Learn about car accident attorneys, why hiring one is important, things to keep in mind, and getting connected with one near you for a free consultation!
Table of Contents
- When do you need to hire a car accident lawyer?
- How much will a car accident lawyer cost?
- Finding and how to hire the best auto accident lawyer near you
- Reasons to hire a car accident lawyer
- Lawyers process in getting car accident settlements
- Types of damages that you can recover from a car accident
- What to do when involved in car accidents
- Motor vehicle accident law firms practice areas
- Comparative negligence vs. contributory negligence
- The statutes of limitations for car wreck cases
- Types of injuries sustained from an accident you can file claims for
- Auto and car crash statistics
- Serious Vs. fender bender accidents
- Most common types of automobile accidents a car wreck lawyer can help you with
- Get connected for a free consultation with auto wreck law firm near you
- Further Related Readings
When one gets involved in a car crash, it is important to get in touch with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Experienced car accident lawyers can be of great help in recovering losses that result from auto accidents, injuries and they can reduce the hefty paperwork involved.
There is a lot that needs to be done when it comes to accessing and filing insurance claims, but a professional car wreck lawyer can take all that headache away.
It is important to know when to hire a car accident attorney so that you can avoid losing money unnecessarily. It is important for cases to be justly and quickly resolved so that one does not lose money in the process as well.
Auto and car wrecks occur every day. In the U.S, the greatest number of personal injury claims usually involves auto accidents such as car, trucks, motorcycle, train, bicycle, bus, and boats etc. Most of the accidents end up with serious or minor damage and the minor damages are referred to as a “fender bender”.
These kinds of damages even though minor still requires one to have legal representation by qualified car accident attorneys if you want to maximize your settlement amount from the insurance companies.
Contacting an attorney for car wrecks can make a great difference. You can get the kind of compensation that you truly deserve to cover your damages.
The things that the auto accident lawyers can help you recover include repairs to your car, lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and so on.
In some cases, automobile accident attorneys can help you recover damages if a loved one died. This is most especially true if there was reckless driving, drunk driving, or speeding.
A car accident attorney will be conversant with the law and will know how the system works in the jurisdiction where he or she is situated. As such, he or she is the best person to offer legal advice.
When do you need to hire a car accident lawyer?
It is always best to get a car accident lawyer as soon as possible or you may make some very costly mistakes. There are set statutes of limitations and each state is governed by its own regulations.
Each case has its own time limit. After a car accident, you may have to pay for hospital bills, recover lost wages and so on. It is therefore important to get in touch with a qualified lawyer as soon as you can.
It is always wise to talk to a car accident attorneys a short time after the accident. You should not attempt to reach a settlement with an insurance company without legal representation.
Car accidents leave victims with some rather serious injuries. In addition, a property can be damaged. It is for this reason that the law comes in to compensate people. Financial compensation is always welcome and it can help greatly. It is important that you prove that an accident was actually caused by another person’s legal negligence.
Proving that someone was indeed negligent can be quite difficult. There are people who contest liability, making it necessary to launch an investigation. A car wreck lawyer can look for evidence and support your case so that you have a better chance of winning.
You need to note that insurance companies are businesses that need to make money. As such, they can try to get information from you by posing some questions, which may be understood as admission to being partly or fully at fault.
When insurance companies get a notification regarding an accident, they try all ways possible to devalue the claim. This may have a very significant impact on whether you can recover damages or not.
An attorney deals with the insurance company for you and helps you get the rightful compensation as set by the law.
You need to get a car accident lawyer, regardless of how severe the injury or damage is.
How much will a car accident lawyer cost?
We have already established that contacting a car wreck lawyer should be the first thing you do after you receive medical attention and are safe. Lawyers can be expensive, but you should know what to expect in terms of their cost and how they charge their clients.
Usually, a car accident lawyer charges a contingency fee. This means that he or she does not receive any payment unless and until you recover damages. The car accident attorney only gets a percentage of the money after a verdict has been reached.
