​Is it Worth Getting a Lawyer for a Car Accident?

The benefits of hiring an attorney after a car accident are numerous.

Having suffered an injury in a car accident, you may wonder if it is worthwhile to hire a lawyer. Perhaps you have already contacted the at-fault driver’s insurance company and found them unhelpful. Perhaps you are concerned that your injuries may hurt your ability to work and provide for your family. Perhaps you are just stressed out and want to know your options.

If you have suffered an injury in a car wreck or suffered significant material damage, it is worth getting a lawyer to assist you. This is especially true if your car crash results in serious or debilitating injuries.

You do not necessarily have to go to court if you hire a lawyer. Most personal injury cases settle without a trial. If you hire a lawyer, they can assist you with all aspects of your claim so that you are not left footing the bill for someone else’s carelessness or negligence.

While you can settle your car accident claim without a lawyer, an experienced car accident attorney will streamline the legal process and protect your rights as an injured party. In addition, they can relieve you of some of the stress that comes from dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurer so you can focus on more important things, such as getting well.

Among the ways a car accident attorney can assist you with your claim are:

  • Offering sound legal advice: Laws surrounding liability and traffic codes are complex. Additionally, they vary from state to state. A car accident lawyer knows all relevant laws and procedures in your state. In addition, they can help you avoid potential pitfalls that may negatively impact your claim.
  • Keeping deadlines: You only have a set amount of time to make a claim and recover compensation. A statute of limitations may apply to your car accident, limiting the time for filing a claim or lawsuit in your state. Lawyers know the deadlines that may affect your case, so your case is always moving forward.
  • Gathering documentation: An attorney’s focus is to demonstrate the value and viability of your case with evidence, including police reports, video footage, witness statements, medical records, and more. Lawyers can ensure that all the documents for your case are in order because detailed records can make or break a case.
  • Calculating damages: Plaintiffs can recover various damages following a car accident. In addition to medical expenses and vehicle damage, car accident lawsuits often seek lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other economic and non-economic damages. The lawyer can ensure that they include all your damages and costs in your claim and that any settlement takes these into account.
  • Handling insurance companies: Insurance companies do not want to pay you what your case is worth. The adjuster’s job is to limit the financial liability of their employer and pay you as little as possible. In addition to protecting your interests, a lawyer will handle negotiations to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
  • Taking your claim to trial: What if the at-fault driver’s insurance decides not to offer a fair settlement? Can you still receive fair compensation if they decide it’s cheaper to take you to court than to pay you? Will you accept a low-ball offer or fight in court?

Even though your case is unlikely to go to trial, a car accident lawyer will have been preparing your case for trial since the very beginning. You are also less likely to lose your case due to technicalities or procedural errors if you hire a lawyer. A lawyer can also protect you from cross-examination and defense tactics.

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After a Car Crash, What Types of Compensation Are Available?

Damages vary from case to case, but your car accident lawyer might seek compensation for:

  • Medical costs
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost income and future lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability or disfigurement

What a Lawyer Can Do for You

Getting a lawyer can certainly be worthwhile when involved in a car accident, especially if the accident was significant and you sustained extensive or permanent injuries. A lawyer can help you avoid future and present damages related to the accident. It can be challenging to predict whether an injury will require costly medical treatment in the future. A lawyer can help you and your medical professionals assess these potential future costs.

In addition to helping you with your car accident claim, an attorney can help you in several other ways.

These include:

Accurately Calculating Your Damages

Working with an attorney ensures that the settlement you negotiate covers all your financial liabilities resulting from the accident. In an accident that was someone else’s fault, your lawyer knows how to account for all types of damages, protecting you from having to pay costs out of pocket.

Negotiating with Insurers

On your own, negotiating an adequate settlement with insurance can be tricky. Insurance companies may fight to keep claims low or deny any claim. The right attorney can help with tough negotiations and will work to help you receive what is due to you.

Representing Your Interests in Court

Many car accident claims settle outside of court, but sometimes a personal injury lawsuit is the only way to receive adequate compensation. Even though it is theoretically possible to represent yourself in court, self-representation can leave you vulnerable. The defendant and their lawyer may take advantage of your lack of legal representation.

If you represent yourself, you risk losing your case on technical or procedural grounds. You may have a good case but lose if you do not know how to represent yourself properly.

Offer Sound Legal Advice

Car accident lawyers are familiar with the laws of the states in which they practice and can advise you on important legal issues your case entails, including the applicable statute of limitations for filing a claim in your state. The intent is to ensure that you do not miss a filing deadline that can potentially prevent you from receiving compensation.

