What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?
If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident and are not sure what to do next, the advice of experienced car accident lawyer can be invaluable. From negotiating with insurance companies to mounting a legal case against the parties who caused the incident, a qualified attorney will have all the tools and experience necessary to fight for your rights as an injured individual.
But before you entrust someone with something so important, it helps to know exactly what an attorney can do for you: that is why we created this guide on everything a car accident lawyer does. Keep reading to learn more about how these professionals help victims protect their rights after being injured due to another party's negligence.
What is a car accident lawyer?
A car accident lawyer is a specialized type of attorney who focuses on representing clients who have been hurt in various types of motor vehicle collisions. Traffic accidents often involve commercial vehicles, 18 wheelers, motorcycles, moped, pedestrians, and more. These lawyers understand the laws pertaining to these types of incidents, such as negligence and product liability statutes, and can provide assistance in pursuing fair compensation for injury victims. A car accident attorney can also provide counsel on how to properly document the incident, review insurance policies, and negotiate settlements with both insurers and opposing counsel. It's important to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to ensure that your rights are protected and to ensure you receive appropriate legal representation.
What a car accident lawyer can do for you case
Here are some of the main things a car accident lawyer does for injured drivers or passengers after a crash.
Help you understand your rights
A car accident lawyer can be a crucial asset if you are in a dispute over the circumstances of a collision. Car accident law can be complex and confusing, so having an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer to represent your interests is invaluable. From gathering evidence to representation in court, depending on the nature of the case, a car accident lawyer will work hard to ensure that your rights and interests are upheld. Furthermore, helpful guidance and advice regarding the legal process can offer great relief during an emotional and burden-filled time. Overall, having a car accident attorney to lower stress levels while ensuring the best possible outcome is immeasurable.
Investigate the accident
A car accident attorney investigates an accident by following a systematic process that involves gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing relevant documents. Some of the steps involved in the investigation process are as follows:
Scene Investigation: The attorney visits the scene of the accident to gather evidence, take photographs, and gather information from witnesses. This information helps the attorney understand the circumstances surrounding the accident and determine the cause of the crash. Accidents such has head-on collisions are often contested by insurance companies, making scene investigations incredibly important.
Reviewing Police Reports: The attorney reviews the police report of the accident to determine if the report accurately reflects what happened. They also look for any inconsistencies or errors in the report that may impact the case.
Interviewing Witnesses: Asking questions about what a witness saw, heard, and experienced, is oftentimes the most important evidence, especially in cases where the responding officer failed to determine fault.
Examining Vehicle Damage: The attorney examines the vehicles involved in the accident to see if any defects or malfunctions that may have contributed to the crash. Product manufacturers can be held responsible under the legal theory of strict liability if a defective part was involved. Examining tire tread on the roadway, skid mark patters, and broken glass can also help an attorney understand what occurred in the collision.
Reviewing Insurance Policies: The attorney reviews the insurance policies of the drivers involved in the accident to determine if there are any discrepancies in the coverage.
Hiring Experts: Lawyers hire experts, such as accident reconstruction experts or biomechanics experts, to help recreate the scene of the accident and determine the cause of the wreck.
Determine liability and responsibility
Determining liability and responsibility after an auto accident is a complex process that requires a thorough investigation. Car accident attorneys play a crucial role in this process by gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, collecting the crash report, and reviewing police reports. They also have a deep understanding of state laws and regulations related to auto accidents, which enables them to make informed decisions on who is liable for the accident.
One of the ways car accident attorneys determine liability is by analyzing the scene of the accident. They take into account factors such as road conditions, weather conditions, and the behavior of other drivers involved in the accident. They also examine the vehicles involved in the accident to determine if there were any defects that may have contributed to the traffic accident. This evidence helps to build a strong case for the victim, and to establish who is responsible.
In some cases, liability may be shared among multiple parties, a concept known as proportionate responsibility. Proportionate responsibility refers to the allocation of fault among multiple parties involved in an auto accident. In some states, a driver may still be held partially responsible for an accident even if they are not the primary cause. For example, if one driver was speeding and another driver failed to yield at a stop sign, the court may determine that both drivers were partially responsible for the accident. This is where car accident attorneys come in, to help determine the extent of each driver's responsibility and to ensure that their client is fairly compensated.