Contingency fee arrangements
The percentage that a lawyer is to receive as contingency may vary from one state to the next, and from attorney to attorney. Normally, the percentage ranges from 25 to 40 percent, with 33.33% taken as the standard in most cases. For instance, if the contingency is set at 33.33% and you are granted a $90,000 award, the car accident lawyer should get $30,000.
The percentages vary at different locations based on how far the case has gone and how much money has been recovered. The contingency fee can also depend on whether the defendant has answered or responded to the complaints made. If he or she does not answer and the case settles, then the fee may reduce significantly.
Fees and expenses
Court fees and any other litigation expenses may or may not be requested by the accident attorney. This depends on the retainer agreement you signed and the car wreck lawyer who is representing you. The fees here include the costs associated with serving subpoenas and summonses, court filing fees, costs associated with obtaining police reports and medical records, expert witness fees, and court reporter fees etc.
Even though rare, some car accident lawyers require their clients to settle the fees when due. It is important to check the contract to know whether you need to settle any of the fees.
However, most personal injury lawyers, especially in the larger firms, can cover the expenses and the fees initially, but after the final judgment and settlement, the total amount is deducted. This means that if in the course of the case the lawyer incurs a total cost of $10,000, the same amount will be deducted from the settlement as part of the contingency fee percentage initially agreed upon.
It is important to contract with the lawyer that their fee will be taken from the net settlement. This is the amount left after all the expenses have been deducted. It is important to agree on this before the case starts.
Finding and how to hire the best auto accident lawyer near you
Being in a car accident can be a very traumatic experience. To add insult to injury, some insurance companies can make it very hard for you to recover the damages that are legally yours. Finding the best auto accident lawyer is the only way you can get a good settlement. Finding a good lawyer is no easy feat and it has to be done with great care. Some of the things that you should consider include:
- Do your research: Finding a good lawyer may take time because there are many factors that should be considered. The internet can be a great resource, especially in sites that rate auto accident lawyers according to their expertise.
- Experience: this is another factor that has to be considered. It is important to choose someone who has experience in the legal field because they will know all there is to know about car accidents.
- Consultation: it is important to find car wreck lawyers that want to listen to suggestions that you make. A lawyer can be judged during the initial meeting. Since most lawyers do not charge a consultation fee, you can sample as many as you want.
You can ask for recommendations from friends, neighbors, colleagues, and neighbors.
Reasons to hire a car accident lawyer
Trouble never informs anyone of its impending arrival. Neither does a car accident. Regardless of how careful you are while on the road, anything can happen at any time. You do not need to be negligent for you to be in an accident. After an accident, it is normal for the victims to feel defenseless and helpless. It is at that very moment that you need to reach out to a lawyer.
Having a skilled lawyer on your side can be a great thing. A lawyer can help you get through the entire legal process easily and without any stress. The reasons why you should hire an accident lawyer are:
- Get the settlement you deserve, since they know the law and can negotiate for the best deals. They also know all the legal procedures and can try to keep the case from going to court.
- A lawyer is the best person to carry out negotiations with any insurance company. For someone who is not conversant with the law, these things can be challenging.
- A lawyer allows you to rest and concentrate on other areas of your life. If you have been injured, you can concentrate your efforts on getting better while the lawyer handles the heavy lifting.
- The car wreck lawyer can also investigate the claims further, get evidence, find witnesses, come up with a settlement proposal letter, get medical reports, and collect all incident reports.
- The lawyer understands all kinds of damages involved in a car accident case. Dealing with a person who is not conversant with all legalities involved in such accidents means that they may not know about the potential damages that could be claimed.
- Your car wreck attorney can also prove liability, which can be a very tricky thing, especially for a non-professional. They will argue your case and get you justice.
Lawyers process in getting car accident settlements
When car accident attorneys are hired to represent someone in any type of auto accident case, there are many processes for car accident cases they can go through with that case before their client gets compensated. Usually, the steps are as follows:
- Investigate and gather evidence – your accident lawyer will investigate the accident by looking at the police report, your report, reviewing both you & the other driver’s insurance policy, and pictures from the accident scene etc.
- Seek a pre-trial financial compensation – most accident cases usually do not end up in a trial so your accident lawyer will try to settle your case.
