If you have been involved in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may be wondering what a car accident lawyer can do for you. A car accident lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in representing victims of car accidents and helping them recover compensation for their injuries and damages.
In this article, we will explain what a car accident lawyer does, why you need one, how to choose one, what to expect from one, and how to work with one. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about car accident lawyers.
Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident can have serious consequences for your physical, emotional, and financial well-being. You may suffer from injuries that require medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care. You may also experience pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, property damage, and other losses. Depending on the severity of the accident and the extent of your damages, you may be entitled to compensation from the party or parties responsible for the crash.
However, getting fair compensation for your car accident claim is not always easy. You may face challenges such as:
- Proving liability: You need to show that the other driver or another party was at fault for the crash and that their negligence or recklessness caused your injuries and damages.
- Calculating damages: You need to quantify your losses and provide evidence to support your claim for compensation.
- Dealing with insurance companies: You may have to deal with multiple insurance companies that may try to deny or minimize your claim or pressure you into accepting a lowball offer.
- Negotiating settlement: You may have to negotiate with the insurance adjusters or the lawyers of the other party to reach a fair settlement that covers your current and future needs.
- Filing lawsuit: If you cannot reach a satisfactory settlement through negotiation, you may have to file a lawsuit and go to court to pursue your claim.
These tasks can be overwhelming and complicated for anyone who is not familiar with the legal system and the process of personal injury claims. That is why you need a car accident lawyer who can handle these tasks for you and protect your rights and interests.
A car accident lawyer can help you by:
- Conducting an in-depth investigation of your case and gathering evidence to prove liability and damages.
- Evaluating your case and estimating the value of your claim based on your injuries and losses.
- Communicating and negotiating with the insurance companies and the other parties on your behalf.
- Preparing and filing all the necessary paperwork and documents for your claim or lawsuit.
- Representing you in court if your case goes to trial.
- Fighting for the maximum compensation that you deserve.
By hiring a car accident lawyer, you can save yourself time, money, stress, and hassle. You can also increase your chances of getting a favorable outcome for your case.
How to Choose a Car Accident Lawyer
Not all car accident lawyers are created equal. Some may have more experience, knowledge, skills, reputation, or success than others. Some may also charge more fees or offer different services than others. Therefore, it is important to choose a car accident lawyer who meets your needs and expectations.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing a car accident lawyer:
You want a car accident lawyer who has handled cases similar to yours before and knows how to deal with the specific issues involved in your case. You also want a car accident lawyer who has experience in dealing with insurance companies and other parties that may be involved in your case.
You want a car accident lawyer who has a good reputation in the legal community and among their past clients. You can check their online reviews, testimonials, ratings, awards, and memberships in professional organizations to get an idea of their reputation.
You want a car accident lawyer who can communicate clearly, effectively, and respectfully with you and others involved in your case. You also want a car accident lawyer who listens to your concerns, answers your questions, and keeps you updated on the progress of your case.
You want a car accident lawyer who charges reasonable fees for their services and explains their fee structure clearly and transparently to you before you hire them. You also want a car accident lawyer who works on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only get paid if they win or settle your case.
You want a car accident lawyer who offers comprehensive services that cover all aspects of your case, from investigation to negotiation to litigation to settlement. You also want a car accident lawyer who has access to resources such as experts, witnesses, medical records, and other evidence that can support your case.
How to find a car accident lawyer:
There are several ways to find a car accident lawyer who meets these criteria:
- Online reviews: You can search online for reviews of different car accident lawyers in your area and see what their past clients have said about them. You can also check their websites and social media pages to learn more about their background, experience, services, and achievements.
- Referrals: You can ask your friends, family, colleagues, or acquaintances if they have ever hired or know someone who has hired a good car accident lawyer before and get their recommendations. You can also ask other professionals such as doctors, therapists, or accountants if they know any reputable car accident lawyers who can help you with your case.
- Directories: You can browse online directories such as Avvo, FindLaw, or Super Lawyers that list qualified and experienced car accident lawyers in your area and provide information about their ratings, reviews, credentials, and contact details. You can also use online directories such as Martindale-Hubbell or Nolo that provide peer reviews and ratings of different lawyers based on their ethical standards and professional abilities.
- Consultations: You can contact several car accident lawyers that interest you and schedule free consultations with them. During these consultations, you can ask them questions about their experience, services, fees, and approach to your case and see how they respond. You can also evaluate their communication skills, personality, and professionalism and see if you feel comfortable working with them.
By using these methods, you can narrow down your options and choose the best car accident lawyer for your case.
What to Expect from a Car Accident Lawyer
Once you have chosen a car accident lawyer to represent you, you may wonder what to expect from them throughout the process of your case.