Car accident attorneys also use various tools and techniques to determine liability, such as computer simulations. This technology help recreate the scene of the accident, determine the speed of the vehicles involved, and help determine possible proportionate responsibility of each driver.
Handle calls with insurance adjusters
Having an attorney involved early in the claim filing process can help prevent your from saying things in a recorded statement that could harm your case or jeopardize your eligibility for compensation. Insurance companies train their employees to ask questions that can potentially alter how liability is apportioned such as
Did you see the other driver before the collision?
Do you drive with both hands on the steering wheel?
Did you left both left and right before entering the intersection?
Can you forward us your text messaged for the hour before and after the incident?
Don't allow the insurance company the opportunity to blame you for the auto accident. Let an experienced car crash attorney represent you and tell your story to the insurance carrier.
Research insurance coverages
In the aftermath of a car accident, there are several types of insurance and insurance benefits that can provide compensation to a victim for their bodily injuries. The most common forms of compensation are from auto insurance policies, such as liability coverage, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Liability coverage is typically required by law and covers the cost of damages or injuries you cause to others in an accident. This coverage can be used to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with the victim's injury. The coverage limits of a
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, on the other hand, is optional in some states but required in others. PIP provides coverage regardless of who is at fault in the accident and can pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with the victim's injury.
Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage provides compensation when the at-fault driver in an accident does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the full extent of the victim's injuries. This coverage can be used to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with the victim's injury.
In addition to these insurance benefits, a victim may also be eligible for compensation through their own health insurance, disability insurance, or workers' compensation coverage, if applicable. A personal injury attorney can help navigate the different insurance options and benefits available to ensure the victim receives the maximum compensation possible for their injuries.
Offers legal advice
After a car accident, a car accident attorney can offer a range of legal advice to help their clients navigate the aftermath of the crash. Some of the types of legal advice that a car accident attorney would offer include guidance on how to handle insurance claims, how to deal with medical bills, and how to determine the full extent of damages. They can also advise their clients on the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit and the potential outcomes of a lawsuit. Additionally, a car accident attorney can help their clients understand their rights and obligations under the law and ensure that they receive fair compensation for their injuries, losses, and damages.
Help Locate Medical Care
A personal injury attorney plays a crucial role in helping car accident victims locate medical care. They provide a range of services that aid the victim in securing the medical treatment they need to recover from their injuries. Some of the ways a personal injury attorney helps their clients locate medical care are as follows:
Identifying Qualified Medical Providers: A personal injury attorney has a network of medical providers who specialize in treating car accident victims, Injuries such as whiplash, bone factures, concussions, spinal cord injuries, breast implant issues, and post-traumatic stress disorder, each require a different medical professional, so it is important to see the right type of care provider for your circumstance.
Arranging for Treatment: Once a medical provider has been identified, the personal injury attorney can help clients arrange for treatment. The law firms cases manager or paralegals sometimes also assist with scheduling appointments and coordinating transportation to and from appointments.
Advising on Medical Treatment Options: A personal injury attorney can advise their clients on the best medical treatment options for their specific injuries. They can provide information on the potential benefits and risks of different treatments, from pain management to various types of surgery often suggested to aid a patient.
Protecting Client's Rights: A personal injury attorney also helps protect their client's rights and ensures that their interests are protected. They can negotiate with insurance companies to ensure that their client receives the maximum compensation for their medical expenses and lost wages.
A personal injury attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of their client to ensure that their medical bills are covered. They can also assist their clients in obtaining any necessary medical equipment, such as crutches or a wheelchair, to aid in their recovery.
By providing these services, a personal injury attorney ensures that car accident victims receive the medical care they need to recover from their injuries and return to their daily lives as soon as possible.
Negotiates for a fair settlement
An attorney's job is to ensure that their client receives the maximum compensation for their damages and losses. To achieve this, an attorney employs a range of strategies to negotiate with insurance companies and other parties involved in the case.