- Lawsuit – if seeking settle before trial fails your attorney will then file a lawsuit in court.
- Settle negotiation – once a lawsuit is filed sometimes the other party will start taking your case seriously and now want to negotiate for a settlement.
- Court trial – If your lawyer and the insurance company cannot get to a favorable agreement, then the case will go to trial.
There are many other processes an experienced accident law firm will use to get you greater compensation for your injury. When you call a personal injury attorney law firm, ask them to walk you through their process and the processes for your particular case.
Types of damages that you can recover from a car accident
There are two types of damages that your car wreck lawyer can help you recover from car accidents and they are special /compensatory damages and general damages. Special damages are easily pinned down and can be stated in terms of money because they are directly incurred in the course of the accident and after the accident. These are economic damages that are directly incurred. They are things such as medical bills, towing fees, storage fees and so on.
As for the general damages, it may not be so easy to put a monetary value to them. It is often quite hard to determine them and different aspects have to be looked at so as to come up with an amount that is fair and acceptable. They include things like emotional distress, loss of companionship, pain, and suffering and so on.
The money you can recover after an accident usually depends on the damage to the vehicle and the injuries that have been sustained. Bodily and property injuries are compensated. If the vehicle is totally damaged, then you can recover its value or the cost of repairs done on it. Any property destroyed during the accident can also be compensated.
Some of the damages that you can recover include:
- Medical bills: it is possible to get compensation for expenses such as medical bills, which are incurred after accessing services at a hospital, emergency room, ambulance fees, and nursing services. It is important to produce proof that you actually incurred all the expenses as you received treatment for the injuries suffered during the accident.
- Income loss: sometimes a victim can be permanently or temporarily be unable to go back to work. In such a case, the victim can get damages for the income losses. Usually, the calculation of income is straight forward
- Potential earnings: if a person is disabled in the accident, the future expected income or earning capacity reduction can be rather complex. A car accident lawyer can help you make the process easier. The past earnings are sometimes used to make a determination of how much should be compensated for future lost earnings.
- Property loss: it is possible for the victims to recover for loss of property. These claims can be settled separately from bodily injury claims
- Emotional stress: this is also a bit hard to determine. It is the kind of distress one gets after an accident. Determining the amount to offer will depend on how stressful the accident was. A car accident lawyer can be very helpful in this area.
- Pain and suffering: this is mental or physical distress and it is possible for the victim to recover damages in such a lawsuit. The damages are usually based on how serious the pain is, the prognosis of future pain, and the kind of injury sustained.
- Punitive: the damages extended for personal injury usually target to make a victim whole again. This is usually meant to get the victim back to their former self. It includes compensation for past and the future medical bills and even other expenses, non-economic damages for things like humiliation, pain and suffering, anxiety, and so on.
- Consortium damages: an uninjured spouse of the car accident victim can file a claim if they are not able to reap the benefits associated with married life, by filing a separate damage claim. This can include the loss of comfort, companionship, affection, and solace. These claims can also be made by the victim. The awarded amount is usually based on life expectancies, marriage stability, and all other benefits that the marriage could have been deprived of due to the accident.
What to do when involved in car accidents
Once one is involved in a traffic collision, the first thing is to look for suitable medical attention. After an accident, victims of motor vehicle accidents should take appropriate steps to protect their rights. At the earliest time possible, a family member or a victim of an accident should contact an attorney who has experience in litigation of the auto accident claims.
Immediately after a motor vehicle accident, you should take the following steps:
- Call the police and attend to an injured person.
- Protect the scene of the accident note down the names of all people in the accident.
- Get personal information of witnesses who are willing to testify after the accident.
- Inform your insurance agent about the accident.
- Keep records of all expenses incurred and call a car accident lawyer to help you determine your rights.
- Take photos of the scene of the accident.
- Finally, seek medical attention to ensure you are in good health.
There are many experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers who can successfully represent victims of car accidents even when you are at fault. An attorneys goal is to manage traffic-related claims from the beginning to the end. An accident attorney will ensure that the rights of accident victims are protected.
