Updated June 2022
If you have ever been in a car accident, you know how devastating the event can be. From physical injuries to emotional trauma, it is not uncommon for someone who has gone through such an experience to struggle with mental and/or physical ramifications long after the accident itself. This is why hiring a car accident lawyer is so important. For information about motorcycle accident lawyers please visit this article.
Some people wonder how car accident attorneys can help them if they’ve been injured or lost their livelihood due to a car accident. But, of course, the main goal of the lawyers is to help their clients to get financial compensation for expenses and damages like car repair, hospital bills, and suffering, among others. But, what exactly does a car accident lawyer do?
This guide will discuss what a car accident lawyer does and what law firms can do for injured drivers and their families.
Case Investigation and Discovery
The best car accident lawyer will begin by gathering as much information about the case as possible. The attorney may hire expert witnesses and use all the evidence available to determine the fault and show the nature and extent of injuries suffered by the client. In addition, they may gather resources such as scene photos and videos, official government reports, and police reports.
Some car accident attorneys hire independent investigators to help in getting the evidence. However, others prefer to conduct on-site investigations alone. The lawyers then review and evaluate the evidence to determine fault. The evidence collected and presented by the lawyers helps prove liability and damages.
Discusses Claims With Insurance
When there is an accident, the auto insurance of the person and that of the other party will want to get information from the victim. Workers’ compensation insurance may also join in case of on-job injury. However, since insurance companies will always look for ways to reduce their baggage, a car accident victim should be careful when engaging with them.
- Since the insurance companies may want to control the flow of information that might reduce their responsibility, the car accident lawyer will refuse such requests.
- During the person’s meeting with their car insurance or applicable workers’ compensation carriers, the lawyers arrange their client’s statements and tell them what to say and what not to say.
Helps People to Understand Their Rights
Many drivers and road users aren’t conversant with personal injury laws regarding auto accidents. Therefore, it’s understandable when such individuals don’t know their rights. Furthermore, those who aren’t at fault aren’t supposed to pay for the resulting damages. Nevertheless, it’s important to know that auto accident injuries laws vary from one state to another.
When a person is involved in an accident, a car accident lawyer will help them understand their rights. Since many auto insurance companies want a person to believe they have little choice on how things go, a lawyer can help show their clients how powerful they are in such circumstances. People may therefore know how to legally protect themselves from car accident attorneys.
Represents People Throughout Work Compensation Process
Sometimes a car accident case may involve a workers compensation claim. A car accident lawyer can help such a person prepare and provide all the necessary reports and form submissions. If the insurance is unwilling to settle the claim, the lawyer can help the affected person with their petition for benefits. If there’s any hearing, the attorney will represent the plaintiff and assist them in obtaining settlement.
Researches Product Defects
When a defective product is established as the possible cause of the accident, a lawyer will research similar incidents to put a strong case. In addition, the lawyer for a car accident will search for more information about the defective product on consumer and government websites and previous lawsuits.
The information helps the attorney to analyze potential legal issues. The lawyer will review applicable statutes, case law, and other important legal precedents. The process can be time-consuming and require in-depth analysis. Therefore, it is only through an experienced lawyer that a person can win such a case.
Assesses the Extent of the Damage
After an accident, the affected person may be quick to notice immediate costs, but it’s only an experienced car accident injury lawyer who will help in looking at all the possible ways the accident will affect the victim. Besides current and future medical costs, the lawyer will assist the injured person in knowing how the accident has affected their emotions and ability to work.
Therefore, a car accident lawyer will be in a better position to give a more accurate estimate of the total damages. Consequently, an individual will not be left with huge bills to settle after accepting a Quick Cash settlement. Furthermore, since the insurance company will be interested in reducing its responsibility to maximize profits, a car accident attorney is the only one who can help a person to get fair compensation.
Arranges for Non-Destructive Testing
When a defective product is responsible for an accident, the injured person should collect it before the manufacturer or insurance company. If such a product gets to the hands of the defendants’ team first, they may conduct destructive testing, thereby destroying it and making it harder for the plaintiffs to proceed with the case.
Therefore, after taking the defective product, a person should give it to the car accident lawyer, who will then liaise with an industry expert to conduct non-destructive testing.
Identifies Medical Experts
If a major accident leads to catastrophic and serious injuries, the affected person may require complex diagnoses and treatment. Due to their experience in such cases, a lawyer can help such people to reach medical experts for better treatment. In addition, the car accident injury lawyer can collaborate with the doctor to project future impairments and treatment, thereby making it easy for the affected person to get a reasonable settlement.
After reaching maximum recovery, the lawyer may approach the physician in charge for narrative medical reports. Such reports contain information like the extent of the injuries, the treatment, and the disability status. Besides, the report will indicate whether the affected person will return to normal work or is permanently destroyed.
