After a car accident, expect to face resistance when you fight for the compensation you deserve. An insurance company may use several tactics to limit its financial liability for your losses. You may also expect a long road to recovery, which may require several doctor visits, lots of rest, and a doctor’s order to avoid stress.
These challenges lead many car accident victims to hire a car accident attorney. Having a lawyer on your side can simplify your post-accident reality. Your lawyer will manage every detail of your insurance claim or lawsuit, taking several duties off your plate.
What to Expect From Liable Insurance Companies After a Car Accident
Insurance claims are the primary way to get compensation for a car accident. You may deal with your own auto insurer, a third party’s insurer, or both. The details of your accident, state insurance laws, and policy specifics will determine which insurers owe you money.
Some insurers act in good faith, paying accident victims what they deserve. Often, though, liable insurers will:
Wrongfully Accuse Individuals of Causing a Car Accident
Insurance coverage is tied directly to who causes a car accident in many states. If an insurer can prove you caused an accident, it may gain financially—perhaps saving a large sum of money.
You may prevent an insurer from falsely accusing you of fault by:
- Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer who will gather evidence proving you did not cause the collision
- Not making any recorded statements to insurance representatives until you hire an attorney (because insurers can use your words against you)
- Writing down your account of the accident before your memory fades
- Following your attorney’s advice
Your attorney will prove fault for your car accident. However, proceed with caution. If insurance representatives or anyone else asks about the accident, refer them to your lawyer.
Deny a Claim Without Justification
Believe it or not, some car accident victims accept a denied claim without fighting back. Don’t let this be you.
If an insurance company denies your claim, hire a lawyer to demand reconsideration by the insurance company.
Undervalue the Cost of an Accident Victim’s Losses
Even if an insurance company accepts financial responsibility for your losses, it may:
- Claim that certain injuries existed before the accident (and therefore are not the insurer’s financial responsibility)
- Argue that certain medical care was not necessary but instead elective (and therefore not covered by insurance)
- Contest the monetary value of your covered losses
- Argue that certain losses are not covered by your policy (or the at-fault motorist’s policy)
Every dollar counts to insurers, just as every dollar matters to you. If an insurer can save even a modest amount of money by underpaying you, it may do so. Your lawyer will hold insurance companies to their policies.
Drag Out Negotiations
An insurer may drag its feet. If the insurer believes you are financially desperate, it may delay your claim, hoping you’ll accept a lowball settlement offer.
Your attorney will:
- Demand that insurers process your claim in a reasonable timeframe
- Initiate settlement negotiations
- Explain that they will go to court if the insurer does not issue a fair offer
- Move forward with a lawsuit, if necessary
Insurance companies look out for themselves. It makes sense to hire a car accident lawyer to look out for you.
What Can I Expect When I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
When you let a car accident lawyer lead your claim or lawsuit, you should expect:
No Upfront Attorney’s Fee
Most car accident lawyers use contingency fees, which:
- You do not pay upfront
- The law firm only collects if they secure a settlement or verdict for you
- Comes out of your financial recovery rather than your own pocket
It is called a contingency fee because it is contingent on the law firm getting money for you. If your lawyer does not secure compensation for you, the law firm does not receive payment. This ensures that you and your law firm have equal motivation to win your case.
Full Financial Support from the Law Firm
Your lawyer and law firm will cover the entire cost of your case, including the cost of:
- Case-related transportation (to the accident scene, court dates, and any other case-related appointments)
- Experts’ fees
- Digital or physical reconstructions of the accident
- Filing fees
- Any other case-related costs
You can afford the cost of completing a claim or lawsuit. With a law firm covering the upfront cost of your case, you don’t have to build your case on a budget.
Your Lawyer to Handle Every Step of Your Case
When you hire a lawyer, they will take over your claim wherever it stands, and they will oversee the claims or legal process through the completion of your case.
Regular Updates from Your Lawyer
Your lawyer should communicate actively about your case, which means:
- Informing you of any settlement offers insurance companies provide
- Providing periodic updates, even if no major developments have occurred
- Being available to answer your phone calls, text messages, and emails
- Providing detailed, honest answers to your questions
- Ensuring you are comfortable with the handling of your case
Car accident lawyers typically have paralegals and other support staff to assist with your case. If your lawyer is in court or working with another client, their support staff will ensure you get the updates and answers you need.
