If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may need to hire a car accident lawyer. An experienced injury attorney can help you recover losses resulting from a motor vehicle accident and/or reduce the hefty amount of paperwork, “red tape,” and hassle often associated with car accident insurance claims. Knowing when you need professional legal assistance can make the difference between a justly resolved case and owing or losing large monetary damages.
Below is important information you need to know about hiring a car accident lawyer.
Why You May Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
Unfortunately, car accidents are everyday occurrences. Most personal injury claims in the United States are a result of an accident involving a car, truck, or other motor vehicle. Many of these accidents result in minor vehicle damage in the form of a “fender bender,” and can generally be handled alone through direct contact with an insurance company. However, car accidents that involve physical injury, fatality, or other significant damage may warrant the legal representation of experienced counsel.
An experienced attorney can help you get compensation to cover any losses incurred due to the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and car repairs. In some states, a car accident lawyer may help you recover when a loved one is killed, especially if reckless driving, speeding, or drunk-driving was involved.
What to Look For When Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
Auto accident attorneys cover a range of issues stemming from personal injury, wrongful death, property destruction, and liability determinations. When looking for a lawyer, you should concentrate on their experience, skill level, commitment, location, and fee structure.
For example, your attorney should be well versed in state and national transportation laws, know how to deal with insurance and health care companies, and know how to effectively prepare and settle a case. Also, it’s important that you check the attorney’s background, references, and track record.
Lastly, a good lawyer will typically accept your case on a contingency or “no win-no fee” basis if the attorney feels your case has any merit, so it’s important to check the attorney’s standard fee structure.
When to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
It is best to hire an attorney early to avoid any costly mistakes. The deadline for filing personal injury claims varies from state to state. Because you may need to pay for medical bills and/or cover lost wages, the sooner you contact an attorney the better. In general, a person should contact an attorney shortly after the accident occurs — within a week or two of the accident — but before reaching a settlement with the insurance company.
Questions to Ask an Attorney
Before working with a lawyer, you should have as much detailed information and facts about the car accident and any injuries or financial losses as possible. Documents you might want to show your attorney after a motor vehicle accident may include your insurance policy, information exchanged at the accident scene, and medical records, among other things. Below are some of the questions you should ask before hiring a car accident lawyer:
What percentage of your practice is devoted to car accident cases?
What experience do you have with the specific type of injury in question?
What is a typical settlement range for cases similar to mine?
How much of my car accident case will you actually handle?
How are your fees structured?
What out-of-pocket expenses am I responsible for?
Legal Fees: Overview
Most car accident cases are handled on a contingency or “no win-no pay” basis. This means that if the attorney does not win or settle the case on your behalf, he or she does not collect a fee. On the other hand, if the attorney wins the case, they will get a percentage of the personal injury award. The attorney’s percentage varies from case to case, but can equal approximately one-third to 40 percent of the total award, with different limits imposed from state to state. It’s important to note that attorney fees are different from costs, and you may be responsible for certain out-of-pocket expenses associated with your case.