They are sounds we all dread — the shriek of brakes, the crash of metal crushing, and the clatter of glass breaking signaling that you’ve been in a car accident. Unfortunately, you’re not alone: According to statistics, more than 8 million passenger car accidents occur every year in the United States alone. Nearly 42,000 people died last year from injuries sustained in passenger car accidents, an increase of more than 10 percent over 2020. Should you be involved in a car accident, whether minor injuries or serious injuries were sustained or a personal injury claim was filed, thus begins a lengthy, complicated, and often contentious journey to restoration and compensation from the insurance company.
Car Accident Lawyers Help When Insurance Company, Insurance Adjusters Underwhelm
Contacting Other Driver’s Insurance Company and/or Your Own Insurer
In the aftermath of a car accident, filing and dealing with an insurance claim and dealing with an insurance company can be daunting, especially when you’re injured and not feeling up to the task. That’s why many car accident victims swear by hiring a lawyer for car accident occurrences. They will contact an auto accident attorney almost immediately after the car accident occurred or even while they are still at the accident scene.
After a car accident occurs, some accident victims reach out to the other driver’s insurance company in an attempt to collect on the driver’s policy, only to be met with hassles and hurdles. Or they decide to file a claim on their own insurance policy and discover to their dismay that their own insurance company isn’t responsive in returning calls or providing clear information on claim status and options for resolution.
In Car Accidents or a Personal Injury Lawsuit, Is the Insurance Company Friend or Foe to Accident Victims?
Unfortunately, insurance companies tend to look out for their own interests first. And it’s actually the job of the claim adjuster to pay you as little as possible in order to reduce the financial obligations of the insurance company they work for. Or perhaps you’re told your insurance coverage excludes payment due to something in the fine print. How frustrating!
Stressed, aggravated, and out of patience, worried about their car accident injuries affecting their ability to work and pay bills, it’s no wonder people increasingly respond to the attorney advertising they see on billboards and TV (more on this later), wanting to feel there’s someone who is experienced in negotiating who will actually fight for them. Alternately, because the social stigma of “lawyering up” has disappeared, it has become commonplace today for many people to engage a car accident attorney to handle even the most basic insurance claim on their behalf.
Most Car Accident Lawyers Agree, Leave Complex Cases to Them
In reality you may prefer to not even use your insurance policy to settle a simple fender bender between you and the other driver, and basic accidents can be settled without involving a car accident attorney. However, the question of whether to hire legal representation is a quite different matter in the aftermath of a more serious car accident where there is major property damage and significant, debilitating bodily injury.
Severe injuries commonly suffered in car accidents include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and paralysis, back injuries, burns, broken or fractured bones, amputated limbs, or facial scars and disfigurement. Despite surviving, accident victims with these types of physical injuries will often need lifetime medical treatment and experience trauma and pain that can trigger depression, anxiety, or other negative effects. Staggering medical bills and lost wages will almost always accompany such injuries.
Undoubtedly, the cases described above could benefit from the expert advice of car accident lawyer, who will remove the burden of overseeing the process while protecting your rights and seeking the greatest financial recovery for you.
Personal Injury Lawyers Effective in a Car Accident Claim Where You’re Injured Severely
Most car accident attorneys are well versed in understanding complex liability and comparative negligence laws, traffic codes, and traffic laws. They review those rules against the elements of your case, relying on years of experience and knowledge to determine the case’s potential for success.
Keep in mind that it can take time to settle an insurance claim even with your own insurance company; a personal injury lawsuit can drag on for two years or more, despite the best efforts of your auto accident lawyer. For the fastest resolution with the best outcome, you want to seek legal representation from an experienced attorney with a track record of settlement outcomes and court wins that demonstrate his or her effectiveness. In fact, you may want to focus on finding an experienced attorney who specializes in personal injury law.
Specializing in Accident Victims due to Negligence
Personal injury attorneys work by essentially providing the same professional service yet may be particularly focused on and successful at interpreting advanced tort and malpractice laws and practicing civil litigation in cases resulting in serious injuries or lasting bodily injury and psychological damage due to acts of negligence by an individual, a company, or a government entity, whether intentional or not.
These attorneys are retained to handle cases such as car accidents caused by an at-fault driver (e.g., a drunk driver who causes a head-on collision) or crashes resulting from a malfunctioning vehicle, such as the sticky accelerator pedal and malfunctioning airbags that resulted in a string of lawsuits for a number of automakers several years ago. So if, say, the person involved in your car accident was a negligent driver or your self-driving car failed to recognize a stoplight and crashed into cross-traffic, a personal injury lawyer might be particularly effective in settling your personal injury lawsuit with the negligent party.