Investigates the Case Completely
Car accident attorneys have a lot of work to convince the insurance companies to offer a fair settlement. Sometimes they may have to search for witness statements and accident photos to win a case. Other times the investigations may involve hiring private investigators such as retired police officers. Therefore, the attorneys go the extra mile and instigate the case completely to win.
Collects Defective Products
In case a defective product causes an accident that leads to injury, it becomes important evidence. If a person is still in possession of this time, the car accident lawyer will advise on how to handle it going forward. The attorney may tell the individual not to relinquish the product to any other party apart from the firm law. The lawyer may come with an investigator and take the product for storage or testing.
Prepares for Trial
Since most car accident cases require a lot of investigation, when a car accident lawyer is ready for settlement negotiations, they are also ready for trial if necessary. Besides preparing their evidence, the lawyers also ensure that the defense team has all the copies of the attorneys’ evidence at trial. The defendants’ lawyers must also provide the plaintiff lawyers any evidence they’re planning to present at trial.
The car accident lawyer will be responsible for gathering important evidence. If there’s a need for expert witnesses, they will be in charge of hiring such people. If the insurer fails to offer a fair and reasonable settlement, the car accident attorney will have no option but to schedule a trial date with the court.
Represents Their Clients In Court
Some auto accident cases do not end before the trial. Individuals with car accident lawyers are lucky in most cases because they get good settlements from the insurers. As a result, lawyers from both parties mainly agree even before going to court.
However, if there’s a need to go to court, the lawyer will represent the plaintiff. The main benefit of working with experienced attorneys is that they’re not afraid of insurers and are better equipped to deal with whatever the insurance company brings to the table. Besides, there are no car accident lawyer fees involved.
Reviews Insurance Company’s Subrogation Rights
Car accident attorneys should know their client’s insurer’s right to recover the damages they incur. They will only know this by reviewing any applicable subrogation provisions in their client’s health and car insurance coverage. Therefore, as an accident lawyer tries a suit for damages for his clients, he’ll need to protect their insurance interests.
Negotiates With Insurers/Defendants for a Fair Settlement
A successful auto accident claim is not an accident. It requires a lot of work and investigation by the lawyer. The attorney has to be keen to build a strong case. To successfully negotiate for a fair settlement, they have to investigate the details of the accidents and gather support materials such as scene photos and proof of damages.
Reviews Applicable Insurance Policies
A car accident lawyer will only know about the client’s car coverage and benefits after going through the relevant policy. The attorney will approach the insurance company for a copy of their auto policy. The lawyer may also require information from the health insurance carrier about benefits. The information from these insurance policies may enable the lawyer to put a strong case.
Offers Legal Advice
Most people who don’t understand their rights after an accident turns to others for help. However, the advice they get may be confusing. For instance, an internet source may say one thing while their close friends have a contracting idea. Consequently, relying on such sources may make it hard for such individuals to know how they’ll approach the case.
An experienced lawyer for a car accident can guide a person in case of an accident as they know what to do and the steps to follow. Besides spending many years in school, they’ve been involved in auto accident cases before. Therefore, they’re the right people to approach for legal advice in case of an auto accident. Working with a lawyer increases the chances of a successful car accident case.
Places Parties on Notice
After being involved in a car accident, it can be overwhelming for the same individual to productively engage with all the involved parties. A car accident lawyer informs all the concerned parties that they’re representing the client.
The lawyer can access and keep track of important information about the case since all the communication must be done through the attorney’s office. The person can also ask for updates on insurance claim statuses and other information from the lawyer.
Represents the Victim in Alternative Dispute Resolution
According to the national statistics, only four to five percent of all personal injury cases in the US go to trial. Lawyers settle a whopping 95 percent of them through settlement conferences and mediation, among other forums. In mediation, the affected person, the car accident lawyer, representatives of the insurance company, and the lawyers of the involved insurers come together in an informal setting to try to settle the case.
Arranges for Payment
If a court order awards the plaintiff the settlement, the lawyer will collect it on behalf of the client. In addition, the attorney will deduct the agreed-upon car accident lawyer fees, which is mainly a proportion of the winnings. The lawyers will also check with the hospital to ensure the bills are cleared.
Important Things to Note When Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
Consider the following factors when hiring a car accident lawyer:
A person should talk with the lawyer in case of financial struggles
When a person is involved in a bad road accident, they can be hospitalized and incur huge hospital bills. Sometimes the victim may lose wages and struggle to pay rent and other bills. A car accident victim should talk to the attorneys about their money struggles. The lawyers can suggest sources of financial support and even advise the victims on dealing with landlords and other creditors.
It’s important to keep the lawyer updated
A car accident victim should keep the attorney updated on important happenings such as the termination of their medical treatment. Strange calls from other interested parties like the defendants or anyone working with them should also be communicated to the lawyer. The victim should also contact the lawyer in case of additional medical bills.
