What Questions Should I Ask My Car Accident Attorney?

January 18, 2024 | David Abels
What Questions Should I Ask My Car Accident Attorney?

Car accidents resulting from other drivers' negligence leave individuals with significant injuries and constant pain. However, accident victims can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver's motor vehicle insurance company.

Representing yourself in a car accident claim or lawsuit is usually a big mistake. Insurance companies frequently take advantage of unrepresented individuals and will likely offer them very little settlement compensation for their injuries.

An experienced Chicago car accident lawyer can make all the difference in maximizing your monetary compensation for your accident-related losses. You want the best possible attorney in your corner advocating for you at every stage of the proceedings.

What Questions Should I Ask My Car Accident Attorney

You need to speak with and interview prospective lawyers, ask them questions, and determine the amount of experience they have settling and litigating car accident claims.

Once you retain an experienced attorney to represent you in your case, they can handle all the legal steps for you. For example, they can gather evidence for your case, assemble a demand package, negotiate with insurance company adjusters, and litigate your case to a resolution in the court system if that step becomes necessary.

Throughout the negotiation and litigation processes, you can ask your attorney additional questions, including whether you should accept a pending settlement offer or take your case to a litigation proceeding, such as a civil jury trial, mediation session, or binding arbitration hearing.

Your attorney can assist in making difficult decisions throughout your case and work to maximize your total monetary damage award.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today!

Car Accident Injuries

A car accident victim's injuries can sometimes be serious and debilitating, depending upon the accident circumstances. Since every car crash scenario is different, not all accident victims will suffer the same types of injuries.

The injuries that a car accident victim sustains will typically depend upon certain factors, including the number of collisions, the amount of force involved in the collisions, the type of accident that occurs, and the accident victim's bodily movements in their vehicle during the collision.

Some of the most common injuries that accident victims may sustain include soft tissue neck and back injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, rib fractures, bruises, lacerations, scarring, spinal cord damage, complete and incomplete paralysis injuries, internal bleeding, internal organ damage, facial injuries, mouth and teeth injuries, and death.

Upon suffering any of these injuries in a recent car crash, you must follow through and complete all medical treatments your healthcare provider recommends.

For example, you might need to consult with your primary care doctor, if you have one, along with various medical specialists, including physical therapists, an orthopedic doctor, or a neurologist, depending upon the nature and scope of your injuries.

Attending all your medical appointments and waiting for a medical provider to discharge you from care formally significantly heightens your chances of achieving a full medical recovery. In addition, you show the insurance company that your injuries are serious and worthy of significant monetary compensation.

In the meantime, your car accident lawyer can start advocating for your legal interests by gathering potential evidence to use in your case, drafting a settlement demand letter on your behalf, and putting a settlement demand package together.

Upon completing your medical treatment, your attorney may forward this demand package to the insurance company adjuster in charge of your claim for settlement negotiation purposes.

Types of Local Motor Vehicle Accidents

When drivers behave in a negligent, reckless, or careless manner, they may cause several different motor vehicle accidents. Some of the most common accidents a negligent driver can cause include sideswipe collisions, T-bone accidents, rear-end accidents, and head-on collisions.

A sideswipe accident happens when a driver negligently causes their vehicle to drift into another travel lane, striking the vehicle beside them.

Conversely, a T-bone or broadside accident happens when a driver fails to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle at a traffic intersection, causing the front of the vehicle to hit the side of the intersecting vehicle.

A rear-end or tailgate accident happens when a driver causes the front of their vehicle to hit the rear of another vehicle, usually because the driver is speeding, failing to watch the road, or tailgating the other vehicle. 

Finally, a head-on collision happens when the fronts of vehicles strike one another while traveling in opposite directions.

You are not alone if you sustained injuries in any of these accidents resulting from negligent driving.

To maximize your chances of obtaining favorable monetary compensation, speak with a personal injury lawyer in your area as quickly as possible. Your attorney can quickly determine your legal options and pursue the best option for your case and circumstances.

Ways That Car Accidents May Happen

When other people drive recklessly and carelessly, car accidents are, unfortunately, an all-too-common occurrence. Many traffic accidents result from another driver's failure to follow all applicable traffic laws and regulations.

For example, drivers may speed excessively, refrain from using turn signals at the proper times, or fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles, for instance, by running a red traffic light, yield sign, or stop sign, thereby colliding with another vehicle.

Car accidents may also happen when another driver operates their vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. An intoxicated driver will frequently experience delayed reaction time and impaired reflexes, preventing them from stopping in time to avoid an accident.

They may also suffer from dizziness, limited concentration, impaired coordination, and impaired judgment. Consequently, they cannot properly judge the distance between their vehicle and another.

Given the dangers of drunk driving, a convicted DUI offender may have to pay civil and criminal penalties and suffer the consequences of a driver's license suspension. Furthermore, if they cause a traffic accident that brings about injuries, they may have to pay civil damages through their insurance company and an increased insurance premium.

Another common cause of local traffic accidents is distracted driving. Drivers frequently become distracted when they use electronic devices, like GPS navigation systems, tablets, and cellular phones, while driving.

