Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
In many cases, a person in a car accident may be able to handle an accident claim without the help of an auto accident attorney. This is especially true when the accident is a minor fender bender and any injuries are minimal.
However, when serious or permanent injuries occur, hiring a car accident lawyer is often the best way to increase your compensation after a crash.
Numerous studies have shown that people who have sustained personal injuries are more likely to get compensation — and get more compensation — when a lawyer represents them.
Family members who have lost loved ones in fatal crashes should also consider hiring a car accident attorney to handle a wrongful death claim. In many cases, traffic deaths are preventable. A car accident lawyer can help ensure that careless drivers pay the price for their negligence.
Insurance companies are known to offer accident victims skimpy settlement offers. They may tell a person that the offer is the most they can pay, even when that is not true.
The best car accident lawyers are not only skilled investigators and litigators, but they are expert negotiators, too.
A car accident lawyer can also help when a defective vehicle causes a crash. A TeslaTM accident lawsuit alleges that the electric car maker knew about problems with its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving systems but misled consumers about the safety and capabilities of these technologies.
On February 16, 2023, Tesla recalled nearly 363,000 cars with its Full Self-Driving system after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the software increased the risk of accidents.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Once you hire a car accident attorney, the lawyer can take these basic steps:
- Review the details of your motor vehicle accident and determine cause and fault.
- Attempt to reach a settlement with all involved parties.
- File a lawsuit on your behalf if a settlement is not possible.
- Collect evidence during a period known as discovery to show that another driver caused the accident and your injuries.
- Try to reach a settlement again.
- Argue your case in front of a judge and jury. The jury will determine who is responsible for the accident and how much compensation you get.
While all car accident claims are unique, almost all settle before they get to court. A settlement can occur at any point in the legal process, including during a trial.
Car accident lawyers typically prefer settlements because clients get paid faster, and they are not as risky as trials.
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
A car accident attorney can always take your case to trial if the insurance company refuses to budge and offer you a reasonable amount of money for your injuries.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
After a car accident, the most important thing to remember is to get the medical care that you need. Even if you feel fine immediately after a crash, pay attention to your body. It is not unusual for people to notice physical or mental injuries days or weeks after an accident.
A medical report documents your injuries and links them to the collision.
Here are some other steps to take after a car accident:
- Call for help: If you or someone else is injured, call 9-1-1. Emergency personnel can provide medical care at the scene and transport accident victims to the nearest hospital. Additionally, it can be beneficial to have a police report noting how the accident happened and what the injuries were.
- Collect evidence: Use your cellphone to take pictures or videos of the accident scene, but only if your injuries permit you to do so. Take photos of road signs, license plates, and skid marks. And snap pictures that show where the cars are in relation to the street or intersection. Collect contact information for any witnesses. This evidence can be crucial in proving fault.
- Contact a lawyer: A car accident attorney can fight to recover maximum compensation for an accident. Insurance companies are notorious for using tactics to deny or underpay valid insurance policy claims. With a car accident lawyer on your side, you will have a better chance of obtaining the money you and your family need and deserve.
What Are the Most Common Injuries in a Car Accident?
Car accident injuries are a type of personal injury that can range from bruises from deployed airbags to catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injuries, brain damage, and even death.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that nearly 43,000 people died in car accidents in 2021 — a 10.5% jump from the previous year.
NHTSA also found significant increases in speeding-related crashes, drunk-driving accidents, trucking accidents, and motorcyclist, bicyclist, and pedestrian fatalities.
Crash reports also show that certain age groups are more prone to motor vehicle deaths. For example, car accidents are a leading cause of death among teen drivers.
An accident victim’s specific injuries typically depend on the type of motor vehicle accident. For example, people in rollover accidents are prone to head and neck injuries while those in head-on collisions face a high death rate.
- Broken bones
- Organ damage
- Permanent scarring
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Wrongful death
Of course, vehicle safety interventions such as seat belt use not only save lives but can minimize certain traffic crash injuries.
Sadly, car accident injuries can cause permanent impairment and affect a person’s quality of life. Bills for medical care, physical therapy, and other expenses can be staggering, especially when an injury prevents a person from working.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury in a motor vehicle crash, our team at LawFirm.com may be able to help. Call us today at (888) 726-9160 for a free case review. A case manager will listen to your story and connect you with one of the car accident lawyers in our network if you qualify.
Who’s Responsible for My Car Accident?
After a car accident, many people want to know who is responsible for the accident and their damages. Sometimes the answer is obvious. For example, a motorist who slams into the back of a passenger vehicle stopped at a red light is more likely than not responsible for the accident.
However, liability can be unclear, such as when many vehicles are involved.
Generally speaking, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying for damages caused by the accident through their insurance company. However, some states have laws that parcel out a percentage of responsibility to each driver who contributed to the accident.
