Car accident lawyers represent victims injured in traffic collisions. When one driver acts carelessly or recklessly, and they cause an accident, others can suffer injuries. Car crash attorneys represent accident victims, filing insurance claims and lawsuits on their behalf.
When you partner with a car accident lawyer, they understand how a moderate or serious injury affects your everyday life. They also know how much it costs to undergo treatment and rehabilitation, especially while missing work. At the end of the day, they want to ensure you recover fair compensation based on your case’s facts.
Car Accident Lawyers Do Everything an Injured Person’s Case Requires
Car accident attorneys serve as legal representatives for victims hurt in crashes. They help them seek and recover compensation, holding the at-fault parties responsible. They know and apply state and local laws, pursuing an appropriate payout.
An injured claimant can expect their attorney to:
- Answer questions as necessary
- Provide regular case updates
- Understand their case and its potential value
- Fight for a fair payout based on the circumstances and evidence
- Ensure they meet all applicable deadlines
- Make decisions based on their best interests
Working with a car accident lawyer allows you the time and energy needed to focus on healing. Their years of training and experience grant them invaluable insight into what measures could bolster your claim or lawsuit’s outcome.
Car Crash Attorneys Protect Clients From Bad Faith Insurance Practices
Many car accident victims believe the insurance company will treat them fairly and compensate them adequately for their damages. They often encounter seemingly helpful staff members who claim they’re acting in good faith.
However, it is important to consider who the insurance adjuster works for. Ultimately, their job is to make and save their employer money.
Some insurance companies even employ bad faith tactics to achieve these goals, such as:
- Making an early offer before the victim realizes the value of their case
- Offering a very low offer (and saying, “That’s the best I can do.”)
- Denying some injuries or damages, saying they are not covered
- Telling the claimant an offer is final or they cannot negotiate
- Downplaying an injured person’s condition
- Using the claimant’s own words against them
For example, insurance adjusters often ask victims to give recorded statements and answer questions on the record. This does not help your case. Here, the claims adjuster is just searching for more information to contest the injured party’s case. A car accident lawyer can supply all the information needed to promote a successful claim.
Recovering Damages With Help From a Car Accident Lawyer
Most states have fault-based car insurance systems. They require drivers to carry an auto liability insurance policy. This pays for the losses they cause if an accident happens.
Through an insurance claim, compensable losses may comprise:
- Medical bills: This includes expenses for ambulance transportation, treatment, hospitalization, prescriptions, and related services.
- Care and support costs: A settlement can cover the cost of rehabilitation, therapies, and at-home care as prescribed.
- Lost income: You could include the cost of any lost job-related revenue in your claim, including lost tips, bonuses, and benefits.
- Diminished earning ability: Your injuries could cause you to change jobs or lower your workable hours. A lawyer can include any harm to your income in your case’s value.
- Property damage costs: This includes the repair or replacement of your crashed vehicle.
- Miscellaneous expenses: You can recover the cost of anything you spent out of pocket, such as childcare arrangements and transportation costs.
- Non-economic damages. Your financial losses are just one part of your injury case’s value. You can also pursue the cost of non-economic losses, including pain, suffering, scarring, and disfigurement.
A Lawyer Can Manage Your Wrongful Death Case
In some cases, victims do not survive their injuries. When this occurs, those closest to them could take legal action in a wrongful death suit. Most states limit who files these actions to either an immediate family member or the personal representative handling the estate.
For example, under Georgia law, only the surviving spouse files. The children can pursue damages if the deceased had no spouse. The parents have an opportunity to seek losses if the deceased left no surviving children.
Compensable losses in a wrongful death case may comprise:
- Funeral costs
- End-of-life care expenses, including hospice
- The decedent’s pain and suffering
- The decedent’s lost income
- Any other related expense
Why Is It Important to Recover Fair Compensation After a Car Accident?
Recovering fair compensation is essential in a car accident case because, otherwise, you might have to pay some of the bills with your own funds. You only have one chance to get the money you need and deserve after a crash, so ensuring you understand the value of your case is vital.
Your family should not face undue financial stress because someone else caused a traffic accident. You have a right to seek compensation to pay for your expenses and losses, although you might have to fight to get it. Insurance companies do not want to pay what you deserve, but an attorney can help you navigate the claims process and negotiate a fair settlement.
A Car Accident Lawyer Uses Evidence to Determine Your Damages’ Cost
As a part of the car accident claims process, attorneys must calculate what their clients deserve. This informs their negotiations and establishes their clients’ losses.
To determine the value of a case, attorneys gather:
- Medical bills
- Tax information
- Paperwork documenting missed shifts and other work
- Estimates for car repairs
- Receipts for out-of-pocket expenses
An Attorney Can Also Calculate Non-Economic Damages
As noted, non-economic damages are difficult to calculate. That’s because they don’t come with supporting documents and paperwork. Instead, your lawyer must use their best judgment when asserting what you need.