Before negotiations begin, an attorney will gather all relevant evidence to support their client's claim. This can include medical bills, witness statements, police reports, and other documentation that can help support the extent of their client's damages and losses. The more evidence an attorney has, the stronger their bargaining position will be.
An attorney that regularly handles motor vehicle accident claims will research and understand the insurance company's position, including their history of handling similar cases, their settlement policies, and their financial stability. From Geico to Allstate, Root to USAA, each insurance carrier handles bodily injury claims different. The carrier helps an attorney determine the insurance company's likely settlement range and what kind of arguments they might use to dispute a claim.
The evidence and information they have gathered will aid the car accident attorney in negotiating from a position of strength. The evidence support their client's claim and counter any arguments made by the insurance company. If necessary, an attorney can work with experts, such as economists, medical professionals, and other experts, to support their client's claim. They can also use expert testimony to support their arguments in negotiations.
By employing these strategies, an attorney can effectively negotiate for maximum compensation for their client. They will use their knowledge, experience, and resources to protect their client's interests and achieve a favorable outcome in the negotiations.
Represents you in mediation
An attorney's role is to advocate for their client and negotiate a settlement that is fair and equitable, while also prepping the client on their rights, the strengths and weaknesses of their case, and the actual role of the mediator. Mediation is a common method for resolving disputes, including those arising from car accidents, without going to trial. During mediation, a neutral third party, known as a mediator, facilitates communication and negotiations between the parties involved to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. In this situation, an attorney plays a critical role in representing their client and ensuring their interests are protected.
In addition, the attorney will work to effectively communicate their client's needs and goals to the mediator and the other parties involved in the case. They will negotiate a settlement that covers their client's damages and losses, taking into account their client's goals and priorities. Throughout the mediation process, the attorney will remain vigilant in protecting their client's rights and ensuring that any agreement reached is in their best interest.
Present your claim at trial
When a car accident case goes to trial, an attorney plays a crucial role in presenting their client's claim to the court and the jury. The attorney's goal is to effectively communicate the facts of the case and the extent of their client's injuries and damages to the jury in a compelling and persuasive manner. To achieve this, the attorney generally begins by presenting the supportive evidence of how the accident occurred and the impact on your life during the case-in-chief. Part of the trial will also involve your lawyer cross-examining the defendant's witnesses to challenge their testimony and undermine their argument.
During the trial, the attorney will use their knowledge of the law and the court's procedures to make the most of their client's case. You would also be prepped by the lawyer for any questioning and ensure that you present to the jury in the best light possible.
The attorney will also make opening and closing statements that clearly and concisely summarize the key points of their client's case and highlight why the jury should award their client the compensation they are seeking. In these statements, the attorney will strive to be persuasive, articulate, and passionate as they represent their client's interests and argue for the fair compensation their client deserves.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
If you're asking whether you should hire an attorney after a car accident, the answer is yes. You should at-least consult with one regarding your situation. Hiring a car accident attorney is crucial in ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve after a crash. Unlike representing yourself, an attorney with specialized training and experience can effectively negotiate and handle the complex legal process.
Despite paying a fee to the attorney if compensation is recovered, statistics show that individuals who seek legal representation usually receive a higher payout compared to self-representation.
The risk-free benefit of hiring a car accident attorney is that they typically work on a contingency fee basis. This means that their payment is only based on a percentage of your settlement, which you receive if the case is successful. This guarantees that you will always come out ahead without having to pay your lawyer directly out of pocket.
Is It Worth Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer if Your Accident Was Minor?
Yes, if there was significant property damage or medical expenses incurred, having a lawyer help negotiate with insurance companies could result in a fairer settlement. In cases where there are disputes over who was at fault or the extent of the damages, a lawyer can provide guidance and representation in court. The only time where hiring an attorney is not neccessary is in cases of minimal property damage and no significant injury. However, it's always a good idea to seek the advice of a car accident attorney, who can assess the situation and advise you on the best course of action. An attorney can also help ensure that the insurance process is handled correctly and that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.