Most people will be involved in a car accident at some point during their lifetime. Many of these accidents do not involve major injuries and only cause minor property damage. A person who has been involved in a car accident that was just a fender bender can probably settle the matter with the other driver’s insurance company themselves. However, if the accident has caused injuries, that person may consider hiring a car accident attorney, particularly if they are facing lost wages, costly medical bills and future rehabilitation costs.
What is a car accident lawyer?
A car accident lawyer handles civil claims in an area of law generally known as personal injury. In most cases, a lawyer works directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to settle the case. In some cases, it is necessary to sue the driver who caused the accident.
A car accident lawyer’s job involves examining records, such as police reports and medical records, reviewing insurance policies, negotiating with insurance companies, interviewing accident scene witnesses, consulting expert witnesses, conducting jury trials and much more.
Why do I need a car accident lawyer?
Hiring an accident lawyer can save a lot of time and confusion spent negotiating with insurance companies. An experienced lawyer can also ensure that the compensation amount is fair. When liability is an issue (if it is unclear who caused the accident), a car accident attorney may be able to argue that it was the other driver’s fault. Sometimes an accident lawyer may hire and consult experts to prove this.
Most car accident lawyers will take the case on a contingency basis if they decide to take the case at all. That means that there is no attorney fee unless the lawyer wins the case or obtains a favorable settlement. Out-of-pocket costs and attorney fees may be taken out of the judgment or settlement after the case is over before the client receives his or her portion of the money.
Some people feel that it is greedy to sue after an accident, particularly if their costs are covered by health insurance. However, it is important for anyone who is a victim of a car accident to consider the fact that their health insurance may not agree on cover costs for accidents caused by another person. Further, it is important to consider the costs that health insurance does not cover, such as lost wages, as well as more intangible costs like pain and suffering. Most of the time, a car accident is covered by a driver’s liability insurance. It is very rare for a car accident case to involve seizure of the at-fault driver’s personal assets.
What should I look for in a good car accident lawyer?
Consider a lawyer’s experience and track record. You may want to ask if the lawyer has handled claims involving the same type of injury as yours in the past. You may ask people you know who to hire at first. If you have had another lawyer handle a different type of claim for you in the past, you may try asking that lawyer who to hire. The lawyer you have consulted previously may know someone with a good reputation for handling your type of claim. You likely will want to choose a lawyer who handles car accidents and personal injury claims as a bulk of his or her practice.
Also, consider the rapport you feel you have with the lawyer when you first meet him or her. Is this a person you feel that you can trust when you discuss the personal difficulties you have faced during your recovery from your accident? Does he or she promptly address all your communication, whether it is via phone calls or emails? Have all your immediate questions been answered fully?
How long does it take to settle a car accident case, and what can I expect?
Most claims are settled after maximum medical improvement has been achieved. Settling early can result in settling for less than the claim is worth. The amount received by the client usually depends on the severity of the injury. Severe injuries that are likely to affect the accident victim in the future typically result in larger settlements.