To learn what you deserve for pain and suffering, they may consider:
- Your estimated recovery period
- The types of injuries you suffered
- Who (or what) caused your accident
- Your financial losses’ cost
- Your quality of life
- Your day-to-day mobility
- Whether you can live independently or need in-home help
Many states do not limit how much you can request for non-economic damages. This means there’s no cap to what you can recover. Your attorney can explain more about your compensable losses once they evaluate your situation.
Car Accident Lawyers Generally Work Based on Contingency
In most cases, you don’t have to pay a car accident lawyer any upfront fees. They go to work based on a contract, which outlines how they work on a contingency-fee basis. They receive a portion of the financial recovery secured through a settlement or trial verdict. This portion varies depends on many factors.
Car accident law firms generally use their own resources to build cases and pursue compensation for their clients. They pay the costs associated with building your case, allowing them to develop a strong claim regardless of your current financial situation. Many lawyers offer this arrangement because they know the financial burden that an accident and damages can place on injured parties.
What Happens After a Car Accident Settlement or Verdict?
After the parties sign the necessary agreements and other paperwork, it is time to get paid. Usually, the insurance company or liable party cuts a check and sends it to the law firm. The attorney deposits the check into an escrow account.
From there, the attorney pays:
- A hospital or other agency with a lien
- Their firm
- Other outstanding expenses related to the case
The remainder goes to the client as their payout from the case.
When Should I Consider Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?
You should consider hiring a lawyer as soon as possible after a collision. When you work with an attorney from the beginning, the benefits start right away. You have someone who understands the claims process and can start advocating for you immediately.
They can protect your rights and greatly reduce the risk of you falling victim to an insurance adjuster attempting to downplay your injuries. The attorney can also begin working on developing your case immediately. This could give them access to evidence that could disappear later. Sometimes, strong evidence that could bolster a claim or lawsuit is lost as time passes.
For example, imagine:
- An eyewitness changes their phone number.
- Surveillance video from a nearby camera is erased.
- Crews repair a hazard that contributed to the crash.
- Physical evidence is lost.
- The vehicles involved undergo repairs.
In all of these situations, going to work on a case sooner rather than later could make a big difference.
Your Legal Representative Can Manage all Case-Related Deadlines
There are also deadlines that apply in these cases. Each state has a statute of limitations that applies to personal injury lawsuits. Missing this deadline could jeopardize your ability to sue the at-fault driver. These deadlines generally range from one to four years following the crash. For example, Georgia law generally gives up to two years to sue. There are exceptions, though. You might have more or less time.
Commonly Asked Questions About What Car Accident Lawyers Do
As a car accident claimant, you deserve to understand your legal options moving forward. You may have these questions as you weigh partnering with a lawyer:
Can a Lawyer Make My Case Proceed Faster?
A car accident lawyer can do everything possible to keep your case moving forward. This means holding claims adjusters to their word, filing all paperwork on time, and promptly responding to time-sensitive messages. They can also prevent the insurance company from unfairly stalling.
How long it takes to settle your case depends on many factors, some of which you have no control over. It could take weeks or even months to achieve a fair outcome. Yet, patience is important in car accident cases. Hastily accepting compensation could leave you with out-of-pocket damages.
What Happens During a Free Consultation?
Many personal injury lawyers offer free consultations where injured claimants can learn about their legal options. During this no-obligation case review, you can learn about your recoverable damages, next steps, and obligations. You can also use this opportunity to learn more about partnering with a lawyer and their firm.
Do I Have to Pay Anything to Work With a Lawyer?
As noted, many car accident lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you pay nothing out of pocket to retain their help. What’s more, they finance various aspects of your case, so you don’t have to pay anything from your savings. They may cover the cost of administrative fees, filing costs, and consultants’ opinions. This arrangement makes it so you can hire a lawyer regardless of your financial concerns.
How Can I Find a Good Car Accident Lawyer Near Me?
To connect with the best car accident lawyer for you:
- Read case results. Many lawyers have the outcomes of previous cases on their websites. This information could show that a lawyer has successfully handled cases similar to yours.
- Read testimonials. In addition to case results, some lawyers have public feedback on their websites. Look for words that describe your ideal attorney.
- Ask friends and family members. Word-of-mouth recommendations carry a lot of weight. You may know someone who suffered a car accident and worked with an attorney previously. They may suggest hiring this professional.
As noted, you could also begin a free consultation and talk with a lawyer’s team directly about your case.
You Don’t Have to Manage the Car Accident Claims Process Alone
If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you have an opportunity to learn more about your rights and legal options in a free consultation with a personal injury law firm. Many car accident lawyers provide these free case assessments. They can review your case, discuss your injuries, and offer options for moving forward. They can also answer questions about their fees and explain how their firm approaches these cases.
As noted, the law limits your time to sue the at-fault party, so promptly hire legal help.