After a car accident, almost everything you do can impact the outcome of your insurance claim. From when you see a doctor to how closely you follow your doctor’s advice, and from when you return to work to what you do in your spare time (both in the real world and on social media), every single decision you make matters. So, when it comes to the question, “How can a car accident lawyer help you?”, the answer is clear: Car accident lawyers can help with almost everything, and you have no reason not to hire a lawyer to help you.
The outcome of your car insurance claim could impact your life for years to come. So, you need to make smart decisions as you move forward. This starts with making a smart decision about whether to hire a car accident lawyer to help you. So, how can a car accident lawyer help? Here are 20 ways car accident lawyers can help with your auto insurance claim:
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1. Finding a Good Doctor
While you can – and should – see your own doctor or go to the emergency room after your accident, you may need to a specialist (or multiple specialists) to ensure that you receive the best care possible. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to refer you to a doctor (or doctors) who can fully assess your treatment needs, provide necessary treatment, and help prove the long-term costs of your injuries.
2. Investigating At the Scene of the Accident
In order to recover full compensation for your injuries, you will need proof that someone else (i.e. the other driver) was at fault in your accident. One of the most-important ways car accident lawyers can help in the immediate aftermath of a collision is by collecting evidence at the scene before it disappears.
3. Collecting Evidence from Other Sources
In addition to collecting evidence at the scene of the accident, it may be necessary to collect evidence from other sources as well. Your lawyer will be able to use various legal tools to secure phone records, employment records, maintenance records, traffic camera footage, and other evidence to prove your claim for damages.
4. Dealing with Your Insurance Adjuster
When many people ask, “How can a car accident lawyer help me?”, what they really want to know is, “Can a car accident lawyer deal with the insurance companies for me?” When you hire a lawyer to help with your claim, your lawyer will be able to begin communicating with the adjusters on your behalf right away.
5. Telling You What Mistakes to Avoid
While it is important to know what to do after a car accident, it is equally important to know what not to do. Your lawyer will be able to explain the mistakes you need to avoid, including:
- Giving a recorded statement to your insurance company
- Giving a blanket authorization for the insurance companies to access your medical records
- Waiting too long to seek medical treatment (or ignoring your doctor’s advice)
- Posting photos of the accident on social media
- Settling your insurance claim before you know how much you can recover
6. Collecting Your Medical and Employment Records
In order to accurately calculate your losses, you will need copies of your medical and employment records. While you can try to track these down on your own, you can also rely on your attorney to track them down for you.
7. Calculating Your Damages
Accurately calculating your damages after a car accident is one of the most-important aspects of protecting your legal rights after a car accident. A lawyer can help by using your medical records, employment records, and various other sources of information to calculate your current and future losses.
8. Hiring Experts to Prove Fault and Damages
In addition to gathering evidence and collecting your records, there are many other steps involved in proving your legal rights in a car accident claim. In many cases, it will be necessary to hire experts who can give an opinion as to who was at fault and how much you are entitled to recover.
9. Keeping You on Track While Your Claim is Pending
As time goes by, it can be easy to make mistakes. It can also be easy to get anxious about settling your auto accident claim. Your lawyer can help by keeping you on track – and keeping your eye on the prize – while your claim is pending.
10. Negotiating on Your Behalf
In order to receive a fair car accident settlement, you need to be able to negotiate effectively. Once your lawyer has the evidence needed to prove your claim, then he or she can negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf.
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- How Much Is My Car Accident Settlement Worth?
11. Helping You Evaluate Settlement Offers
When you receive a car accident settlement offer, you should not accept right away. If you do, you could end up with just a fraction of what you are owed. Instead, you need to consult with a lawyer and make an informed decision about whether the offer reflects just compensation. In terms of how a car accident lawyer can help, one of the most-important ways is by helping ensure that you do not unknowingly settle for too little.
12. Filing a Lawsuit If Necessary
While most car accident insurance claims settle, some do not. If you do not receive a fair settlement offer, you should not accept less than you deserve. A lawyer can advise you when it is time to file a lawsuit—and he or she can file your lawsuit before your state’s statute of limitations for car accidents expires.
