If you ever find yourself in legal trouble after a motor collision, it will only takes one car accident lawyer to get you out. Car crashes can have unexpected consequences. You could end up in hospital, without a car or taking an insurance company to court. This is why it is always wise to get a lawyer on your side early.
What can a car accident lawyer do for you?
Some car accidents only need you to file a claim with an insurance company for losses. However, it is common for claims to be denied or contested.
Matters could be further complicated by injuries and medical bills. If this is the case, here are a few ways hiring a car accident lawyer can help you.
The role that drivers play in an accident can determine the amount and distribution of compensation from an insurance company. In many cases, insurance companies perform internal assessments after a collision. Depending on who was at fault, you may recover all, some losses or nothing at all.
Presenting an argument about the level of fault to an insurance company and in court is easier said than done. You need a professional with legal expertise to help you settle this issue according to laws in your state.
• Pure 100% Comparative Negligence
In several states, the level of fault is expressed as a percentage and decides how much an insurance company will cover. If, for instance, you are found to be 20% responsible for the accident, you may recover 80% of your losses.
• Modified 50/51% Comparative Negligence
In most States you cannot recover losses if 51% or more of the car accident was your fault. If you are less than 51% at fault, this percentage will be deducted from what you are allowed to recover.
In other states, you cannot recover if your level of fault is over 50%. As you can imagine, determining fault is crucial to how much you receive in a settlement. It will take an expert to argue your case and make sure the law is on your side.
• No Fault Policy
No fault insurance is an active policy in a few states. Although medical costs are automatically covered in the event of an accident, you are more likely to encounter if you decide to sue a negligent driver. Having an attorney is highly recommended.
Physical and mental injuries can make an otherwise normal car accident case take a serious turn. Not only will you be contesting damages to your vehicle, but also to cover medical bills and additional expenses.
Calculating expenses is where many drivers make mistakes. Most consider immediate costs that need to be settled out of pocket. They don’t consider the financial consequences a car accident may present in the future.
It is easy to ignore future costs when you are focused on out-of-pocket expenses. You can end up settling for an insufficient amount that barely covers your medical bills. A car accident lawyer can help you:
• Handle Expensive Claims
If your out-of-pocket expenses are on the lower side of the scale, you may be able to file a claim yourself. However, some claims involve costs of up to $20,000 and more. If your figures are high, it is best to get a professional on your team to handle the case.
• Accurately Determine Costs
Even medical bills can be underestimated if you don’t have the right experience. Some injuries can fade over time and disqualify you from recovering a certain percentage. Some injuries can produce long term effects or be mental in nature, such as trauma.
• Project Future Expenses
As mentioned, some injuries may require ongoing treatment. These include herniated discs, post traumatic disorder and so forth. If you accept a settlement that does not include them, you may incur a financial burden down the road.
Medical expenses are not the only future costs. A car accident’s effects on your employment also need to be factored in. This includes lost income, inability to return to work and days lost, to name a few.
• File or Defend Lawsuits
Unfortunately, it is quite common to get an unfair settlement for injuries sustained. On the other hand, a driver may decide to take you to court to recover their injuries. Both scenarios are grounds for a lawsuit, and you will need a qualified attorney to represent you.
Considering the entire scope of damages in your claim can be challenging. Consult with a certified car accident lawyer to take you through the lists of costs to get the most out of your settlement.
As many drivers who represent themselves come to learn, reaching a fair settlement is not simple. Insurance companies have a lot to gain from escaping liability. The bad news is that they have more experience in doing so. The good news is, your lawyer can help you prevent it.
• Evaluate the Value of a Claim
Determining the real worth of your claim is what car accident lawyers do. They can help you find out what you are entitled to and maximize your chances of receiving a fair offer.
• Contest Unreasonable Settlements
Delays in the legal process and urgent expenses often cause drivers to settle for whatever is being offered. This is a costly mistake that can cost you dearly in future. Attorneys can fight an unfair settlement in a timely manner and ensure you receive what you need.
• Offer Cautionary Advice
In the days leading up to the conclusion of a settlement, accident victims are usually asked to sign several releases, waivers and forms by insurers. Although it seems mandatory, you can dispute or refute the terms and conditions therein.
Before signing documents relating to the incident, ask your car accident lawyer if it is wise to do so. Submit any paperwork received, including the settlement contract itself. Be clear of what you are agreeing to before signing on the dotted line.
• Manage Other Injury Settlements
If your car accident case involved a bicyclist or pedestrian, contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. In these cases, negligence is often assigned to the driver and damages can be very high.
How much does it cost to hire a car accident lawyer?
The best car accident lawyer is not always the cheapest. In fact, be careful if an attorney offers services for incredibly low rates. This is not to say that great lawyers cannot be affordable. It simply means it is better to prize expertise over affordability.
You may find a lawyer who provides legal services on a contingency basis. This means no upfront fees. If he or she wins the case, the attorney deducts 30-40% from the recovered amount. If not, it is their loss.
Please note that lawyer fees and costs are not the same thing. Even if you hire an attorney on a contingency basis, you might still be required to cover certain costs out of pocket.
Where do you find the best car accident attorney?
Finding the best lawyer for your case can be easy if you keep three factors in mind: credentials, experience and customer satisfaction. Make sure your attorney has relevant state certification, specializes in car accident claims and has former clients you can contact for feedback.