Why Do I Need a Lawyer after a Car Accident?
According to insurance analytics, the average cost of a car accident involving injuries currently hovers just over $15,000 in the United States. Depending on which state you live in, you might find yourself chasing after the other party’s insurance company just to try to get your medical costs covered. Even in no-fault states like Massachusetts, you may find that your own insurance doesn’t even come close to covering the total cost of your medical bills, missed wages, and other losses.
After an accident, you may find yourself vulnerable and needing time and space to recover from physical injuries and mental trauma. The last thing you need is to be in dispute with an insurance company and worrying about how to afford it all. A car accident lawyer can communicate with insurance for you and protect you from low settlement offers that don’t reflect the true value of your claim. If a reasonable and fair settlement cannot be reached, your auto accident attorney would not hesitate to fight for your rights in court.
A lawyer can also help refute any allegations of shared blame for a car accident. When liability for a crash is under dispute, a car accident attorney can present evidence and testimony to help prove your claims. Addressing allegations of shared liability without skilled legal representation could backfire and end up hurting your case. It is typically more advantageous to let a qualified legal professional represent your claim and protect your right to recover compensation after an accident.
When to Call a Lawyer after a Car Accident
After a crash or collision, it is important to connect with a car accident personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner you share the details of your case, the stronger your evidence will be. Memories fade, and footage of the accident captured by surveillance may be lost or destroyed over time, so it best to contact a motor vehicle accident attorney immediately after a collision.
Additionally, every state has its own statute of limitations, or filing deadline, for car accident injury lawsuits. Make sure that you do not miss the opportunity to file a lawsuit after a serious crash by waiting to contact a car accident lawyer.
What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?
Winning maximum compensation after a motor vehicle accident can be made easier with the guidance and representation of a lawyer. An experienced car accident attorney can help strengthen your case in many ways, including by:
Gathering and Preserving Evidence
In most accident cases, proving liability is crucial to recovering compensation. To establish another party’s liability, auto accident lawyers may collect evidence from the scene of the accident and document any relevant details about your vehicle, the weather, time of day, roadway conditions and design, and other factors that may have contributed to the crash.
Examples of evidence they may gather include:
- Photographs of the accident scene: A car accident lawyer may travel to the accident scene to take photos of the environment and surrounding area.
- Video footage of the collision: An auto accident attorney can subpoena nearby businesses that captured surveillance footage of the crash.
- Eyewitness testimony and accident reports: A lawyer specializing in car accident cases would be well-versed in contacting and interviewing witnesses to a crash for statements about how the collision happened. Your accident attorney can also collect the police report from your crash for free on your behalf, to have an official document on hand that backs up your account of what occurred.
- Expert testimony: The auto collision lawyers in CarAccident.Law’s network have strong relationships with medical and vocational experts and accident reconstructionists who can provide expert testimony about the severity of an injury, future medical needs, loss of earning capacity, and more.
Assessing Damages and Estimating Losses
Filing a car accident lawsuit allows you to pursue damages that you generally can’t recover through an insurance claim. For instance, the following damages, which aren’t covered under most auto insurance policies, can be accounted for in an accident lawsuit:
- Economic damages: Economic damages are losses with a definitive dollar value, such as medical costs, repair estimates for your vehicle, and time off of work needed to recover from injuries. A diligent car crash attorney can gather bills and other records showing your economic losses so you can focus on healing.
- Non-economic damages: Non-economic damages are losses with subjective value and are generally only recoverable through a lawsuit. They may include physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. An attorney experienced in car accident litigation can collect supporting statements from you and your loved ones about your quality of life after the collision.
- Future damages: If your injuries require ongoing medical care, physical therapy, or career changes, a car accident lawyer can include those future damages in your lawsuit. Doing so can help you receive compensation for expenses that an insurance claim can’t reimburse.
Filing Paperwork with the Correct Parties within Statutory Deadlines
Some states have very short reporting deadlines for car accidents. For instance, in Massachusetts, it is legally required to file an accident report within five days after a crash that involves an injury or at least $1,000 in property damage. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer in our network can help ensure that you follow all local and state guidelines and adhere to the applicable reporting and filing deadlines for your case.
How Can a Lawyer Get You More Money from a Car Accident Claim?
