Motor Vehicle Accidents Law

How to Find the Right Car Accident Attorney

Those who are hurt in a car accident may find that their lives are changed forever. It may not be possible to go back to work or partake in activities they used to enjoy. And they may also find the legal system and hiring an attorney intimidating.

But hiring a lawyer may make it easier to:

  • Hold the at-fault driver responsible
  • Make insurance companies pay you the compensation you deserve

What to Look for in a Car Accident Attorney

For a motor vehicle accident, you need to find a lawyer who focuses on "personal injury law" and car accident cases. A car accident attorney will ideally be someone who understands your needs. For instance, if you are settling your case outside of court, you will need a lawyer who is willing to negotiate in good faith. An aggressive approach might not be the best fit for you in this situation.

Those who wish to work closely with their attorney may want to look for someone from a local law firm. Although there is nothing wrong with working with large or national firms, it may be more likely that your case is handed to someone other than you originally meet with. Additionally, a local lawyer may be more well-versed in local laws and statutes.

You will also want a lawyer who is responsive to calls and messages and is generally easy to contact.

Why Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?

A car accident attorney is someone who may be able to protect the rights of an injured accident victim.

Suing After the Accident

Your attorney can help you file a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident. If the person at fault has insurance, you'll likely be suing their insurance company as well. A lawsuit involves the process and paperwork required to sue someone. If you win the case, you win compensation, usually in the form of money.

This compensation, also called a settlement amount, can be used to help cover the costs of medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. You can sometimes win lost wages if you have to miss work due to your injuries.

Filing the Correct Paperwork in Time

A lawyer can help ensure that suits are filed on time before the statute of limitations expires. In the state of New York, for example, accident victims have three years from the date of a car accident to file a lawsuit.

A lawyer can also ensure that the lawsuit names everyone responsible for the accident. They will be called "defendants" in the case. The paperwork can be extensive and needs to be filed correctly.

Keep You Out of Court

An attorney may be able to keep a case from ever seeing a courtroom if that's what you prefer. Attorneys with a track record of getting results for their clients may have better odds of negotiating a settlement in a case. Settlements are generally preferable to jury verdicts because there is less chance that someone appeals or challenges the final outcome.

Bring Your Case to Court

However, you always have the option of going to trial if a settlement offer doesn't seem to be worth accepting. If you are unable to participate in the legal process actively, legal counsel may be able to do so on your behalf. For example, if you are forced to stay in the hospital, your attorney can talk to witnesses or gather other evidence.

Understanding Auto Accident Lawyer Fees

Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation. They take their attorney fees directly from compensation that your case wins, and you will owe nothing if you do not recover any compensation. This means you have nothing to lose if you speak with an attorney for free and then consider taking your case to court.

Attorney costs can vary based on:

  • The type of case you have
  • Their trial experience
  • A team vs. solo attorney researching the accident and police reports

When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney

If you suffer no injuries, the other driver admits fault, and their insurance company pays you the money that you deserve for damage to your car, then it may not be necessary to hire an attorney.

However, if there is any question as to who may have been at fault, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney. The legal system is complex. An attorney can help guide you through it and protect your rights and interests. If you are hurt because of someone else's negligence, the chances of recovering compensation will increase dramatically if you have an attorney in your corner.