Motor vehicle accident law firms practice areas
As a victim of car and auto accidents, it helps to know all the practice areas of car accident lawyer law firms.
- Car Accidents
- Semi Truck Accidents
- Big Rigs Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Dangerous Road Accidents
- Aviation Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Train Accidents
- Uninsured Motorists
- Boating Accidents
- Limousine Accidents
- Fender Bender Accidents
- Atv Accidents
- Scooter Accidents
Comparative negligence vs. contributory negligence
There is a fundamental difference between contributory and comparative negligence. Both are legal concepts, but sometimes they are not well understood. Comparative negligence usually seeks to give the injured party compensation for some part of the injuries sustained.
The states that use comparative negligence include Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Alabama, and also the District of Columbia.
Contributory negligence, on the other hand, can actually eliminate any and all damage awards to a plaintiff. In both concepts, it is important to prove the negligence of the plaintiff and this has to be done by the defendant.
The only difference between the two is how the recovery is impacted. States that apply this legal concept include California, Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, and South Dakota.
Pure comparative negligence
Comparative negligence usually apportions damages between all negligent parties and this is based on the shares of the fault. Pure comparative negligence allows the plaintiff to recover even when he or she is 99% at fault.
However, the recovery is reduced by his or her fault. This system has received a lot of criticism because the defendant pays damages, even if he or she is lesser at fault.
Modified comparative negligence
Under this system, every party to the accident is responsible for damages proportionate to the fault percentage. This is unless the negligence of the plaintiff reaches a percentage that is designated, usually 50 or 51%.
If a defendant’s fault reaches that percentage, then they cannot get any damages. This system is also criticized due to the many complications that result from so many people being at fault.
The statutes of limitations for car wreck cases
The statutes of limitations lay down the time period within which one should have filed a particular lawsuit for their car accident personal injuries and property damage. It is important to find out the actual limitations in your state to be sure you can file a valid claim.
However, most car wreck lawyers are aware of the limitations and can advise accordingly.
It is important to understand exactly how the statute works by looking at the law. You should be able to know exactly when it starts, any elements that can delay the period, and any other conditions that can limit your ability to sue.
Government entities have their own special rules and the filing period could be different when the government is concerned as a party. If you do not follow the steps laid out, you may not be able to litigate.
In most states, the injury status of limitation is also different from the property damage because of the accident.
Different states have different statutes of limitation like:
- California: personal injury claims should be filed within two years. As for property damage that comes as a result of a car accident, the statute of limitation is set to 3 years.
- Florida: for personal injury, you have four years from the day the accident occurs to file a complaint legally.
- Texas: for property damage, you have two years to file a legal complaint in Texas. The same applies to wrongful death and personal injuries sustained during an accident.
- New York: most personal injury cases give the victim up to three years to file a claim.
- Washington State: in Washington State, the statute of limitation is set to three years after the accident.
It is really important that you know your state status of limitation so you do not miss out on getting financial settlements for your injuries.
It is one other reason as to why you need to contact a car accident attorney right after your accident to take up your case.
Types of injuries sustained from an accident you can file claims for
There are different injuries that you can sustain from an auto accident and these can be filed for by your auto accident lawyer. The physical injuries include:
- Shoulder injuries
- Neck and back injuries, including strains, sprains, spinal damage, and herniated discs
- Broken bones, which are very painful and can take a long time to heal
- Lacerations and cuts
- Abrasions and bruising
- Brain and head injuries including skull fractures, internal bleeding, and traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries to ligaments, tendons, and muscles
Auto and car crash statistics
Car accidents are where most personal injury cases come from. It is also why one needs to find a good car accident lawyer as soon as the matter arises.
- Over 37,000 people perish every year as a result of car accidents.
- 2.35 million more get disabled or injured
- over 1,600 children who are below the age of 15 years also perish
- Almost 8,000 persons die in crashes that involve drivers who are aged between 16-20 years
- The economic burden on the US government is around $230.6 billion each year
Auto and car accidents have become the reality of life nowadays. They occur when a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, another vehicle, road debris, animal, tree, or any other stationary or moving obstruction.
