Most personal injury cases involve car accidents. As a result, personal injury lawyers handle these cases daily. Experience is an excellent indicator of how well-versed an attorney is in the legal process that allows you to recover the losses you suffered after a devastating car accident. You can find out more by scheduling a free consultation where you can ask all the questions you want about the details of your case and the lawyer’s professional credentials.
When Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
Car accidents do not always result in a lawsuit. For example, suppose you were rear-ended at low speed and only sustained minor property damage. In that case, you can probably file an insurance claim and get the compensation you need to fix your vehicle with little pushback from the insurer. However, some instances call for the help of a legal professional:
- You received a denial of benefits from the insurance company for a valid claim.
- The insurance company uses bad faith tactics, such as delaying an investigation into your accident or ignoring your communication attempts.
- You suffered severe injuries with substantial medical bills and increasing lost wages.
- You are very close to the statute of limitations deadline for filing a lawsuit.
- The at-fault driver claims you were at fault when you know you were not.
After you have a free consultation with a car accident lawyer, they will decide whether they have confidence in pursuing your case and winning. Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency, meaning their access to payment is contingent on their ability to secure a settlement or award for the client. As a result, they will only take your case if they feel the evidence is substantial enough, and in some states, you may not even have access to civil court as an avenue to compensation.
Claims in No-Fault States
Only twelve states are no-fault auto insurance states. They include Utah, Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, North Dakota, Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Michigan. In a no-fault insurance state, all licensed drivers who want to insure a vehicle must carry personal injury protection insurance as part of their state minimum insurance requirement. When a car accident occurs, both parties must file claims with their PIP policies to cover any losses associated with bodily harm. For example, PIP covers necessary medical expenses, a portion of lost wages from missed work, and a death benefit.
An advantage of PIP coverage is that liability is not a factor in determining eligibility for compensation. However, there are significant disadvantages as well. For example, PIP does not cover damaged property. Therefore, you must access a separate policy to repair or replace your damaged vehicle. Additionally, PIP does not cover non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and any other psychological losses associated with your accident and injuries. For this reason, most states implement of serious injury threshold.
Serious Injury Threshold
If your accident resulted in severe damages, you likely meet the qualifications of a serious injury threshold. For example, Utah law states that victims of a negligent driver who sustain more than $3,000 in medical expenses and suffer a permanent disability, impairment, or disfigurement due to their injuries do not have to adhere to the no-fault insurance requirement. Instead, they can sue the party responsible for damages, including non-economic losses and property damage.
What Can You Do To Protect Your Rights to Compensation After a Car Accident?
Some accidents are so severe that the victims need emergency medical care, rendering them unable to collect information at the scene. However, if you were able to stick around, a few things you could do include:
- Take pictures or videos of the damage to both vehicles, the surrounding area, and any visible injuries on your body.
- Provide a statement to the police for the report.
- Collect the names and information of everyone involved, including eyewitnesses.
- Write down everything that happened or record a video of the scene and narrate the accident immediately after.
- See a doctor right away to get the help you need and establish official medical records.
Remember to avoid talking to anyone other than to provide your statement to the police. You could unintentionally admit guilt in the heat of the moment or say something that could damage your claim.
What Can You Expect From Your First Meeting With a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you prepare for your first meeting with a car accident lawyer, you can make the most of your time to decide whether they are the right fit for your case. The purpose of this meeting is to go over a more thorough case assessment. In the first phone call, you likely reviewed the basic information about your case. However, in the initial meeting, you will discuss the accident and its repercussions in more detail. The attorney will want to know more about the facts of the case, what evidence you already have, and what damages you suffered.
Questions To Ask the Attorney
Once the attorney has all the information they need to decide whether they will offer to take you on as a client, you can start asking your questions about their qualifications. Some questions you might consider:
- What is their legal fee payment policy?
- Who is responsible for paying litigation costs?
- Have they ever worked on a case similar to yours? If so, how did it turn out?
- Will they handle your case alone, or will they have associates working on it? If associates will contribute, do they have experience with car accident cases similar to yours?
- Have they ever taken a case to trial? If so, were they able to secure an award for the client?
If you have concerns about remembering what to ask or what information to provide, you can make a list before your meeting. Bring all the documentation you have to support your claim for damages, and provide any evidence you collected following the accident.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Your Case?
If you sustained significant injuries in a car accident and face substantial financial, physical, and emotional losses as a result, you want an experienced lawyer who understands the nuances of personal injury law. Your attorney will investigate your case, access experts when necessary, and collect evidence to support your claim of negligence and damages. In addition, they protect your rights throughout the process to ensure the insurance company does not use any unsavory tactics to stop you from collecting a fair settlement. With a legal representative, you have the compassion of a person who understands the burdens you face and will do what it takes to recover the compensation you need to get your life back to normal or to adjust to a new way of life as comfortably as possible.
The car accident lawyers at Siegfried and Jensen have over 30 years of experience fighting for personal injury victims. We commit our legal knowledge to fight aggressively for our clients. You should not be held responsible for the financial consequences of someone else’s negligent actions. Contact Siegfried and Jensen today to schedule your free consultation. We know you do not have time for gimmicky tactics, so we offer direct, honest answers to your questions. Get the information you need to make the right choice about pursuing compensation.