To Focus on Your Recovery With Peace of Mind
Recovery should be a top priority for every car accident victim. You may need to visit doctors, rest, rehabilitate injuries, and undergo other medical services while juggling the same responsibilities you had before the accident.
You do not have the time, energy, or mental stamina to handle an investigation, settlement negotiations, or the other demands of a car accident case. This is yet another reason to always hire a lawyer to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Your Lawyer Will Seek Compensation for All Accident-Related Damages
Car accidents vary in speed, impact force, and many other factors. Naturally, each car accident victim has different injuries and damages, so your lawyer will complete a detailed, personalized account of your losses.
Your lawyer may identify your recoverable damages as:
- Medical costs: Healthcare costs are one of the most common damages among car accident victims. Your attorney will work with your doctors to evaluate your injuries and identify treatment costs.
- Professional damages (including lost income): Your lawyer will consider lost income, lost earning power, missed chances for bonuses and promotions, and any other professional damages from your accident.
- Pain and suffering: Your lawyer will seek fair compensation for physical pain, emotional anguish, psychological distress, lost quality of life, depression, anxiety, and other pain and suffering from your accident.
- Mental health services: If you must take medications, go to therapy, or seek any other treatment for pain and suffering, your lawyer will include treatment costs in your case.
- Temporary transportation: Expect your attorney to include temporary transportation costs (ridesharing, rental vehicles, or otherwise) in your claim or lawsuit.
- Property repair or replacement: Your attorney will calculate the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and other damaged property. They will include these property costs in your settlement valuation.
Attorneys use the per diem or multiplier method to calculate pain and suffering. Such non-economic costs do not have an obvious financial cost, but lawyers know how to assign a fair value to such damages.
Recoverable Damages in Fatal Car Accident Cases
Nearly 43,000 people died in American motor vehicle accidents last year, and we must assume that most of those victims had loved ones.
Losing a loved one can be devastating in multiple ways, as wrongful deaths cause:
- Grief and other types of pain and suffering: Grief produces psychological and emotional symptoms and can even produce physical symptoms like fatigue, trembling, and sleep problems. Your lawyer will work with mental health professionals to identify your symptoms of pain and suffering and value any treatment you need for your grief.
- Loss of consortium: This damage can account for lost companionship (for a spouse), lost guidance and support (for a child who has lost a parent), and other non-economic harm resulting from a loved one’s passing.
- Lost financial support: If you or other loved ones relied on the decedent’s income, you deserve replacement compensation. Generally, a lawyer will seek to replace the decedent’s income through their retirement age.
- Loss of the decedent’s household services: Many decedents completed handiwork, helped with chores, provided security, lent financial advice, and performed other household services before passing away. Your attorney will consider such services as they fight for your financial recovery.
- Funeral expenses, medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other one-time costs: Your attorney will include these bills in your settlement demands.
The cost of human life is immense, and your lawyer will work for a financial recovery that reflects the person you have lost.
When Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
Hire a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a wreck.
If you wait to hire your lawyer, you may:
- Miss the filing deadline: Your lawyer may face a deadline to file a lawsuit. This deadline must remain open, as your lawyer may need to file a lawsuit. Once the deadline expires, you may not be eligible to seek the money you deserve.
- Lose critical evidence: Some evidence, including traffic camera footage and witness accounts, is not permanent. Your lawyer will work to obtain these key types of evidence as quickly as possible. If you wait to hire your lawyer, such evidence may no longer be available.
- Spend more time worrying about your claim or lawsuit: Once you hire an attorney, you can sleep easy knowing they are leading your case. Until you hire an attorney, you may worry about the status of your claim or lawsuit. The sooner you hire your lawyer, the sooner you can remove your case from the list of things to worry about.
Attorneys know that car accidents happen every day. They have staffers ready to review your case and begin the intake process. There is no reason to wait to hire a lawyer; you risk far much more if you wait any longer to retain an attorney.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Seek a law firm with experience in car accident cases, positive client reviews, and impressive case results. You should also gauge your interaction with the firm during your free consultation, which will tell you about its client service (or lack thereof).
Find and hire your personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, and let them fight for the compensation you deserve.