Consequences of traffic collisions are death, injury, property damage, and vehicle damage. Statistics show that every year, around 40,000 people die and 200,000 sustain serious injuries resulting from traffic collisions.
Car and auto accident is one of the leading causes of death both in the U.S and globally.
According to Association for Safe International Road Travel(ASIRT), in the U.S alone more than 37,000 people die every year from a road accident, Globally the number is a mind-blowing 1.3 million deaths because of road crashes.
The ASIRT website also mentioned that in the U.S alone, over 2 million people are disabled or injured as a result of a road crash. The U.S also spends over $230,000,000,000 on the cost of road crashes.
Serious Vs. fender bender accidents
Millions of accidents happen each year, but not all are classified as being serious.
The serious accidents result in fatalities and/or very serious injuries. The accidents that happen usually range from the minor fender benders to the more serious accidents.
During a minor accident, many people only exchange information and things end there. Exchanging information is important because some injuries are not significant immediately after the accident.
It is always important to get the police involved and also seek the assistance of a car accident lawyer to handle your case.
Investigating any case, regardless of how minor it is can really help, especially if serious injuries arise. It is common for a person to walk away from an accident without any apparent injury only to be unable to get out of bed without assistance the next day.
Allowing an investigation makes it possible for evidence to be collected. Car accident lawyers are the best legal professionals to handle such issues because they understand the law. There is not a clear definition between a minor and a serious car accident.
You may walk away from a serious accident without any injuries while another person can be involved in a fender bender accident and are seriously injured.
Most common types of automobile accidents a car wreck lawyer can help you with
Auto accidents can happen in different kinds of situations. They can occur because of reckless driving on the highway, traffic where bumper-to-bumper accidents occur on the streets, and even in parking lots.
The collision usually affects the injuries that result from the accident. Common accidents a car wreck attorney can help you with include:
This is when a car crashes to another that is in front of it. Deceleration and acceleration are the most common cause of these accidents.
These are also referred to as T-bone collisions and they occur in the side of a car. The impact is caused by another vehicle or a fixed object.
This happens when the sides of parallel cars swipe or touch one another. Often, they only end up with cosmetic damage on the cars.
This is when the vehicle flips to the roof or side. This is often due to sharp turns conducted at very high speeds.
Head on collisions
This occurs when the two vehicles hit each other on the front ends. These are often fatal.
Single car accidents
In such a case, only one vehicle is involved. The auto may strike stationary objects like walls, fire hydrants, trees, pylons and so on.
These are also referred to as multi-vehicle collisions. They usually involve many vehicles. The pile-ups normally occur on freeways and highways, often during severe weather conditions. This is one of the deadliest accidents that can happen.
The solid mass of the crumpled vehicles makes it very hard for anyone to make it to safety. If a fire erupts during such an accident, it spreads very fast making things even worse.
You need to call an auto accident lawyer as soon as an accident occurs so as to initiate the legal process regardless of the type of accident you are involved in.
Get connected for a free consultation with auto wreck law firm near you
Call us now to be connected for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer near you. Whether you or your loved one is involved in a serious or minor auto accident that is caused by others negligence,
it will highly benefit you or them when an experienced auto accident lawyer. When the right accident lawyer is on your side dealing and fighting for your right with the insurance company your life will be easier.
An expert can help you get paid for emotional, financial and physical sufferings. The call is free and the consultation is free to speak with the lawyers in our network.
Further Related Readings
- How much is a personal Injury lawyer fee
- Should I hire an attorney after a car accident or not?
- How much do car accident lawyers charge?
- What to do after a car accident checklist
- Contingency fees
- Average settlement for car accident back and neck injuries
- California Department of Insurance: So You’ve Had an Accident, What’s Next?
- FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION Consumer Information: Hiring A Lawyer
- Northwestern University School of Law, Law, and Economics Research Paper Series: Putting a Price on Pain-and-Suffering Damages: A Critique of the Current Approaches and a Preliminary Proposal for Change
- Auto Accident Personal Injury Insurance Claim: How To Evaluate & Settle Your Loss By Dan Baldyga