If you or a loved one have sustained significant injuries in a car accident, a lawyer can help you get a larger settlement. According to a report published by the Insurance Report Council in 2014, accident victims who had car accident attorneys received 3.5x larger settlements than those who settled without a lawyer. An accident is a devastating affair, causing injury, pain, property damage, or even death. That’s why having an attorney to handle your lawsuit is a must!
“Can’t I negotiate with the insurers myself?”
Technically, you can, but the real question is: should you? Especially, if you don’t have any knowledge or experience in the legal field. Most of the time, car accident attorneys represent accident victims on a contingency basis. Meaning you pay nothing in terms of fees to the lawyer until they can get you a settlement.
Most lawyers in the US charge between 30-35% of the settlement amount if they’re able to get a settlement before the case goes to court and 40% if they have to go to trial. While you can file for a compensation claim yourself, keep in mind that insurance adjusters would look for every opportunity to give you a lower amount.
Insurance companies are businesses, and to make profits, they often delay processes to either frustrate you or find loopholes in your claim. No matter what insurance carriers say, they are not on your side, and it is especially true if you’re dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance provider. To prevent being undercut or totally denied of your claim, always have a lawyer do the negotiations on your behalf.
2 ways to find the best car crash lawyer for larger settlements
Now that you have a good idea about why it’s wise to hire a lawyer instead of trying to do everything alone, we have some tips for you to get started. Here are some tips on how to find and hire the best auto accident attorney in your area:
- Ask for referrals
To begin, you can ask your family or friends if they have contacts of any lawyer or if they have personally availed of their services. Referrals are a great way to find someone quickly as it shows the lawyer has happy clients. Plus, going to someone via a referral also takes away the initial doubts and hesitations regarding the lawyer’s competency and experience that some may have.
- Look up online
Doing a quick google search will reveal a list of available lawyers in your area that specialize in car accident settlement cases. You can conduct interviews with some of them to see if they’re the right fit. Be cautious though, “top-rated” doesn’t always mean the best for your requirements, so only hire someone if you’re reasonably satisfied with their qualification and experience.
“How will having a lawyer give me an edge?”
- Determine the worth of your case
There’s no point pursuing a case if it’s not worth it. So, the first thing a lawyer would do is give you a relatively accurate estimation of how much money your settlement is potentially worth. In case of minor injuries, you can do without the help of a lawyer because the outcome is predictable. For injuries and damages that are significant, legal counsel is a must. Without it, you run the risk of seriously jeopardizing the case.
- Examine the full extent of your injuries
You wouldn’t know how much you deserve in a settlement if you’re unaware of the full extent of the injuries. As a car crash victim, you’d likely be paying a fortune in medical expenses and miss out on work for a significant amount of time. To get you compensated appropriately, a capable attorney will have you thoroughly examined by their medical professional to account for both present and future medical needs.
The level of pain and suffering a car collision causes is the biggest determinant of the settlement amount you’re likely to get. So, it’s crucial that you maintain a record of all the treatment you go through and the costs involved. Only then will your lawyer be able to understand the full extent of your compensation rights during the negotiation with the claims adjuster.
- Prevent you from committing any blunder
Be it while dealing with the insurance adjusters or presenting yourself in court, you must be extremely careful about what you say and do. Without a lawyer, you might inadvertently give out some information that can be used against you. You can be sure that if the matter ends up in court, lawyers of both the defendant and the insurance company will try their best to show you as the “at-fault” party, or at the very least, try to dodge accountability.
- Negotiate on your behalf
Most accident settlement claims never make it to court because it means a lot of hassles for all the parties involved. To get compensated fairly, you need a lawyer who knows how to negotiate with the insurance adjusters. They can present your side of the story accurately and in a manner that boosts your chances of getting the maximum amount in settlement.
- Initiate a litigation
If a settlement cannot be reached between the parties, then a capable lawyer wouldn’t hesitate to file a lawsuit. You don’t want to hire anyone who doesn’t have any courtroom experience because confidence goes a long way in proving who’s right and who’s wrong. You definitely do not want to end up inside a courtroom without legal representation!
Whom not to hire?
With so many lawyers available around you, it can be tough to find someone capable enough for your individual needs. One point to remember is that you should never hire a lawyer who specializes in too many things. Niching down is always a wise choice in this case because a lawyer who specializes in a specific area will always get better results for their clients than those who don’t.