Here are some things that you can expect from a car accident lawyer:
- Investigation: Your car accident lawyer will conduct an extensive investigation of your case and gather all the relevant evidence that can prove liability and damages. This may include obtaining police reports, accident scene photos, witness statements, medical records, vehicle damage estimates, income statements, and other documents. Your car accident lawyer may also hire experts such as engineers, accident reconstructionists, medical specialists, economists, or vocational experts to analyze and support your case.
- Negotiation: Your car accident lawyer will communicate and negotiate with the insurance companies and the other parties involved in your case on your behalf. Your car accident lawyer will use their skills and experience to present your case in the best possible light and persuade the other side to offer you a fair settlement that covers your current and future needs. Your car accident lawyer will also advise you on whether to accept or reject any settlement offers that you receive and explain the pros and cons of each option.
- Litigation: If you cannot reach a satisfactory settlement through negotiation, your car accident lawyer will prepare and file a lawsuit on your behalf and represent you in court. Your car accident lawyer will handle all the legal aspects of your case, such as drafting and filing pleadings, motions, and discovery requests, conducting depositions, attending hearings and conferences, presenting arguments and evidence, examining and cross-examining witnesses, making objections and appeals. Your car accident lawyer will also prepare you for trial and coach you on how to testify and behave in court.
- Settlement: Your car accident lawyer will work hard to achieve a favorable outcome for your case, whether it is through a settlement or a verdict. Your car accident lawyer will ensure that you receive the maximum compensation that you deserve for your injuries and damages. Your car accident lawyer will also handle the distribution of your settlement or award and deduct their fees and expenses from it.
- Communication: Your car accident lawyer will communicate with you throughout the process of your case and keep you informed of any developments or changes that may affect your case. Your car accident lawyer will also answer any questions or concerns that you may have along the way and provide you with honest and realistic advice and feedback. Your car accident lawyer will also respect your wishes and opinions and involve you in any major decisions that need to be made regarding your case.
How to work with a Car Accident Lawyer
Hiring a car accident lawyer is only the first step in pursuing your car accident claim. You also need to work with your car accident lawyer effectively to ensure that your case goes smoothly and successfully.
Here are some tips on how to work with a car accident lawyer:
Before hiring a car accident lawyer:
- Gather evidence: As soon as possible after the accident, try to gather as much evidence as you can to support your claim. This may include taking photos or videos of the accident scene, your injuries, and your vehicle damage, getting contact information of any witnesses, obtaining a copy of the police report, seeking medical attention and keeping records of your diagnosis, treatment, and bills, reporting the accident to your insurance company and getting a claim number, and keeping track of any other expenses or losses related to the accident.
- Document injuries: It is important to document your injuries and how they affect your daily life. You can do this by keeping a journal or diary where you write down details such as the date, time, location, severity, and duration of your pain and symptoms, any medications or treatments that you take or receive, any limitations or restrictions that you face in your activities or work, any emotional or psychological effects that you experience, such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD, any changes in your relationships or social life due to your injuries, and any other relevant information that shows how the accident has impacted you.
- Report the accident: You should report the accident to the authorities as soon as possible after it happens. You should call 911 if anyone is injured or if there is significant property damage. You should also call the police if the other driver is uninsured, underinsured, intoxicated, aggressive, or flees the scene. You should cooperate with the police and provide them with accurate and truthful information about what happened, but avoid admitting fault or blaming anyone for the crash. You should also get a copy of the police report for your records.
After hiring a car accident lawyer:
- Follow their instructions: Your car accident lawyer knows what is best for your case and how to handle it effectively. Therefore, you should follow their instructions carefully and trust their judgment. For example, they may advise you to avoid talking to anyone about your case, especially the insurance adjusters or the lawyers of the other party, without their presence or permission. They may also advise you to avoid posting anything about your case on social media or other platforms that could harm your claim. They may also advise you to continue seeking medical treatment and following your doctor’s orders until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
- Cooperate with them: Your car accident lawyer needs your cooperation to build a strong case for you. Therefore, you should cooperate with them by providing them with all the information and evidence that they need for your case, such as medical records, wage statements, receipts, photos, videos, witness statements, and other documents. You should also cooperate with them by responding to their calls, emails, or messages promptly and keeping them updated on any changes in your condition, situation, or contact details. You should also cooperate with them by attending any meetings, depositions, hearings, or trials that they schedule for you and being prepared and punctual for them.
- Trust them: Your car accident lawyer has your best interests at heart and wants to help you get justice and compensation for your injuries and damages. Therefore, you should trust them and their expertise and experience. You should not doubt their abilities or question their decisions without good reason. You should also not hide anything from them or lie to them about anything related to your case. You should be honest and transparent with them at all times.
By working with your car accident lawyer effectively, you can improve your relationship with them and increase your chances of getting a favorable outcome for your case.
