One of the first decisions that a car accident victim must make after the crash is whether they intend to pursue financial compensation. After that, they will consider hiring a lawyer for their case. If there is even a possibility that someone else is to blame for your accident, you should try to get money for your injuries.
If you do try, you need an experienced car accident lawyer as you go through the legal process. Otherwise, you will take a complicated process upon yourself at a tough time in your life.
Why Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer Is a Must
Some people try to handle car accident claims without legal representation, and they might not even realize how much money they are leaving on the table. Some car accident victims think they are saving money by not paying legal fees, but this is usually not the case.
You can hire a car accident attorney without paying hourly fees by entering into a contingency fee agreement. Although the fee structure promotes helping accident victims hire lawyers, lawyers will receive part of your settlement or jury award as payment for their efforts. Still, after legal fees, your settlement will likely be more than if you tried to handle the claim without legal representation.
If you wonder whether getting a lawyer is worth it, you should consider what may happen if you do not have an attorney.
Here are some of the risks that you may face:
The insurance company may deny your claim because you have not put forth sufficient proof (or the insurance company thinks they can push you around)
You can settle your claim for a fraction of its value because you never knew the amount of money that you really deserve
You can end up with nothing when the facts and the law were on your side
What Car Accident Attorneys Do Once You Hire Them
A car accident lawyer performs many roles for you once you hire them.
Their early roles for you are:
They are investigators who will gather proof that can help show who was responsible for the accident and determine the cause of the crash. You may not have the knowledge or physical health to perform these functions right after a car accident.
They are a counselor who is there to answer your questions and explain the legal process that you will deal with to get compensation.
They are your protector who will keep the insurance company at bay when they try to pressure you into giving a statement or quickly settling your case for next to nothing.
They are your guide who will help you get organized for dealing with the claims process.
A Car Accident Attorney Will Handle Your Claim
As your case progresses, your lawyer will continue to perform several vital roles. Car accident claims involve details and plenty of them. It will be difficult for you to keep paperwork, processes, and deadlines straight. You already have your hands full dealing with your physical injuries. While your case is about far more than details, having help with them is invaluable.
Preparing your claim or lawsuit is one of the essential steps in your case. If your claim is not well-presented and it does not put forward the necessary evidence, there is a chance that the insurance company or court will deny it.
In addition, you also need to know how much to seek in your case. Too many claimants have fallen into the trap of not knowing what they can get and taking far less. An insurance claim attorney will ensure that you have a thorough and well-organized claim or complaint that puts your best foot forward.
Your Lawyer Puts You on Equal Footing With the Insurance Company
Perhaps the most crucial reason to have an attorney is that it levels the playing field between you and the insurance company.
Individuals usually do not get the best of things when dealing with companies that exploit any differences in power between you and them. However, an insurance company does not have authority over your legal rights because those belong to you. Their power comes from the fact that they control the process. When you have an aggressive and experienced advocate, you are on an equal footing with the insurance company.
Imagine, for a second, having to do all of this on your own. The legal process can be complex and involved. The insurance company has mastered detailed and intricate rules over the decades. You may be in the dark about what to do to maximize your financial recovery, and you may not even know the basics of filing a claim or getting your voice heard. It is challenging to handle your legal process, especially when you have never been through it before.
Even though you are the one with the legal rights, you need to be protected because others may try to compromise your rights. At the end of the day, money matters the most to an insurance company. They are willing to step over you and on you to keep as much of it as they can for themselves. They receive premiums from their drivers, and they do not want to pay claims.
When Money Is on the Line, You Need Help
In the end, many car accident claimants and plaintiffs make the right decision to hire an attorney. According to the Insurance Research Council, the number of bodily injury claimants represented by an attorney is slowly rising. The number of represented claimants hovers around 50 percent.
The larger your claim, the more you need an attorney. Even a large payment to you is not enough when you legally deserve money. Thus, if you wonder what a reasonable settlement in a car accident case is, it pays you for your damages. $100,000 can be a great settlement, and $1 million can be a lousy settlement because everything depends on what you legally deserve. An attorney can help maximize your compensation by properly valuing your claim and keeping after the insurance company until it makes an appropriate and fair payment.