Other ways in which a lawyer can help you with a car accident claim also exist. Perhaps the most important factor is having a car accident lawyer by your side can give you peace of mind. Your lawyer will work for your best interests at all times. A car accident lawyer can protect you from getting short-changed by your insurance company and the at-fault party.

Hidden Injuries

A person can sustain several injuries in minor car accidents that don’t appear for days after the incident. You get hit from behind, but you feel fine. There is no obvious injury, and you will know if you suffered an injury.

The answer is no. Most people think of “injuries” like broken bones, lacerations, and even head trauma. Our minds go to severe, life-altering conditions. Most of us don’t consider stained tendons, stretched ligaments, or contusions, but we should.

Your body may go sideways, your neck may snap back, or you may suddenly move forward, resulting in severe back pain the next day. An accident can mask an injury with adrenaline. Almost all personal injury lawyers will tell you to see a doctor as soon as possible to ensure there are no hidden injuries.

The Other Driver

What will happen if you exchange information with the other driver, shake hands, and go about your business without reporting the minor accident to the police?

You are summoned to court a few weeks later because the other guy filed a lawsuit against you. You know they were at fault, and they exaggerated the injuries they claim and the property damage they say you caused, if not outright false. Do you remember when you drove off without reporting the accident? You’ve now entered a “you say/they say” situation.

Most of these types of suits won’t get very far. After all, the other guy also left the scene. Do you want to deal with the hassle and time it’s going to take to answer the summons, potentially appear for hearings, and argue on your behalf when you know you are right? Probably not.

Here’s another great tip: Do not admit fault or reveal policy limits. Be careful what you say and do.

Signs It’s Worth Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer

In addition to the many situations in which you might need a car accident lawyer, you should be especially concerned in the following circumstances.

You Don’t Have a Solid Understanding of Personal Injury Law

After a car accident, most people don’t know much about personal injury and car accident law. In addition, the insurance claim process can vary from state to state. It can be challenging to know what to do if you are unfamiliar with local laws.

At-fault drivers are typically responsible for covering accident-related costs. If you suffered an injury in an accident, you have the right to file a compensation claim. In any case, it is your responsibility to file that claim, show that the accident occurred, the other driver was at fault, and that the other driver caused your injuries and other damages.

Lawyers exist for precisely this reason. Their education and experience allow them to handle your legal claim when a car accident disrupts your life. To cover your expenses and begin moving forward, we want to get you the maximum compensation. You don’t have to spend time and energy doing your own research.

You Suffered Damages

After a car accident, you can seek compensation for:

  • Medical costs
  • Vehicle repairs
  • Lost wages
  • Disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering

After a car accident, you can sustain a variety of damages. Special (economic) damages and general (non-economic) damages are the two most common types.

Special damages are easier to calculate. General damages, however, are difficult to determine without professional assistance. The best thing you can do for your claim is to work with a lawyer if you have non-economic damages and a lot of special damages. If not, you may not get the full compensation you deserve.

They Rejected Your Claim, or You Get an Unfair Offer

The insurance company may deny your claim for a variety of reasons. Hiring a lawyer from the beginning can increase your chances of approval. If they deny your claim or you receive a small settlement offer, you need to hire a car accident lawyer immediately. An experienced lawyer will know how to appeal a denial and fight for your rights.

The Insurance Company Won’t Bargain

An insurance company may refuse to negotiate with you further, if at all. If this happens to you and you want to maintain your rights, you will need a lawyer who can represent you in court.

How to Find the Right Car Accident Lawyer

Finding a good car accident lawyer can be just as challenging as fighting with the insurance company. Unfortunately, there are many dodgy and bad law firms out there that only care about making money off of clients.

When looking for legal representation, to avoid hiring subpar attorneys, look for:

  • The case results of the law firm.
  • How long the law firm has been in practice.
  • The law firm’s reputation when looking at reviews, news outlets, and client testimonials.
  • Their response time and commitment to your case.
  • Whether or not they offer free consultations.

Only talk to car accident lawyers who use contingency fees. It motivates you to seek legal assistance and your lawyer to fight hard to win your case.

There Are No Risks to You With Contingency Fees

Most car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis. There are no upfront costs; the lawyer only gets paid if they win your case. Their fee is deducted from your settlement, making it a simple process.

It is a risk-free situation, making hiring a car accident lawyer worthwhile from the start. If you schedule a consultation with a law firm, ask about their fee structure and whether they work on contingency.

July 11, 2022
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