Car accidents happen in an instant and can change your life forever. If you suffered an injury from an accident, knowing what to do next is not always clear. Physical and mental recovery is only part of the journey to getting your life back.
If another person caused your accident, you deserve to get compensated for medical bills, lost paychecks, reduced quality of life, and everything else that factors in. This is where a lawyer for car accidents comes in.
Car accidents (hopefully) aren’t a normal occurrence in your life. The average person is involved in three to four accidents in their lifetime.
Say the other driver admitted fault and there is a mountain of evidence against them. You may be asking yourself “should I hire a lawyer for a car accident?
Hiring a car accident lawyer can sometimes feel unnecessary. But the truth is there are so many factors that play into the legal proceedings, regardless of the scenario. In this post, we discuss what car accident injury lawyers do – and why it’s so important to hire one to manage your claim. Let’s dive in.
What Are the Duties of a Car Accident Attorney?
Car accident attorneys do a lot more than many people assume. Trying to manage a car accident injury case without legal representation will not likely end well. Many people who do this don’t realize how much money they leave on the table.
On a baseline level, your car accident lawyer will handle the following responsibilities:
Build Your Car Accident Injury Claim
Creating a car accident claim involves many moving parts – and this job starts at the initial consultation. First and foremost, the attorney will determine if you have a valid personal injury claim. They will ask you a series of questions about the incident, analyze the facts, attribute liability, and begin the process of forming a case against the at-fault party.
The car accident lawyer will manage the legal process – but your involvement in the initial stages is crucial. Your job is to help gather evidence after the accident. This includes (but is not limited to):
- The police report
- Insurance information
- A firsthand account of the accident
- Witness contact information
- Pictures of the accident
- Records of all damages
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills (estimates)
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
Car accident attorneys will instruct and help you in gathering all the materials to build the claim. Keep in mind, these professionals do this for a living; they will make sure nothing gets overlooked.
Placing a Value on Your Damages
As the car accident attorney builds your claim, they will calculate all the damages you suffered, place a tangible dollar amount on them, and write up the demand letter for the at-fault party.
The most important part of this process is adding up all the damages. Now, some damages are easy to calculate, while others do not have a clear price tag. Car accident damages are generally divided into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are anything with receipts, estimates, pay stubs, invoices, etc., including:
- Medical/hospital bills
- Estimates for future treatment
- Property damage
- Lost wages
Non-economic damages are not as easy to price out. These damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Decreased quality of life
- Loss of companionship
A lawyer for car accidents will make sure everything is accounted for – and will place a dollar amount on every damage (economic and non-economic).
Negotiate with Insurance Companies
This is THE most difficult part of the legal process. Negotiating for a fair settlement is very cumbersome – insurance companies do not make it easy. Hiring a lawyer for car accident claims is the difference between a fair settlement and a low-ball settlement.
If you try to represent yourself, the insurance companies (yours and the at-fault party) will not take you seriously in negotiations. The bottom line is you need a skilled car accident lawyer to manage this process.
File a Car Accident Lawsuit & Represent You in Court
If the insurance company does not agree to a settlement or denies your claim, the case will be taken to court. A lawyer for car accidents will file the lawsuit and manage the entire litigation process.
Winning fair compensation from an insurance company in court will be nearly impossible without an experienced attorney. They know the steps to present a strong case to the judge/jury and fight for your best interests.
Fortunately, most car accident cases are settled out of court.
What Are the Challenges in a Car Accident Injury Case?
There are many challenges that lie ahead after an accident – with or without a lawyer for car accidents. However, these challenges will be significantly easier to navigate with a skilled attorney on your side. The biggest obstacles you’ll face in this process include (but are not limited to):
- Tallying up all damages & placing a monetary value
- Attributing liability to the at-fault party
- Organizing all evidence and documentation to support the claim
- Sorting our pre-existing conditions (if applicable)
- Managing comparative negligence (if applicable)
- Negotiating with insurance companies for a fair settlement
To reiterate, negotiating with insurance companies is NOT something you want to do without an experienced lawyer for car accidents.
Always remember: insurance companies are large enterprises with a single goal to protect their bottom line. Your well-being is not a priority to them. Both your insurance company and the at-fault party’s insurance company have processes in place to minimize liability by any means necessary. They may ask you specially-designed questions to bait an answer that places blame on you.
Speaking with insurance companies – even your own – is not a trivial task. The lawyer for car accidents you hire will instruct you on what to say, and what not to say when giving your account of the accident. From here, the attorney will manage the negotiation process from start to finish.
Negotiating with insurance companies is THE biggest challenge in car accident injury cases.
Managing a Car Accident Injury Case WITHOUT an Attorney
As is the common theme in this article: your chances of earning a fair settlement without a reputable lawyer for car accidents are very slim. Again, insurance companies will not be receptive to your demands for a payout if you don’t hire an attorney.
Most importantly, there is a good chance you will overlook certain aspects of the process and leave crucial details out. As a victim of a car accident, the LAST thing you want is to be on the hook for medical bills and other losses. The car accident attorney you hire will make sure you don’t miss anything and hold the at-fault party accountable for every penny you are owed.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for a Car Accident?
Hiring a lawyer for car accidents is not like most attorneys. Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee agreement. This means they take your case with the agreement that they will get paid a certain percentage of the total settlement AFTER they win the case.
The lawyer’s percentage typically ranges from 30 to 40 percent – which will be factored into the claim amount. In other words, it costs you NOTHING out of pocket to hire a car accident injury lawyer.
Moreover, most car accident attorneys do not usually charge anything unless they win.
When Should You Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
Generally speaking, you need to hire a lawyer for car accidents if you sustained ANY injury in the crash. Medical bills, lost wages, and other damages add up quickly – and you deserve to be compensated fairly for all of it.
Even if the accident was minor, no road to recovery is simple. Do yourself a favor and contact a car accident attorney immediately. Acting quickly in seeking legal counsel is the smartest move you can make in this situation.
Taking the First Step
The first step in the car accident injury process can be intimidating. But it’s important to remember that you are not alone in this process. Contacting a lawyer for car accidents is not as stressful as many people assume. These attorneys understand you’re in a difficult situation – and most are very compassionate in accommodating your needs.
At Midwest Injury Lawyers, we offer FREE consultations to victims of car accidents. We’ll assess your situation from top to bottom and determine the next steps. If you aren’t sure if you have a case, we are happy to answer your questions and point you in the right direction.
Give us a call at 312-786-5881, send an email to email@example.com, or request a consultation online.