a free initial consultation.
How Can Car Accident Lawyers Help Me?
There are many reasons to turn to a car accident lawyer after an incident on the road. They can evaluate your case, estimate how much it may be worth, investigate the incident to prove negligence, and help you recover maximum damages. Going it alone is risky, even when the case seems simple. Here’s what the right legal team can do for you after an accident:
- Provide expert advice. A car accident lawyer has been here before. They have worked with victims of car accidents, understand the relevant laws, and know how to investigate and prove negligence. Don’t settle for a general lawyer. You need an expert.
- Estimate the outcome. Having worked with clients on similar cases, a lawyer can provide you with a good estimate of what to expect. They cannot guarantee an outcome but can give you a good idea of the strength of your case and how much you can expect in damages.
- Negotiate with the insurance company. Most personal injury claims never go to trial or even to a lawsuit. They usually end in settlements. A lawyer will be able to get you the maximum settlement amount through negotiations.
- Investigate your case. To get a settlement and to recover a fair amount of damages, you need to prove the other driver’s negligence. Personal injury law firms have the resources, experience, and experts needed to investigate and build the case.
- Litigate on your behalf. Settlement negotiations sometimes fail. The insurance company may not want to offer fair compensation or any at all. A car accident lawyer has experience taking cases to trial and litigating for a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
- Maximize damages. You may try to do these things for yourself, but chances are you cannot get as much in damages as an experienced lawyer will. To get fair compensation for the harm you have suffered, you need a lawyer.
How to Find a Car Accident Lawyer
Start by looking for personal injury attorneys and law firms. Car accident claims fall under personal injury, so any lawyers specializing in this area of the law will be able to help you. If possible, choose a firm that handles car accident cases regularly. They will have the most experience and expertise.
You can find good lawyers through advertising but also turn to other sources. Friends and family members may have someone they have worked with and trust. Your state bar association can also direct you to lawyers with the right kind of experience.
Finding a personal injury lawyer isn’t difficult. There are many who practice this type of law, but finding a good one takes a little more effort. Here are some things to consider as you sort through the options:
- The lawyer you hire should have a proven track record of wins for clients involved in car accidents.
- They should also have experience both in negotiating settlements and litigating cases.
- Ask for referrals from past clients and information about past cases.
- The right lawyer should offer a free case evaluation and be available to answer all your questions.
- Payment plans should be contingency-based. If not, it may mean the firm does not have the resources to investigate your case.
- A lawyer should never guarantee an outcome. Walk away if they do.
- The right lawyer will make you feel comfortable and confident about the steps you take to recover damages.
Working with a Car Accident Lawyer
Finding a lawyer to work with is just the first step. Once you have engaged a firm, how you work with them will make all the difference.
Be Prepared to Be Honest
When you meet with your lawyer for the first time, and every time, you must be honest about everything. They need all the information, no matter how embarrassing or difficult it is to talk about, to make your case.
They will ask you a lot of questions about the accident and how it has impacted you. Be ready to answer questions about your health before and after, how you feel since the accident, about your work and income, and about your insurance.
Relive the Accident
Your car accident lawyer will also ask you a lot of detailed questions about the incident. Recalling a frightening accident may be difficult, but it is important. Take some time to recall the accident and recreate it in your mind. With more details, your lawyer will be able to help you get a better outcome.
Your own recall of the incident is essential, but your legal team will also need documentation. Come prepared to meetings with everything they’ll need to put together a case to prove negligence against the at-fault driver:
- Your notes on the incident, preferably taken down soon after it occurred
- Witness notes and contact information
- Contact and insurance information for all people involved in the accident
- Police reports or other official incident reports
- Physical evidence, such as video or photos taken of the accident, your car or other property, and your injuries
- Your medical charts, reports, and bills
- Bills for any other expenses related to the accident
- Information about your income and job if you have lost work time due to the accident
Your lawyer will ask you a lot of questions but also wants you to ask questions. An informed client is important to reputable lawyers. Ask about which lawyer will handle your case, how much time they can devote to it, about past wins, about the investigation, and more. Get an estimate of the strength of your case and damages, so you know what to expect and can better decide which steps to take.
Discuss Fees and Payment
A good lawyer will be happy to discuss payment immediately. Fees should never be a mystery. Talk about contingency plans, and what percentage the law firm takes if you win. Also, find out how they take payment and when it comes due after a win.
A car accident is a terrible experience to go through, but the right lawyer will take away a lot of the confusion and uncertainty. Find a good car accident lawyer to work through your case, advise you, and provide options.
For state-specific information, visit the following pages:
- California Car Accident Lawyers
- Florida Car Accident Lawyers
- New York Car Accident Lawyers
- Texas Car Accident Lawyers
- Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyers
- Illinois Car Accident Lawyers
- Ohio Car Accident Lawyers
- Georgia Car Accident Lawyers
- North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers
- Michigan Car Accident Lawyers
- New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers
- Virginia Car Accident Lawyers
- Washington Car Accident Lawyers
- Arizona Car Accident Lawyers
- Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyers
- Tennessee Car Accident Lawyers
- Indiana Car Accident Lawyers
- Missouri Car Accident Lawyers
- Maryland Car Accident Lawyers
- Wisconsin Car Accident Lawyers