The victim should only speak with their car accident lawyer
After being involved in a car accident, a person needs to avoid discussing the case with other parties apart from their attorneys. It’s not rare for car accident victims to receive calls from interested parties such as insurance adjusters or strangers asking questions about the case.
For instance, some parties may ask the victims to sign some documents without their lawyers’ knowledge. Unless the attorney allows their clients to do so, it’s not advisable to divert any details about the accident to other people.
Sometimes a car accident victim may be unable to respond immediately
Attorneys are supposed to keep their clients updated and respond to their questions within a reasonable time. However, lawyers can sometimes be busy. They could be dealing with other cases, preparing for depositions, or attending hearings.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that the lawyer should keep their clients in the dark, especially when important things like settlement offer from the other side are made. An attorney cannot accept or reject a settlement offer without the authority of the client.
When to Hire Car Accident Attorneys
A car accident lawyer near me can help a car accident victim overcome the stress associated with the process. The best car accident lawyer will fight for their clients to ensure fair compensation after an accident.
Therefore, the victims can concentrate on the recovery as the attorney spends time in courts fighting with the involved parties. Besides calling the police and the insurance, a person involved in a car accident should contact a lawyer for the following reasons.
After suffering serious injuries or wrongful death
After being involved in an auto accident, a person may suffer serious personal injuries or even death in some cases. Therefore, a victim should most definitely hire a car accident lawyer in life-threatening injuries like paralyzation, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. In many cases, victims with these injuries cannot proceed with such cases without car accident attorneys.
Cases involving catastrophic injuries require an experienced lawyer to help the victims pursue a claim. The amounts of money involved are huge; the victims need hence there’s a need for the victims to have a strong legal team. The attorney can provide the accident victim with the much-needed resources to push these types of cases.
When there’s claim denial or lowball offer
It’s hard for individuals to get money to cover all the damages after an accident without the assistance of a lawyer. Unfortunately, some insurance companies entice unsuspecting auto accident victims with Quick Cash settlement, only for them to know they were played when it’s already too late. Given that some of the economic and non-economic damages reveal themselves slowly, it’s advisable to involve experienced car accident attorneys to help fight for fairer compensation.
Due to pain and suffering, damages
Accidents cause financial damages like the destruction of property, medical bills, and lost job opportunities. However, not all damages are economical. Non-economic damages such as pain, loss of a partner, and emotional distress are also considered. Involving car accident attorneys in such cases can help people to negotiate a settlement.
When asked to provide medical records
In case of an accident, the affected person may be required to support their cases by providing documents such as medical records. However, if a person goes alone, it may be hard to provide such supporting documents while they’re still struggling with recovery. A car accident injury lawyer can concentrate on fighting for the settlement while the patient gets the much-needed peace of mind to concentrate on recovery. To learn more about these situations and many others, visit Sizle for more information or just to learn how to navigate other trends in today’s society. Sizle can help you share documents securely between you and your team.
In case of a high possibility of multiple at-fault parties
When an accident involves several cars and liability is in question, it’s advisable to consult an experienced auto accident attorney. A lawyer specializing in road accidents may also be required when the cause of the accident is a defective tire or any other issue and not the other driver. It’s advisable to get legal help as early as possible because accidents involving numerous at-fault parties may become complicated fast.
Income loss due to injuries
Sometimes, a person may be unable to continue working or earning a living after an accident. Such individuals may also incur huge hospital bills, especially if the injuries were serious. The easiest way for people who find themselves in such situations to get justice is by working with a car accident injury lawyer.
After being blamed for a car accident
Many people avoid responsibility for an auto accident. When accidents happen, involved parties, including individuals and their insurance firms, quickly assign blame. However, sometimes, an innocent person may become a victim. Fighting these allegations can be difficult for individuals who choose to go it alone.
A car accident lawyer can help such people to protect themselves and their claims. The attorney can help the person by ensuring that the accident is investigated. The investigations can reveal important details about the accident, such as how the accident happened and who is responsible.
To level the playing field after an accident
In case of an accident, insurance companies are represented by lawyers. Unfortunately, most of the people involved in auto accidents aren’t attorneys. Although insurance companies may want people to believe that they’re on their side, this is not always the case. Insurance companies are after protecting their interests because they’re for-profit businesses.
After auto accidents, many insurance companies try to avoid responsibility by denying claims or offering the lowest money. Hiring car accident attorneys will eliminate the need for auto accident victims to speak with insurance companies. Involving a lawyer will level the playing field and make it easy for the individuals to get justice.
