If you have been in an automobile accident, you may be wondering whether it is a good idea to hire an attorney to help with your case. It is important to understand what a car accident lawyer does and how an attorney’s services may benefit you.
A Car Accident Lawyer’s Job
The primary goal of a car accident lawyer is to help you, their client, receive compensation for the damages you have suffered. To do this, an attorney will investigate the details of your accident to determine who or what is liable for your injuries.
If someone is liable, it means their actions were careless or reckless, and ultimately caused your accident. In many instances, liability lies with another driver. In some cases, a carmaker or auto parts manufacturer could be responsible. Liability could also fall to the municipality that owns the road.
Types of Damages You Can Win
In addition to identifying who is liable for your accident, a car accident lawyer will help you determine the compensation you need to cover your costs.
If you were seriously injured in an accident, medical bills are likely one of your largest expenses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on average, in 2012, crash-related emergency room visits cost about $3,300 per patient. Each hospitalization resulted in nearly $57,000 in overall lifetime costs.
You can seek reimbursement for any treatments you have already received. You should also think about your medical needs going forward. If your recovery requires continuing treatments and therapies, you should seek a settlement large enough to cover your future medical costs.
The same is true for lost wage benefits. You can seek back pay for the time you have already missed at work because of your accident. If you need several more weeks or months to recover, you may also win a sum to help with your bills until you are back on your feet. If you cannot return to work because of your injuries, a lawyer can advise you on how to seek permanent disability payments.
An attorney can also help you calculate the damages you may be due for your pain and suffering. These are known as non-economic damages because they do not compensate you for your bills. Rather, they compensate you for your mental anguish, and the ways your quality of life has been diminished. Examples of injuries that fall under pain and suffering may include:
- Loss of a limb
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If your loved one lost their life in a car accident, a lawyer could help you pursue damages in their name. A lawyer can help you sue for their medical costs, pain and suffering, and other awards. You may also be eligible to seek compensation for your loss of support, both emotional and financial.
A Lawyer Can Assist with Insurance Negotiations or a Lawsuit
Working with an attorney does not always mean your case will go to court. In fact, according to the American Bar Association (ABA), most of what a car accident lawyer does happens inside of an office, not a courtroom. Before you file a lawsuit, your lawyer likely will start by seeking compensation through an insurance claim.
How an Attorney Helps with Insurance
Whether you are negotiating with your insurer or that of the at-fault driver’s will depend on your state’s insurance laws. Either way, you will be asked to provide them with any and all information and documentation related to your crash. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), this may include:
- Carefully completed insurance claims forms
- Accident reports
- The other driver’s information, including their driver’s license number, vehicle registration number, and insurance information
- The date, time, and location of your accident
- The contact information of any eyewitnesses
- Photographs and videos related to your crash
Your attorney can help you get this information together. They will then represent you in negotiations with the insurer. They can argue on your behalf if the insurance provider tries to underpay or deny your claims. If an agreement does not happen, your lawyer can assist you with a lawsuit.
If you need to file a civil suit, your lawyer can make sure this happens inside of your state’s statutes of limitations. These laws limit the time you have to take legal action. Your lawyer will guide you through your case, ultimately arguing your side in court, if necessary.
Learn More About How a Lawyer Can Help
If you would like to know more about what a car accident lawyer could do for you in your accident case, contact the offices of Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. We offer no-cost consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, so there is no risk to you. To speak with a member of our team, call (800) 223-5115 to schedule a free case review today.