When you find yourself faced with a legal issue, the steps you take next can literally impact the rest of your life. Hiring a legal professional – and doing it the right way – is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.
Not sure how to hire an attorney for your case? You’re in the right place! Keep reading for ten must-know tips that will make hiring an attorney easy.
1. Ask for Recommendations
One of the best ways to find a good attorney is to ask people you trust for recommendations. Start with family and friends – ask if they’ve had a positive personal experience with an attorney in the area of specialty you’re looking for.
If you have a relationship with an attorney who works in a different specialty, he or she may also be able to give you a recommendation. For example, your business lawyer probably can’t help with a personal injury case, but he may be able to refer you to a great personal injury lawyer.
Use these recommendations to create a short list of three to five attorneys who you’ll investigate further before making a decision.
2. Do Online Research
Next, it’s time to hop online and start doing some research about each of the attorneys on your list. Check Google reviews and at least a couple of the lawyer review sites – like Lawyers.com and Justia.
It’s also a good idea to take a look through the lawyer’s website and their social media – including the reviews section. Remember that you can’t please everyone, so don’t put too much weight into one or two bad reviews, but if you start to see a pattern, consider crossing that lawyer off your list.
3. Schedule a Consultation
Once your research is done, narrow down your list to the top three, then call to schedule consultations. Most attorneys will meet with you for at least a brief consultation without charging you.
Pay attention to whether the person who answers the phone is polite and accommodating. When you arrive at the office, notice whether the location is convenient and whether you feel comfortable in the space.
4. Ask the Right Questions
When you sit down with the lawyer, it’s a good idea to have a list of questions prepared. This will ensure that you make good use of the time you have and that you don’t forget anything important.
Some of the questions you’ll want to ask include:
Do you specialize in cases like mine?
How long have you been practicing?
Do you feel that I have a strong case?
How much do you think my case is worth?
How often do you take cases to court vs. setting?
Who will be handling my case?
How and when will I need to pay?
Look for an attorney who is honest and upfront when answering your questions. Don’t be afraid to take notes, as you’ll want to compare the interviews with each of your top three options and remembering who said what could become a challenge.
5. Assess fees and Costs
You never want to hire an attorney based on cost alone, but, of course, price does matter. Ask the attorney to thoroughly explain their fees, and, if possible, to provide you with a written summary. Don’t feel like you’re “being cheap,” you deserve to know what you’re paying for and how much it’s going to cost you.
6. Review the Payment Arrangements
There are different ways that your attorney might bill you. Options include:
Flat fee – a set dollar amount for services. This is common for simple things like writing a will or filing a non-contested divorce.
Hourly rate – this is a set fee per hour. The final cost will depend on the number of hours worked.
Retainer – this is a fee you pay upfront. Lawyers often use this to pay expenses and fees associated with trying your case.
It’s important to understand how your attorney bills so you know when and how much you can expect to pay. If you don’t ask these questions, you could end up with an unpleasant surprise.
7. Listen to Your Gut
Once you’ve reviewed all of this information and met with each potential attorney, it’s time to evaluate your experience with each and make a final decision. You’ll use logic for most of this evaluation, but it’s also important to listen to your gut. If you have a really great feeling about one attorney that you met with – if you feel like you trust and believe in him or her – then this is a great indication that you’ve made the right choice.
The same goes for a negative feeling. Even if you can’ quite put your finger on it, if there’s something that just doesn’t seem quite right to you, then move on. There are thousands of lawyers out there, so it makes sense to keep looking until you find one that’s a good fit for you.
Hiring an Attorney is a Critical Decision
Follow these tips for hiring an attorney and you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve made an excellent choice. If you need even more information, take a few minutes to scroll through some of our other helpful blog posts!
After your car accident, a car accident lawyer can gather information from the accident, give you legal advice, negotiate with insurance companies, and help you pursue compensation for your losses, so you can heal from it and get back to your normal routine.
Car accidents can be traumatic for the victims. From lacerations and bruises to traumatic brain injuries and broken bones, victims may suffer a range of serious injuries, some of which may require several weeks and thousands of dollars in medical and rehabilitative treatments. Harder still is the loss of a loved one in a car accident.
After a crash, recovery should be a priority. However, when you are well enough, you may also want to consider seeking support from a car accident lawyer. On top of the physical and emotional burden from the car accident, you may encounter financial hardship as you deal with medical bills, vehicle repair or replacement costs, and lost wages.
From speed limits to distracted driving laws, state and federally enforced measures promote safety and prevent collisions. Nonetheless, crashes are a common problem throughout the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), projections show that 36,120 people died in car accidents last year.
When someone disobeys local or federal traffic laws or drives recklessly or irresponsibly, they should face the consequences for their actions. This can include traffic tickets, license suspension, fees, and even jail time, depending on the offense and harm caused. They may also be responsible for compensating the victims.
