If you were injured in a car accident, you should retain a car accident lawyer (personal injury lawyer) right away. Retaining counsel immediately is important for a number of reasons. First, retaining counsel will save you time and in most cases money. You will be able to concentrate on your recovery. You won't have to deal with insurance companies, police reports, etc. You will be able to focus on what is most important – your health. Second, you lawyer will investigate the scene of the accident (if the circumstance permit), preserve evidence, which may be crucial for your case, and locate witnesses.
Most car accident lawyers will take your case on a contingency basis. Contingency fee agreements are favored by clients because the client does not have to pay anything unless the lawyer recovers a sum of money. If you were seriously injured, your lawyer will obtain expert reports and if necessary expert testimony in order to prove the severity of your injuries. It is crucial to retain a lawyer immediately after an accident.
An insurance company may approach an unrepresented injured person and offer him/her a settlement and release. You may think that the settlement amount is acceptable; however, in most cases, you are likely entitled to more money than what you were offered by the insurance company. Do not sign any settlement agreements or releases before you consult with a car accident/personal injury lawyer. Insurance companies will often try to offer low settlements to unrepresented parties. These settlements are often not commensurate with the injuries suffered.
Frequently asked questions
I just got into an accident and I am injured. What should I do now?
A: Get medical care/treatment immediately.
When should I hire a lawyer?
A: Immediately. It is important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible because he/she will be able to investigate the car accident scene, preserve evidence, locate witnesses, deal with insurance companies, opposing parties, etc.
Q: My insurance company offered a settlement. Should I accept it?
A: Consult a lawyer before you sign any settlement and/or release. Settlement agreements are usually accompanies by Release of Claims agreements/forms. If you sign them, you may relinquish all of your claims with respect to this car accident (even claims that you may not have been aware of or claims that have not yet accrued).
Q: How much do car accident lawyers charge?
A: It varies but typically lawyers take car accident cases on a contingency basis. Fees vary based on the state you are in, how complex the case is, etc. Generally, lawyers charge 30%-33% of the total recovery plus any cost and expenses.
Authored by: Aneliya Angelova