What Questions Should I Ask My Car Accident Attorney?
After a car accident, you need to think about many things. You may not know your next steps or what you need to do to protect your rights, especially when dealing with injuries and recovering.
Take action and immediately contact a car accident attorney for a free consultation.
A free consultation allows you to ask a car accident attorney questions to help you decide how to proceed with the case. The consultation also gives the attorney a chance to get to know the evidence in your case and decide whether they will accept your case.
Before you meet with a car accident lawyer for the first time following a car accident, prepare questions you would want them to answer during the consultation.
Answers to these questions can help you better understand your case and the process moving forward.
Can I Recover Compensation?
To pursue a claim for compensation in a car accident case, you must have a legal basis to file a claim or lawsuit for your damages. If you are a car crash victim, you have the right under the law and an insurance policy in place to seek compensation for your losses arising from the accident.
Typically, when another party is to blame for the crash, you can file a claim with their insurance company as the victim. However, in certain no-fault states jurisdictions, a victim can pursue compensation for certain damages through their own insurance company first.
When you speak to your attorney, ask about what compensation you may recover. In most car accidents, a victim can recover a portion or all of their damages depending on the facts of the case.
A car accident lawyer can help you make sure you seek the maximum compensation possible in your case.
How Much Money Can I Pursue in My Car Accident Case?
If you are eligible for compensation, you will want to know how much money you can receive as part of a settlement or resolution. A car accident attorney cannot predict the exact amount you can receive in a case. However, your lawyer can help you calculate the maximum damages you can pursue.
Calculating damages is often a tedious process that involves collecting evidence of injuries and other losses to prove the amount of money you should receive. Your lawyer can review the evidence in your case to estimate your damages. By calculating your maximum possible damages, your lawyer can use that amount to help you evaluate and make decisions about settlement offers from the insurance company.
Damages you can ask your attorney about in a car accident claim include:
Medical - All costs and expenses related to the medical care, treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries you sustain during the car accident. If you suffer injuries that cause long-term difficulties or permanent damage, you can also seek compensation for the future medical expenses you expect to incur for the remainder of your life.
Income - An accident can upend a day completely, and when you sustain injuries that add additional interruptions to your life, that can cause you to miss work. The more serious the injury, the longer you may be unable to earn an income, and in some cases, when an injury causes a disability, you may no longer be able to work in the future. As part of a car accident claim for damages, you can seek compensation for your income losses, and you may also include future lost income you are likely to suffer.
Pain and suffering - Injuries cause physical pain, but an accident and the injuries you suffer can also have distressing impacts on your emotional and mental well-being. You can seek monetary compensation for these noneconomic damages as part of a claim.
Property damage - The damage to your vehicle is recoverable as part of the property damage portion of a car accident claim. You may also get compensation or reimbursement for a rental if needed following the crash.
Wrongful death - There are instances in which a loved one loses their life tragically because of injuries sustained in a car accident. However, when someone loses their life due to the negligence of another party, certain surviving family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim or action on behalf of their loved one.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Handle My Claim?
It may seem counterintuitive to ask a lawyer whether you need a lawyer to handle your accident claim. Still, the reality is that a car accident attorney can discuss your case with you and offer you straightforward advice about your rights and the compensation you may recover.
A lawyer can also provide more information about how they can approach your claim and what you can expect. Hiring a car accident lawyer to handle an insurance claim is a wise step to protect yourself following an accident.
Insurance companies have lawyers advising and guiding their operations on how to best handle and process a claim. When you go up against an insurer alone, you are at a disadvantage because you may not know the intricacies of car accident laws and how they may apply in your case. Hiring a personal injury attorney gives you the best chance at reaching a resolution to your benefit that seeks the maximum damages possible in your case.
Who Can a Car Accident Lawyer Hold Liable for My Injuries?
Liability in car accidents can involve sets of facts and circumstances that can make it a challenge when determining who is to blame for the crash and who is, in turn, liable for the damages to a victim. When you review your case with your lawyer, you will provide any evidence you have.
