What Will My Car Accident Lawyer Do?
Car accidents are life-changing experiences. The crash itself is only the beginning of what can be an extremely long process of filing an insurance claim, determining fault, and most importantly, getting the closure one needs to move on with their life. Having to take on both the insurance companies and the law to get what you deserve from your accident can be extremely intimidating. That’s why you need to find out a lawyer.
- communicate with the other driver’s insurer
- obtain the necessary evidence with respect to fault for the accident
- organize your medical records and bills
- communicate with your health care providers to obtain missing records
- work with your doctors to make sure they provide the medical information you need so that you can prove damages in your claim
- organize and present the evidence in order to prove liability and damages
Investigates the Case Completely
Besides reviewing evidence like pictures and witness statements from the accident, as mentioned above, car accident lawyers may also call on various outside experts, including retired police officers or their own investigators.
Your lawyer may recreate the accident scene if there are questions about how certain parts of the accident happened. They are not afraid to go the extra mile (and then some) to build the strongest case possible.
Your attorney or their investigative team will visit the scene of your accident to make observations and gather any available evidence. They will obtain a copy of your accident report and review your medical records as they pertain to your injuries.
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
When they do resolve your case, you will be charged a percentage of the damages they obtained for you, out of your settlement. These percentages can vary, but they will be clearly laid out for you in the retainer agreement. The more severe your injuries, the more compensation you’re likely to receive for pain and suffering. Many factors go into calculating a pain and suffering settlement, and the amount you get will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. On average, most car accident claims have pain and suffering settlements ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, depending on the case.
It’s no secret that attorneys cost a pretty penny. You want to find an attorney who works on contingency, meaning they don’t make any money until you get your settlement or judgment. Most personal injury attorneys work for a percentage of the final award amount. This is typically around 33%, and potentially more if your case goes to trial. You’ll also probably be responsible for costs such as filing fees and expert witness fees. Read the lawyer’s fee agreement closely so you understand what you’re responsible for. Don’t make the decision solely on the fee; if they’re the best, they may be worth the extra money.
What should I do after a car accident?
- Exchange information with everyone involved in the crash. Get their name, address, phone number, license plate number, and insurance information. Do not talk about the car accident or argue about who’s at fault.
- Take a lot of pictures of the crash scene. Remember to include damage to every vehicle – not just yours – and don’t forget to take photos of any visible injuries.
- If anyone witnessed your accident, see if they’re willing to give you their name and contact information. Witness testimony can be a critical piece of evidence when determining fault.
- Write down the details of your crash. Before your memory fades, note the time and location of your accident, weather conditions, road hazards, construction, and any other relevant information.
- See a doctor. Within 24 hours of your crash, you should get examined by a licensed medical professional. Even if you aren’t experiencing any noticeable pain or symptoms, you may have a serious injury and not realize it. Injuries such as whiplash, a concussion or a traumatic brain injury can have delayed onset symptoms. Follow your doctor’s orders for treatment and attend all follow-up appointments. If you claim you were injured and wait too long to see a doctor or miss scheduled appointments, that can be a red flag for the insurance company.
- Notify your insurance company. Tell them you were in a car accident but do not go into too much detail. Keep your comments brief and just give them the basic facts.
- Call a car accident lawyer to review the details of your case. Explain what happened and learn what legal options are available to you. You can typically do this at no cost, as most personal injury law firms offer a free consultation.
- Don’t talk to the other driver’s insurance company. If they request a recorded statement, politely decline, and refer them to your attorney. Do not get into a discussion about fault or injuries. Anything you say could be used later to challenge or deny your claim.
When Should You Look for an Auto Accident Lawyer?
While you can bring an attorney onto your case at any time before the settlement is closed by the insurance company, it’s best to get one as soon as you are injured. The attorney may recommend specialist doctors to help diagnose the case and get you the best care you deserve. And getting an attorney on board right away minimizes the chance that you’ll make a statement to the insurance company that damages your chances for a good settlement. Most clients find that the earlier they get an attorney, the better their settlement becomes.
What are the Most Common Accident Types?
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Side-impact or T-bone collisions
- Sideswipe accidents
- Low-impact collisions
- Single-car accidents
- Pile-up / multi-car accidents
- Left-turn accidents
- Intersection accidents
- Merging accidents
- Failure to yield accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Hit and run accidents