13. Dealing with Bill Collectors and Creditors
If you are unable to pay your medical bills, utilities, and other monthly expenses while your car insurance claim is pending, your lawyer may be able to prevent bill collectors and creditors from harassing you. Your lawyer can contact these companies on your behalf, and let them know that you will be able to pay once your settlement comes through.
14. Helping You Secure Pre-Settlement Funding
Your lawyer can also help you determine if pre-settlement funding is a good option for you. Pre-settlement funding allows you to receive money from a third-party company while your insurance claim is pending. There are several pre-settlement funding companies out there, and your lawyer will probably know of one in particular that he or she can recommend.
15. Making Sure You Do Not Settle Too Soon
When you have a car accident insurance claim, you cannot afford to settle too soon. If you do, you will not have the money you need to cover your medical bills and lost wages, and you almost certainly will not receive just compensation for your pain and suffering. Experienced car accident lawyers can help make sure you know when is the right time to settle your claim.
16. Giving You Advice for Protecting Your Rights
As your insurance claim progresses, you will need to continue making smart decisions. When you hire a car accident lawyer to represent you, you can trust your lawyer to give you the evidence you need to protect your legal rights.
17. Being There for You When You Need Help
When you are coping with the effects of a car accident, there will be times when you need help. There will also be times when you just need to talk to someone about your situation. Your lawyer will be there for you, and many car accident lawyers make themselves available to their clients 24/7.
18. Telling You How Much You Will Take Home
When you receive a car insurance settlement, you will not take home the entire amount. You will need to pay your medical bills and various claim-related expenses, and you will also need to pay your lawyer’s legal fees. Before you make a decision about settlement, your lawyer can tell you exactly how much you will take home—that way, you can make an informed decision about whether you are satisfied.
19. Making Sure You Feel Confident in the Outcome of Your Claim
Whether you accept a settlement or take the insurance companies to court, when you hire an experienced car accident lawyer, you can feel confident in the outcome of your claim. You can feel confident knowing that you did everything possible to protect your legal rights, and you can feel confident knowing that you received the maximum compensation available.
20. Not Charging Any Fees or Costs Unless You Win
When you hire a car accident lawyer to help with your insurance claim, your lawyer will not charge any fees or costs unless you win. This is known as contingency fee representation. Hiring a lawyer does not create any additional financial stress, and it helps ensure that you receive the financial compensation you deserve.
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Here are answers to some frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about hiring an attorney for a car accident:
It is only too late to get a lawyer to help with your insurance claim if the statute of limitations for your claim has expired. However, even if you are concerned that you may be out of time, you should still schedule a free consultation to make sure you know for sure how long you have to file your claim. The statute of limitations can be extended in some cases, and you do not want to accidentally lose your right to file.
In terms of when to get a lawyer for your car accident, the answer is simple: You should schedule your free initial consultation as soon as possible. There is no reason to wait, and waiting could potentially make it more difficult for your lawyer to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Even if you have no intention of hiring an attorney, or if you still have a long recovery ahead, getting informed early is almost always a good idea, and will usually cost nothing.
While your legal fees will be calculated as a percentage of your final car accident settlement amount, you are still likely to recover far more with the help of an attorney than you could recover on your own. For example, consider that:
- The insurance companies usually won’t pay for pain and suffering unless you have a lawyer; and,
- Your pain and suffering damages could make up the largest portion of your award.
So, even taking your lawyers’ legal fees into account, you will still take home more (and probably much more) if you have a lawyer on your side. When you schedule a free consultation, your lawyer will determine whether you have a claim to pursue, and your lawyer should provide an honest assessment as to whether he or she can help you collect more than you could recover on your own.
After asking, “How can a car accident lawyer help?”, most people’s next question is, “How much is a lawyer going to cost me?”
Car accident lawyers get paid when they win a car accident settlement or jury verdict for their client. This “contingency fee” is calculated as a percentage of the amount recovered—usually between 25% and 40%. Typically, car accident lawyers will charge a lower contingency fee for claims resolved via settlement, and they will charge more if they need to take a client’s case to trial.
Yes, a free consultation really is free. Your free initial consultation is your opportunity to (i) ask any questions you want to ask, and (ii) receive a preliminary assessment of your legal rights. If you decide to move forward, you will only be charged a contingency fee if you win. If you decide to hire another lawyer, you will not pay anything for your consultation.