Frequently Asked Questions about Car Accident Lawyers
Here are some common questions that people have about car accident lawyers:
How much does a car accident lawyer cost?
Most car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only get paid if they win or settle your case. They usually charge a percentage of the recovery amount, which can range from 25% to 40% depending on various factors such as the complexity of the case, the stage of the case, the risk involved, and the local market rates.
Some car accident lawyers may also charge additional fees or expenses for things such as filing fees, court costs, expert fees, travel expenses, or copying costs. You should discuss these fees and expenses with your car accident lawyer before hiring them and make sure that they are clearly stated in a written agreement.
How long does a car accident case take?
The duration of a car accident case depends on many factors such as:
- The severity of the injuries and damages involved;
- The number of parties involved;
- The availability of evidence;
- The cooperation of the insurance companies;
- The willingness of both sides to negotiate;
- The possibility of litigation;
- The backlog of the court system.
A typical car accident case can take anywhere from a few months to several years to resolve.
What if I was partly at fault for the accident?
If you were partly at fault for the accident, you may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries and damages under the comparative negligence rule. This rule allows you to recover compensation based on the percentage of fault that each party has for the crash. For example, if you were found to be 20% at fault for the crash and your total damages were $100,000, you would be able to recover $80,000 ($100,000 x (100% – 20%)).
However, the comparative negligence rule varies by state. Some states follow a pure comparative negligence rule, which allows you to recover compensation regardless of how much fault you have for the crash. Other states follow a modified comparative negligence rule, which bars you from recovering compensation if you have more than a certain percentage of fault for the crash (usually 50% or more). You should consult with a car accident lawyer in your state to determine how this rule applies to your case.
What if the other driver has no insurance or is underinsured?
If the other driver has no insurance or is underinsured (meaning that their insurance coverage is not enough to cover your damages), you may still be able to recover compensation from other sources such as:
- Your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage: This is an optional coverage that you can purchase from your own insurance company that covers you in case you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. You can file a claim with your own insurance company under this coverage up to the limit of your policy.
- Your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage: This is another optional coverage that you can purchase from your own insurance company that covers some of your medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who was at fault for the crash. You can file a claim with your own insurance company under this coverage up to the limit of your policy.
- The other driver’s personal assets: If none of these options are available or sufficient to cover your damages, you may be able to sue the other driver personally and go after their personal assets such as their bank accounts, property, or wages. However, this option may be difficult or impractical if the other driver has no assets or declares bankruptcy.
You should consult with a car accident lawyer to determine the best course of action for your case.
What if I have a pre-existing condition that was aggravated by the accident?
If you have a pre-existing condition that was aggravated by the accident, you may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries and damages under the eggshell plaintiff rule. This rule states that you take the plaintiff as you find them, meaning that the defendant is liable for all the damages that they cause to the plaintiff, even if the plaintiff was more susceptible to injury due to a pre-existing condition.
For example, if you had a back injury before the accident and the accident worsened your pain and limited your mobility, you would be able to recover compensation for your worsened condition and not just for the new injuries caused by the accident. However, you need to prove that your pre-existing condition was aggravated by the accident and not by other factors such as aging, lifestyle, or natural progression. You also need to prove that your damages are reasonable and proportional to the aggravation of your condition. You should consult with a car accident lawyer and a medical expert to establish these proofs and support your claim.
A car accident lawyer is a legal professional with the expertise to assist you in obtaining compensation for injuries and damages resulting from a car accident that was not your fault. By investigating your case, negotiating with insurance companies and other parties involved, and, if required, initiating a lawsuit, a car accident lawyer can ensure your rights and interests are vigorously defended. Additionally, throughout the progression of your case, a car accident lawyer can maintain open communication with you, providing guidance and counsel every step of the way.
If you have been involved in a car accident and need legal assistance, you should contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. A car accident lawyer can evaluate your case and determine if you have a valid claim for compensation. A car accident lawyer can also help you choose the best course of action for your case and guide you through every step of the way.
To find a qualified and experienced car accident lawyer in your area, you can use online reviews, referrals, directories, or consultations. You can also use our website to connect with a car accident lawyer who can help you with your case. Simply fill out our online form and we will match you with a car accident lawyer who meets your needs and expectations.
Don’t wait any longer. Contact a car accident lawyer today and get the justice and compensation that you deserve.
If you are looking for more information on why you need a car accident lawyer, you can check out these useful resources:
- Choosing The Best Car Accident Lawyer – Forbes Advisor
- Auto Accident Lawsuit Guide (2023) – Forbes Advisor
- Top 15 Car Accident Resources – ENJURIS
If you are looking for car accident lawyers in your area, you can use these online directories:
- Super Lawyers