Car accident attorneys are expert negotiators. When hiring a lawyer for a car accident case, you can expect professional support throughout every step of the claims process and beyond, whether on a call with your insurance company or in the courtroom. Motor vehicle accident attorneys can put pressure on your claim adjustor or on the other party’s insurance provider to take your case seriously and offer a fair settlement amount. An auto collision lawyer can also track down third parties who may bear liability for defective vehicle parts, poor design, or other factors that may have contributed to an otherwise avoidable accident.
Getting a car accident lawyer on your side from the beginning often leads to better outcomes. From helping you avoid inadequate settlement offers, to escalating your claim to trial, a car accident lawyer can help ensure that you are not leaving any potential compensation on the table.
What Can I Expect if My Lawyer Takes My Car Accident Case to Court?
Not every case that a car accident lawyer takes on goes to trial. Those that do go to court still may never even see a jury trial, which is usually the last step in a car accident case. Jury trials can have less predictable verdicts than an out-of-court settlement does. They also may take longer, and involve more delays and expense than settling out of court with the other party.
When you first file your car accident lawsuit in court, your law firm will cover any associated filing fees and take care of the necessary paperwork involved. The complaint must next be served to any and all defendants in your case. This step usually involves a claim of negligence in causing the car accident, in order to illustrate liability. The defense will then have a period of time to answer your claim. During this time, they may attempt to deny what occurred, or to shift liability. Both parties will communicate during the discovery process before negotiations begin in earnest.
If your car accident attorney can reach a fair settlement on your behalf before the case goes to trial, they will do so and the process will be concluded. If not, you have the right to a trial, and even the possibility of an appeal.
Learn more about car accident lawsuits
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO FILING A CAR ACCIDENT LAWSUIT
Here’s an overview of what it takes to file an accident injury lawsuit. This process can be made easier with the professional help and guidance of a car accident lawyer.
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
How much you can expect to pay for a car accident lawyer’s services depends on a number of factors. For this reason, it is important to work with a trustworthy law firm so you are not overcharged for their services. All the car accident attorneys in our network are vetted and reputable professionals in their fields.
Most car accident law firms use a contingency fee pay structure, meaning you pay nothing for their services up front and instead pay once a settlement has been reached. This allows car accident attorneys to work with a broad variety of people in need after a crash. For more information on cost, call our team with CarAccident.Law.
How to Choose a Car Accident Lawyer
Choosing the right car accident attorney is not as simple as running a quick search for “car accident lawyer near me.” A car accident claim lawyer is a specialized kind of injury attorney. Usually, a good lawyer for a car accident claim is an expert in their state’s motor vehicle injury law. They should also be up to date on the latest developments and rulings that can help support your case.
What to Ask a Car Accident Lawyer
The following are some important questions to ask a motor vehicle accident attorney before hiring them for your case:
- Have you handled similar car accident cases in the past?
- Do you specialize in car accident cases?
- What is your track record of success?
- How much compensation have you won in past car accident cases?
- How long have you been practicing law in my state?
- How do you plan to improve the odds of success in my car accident case?
How to Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident
CarAccident.Law is designed to make the process of hiring the right lawyer easy. Our network connects you to a car accident attorney who is licensed to practice personal injury law in your state and has a proven track record of success.
Car Accident Lawyer: FAQs
Here are some commonly asked questions we receive about finding, choosing, and hiring an auto accident lawyer for accident injury claims.
Do I need a lawyer for a car accident?
While it is possible to represent yourself in an auto collision case, in almost every legal matter, your outcome will be better for having a professional by your side. The average person is not an expert in state injury laws and does not come to the table with years of experience in successfully resolving injury claims, collecting evidence, pursuing witness statements, and negotiating with insurance adjustors. However, insurance companies have professional experience saving their company money, reducing claim payouts, and protecting their own bottom line. To even the playing field, hire a car accident lawyer to represent your interests. This is especially important when the other party involved in your accident escalates matters by filing their own court case.
What kind of lawyer do I need for a car accident?
After a collision, you will need a qualified car accident attorney who is licensed to practice in the state where the accident took place. In some rare cases involving two out-of-state drivers where the trial may be held in a different state, you would need an attorney who is licensed to practice law in that location.
Should I get a lawyer for a car accident that wasn’t my fault?