Collecting Evidence After the Car Accident for Success
Whichever you decide upon, once hired, your experienced car accident attorney or personal injury attorney will become the point person who does everything including dealing with your and the other driver’s insurance companies, filing an injury claim and managing the claims process, and representing you in the unlikely event your auto accident case goes to trial (most personal injury suits are settled out of court) — all to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
Your auto accident attorney immediately will start carefully building your case through investigating the details of the car accident. He or she will assess the police report, dash cam footage, traffic cameras, or other evidence to build a timeline of the car accident step by step. This includes interviewing all the car accident victims, any witnesses, etc. and poring over any other statements made by you and the at fault driver.
Your Auto Accident Attorney Reviews Contributing Factors in the Auto Accident, Police Report, Medical Records, and More
By reconstructing the accident scene based on the police report and discovering all the contributing factors (e.g., speed, weather conditions when the accident occurred, road conditions or hazards, driver’s negligence or distracted driving due to use of cell phones, drug or alcohol impairments, etc.) as well as meticulously collecting all the detailed medical records and medical expenses for injuries and treatments resulting from the car accident, the car accident attorney is amassing evidence that combines to prove liability in a case that is strong, compelling, and most of all, winnable. That’s because the car accident attorney doesn’t get paid unless you do, typically receiving about 33-40 percent (unless otherwise negotiated) of any settlement they achieve for you.
Car Accident Claim Expenses and Damages for Which a Personal Injury Attorney Will Seek Compensation
With an experienced lawyer and law firm handling the negotiations, an injury claim or settlement can result in getting you compensation for a variety of expenses and damages including:
- property damage (repair or replacement of your vehicle)
- medical bills (both current and anticipated future medical bills)
- rehabilitation costs
- physical and emotional pain and suffering
- lost quality of life
- lost wages
- additional economic and non-economic damages you may not have been aware were available
- court costs and other filing fees
Seek Legal Representation by Doing a Little Homework
The best personal injury lawyer and law firm for the job may not necessarily be the one who shows up on late-night television or whose strident ads are plastered on the side of buses and on billboards by the airport. Take the time to do some research to find leading auto accident or personal injury attorneys near you. Reach out to trusted friends, relatives, and coworkers for personal referrals. Conduct an online search or contact your local bar association and make a list of firms to see.
You can also check with a professional service that offers help in matching you up with a car accident attorney or personal injury lawyer — the service provides a list, then you meet up with the prospective lawyers to see if there’s a good fit for your case.
Finding a Car Accident Lawyer & Law Firm Is Easy with a Free Consultation
Fortunately the interview process with a law firm usually won’t involve a fee. Most personal injury attorneys and car accident lawyers will offer you a free consultation to discuss whether it makes sense to expend the time and effort involved in moving forward with a claim. They should be able to give you an estimate of approximately how large a settlement your case is likely worth, outline what steps would be involved, and have an idea of how long they expect it would take to achieve a settlement, barring any unusual delays. You can ask them about their qualifications and the breakdown of the type of cases their firm handles. Get a feel for how familiar they are with the facts of your personal injury claim or case, and don’t feel pressured to go with an attorney if you don’t feel comfortable with them.
You may also want to inquire about how much time your attorney will personally spend on your case, and how many cases he or she has handled that are similar to your own. Find out whether you would be charged any fees whatsoever if you don’t win your case.
Providers offering quality legal representation will be happy to answer your questions. And once they represent you, the first thing your auto accident attorneys will likely advise you on is what not to do or say so that you don’t inadvertently weaken your case.
Got Medical Expenses? Get a Top Personal Injury Attorney or Car Accident Attorney
Bottom line, the experience and reputation of your legal counsel can make all the difference. Insurance companies tend to stay abreast of who is the best and brightest among their competition. To increase the likelihood for a successful outcome at trial, an insurer will strategically consider their odds of winning based on data they’ve collected on the opposing counsel — that is, the names and background of your car accident attorneys, their firm’s history, and their track record. The insurance company will assess the merits of your case and determine an approach, including the amount of settlement they offer you, with the knowledge of your car accident attorney’s expertise in mind.
Don’t Delay in Getting Fair Compensation for Claims, Personal Injury Car Accidents
Keep in mind that you may have only a certain amount of time to file a claim or case to get financial recovery for a car accident before the statute of limitations expires. An auto accident lawyer is familiar with these timelines and will take care of filing paperwork on time. Consult an experienced car accident attorney right away should you need to.