When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney
Car accidents are a daily occurrence in the U.S. and affect millions of Americans every year. While minor fender benders or accidents resulting in damages less than $500 probably do not warrant the help of a car accident attorney to recover losses, you will want to think about utilizing the expertise of an accident lawyer if you are offered little or no compensation for your damages, if your damages are significant, or if you have been part of a personal injury accident.
If you are involved in a car accident where you sustain personal injury or significant damages to your vehicle, you will want to seriously consider hiring a car accident lawyer. An auto accident lawyer can help you recover losses by negotiating with insurance claims adjustors and/or taking your case to court. While you may choose to negotiate with an insurance claims adjustor yourself, remember that claims adjustors are trained to settle your claim for as little money as possible. Also, once you accept money from an insurance company, your claim is settled and there is little an attorney can do at that point to recover more money if your injuries are more extensive than you originally thought.
Keep in mind that insurance claims adjustors record conversations and try to establish liability and limit damages. A car accident lawyer is experienced in negotiating with insurance companies; therefore, it is best to consult a car accident lawyer early to avoid financially painful mistakes. Also, people who utilize a car accident lawyer typically receive higher settlements than people who negotiate their own claims—even after paying legal expenses.
Paying an attorney is a concern that many car accident victims worry about. Most attorneys will take car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. That means that you do not have to pay the attorney upfront as the attorney will receive a percentage of the money they recover for you—usually 1/3 of the amount awarded to you. This provides accident lawyers with tremendous motivation to be an effective advocate for you in the settlement of your insurance claim or car accident case. It is important to be aware that contingency fees do not cover costs of litigation and you will be responsible to pay your car accident attorney for things including, but not limited to copies, expert witness expenses, filing costs, and court reporter fees for depositions.
It is important to contact a car accident lawyer soon after your auto accident so they can speak to your insurance company on your behalf, protect your rights, and inform you of the options you have to receive the money entitled to you for your damages and/or injuries. Also, you may need money to pay medical bills and cover lost wages—the sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you can financially recover from your car accident. Contacting a car accident attorney promptly after an accident will also help you avoid missing out on just compensation due to statutes of limitations, or deadlines (which vary from state to state), that prevent you from making a claim. It is, therefore, in your best interest to contact a car accident attorney sooner than later so they can help you obtain the recovery you are entitled to.