It is not unusual for drivers to disagree about who is to blame for a car accident. And an auto insurance company looking to dodge a big payout may say that you are responsible for an accident, even when the evidence indicates otherwise, and deny your insurance claim.
This is where a skilled personal injury lawyer comes in. A car accident attorney can help prove that the other driver is responsible for your accident and negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you get a fair settlement.
When Should I Hire a Car Accident Injury Lawyer?
It is best to team up with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. If you wait too long, you or a key eyewitness might forget important details about the accident or evidence could be lost.
Additionally, you only have a specific window of time to file a car accident lawsuit. Each state has a law known as the statute of limitations that indicates how long car accident victims have to file a lawsuit. While most states have 2-3 year windows, some have a 1-year deadline.
Time is even shorter if you are suing a government agency for a dangerous roadway condition that caused or contributed to your crash.
Once the statute of limitations expires, you lose your opportunity to recover financial compensation for your injuries.
Your best bet is to speak with a car accident attorney as soon as possible. A car accident lawyer can tell you about the statute of limitations in your state and whether you qualify for any exceptions that could extend that deadline. Then the attorney can take steps to protect your legal rights.
If you are ready to take the first step in safeguarding your legal rights, contact our team at LawFirm.com. A case manager will ask you some questions about your accident and put you in touch with a top car accident lawyer if you meet certain criteria.
Which Car Accident Attorneys Are the Best?
Indeed, when searching for a car accident lawyer for yourself or a loved one, you want the best.
While there is no such thing as the best car accident attorney, car accident lawyers who get the best results for clients typically have these traits:
How Do I Find an Attorney for a Car Accident?
The weeks and months following a catastrophic car crash are never easy. You may wonder how you will get around without a car, pay your medical bills, and be healthy enough to return to work.
However, LawFirm.com can make one aspect of the process easier — helping you find a good lawyer if you decide to take that route.
We encourage you to contact our team for a free, no-obligation case review. A case manager can connect you with a top car accident attorney if you qualify.
FAQs About Auto Accidents
How long does it take to get compensation from a car accident?
It can take weeks to years to get compensation for a car accident.
If you hire a car accident attorney to negotiate a settlement on your behalf, you could have a check to cash in a few weeks or months. It all depends on how often your car accident lawyer has to go back and forth with the insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement. You can be sure your attorney will fight to maximize your payment and work to minimize any delays.
Of course, if the insurance company refuses to offer you the money you deserve, your car accident lawyer can face off against the company’s attorneys in court. But unfortunately, it can take years for a car accident lawsuit to make its way to a courtroom.
You can speak with a car accident lawyer about how long you can expect to wait for your settlement money.
Do insurance companies pay out for whiplash?
Yes, insurance companies do pay on whiplash claims.
Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when a person’s head is suddenly whipped backward and then forward. People in rear-end car accidents often suffer whiplash.
While most cases of whiplash get better on their own, more severe cases can result in chronic neck pain and limited range of motion.
Settlements for whiplash typically depend on the severity of injury. Some whiplash settlements reported by law firms include:
- $200,000 to a man rear-ended at a red light
- $87,000 to a woman injured while riding as a passenger in a taxi
- $75,000 to a woman rear-ended by a drunk driver
Proving whiplash can be challenging as the insurance company will likely deny the claim or argue that your injury is not as severe as you say. However, a skilled car accident lawyer can help you build a solid case and obtain reasonable compensation.
What type of attorney handles car accidents?
Personal injury attorneys handle cases where one party has been harmed because of another party’s negligence. They can handle a wide range of cases, including auto accident, slip-and-fall, and medical malpractice cases.
Personal injury attorneys specializing in car accident cases are known as car accident lawyers.
While most attorneys can negotiate a car accident settlement, it is to your advantage to partner with a lawyer who focuses on this type of case.
Car accident lawyers are best suited to maximize settlements for clients. They know how to build a solid case and deal with individual car insurance companies to get you the highest payout possible. They also have access to valuable resources such as accident reconstructionists and insurance industry experts.
Do I need a lawyer for a car accident settlement?
No, you do not need an attorney for a car accident settlement. Most times, people involved in minor fender benders can negotiate a car accident claim on their own.
However, if you sustained injuries in an accident, it is a good idea to consult with a car accident lawyer. Most car accident attorneys, including the ones in the LawFirm.com network, provide free consultations, so you have nothing to lose.
Additionally, you should probably speak with a car accident lawyer if any of the following were involved in your accident:
- Defective vehicle
- Drunk driver
- Hit-and-run driver
- Road construction
- Road defect
- Tractor-trailer or other commercial truck
- Uninsured motorist
- Wrongful death
Contact our team at LawFirm.com for a free case review. One of our case managers can put you in touch with a top car accident lawyer if you qualify.