The Main Causes of Car Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 36,000 people lost their lives in car accidents in 2018, while 2.71 million people sustained injuries. Being involved in a car accident can be stressful, as it could lead to loss of lives, injuries, loss of job, medical bills, and more. However, accidents are caused by a myriad of factors, some of which are avoidable. Knowing some of these causes can enable an individual to avoid getting into one. Here are some of the important causes:
Alcohol and drug impairment
It’s illegal and dangerous to take alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Driving under the influence of alcohol and other intoxicating substances poses a danger to the drivers, passengers, and other people. In addition, drinking dulls a person’s senses and cognitive functions, making it hard to run machines. Therefore, a person can reduce being involved in a car accident by avoiding driving under alcohol and other drugs’ influence.
Drivers speed to keep up with traffic, get to work on time, for fun, and more. However, going over the speed limit is dangerous as it increases the chances of getting involved in an accident leading to serious injuries or death. The faster a person drives, the slower their reaction time. Therefore, it becomes impossible to stop an accident, even in a situation where one would have avoided one by driving responsibly. Driving a vehicle at 55 miles per hour instead of 80 miles per hour could be the only thing a person needs to save life and other road users.
One of the main causes of car accidents is distracted driving. Distraction can come in the way of visual, motor, or cognitive distraction. For instance, a driver may cause an accident when sending messages or browsing on their phones while on the road. Loud music can also impair the driver’s ability to focus, leading to an accident. A driver may also cause an accident when looking inside or outside the car. Daydreaming can also distract the mind making it hard for the driver to control the car.
Fatigue and drowsiness
Lack of enough sleep may make it hard for people to drive safely. A person is supposed to sleep for seven to eight hours to get enough rest. However, many people only spend half of this time in their sleep leading to chronic sleep deprivation. Driving tired can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol and other substances. Therefore, it’s advisable to get enough rest before driving to reduce car accidents and possibly save lives and property.
Driving a car in total disregard of traffic laws and other road users can be dangerous. Some drivers engage in dangerous driving habits like cutting other drivers off. It’s advisable to avoid such drivers by slowing down or giving them space.
Sometimes the driver may not be in control of factors responsible for road accidents such as inclement weather. For instance, rain, snow, or ice may make the roads slippery leading to serious accidents. In addition, fog may adversely affect visibility, making it hard for drivers to use the roads safely. Therefore, one should drive safely in extreme weather conditions to reduce the chances of car accidents.
Driving at night can be dangerous because the driver cannot see what is happening up ahead or what is coming from the side. The compromised night vision is responsible for the many accidents reported after the sun falls from the sky. Therefore, a person can reduce the possibility of being involved in an accident by driving in the daytime.
Is It Worth Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer in Case of a Minor Accident?
Regardless of the extent of a car accident, it’s advisable to approach an attorney. Even when the accident is minor, the other party may blame the innocent party to deny their responsibility. Also, sometimes, a person may fail to get full compensation for missing some details when filing their damages. Even in a minor accident, a car accident attorney can help an individual get the maximum possible compensation.
What If the Car Accident Happened A Long Time Ago?
In most states, the statute of limitation for most car accident injuries claims is two years. Therefore, after an accident, a person has two years to file a claim in court. However, it’s not advisable to take that long to file a claim because preparation for car accident claims can be time-consuming. Besides, many insurers require timely notice of a claim.
A car accident lawyer can be especially important towards the end of the provided time. For example, if, for some reason, one has been unable to file a claim in court early enough, the lawyer can help gather the necessary evidence fast to increase the chances of winning. Therefore, a person should approach a car accident attorney regardless of the time since the accident happened.
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Near Me Cost?
After being involved in serious car accidents, one of the things that most people wouldn’t want to hear about is car accident lawyer fees. Some people have reservations about hiring a lawyer because they think it will cost them more money. However, no one should worry about the legal fees because these professionals work for contingent fees.
A contingent fee is deducted from the compensation based on the agreement. Therefore, a person who has been involved in an accident can work with a lawyer without incurring extra expenses as the attorney will wait until there’s a settlement. When car accident lawyers lose cases, they don’t get any compensation.
When Can a Person Handle a Car Accident Claim Alone?
Sometimes a person can feel as if he can handle a car accident claim without a lawyer’s assistance. However, in most cases, such people end up receiving much lower compensation figures (if any) than when they would’ve worked with car accident attorneys. The main advantage of hiring a car accident lawyer is that an experienced person will push the case on behalf of the affected person.
Is It Possible to Get Legal Services When a Person Cannot Afford Car Accident Lawyer Fees?
One shouldn’t hesitate to approach a lawyer when they feel they cannot afford a car accident lawyer. Car accident attorneys won’t charge legal fees until they recover compensation for their clients. If they don’t succeed, the plaintiff isn’t supposed to pay them.
Therefore, although many people think that lawyers are expensive, this is not the case with accident attorneys. When it comes to a car accident, a person has nothing to lose for hiring a car accident injury lawyer. It is the car accident lawyers that stand to lose.