In addition, your attorney can also investigate the accident and work to retrieve any other evidence you may not have in your possession. Traffic cam footage, witness testimony, and expert opinions are examples of evidence a lawyer can help you access and use to help prove who is at fault in your case and for your damages.
Insurance companies determine fault according to the evidence they evaluate. Sometimes, a lawyer can dispute a fault determination when it appears incorrect or fails to account for certain evidence provided. The blame for a car crash can fall on one or multiple parties. For example, when a car accident involves multiple vehicles, those drivers may dispute liability.
A car accident lawyer can help you sort through the parties involved and evidence to determine who is potentially liable for your damages so they may file a claim on your behalf with the appropriate insurer or name the proper parties in a lawsuit if necessary.
Does My Case Need to Go to Trial?
Most car accident cases do not go through a lawsuit or a trial. In most cases, a car accident victim will reach an agreeable settlement with the help of their attorney for the compensation of their damages. When the parties can reach a settlement agreement, the claim closes, and no further legal action is necessary to pursue a resolution. However, there are some times when a settlement cannot or does not occur in a case.
If an insurance company disputes fault or does not agree with the damages demanded by a claimant, they may not make a reasonable offer to a victim that resolves the matter during settlement negotiations. If that occurs, the plaintiff can file a lawsuit in court with the assistance of their attorney against the insurer or another liable party.
When a court must decide a case, it will do so following a trial, at which time a verdict will determine whether a victim will receive compensation and for what amount.
Is There a Deadline to Take Action Following a Car Accident?
Every jurisdiction has legal parameters that apply to a plaintiff in a car accident case. A car accident victim cannot hold off indefinitely on taking action for compensation.
The statute of limitations gives a car accident or other personal injury victim a particular window of time in which they must take legal action against a defendant for their damages if they so choose. Once the statute of limitations expires, the victim no longer has a legal basis to pursue compensation against an insurer or other defendant in the case.
A car accident lawyer can answer what the statute of limitations is in your state and how much time remains for you to take legal action against the parties responsible.
How Will I Know Whether to Accept a Settlement Offer?
When you receive a settlement offer from an insurance company, your lawyer must communicate the offer to you. You can then discuss the details of the offer and any additional terms presented by the insurance company. Your lawyer can help you consider the offer and determine whether or not you will accept it.
You will ultimately make the decision on acceptance of a settlement. Still, your lawyer can answer questions and provide valuable insight and recommendations based on the facts of the case and your specific situation.
It is the goal of your car accident lawyer to help you reach a reasonable settlement offer in your case that covers the maximum damages possible.
How Much Do I Need to Pay to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
When you speak to a car accident attorney for the first time, you may feel apprehensive and unsure about what the representation entails and how much it will cost you. It would be best if you asked this question at the outset of your meeting so that you can understand how they will determine your lawyer fees and how you will need to pay them.
Car accident lawyers mostly work on a contingency basis. Under a contingency fee in a car accident case, a lawyer will only charge you for their attorney fees if you receive compensation through a settlement or verdict. You will not be responsible for the lawyer's fees if the case is unsuccessful. It is always best to discuss fees at the outset of hiring a lawyer.
What Are the Steps I Should Take After the Crash?
The moments after a car crash are tense and filled with uncertainty. Many questions can be up in the air, such as what will happen to your injuries and how you will pay for your damages. A car accident lawyer can help alleviate some of the pressures and stress following a crash, but if you are looking for how you can help, they can guide you on actionable steps to make a positive impact on your case.
Fulfill the Demands of Your Recovery
The most important thing you can do following a car accident is to continue with your medical treatment and recovery plan.
Even if you face unexpected setbacks or frustrating diagnoses, you must meet the obligations of your recovery and healing by attending your follow-up appointments, following the doctor's orders, and going to rehabilitation and physical therapy if necessary.
Gather All Evidence in Your Possession
Another easy way that you can help your lawyer as they build your claim and case is to collect all information, paperwork, and possible evidence you have and provide it to them.
Although a personal injury lawyer in San Diego can track down the evidence necessary, if you already have some of the vital information in your possession, it can help them get a leg up on the process or streamline their strategy.