After a car accident, it’s important to make sure that the insurance company takes your actual needs into account. They should compensate you for the actual damages you have faced due to your injuries, not just the amount that the insurance company wants to pay out.
If someone else’s negligence caused your accident and your injuries, that party’s insurance company should pay for your damages. Unfortunately, many car accident victims find a fight ahead of them as they seek the compensation they really deserve for their injuries. Working with a lawyer is always a good idea.
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer for a car accident? Hiring a lawyer may cost less than you think. Often, personal injury lawyers, including car accident lawyers, will work with you to arrive at a payment arrangement that fits your needs.
Your First Step: A Free Consultation
Do you have questions about your car accident, like how much compensation you should expect for your injuries or what type of auto insurance the liable party carries, and what that might mean for you?
Do you want to know what you should do in response to a settlement offer?
Do you have questions about the process for filing a personal injury claim after a car accident and whether hiring a lawyer could benefit your claim?
You can start by scheduling a free consultation with a car accident lawyer. The lawyer will review your case, let you know if they can assist you with your claim, and talk to you about the next steps. Most personal injury lawyers start with a free consultation before they agree to take on a case.
A free consultation offers several benefits:
1. It allows you to get some of your initial questions answered.
A free consultation will not provide you with all the answers you need to handle a car accident claim on your own, but it can provide you with much-needed insights that can make it easier to decide on your next steps after an accident. During your free consultation, a lawyer can provide general advice, offer a brief assessment of the strength of your case and the compensation you may be able to expect for your injuries, or offer an overview of what services the lawyer can offer and why they might benefit you after your accident.
2. During your free consultation, you can determine whether you want to work with the attorney.
You can always schedule consultations with more than one attorney before determining which one you want to work with on your personal injury claim. A free consultation does not mean you must work with that attorney if you move forward with your personal injury claim. In fact, you may find, during your free consultation, that a specific lawyer is not a good fit for your specific needs.
That lawyer might, for example, not handle car accident claims specifically, or might not handle claims in the geographic area where you need to file. You might also discover that the attorney simply is not a good personality fit with you or that the attorney has too heavy a workload to take on your claim.
At the end of a free consultation, you will know the attorney that you have considered to handle your claim much better, which will help you determine your next steps on the road to seeking compensation.
3. The attorney will have a chance to determine whether they can take your case.
Like you, attorneys have a choice about whether to take on a case, and a free consultation does not guarantee that an attorney will agree to represent you. An attorney will also determine during the initial consultation whether your case is a good fit for the law firm and whether the attorney and law firm will offer a good fit for you and your needs.
What type of claim do you have, and does it fit the experience and priorities of the firm?
During your free consultation, use the opportunity to ask the attorney about their experience, and the experience of the other attorneys in the firm. Has the attorney handled similar cases in the past? What were the outcomes of those cases? Firms are often willing to provide client testimonials or references. Try to get a feel for how experienced the attorney is in handling claims like yours. The more experienced an attorney is in the relevant area of the law, the more likely it is they will be able to help you reach a successful resolution of your case.
Can the lawyer offer benefit to your claim?
A reputable attorney will typically not take a case unless they feel they can offer a benefit to their client in some way: usually, that they can help the client acquire more in compensation than the client could acquire alone, without the help of a lawyer. Working with a lawyer can offer numerous advantages in a personal injury claim, but if a lawyer feels they will not be helpful to you, they may decline to take your case.
A lawyer may also decline to take your case if they believe that you cannot win due to lack of evidence or legal standing, or if they feel that it will not offer sufficient compensation for the firm to take on the claim. Since many lawyers take their fees as a percentage of the compensation they ultimately recover for their clients, a lawyer who does not feel they can obtain sufficient compensation as part of a claim may decline to take it.
Contingency Fees and How They Impact Your Legal Costs
Most personal injury lawyers, instead of assigning a direct dollar amount that you will have to pay to receive legal services, will accept cases on a contingent fee basis, particularly if the lawyer feels that they can recover enough compensation to make the claim worthwhile.
Accepting a case on a contingent fee basis means that, instead of paying upfront for the attorney’s legal services, you will pay the lawyer out of a percentage of the compensation they recover on your claim. Make sure you talk to your lawyer about what is included in the contingency fee cost, since you may need to pay upfront for certain things like court filing costs.
Is Hiring a Lawyer Worth It?
During your free consultation, the attorney will let you know how much their legal services will cost whether there will be any up-front costs to pursue your personal injury claim. While some people are reluctant to part with any portion of their compensation, working with a lawyer may have more financial advantages than you think. Many car accident victims find that working with an attorney increases the compensation they ultimately recover for their injuries even after they pay the legal costs.
#1. An attorney can help you accurately estimate the full compensation you deserve for your car accident injuries.
Car accidents are relatively unusual events in a person’s lifetime. If you have never had to file a personal injury claim after a car accident before, it’s not all that easy to calculate how much compensation you have the right to recover.
Many people accept the initial offer provided by the insurance company without even taking the time to think it through. After all, they assume, insurance companies should provide a fair offer that reflects the compensation they really deserve, right?
Unfortunately, insurance companies often start with a settlement offer that reflects only a small percentage of the compensation car accident victims really deserve. They may even pressure you to accept that offer in the initial phone call or communication, since the longer you take to make a decision, the greater the likelihood that you will realize that the offer does not reflect your needs.
What do your medical bills look like? If you do not have insurance, the cost to repair a broken leg—a relatively simple, commonplace procedure—could run as high as $35,000. Did you have ongoing physical therapy sessions after your accident? You could find yourself paying $350 or more per session. What about your income: Did it take a hit as a result of your injuries? A lawyer can help add up all of your real financial losses so you know how much compensation you should ask for in your claim.
#2. An attorney can collect relevant evidence so that you can prove who was liable for the accident.
Several factors come into play when determining liability after a car accident. First, the other driver’s insurance company may try to claim that you either caused or contributed to the accident in some way, which would reduce their insurance company’s liability for the accident. Your lawyer can help locate evidence that may establish that the other driver caused the accident, which could prevent you from missing out on the compensation you would deserve for your injuries.
Liability also matters in car accident cases because sometimes more than one party may contribute to the accident. Suppose, for example, that your accident involves a commercial driver. A car accident attorney might need to examine the driver’s records and the company’s policies as well as the incident itself. If you get into an accident because of a mechanical failure in either vehicle, a lawyer might examine the circumstances behind that mechanical failure to determine whether the vehicle manufacturer or a mechanic that recently worked on the vehicle might bear partial or even full liability for the accident.
If an attorney can identify multiple liable parties for your accident, it may increase the compensation you can recover for your injuries. Since you want to make sure you can recover as much compensation as possible after your accident, this step can prove critical to successfully resolving your claim.
#3. An attorney can negotiate with the insurance company and manage vital communications on your behalf.
Dealing with a personal injury claim can be incredibly complicated. Little things can make a big difference in the compensation you ultimately recover. In every communication with the insurance company, the insurance company may look for information that could reduce the compensation you deserve, from trying to get you to accept even a little bit of the liability for the accident to trying to catch you engaging in activities your injuries should prevent you from enjoying.
An attorney knows all the tricks used by the insurance company and every way the insurance company may attempt to reduce the compensation you can recover. When you turn over your negotiations to the lawyer, you can avoid pitfalls that could prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve.
Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you suffered injuries in a car accident, or if you have found yourself struggling to get the compensation you deserve from the insurance company, a lawyer can help. Contact a car accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible to learn more about your rights.