It Is Always Worthwhile to Talk to a Lawyer
Always explore your legal options after a car accident. Even if you are unsure whether the other driver was at fault for the accident, it is always worth conversing with an attorney to see whether you may be eligible for financial compensation. Even if you think that you may have been at fault, you may be only partially to blame, or you can be misreading the situation.
A consultation with an experienced car accident attorney does not cost you anything, and there is no obligation attached to it. The worst thing that happens is that several lawyers tell you that they do not think you have a strong case and cannot help you. If that does occur, you have lost nothing.
On the other hand, you can find out that you may be entitled to money for your injuries that you previously did not expect. This informational process is the exact reason why lawyers offer free consultations. You are only risking a small portion of your time with practically everything to gain.
An Attorney Needs to Investigate Your Crash Quickly
Once you sign a representation agreement that forms an attorney-client relationship with a lawyer, they can begin to investigate your car accident. The results of the investigation and the contents of any police report can give you a strong case if you choose to file a legal claim (although you usually cannot enter the police report as evidence in court).
If you learn that you have a potential claim for financial compensation in connection with your car accident, you owe it to yourself and your family to move forward with the claim or lawsuit. In other words, if someone caused your car accident injuries, you absolutely should pursue the money that you deserve.
Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer Costs You Nothing Upfront
If you have a potential compensation claim and an attorney will take your case, the legal process is always worth it. It does not cost you anything. Your lawyer will work for you on a contingency basis. They do not ask you to pay them a large amount of money upfront to take your case.
In fact, they usually do not ask you for any money upfront, and they do not send you bills while the case is pending. If you do not win your case, your lawyer will not bill you for their case. If you gain nothing, you don't lose anything either.
On the other hand, doing nothing when someone may potentially owe you money is the same thing as throwing away money. If you can prove that someone else was to blame for your accident, you have a legal right to financial compensation. Therefore, you should do everything in your power to pursue it. Letting things slide means that you can be leaving money on the table.
The Insurance Company Places Obstacles in Your Path
The legal process is understandably challenging. You may deal with a difficult insurance company or need to go into court, but it beats the alternative. If you do nothing, you are forfeiting the legally deserved money. You might end up in a legal battle, but that is what is sometimes necessary to get financial compensation.
You have two potential pathways to financial compensation after a car accident. The first is going through the insurance claims process. Your auto insurer and the company that insures the other driver will determine who was liable for the crash. If the other driver was responsible, you then begin negotiating financial compensation. This claims process is just the beginning of a long and arduous process for many injured claimants.
Getting Enough Money for Your Claim Is a Challenge
Negotiating compensation with the insurance company is never easy. If you settle your case too quickly, the chances are that they have managed to put one over on you and pay you less than the full amount of your damages. However, that is precisely what many people do, especially when they do not have an attorney. They accept the settlement offer like a decree, taking the check and signing the release.
You have the right to say no to the insurance company’s settlement offer. You can make your counteroffer and continue negotiations to get more money from them. Eventually, you may agree to a settlement that more fairly pays you for your car accident injuries.
Filing a Lawsuit Is Always an Option
If the insurance company denies your claim or will not pay you enough money, you can and should file a lawsuit in court. You do not even need to go through the claims process in the first place, although many car accident victims start here first. You always have the legal right to go directly to court.
A jury will hold the responsible driver accountable if their insurance company does not settle the claim first. In some cases, that is where you have to go to have your legal rights respected and enforced. If the insurance company does not handle business the way it should, you should let them off the hook.
Again, even filing a lawsuit will not cost you any money upfront. You may need to pay a higher percentage of your jury award to an attorney, but a trial is a must when the insurance company denies your claim or when the settlement offer is paltry and the company will not raise it. Then, suing the insurance company is the only way to get the money that should be coming to you.
However, to credibly file a lawsuit in court, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney who knows what to do in the courtroom.
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.