It is generally advisable to get a lawyer for a car accident that was not your fault. A car accident attorney can help you pursue compensation from the other party’s insurance and help ensure that you collect the fullest amount possible to account for your injuries and damages. Let a lawyer handle correspondence with insurers and represent you in court if necessary.
Should I get a lawyer for a minor car accident?
If the car accident didn’t result in injuries or extensive property damage, you may decide that you do not need an accident attorney. However, if the other party to your accident files a claim against you for damages, a car crash attorney can help you minimize your own liability. You can use an initial consultation with a motor vehicle accident attorney to determine whether your case could benefit from professional legal services.
How much does a lawyer get from a car accident settlement?
Car accident lawyer fees vary based on the firm you work with and the details of your case. Most personal injury firms work on a contingency basis and do not require you to pay for their services up front. Different firms offer different percentage splits from what they can recover for you. For this reason, it is important to go with a reputable car accident law firm, one that can offer testimonials from satisfied clients.
When is it too late to get a lawyer for a car accident?
Every state has a statute of limitations, which is the deadline for filing a car accident lawsuit. Usually, the clock begins ticking from the date of the injury. For this reason, it is especially important to speak with a car accident attorney as soon as possible to avoid delays, build the strongest possible case, and avoid missing out on filing under your state’s statute of limitations.
If the statute of limitations has passed, there are still certain instance where you may be able to file a claim. However, doing so becomes much more complex and should only be attempted with legal assistance to avoid dismissal for frivolous claims. When in doubt, contact a car accident attorney for a consultation.
How much can a lawyer get you for a car accident?
The specifics of how much you can win in a car accident case vary greatly depending on many factors, including how badly you were injured, how severe the crash was, how much property damage was involved, and to what extent the other driver contributed to your accident losses.
How long does a car accident settlement take with a lawyer?
The details of your case can delay or expedite your case. In relatively simple cases involving clear-cut liability, you may receive your settlement check in weeks or months. In more complicated claims involving contested liability, multiple parties, and more, the case may take longer to resolve.
How long do you wait to call a lawyer after a car accident?
A car accident lawyer should be contacted immediately after a crash. Preserving evidence while it’s still fresh is of the utmost importance in a car accident case. Often, variables such as the weather, roadway hazards, and traffic conditions contribute to a collision. Ensuring these details do not fade can make a substantial difference in your ability to recover maximum compensation after an accident. Additionally, witnesses may become more difficult to contact, and critical accounts may become hazy if you wait to start building your case.
What info should I give a lawyer for a car accident?
At your initial consultation, your car accident attorney will request information about your situation to ensure that they can help with your claim. You should be prepared to provide as many details about the accident as you can remember. The following may also be requested:
- An account in your own words of what happened: Stick to the facts as much as possible, but don’t be afraid to let an attorney know about variables that might have affected your car accident. For instance, if it was raining heavily, if the other driver’s lights or signals were out, or if you suspect the other driver may have been under the influence, any and all of these details may influence the kind of investigation a motor vehicle accident lawyer will undertake on your behalf.
- All of your accident related medical records: A car accident injury attorney will need to review hospital bills, ambulance records, diagnostic test results, prescriptions, and any records submitted to your health insurance that pertain to the crash.
- Receipts and documentation: Any amount you have paid out as a result of your crash should be documented and provided to your car accident lawyer. This documentation can include medical bills, injury journals, rideshare receipts, vehicle repair or replacement costs, and more.
- Any communication you’ve had with the other party: If you have been in contact with the other driver or their insurance, try to keep it in writing so you may share exactly what was said with your auto accident attorney. Before you record any conversations, make sure you ask for consent from all parties. Otherwise, recordings may be illegal and inadmissible as evidence under your state’s law.
- Any additional official reports: If a police report has already been filed, a car crash lawyer may request a copy to supplement your claim for compensation. Remember that your car accident lawyer is on your side. If you feel any details have been wrongfully left out, or if you are concerned about prejudice or any other influencing factors in the report, share these issues with your attorney.
Get in Touch with a Car Accident Attorney Today
There are many factors that can influence the outcome of your auto accident case – one of the most powerful is having the right car accident lawyer by your side from the beginning. Contact CarAccident.Law today to get in touch with a legal expert. Our car accident attorneys can build your case from the ground up and give you the professional assistance you need after a crash.