Alternatively, drivers may become distracted when they eat or drink while driving, comb their hair, apply makeup, or roughhouse with vehicle passengers while behind the wheel. All these activities may take a driver's eyes and minds off the road, causing them to lose control over their vehicle and cause a serious accident.

Finally, many traffic accidents result from reckless driving maneuvers or road rage.

Common reckless driving maneuvers that lead to serious traffic accidents include:

  • Tailgating other vehicles.
  • Weaving in and out of heavy traffic.
  • Cutting off slower-moving vehicles.
  • Exceeding the speed limit.

All these activities may inadvertently cause a driver to bring about a serious accident.

If you suffered injuries in a motor vehicle crash that a negligent driver caused, you need to consult with a car accident lawyer in your area as quickly as possible. Your attorney can explore all your legal options with you and file a claim on your behalf with the appropriate insurance company.

Your attorney can also explore litigation options if the insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly for your accident-related losses.

Questions to Ask a Prospective Car Accident Lawyer

When interviewing a prospective car accident lawyer, ask several questions.

First, ask the attorney about their years of experience in car accident cases. Ideally, you want a lawyer who handles car accident claims and lawsuits as the majority of their personal injury practice.

Ask a prospective attorney about the number of cases they settle versus the number of cases they litigate in a year.

Instead of having an attorney on your side who settles all their cases, you want a lawyer who regularly litigates cases in court and takes them to civil jury trials and binding arbitration proceedings.

Also, before retaining a lawyer to represent you, you should ask a prospective attorney whether they have any ethical violations on the record. You can also find this information on your state's Bar Association website.

After you retain a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to represent you throughout your case, ask your attorney several key questions at various stages.

First, suppose the insurance company puts a settlement offer on the table. Ask your lawyer if that offer is good, considering the facts and circumstances of your car accident case and the nature and extent of the injuries you have suffered.

When settling or litigating a car accident claim, you are the ultimate decision-maker. Thus, your attorney can offer guidance on whether to consider accepting a specific settlement offer or pursuing litigation in court.

If you decide to litigate your case, your lawyer can continue settlement negotiations on your behalf. However, when it appears that the insurance company is reaching its top offer, your attorney can advise you on potential litigation options.

At that time, you should ask your lawyer for advice about taking your case to a civil jury trial or pursuing ADR in your case, such as binding arbitration or mediation. Your lawyer can explain the pros and cons of these various litigation proceedings so you can make an intelligent and informed decision in your case.

What Can a Car Accident Lawyer Do for You?

During a car accident claim or lawsuit, your attorney can be an invaluable help. Specifically, they can handle all aspects of the evidence-gathering, settlement negotiation, and litigation processes for you.

Some of the tasks that a lawyer can accomplish in your case include:

  • Locating and gathering potential evidence to use in your case, including police investigation reports, statements from witnesses, medical bills, medical treatment records, lost-wage documents from your employer, video camera footage of the car accident, photographs of your injuries, and property damage photographs
  • Assembling all these documents into a settlement demand package and drafting a settlement demand letter for the insurance company to review
  • Aggressively negotiating with insurance company representatives and pursuing the highest amount of compensation available by highlighting the strengths of your case, downplaying any weaknesses, and pointing to specific pieces of evidence that are favorable to your case.
  • Filing a lawsuit and litigating your case in the state court system.
  • Representing you during all litigation proceedings, including a discovery deposition, settlement conference, and civil jury trial
  • Weighing ADR options, including mediation and binding arbitration, and representing you at these legal proceedings
  • Answering all your questions throughout your case so that you can make difficult decisions that are in your best interest rather than the insurance company's.

How Much Money Can I Recover for Car Accident Injuries?

The monetary compensation a car accident victim may be eligible to recover will depend upon the extent of their medical treatment, the overall cost, and the nature of their physical and mental injuries.

Car Accident Injuries

Some of the most common monetary damages that accident victims may receive include lost income, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, permanent disfigurement or disability, long-term care costs, loss of spousal consortium and companionship, past and future pain and suffering, mental distress, inconvenience, lost quality of life, and loss of the ability to use a body part.

With their legal knowledge and experience, your attorney can predict the different kinds of compensation you may receive for your injuries. They'll work with you to set realistic expectations about your case's worth in a settlement or court decision.

This includes considering factors like medical bills, lost income, and the pain and suffering you've experienced, ensuring a clear picture of the potential financial recovery.

Speak to a Knowledgeable Car Accident Lawyer Today 

When you're looking for the right Chicago personal injury lawyer, you must ask them the right questions to ensure you have the best one for your case.

Your lawyer will handle all the legal aspects, allowing you to concentrate on your recovery. They'll work diligently to ensure you receive the full monetary compensation you need and deserve to cover the losses from your accident, giving you the peace of mind to focus on getting better while they work hard.

David Abels Author Image

David Abels

Partner

David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.

Author's Bio

You Might Be Also Interested In

What to do after a…

Despite the many well-known dangers of drunk driving, many individuals still choose to get behind the wheel of…

View Post

Fighting the Insurance Company After…

Car accidents and injuries frequently occur when drivers are negligent and reckless. In these circumstances, accident victims may…

View Post

Where Do Car Accidents Most…

Chicago car accidents may happen in various locations, from parking lots and garages to major interstate highways like…

View Post