During your initial consultation and in the immediate time afterward, you likely have a lot of questions for your car accident lawyer. You want to learn more about them and your case, and your attorney will do everything possible to explain things clearly.
Your attorney’s job is to keep you informed, explain the legal process, and answer your questions. Then, you can make the best possible decisions when necessary.
Here are some questions that you may consider asking a car accident attorney, both during your initial consultation and after you hire them.
Is it Worth the Cost to Hire a Lawyer For My Car Accident Case?
If you think you can save money on your case by dealing with the insurance company alone, you can think again. You will only cost yourself money by trying to handle your claim. The insurance company knows that it can get away with delay and difficulty, and there is little that you can do about it.
In addition to getting less money, you will get more than your share of hassle and stress. In any car accident claim, the devil is in the details, and you must handle every single one. Hiring an attorney will take some of the burden off you during a difficult time. In addition, you will likely end up with more money in your pocket, even after you pay a lawyer their share of your settlement or award. Getting legal help is an investment in your financial future.
How Do Attorneys Receive Payment For Their Services?
First, you need to know that your car accident attorney will not ask you to come to their office with a check, ask for any payment upfront, or send you any bills during your case.
You will sign a representation agreement when you hire your car accident attorney. Among other things, the agreement will lay out how your attorney will receive payment for their services. If you get a settlement or a jury award, your lawyer will receive a percentage of your financial recovery. You will pay them directly from the proceeds of your settlement or award, and you will not have to write them a check.
If you do not win your case, your lawyer does not send you a final bill for their time and services, and they will specify any fees in the representation agreement.
How Long Will My Car Accident Case Take?
As your case begins, knowing how long it may take is difficult. Unfortunately, insurance companies have a great deal of power over the timing of your case and may be slow to respond. Part of their motivation is to wear you down so you will accept less money in a settlement.
Your case can take months, or it can take more than a year. If you have to file a lawsuit against the responsible driver, your case may take longer than you thought.
The important thing is that you have to be patient and let your lawyer do their job. You may have stretched finances, and you are going through stress. However, rushing a car accident settlement may cost you money, and you need to hold out for a better offer when the insurance companies will not give you enough money at first. Your lawyer will need to pressure them to raise their offer in settlement negotiations, or they may have to defend a lawsuit against the responsible driver.
Will My Case Go to Trial?
You may have a mental picture of your car accident case at a dramatic trial in court in front of a jury. While some car accident cases will go to court, the truth is that very few personal injury cases will proceed to trial. Many car accident cases can reach a settlement through the claims process and direct negotiation with the insurance company.
You always have the option to file a lawsuit against the responsible driver and have the legal right to decide how to pursue financial compensation. Your lawyer will advise you on the best legal strategy for your case. Many cases will begin with filing a claim directly with the insurance company instead of an immediate lawsuit.
If the insurance company denies your claim entirely, or you are making little headway in settlement negotiations, you may have to file a lawsuit in court. This result is not one that insurance companies want because they have to pay their attorney. While your lawyer works on a contingency basis, they must pay for their legal costs.
What Do I Need to Do While My Case Is Pending?
The best thing you can do is let your lawyer do their job and fight for you. When you hire a car accident lawyer, you get an advocate for yourself who will take care of the details of the case.
With that in mind, there are several primary things that you need to do while your case is pending:
- Keep quiet about your case and let your lawyer do the talking. You should not comment about your case on social media, nor should you speak to the insurance company.
- Keep informed about the developments in your case so you can make the necessary decisions when the time comes.
- Be ready to provide your lawyer with documentation or any other information to move your case forward.
How well you work with your lawyer can go a long way toward determining the chances of success in your case. Therefore, it is best to consider your relationship with your lawyer as a partnership.
What Can I Expect from the Legal Process?
Each legal process is different, and you can expect ups and downs in your case. Your lawyer will take time to extract all the money you deserve in a settlement agreement.
There is rarely such a thing as a smooth car accident legal process. Insurance companies ensure there will be bumps because they want to make getting their money harder, so you must prepare yourself for a complicated process.
You can also expect that your lawyer will handle all the details of your case, insulating you from some of the stress, and you will need to let them fight for you throughout the process. There may be times when it looks like the insurance company is being challenging, while there may be other times when you may be moving towards a settlement. Just be comfortable knowing that you have someone on your side who will work for the best possible outcome in your case.
How Much Is My Car Accident Case Worth?
It is hard to say without knowing more about your specific case. Even then, a lawyer will have to dig more into the documentation and numbers to help estimate what you can seek in damages.
The first controlling factor in how much you may get depends upon the available insurance coverage the other driver has in their policy. You may also carry underinsured motorist coverage that can pay for your damages.
Then, your case depends on how much you have lost personally from the car accident. Two people may suffer a similar physical injury and have different financial and non-financial losses.
Everything depends on you and what you have lost since the accident.
Your car accident damages may include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income (or reduction in your earnings capacity)
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Embarrassment and humiliation
Your lawyer will show you the value of your case so you are not vulnerable to settling your claim for too little.
Should I Accept a Settlement Offer that the Insurance Company Makes?
Insurance companies will negotiate a claim, just like any other business, and they may not initially make you their best offer. Similarly, you may have room to move from your top-line number in settlement negotiations. Eventually, you may meet at some point in the middle.
Insurance companies almost always have room to raise their initial offer if it is for less than the policy limits, and their first offer may only be for a fraction of the amount you receive for your claim. Therefore, rejecting the first settlement offer and making your counteroffer makes sense.
There comes a point when it is best to accept the insurance company’s settlement offer because you may be unable to do much better in court. You will risk getting nothing if the jury does not rule in your favor, which is why most car accident cases will settle.
Your attorney will review all settlement offers and give you their professional advice on whether to accept and what may come next in your case.
How Often and When Will We Talk During My Case?
The initial consultation is also when you are sizing up the lawyer and how well they may work with you. Getting a lawyer who will fight for you and provide excellent customer service is crucial. You should not be stressed by not hearing from your lawyer during the case.
You should know what to expect from your lawyer and understand whether they prioritize client service. The last thing you want is to hire an attorney and then discover they are not responsive. Changing lawyers in the middle of a case is possible, but it should be an absolute last resort.
Prepare for Your Free Consultation With a Car Accident Attorney
One important step you must take is to schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney. During this consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your case in detail and get valuable advice on how to proceed. To make the most of this consultation, it’s important to come prepared.
First, think about any questions or concerns you have and write them down. It’s normal to feel unsure or confused about the legal process, so don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Your attorney is there to provide guidance and support, and they will appreciate your proactive approach in seeking information. Jot down any questions or concerns you have, and bring the list with you to your consultation. This will ensure that you don’t forget anything important and that you make the most of your time with the attorney.
Next, gather any documentation you have related to the accident. This includes police reports, medical records, and any correspondence you may have had with insurance companies. These documents will provide valuable information about the details of the accident and the extent of your injuries. Bring copies of these documents to your consultation so that your attorney can review them and better understand your case.
Finally, remember to be open and honest during the consultation. Your attorney needs accurate information in order to provide you with the best advice and representation. Share all the details of the accident, including any previous injuries or medical conditions that may have been exacerbated by the accident. Honesty is key when building a strong case, and your attorney is there to protect your best interests.
Gather your documentation, write down your questions and concerns, and be open and honest during the consultation. By doing so, you will ensure that your attorney has all the necessary information to provide you with the best possible advice and representation. Don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule your consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer today.