If the liable party is insured and their insurance company covers the incident’s losses, then it may pay the victim for losses such as medical bills and property damage. However, if they are underinsured, uninsured, or their insurance providers’ payout is insufficient, a victim may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Car accident lawyers can be a valuable resource in any of the above circumstances, as pursuing financial awards for your losses can be a complicated endeavor.
First, the victim must prove who caused the accident and establish the sequence of events and circumstances that contributed to the crash. They will also need to gather evidence to support their claims, which may include eyewitness accounts, police reports, medical reports, and receipts for repairs.
The plaintiff may also need to communicate with insurance companies and the other party or its legal representative. While some personal injury suits resolve with a settlement, it is sometimes necessary to take a claim to civil court.
A car accident lawyer can assist you with:
Conducting an investigation, reviewing police reports and medical records, and gathering eyewitness testimonies
Demonstrating the circumstances surrounding the crash, as well as the sequence of events leading up to it
Proving who was at fault
Building a case based on the details of the incident
Establishing a strategy to seek compensation on your behalf
Communicating with insurance companies, lawyers, and other involved parties on your behalf
Representing you in negotiations or a court of law, if necessary
Keeping you updated throughout the process and address any concerns or questions you have
Some cases may be more difficult to investigate than others, like accidents involving rideshare companies, commercial trucks, public transportation, and sanitation vehicles.
In any of these circumstances, there may be more than one liable party or the liable party may be a corporation or city or state government. A car accident lawyer can help ensure you abide by the relevant procedures when it comes to dealing with these kinds of parties.
Statute of Limitations
Every state has statutes of limitations that set deadlines for plaintiffs to file lawsuits against another party, as the Legal Information Institute (LII) defines it. The statute of limitations varies depending on your location and the party against whom you are bringing a claim. For example, the statute of limitations to bring a suit against another civilian may be two or three years, whereas you may have only six months to bring a suit against a local government. The statute of limitations is not the same as the timeframe within which you should file an insurance claim. You should always file a claim or at least notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Some providers specify you must notify them within a “reasonable time” for your claim to be valid. Again, these times may vary across states.
Losses Associated with Car Accidents
Car crashes can result in a variety of losses. This can range from a totaled vehicle to debilitating physical injuries, as well as emotional pain and suffering, including anxiety and post-traumatic stress. A car accident lawyer can help you identify all of the losses you have suffered and what type of compensation you may be eligible to pursue.
You may receive compensation for the following after your car accident:
Cost to repair or replace property
Cost of current or reasonably anticipated medical bills
Lost wages for the time you missed because of your injuries
Reduced earning capacity if your injuries were so serious you are unable to return to your previous position
Emotional pain and anguish
Loss of consortium
Funeral and burial costs (if a loved one died as a result of their injuries)
Contact Us Today
If you or a family member has suffered as a result of another party’s reckless or negligent driving, a car accident lawyer may be able to help. Seeking financial awards for your injuries, pain and suffering, and other losses may help you avoid further hardship and move on with your life faster. To learn more about what a car accident lawyer can do for you, contact RFH Legal today.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as many as 2.44 million people were hurt in car accidents in 2015 alone.
Whatever the cause of the collision, car accidents tend to have far reaching consequences for those who are involved, often leaving injured parties to grapple with expensive medical bills, while also being forced to take time off from work.
In some tragic cases, injured parties could become permanently disabled, or even lose their lives.
While recovering damages cannot always compensate an injured party for the trauma that he or she got during an accident, it can go a long way towards helping injured motorists and their families get started on the road to recovery.
Unfortunately, filing a successful claim against the negligent individual or entity who is responsible for a collision can be difficult, as these parties often get representation by large insurance companies with access to significant funds and a host of legal representatives.
Retaining anexperienced attorney can play a crucial role in leveling the playing field during trial or settlement negotiations, so we’ve put together a list of tips that could help you in hiring your own lawyer.
When looking for an experienced car accident attorney, it’s often a good idea to look to others for advice. Family members, friends, and co-workers, who may be able to recommend someone who is diligent and well-respected.
You could also ask for a recommendation from an attorney who has represented you in another matter.
Another way to get the contact information is to contact the bar association in your state. They have records of all licensed lawyers in your area. Online searches can also be helpful during this process.
Researching Law Firms
Once you have a few names, you may want to consider researching those specific law firms.
Many attorneys post testimonials on their websites submitted by former clients about how the legal team handled their own cases. Similar to an online review, these posts can play a critical role in helping you choose an attorney.
At this point, you should also evaluate each firm’s experience by assessing case results or client recommendations on the website. Taking these steps helps ensure the attorney you work with has handled this type of case before. It also assures they’re in good standing with their state’s bar association.
Meeting with Your Top Choices
Narrow down the list of law firms that could potentially represent you. Then, you should take advantage of free consultations to speak with the attorneys in person.
This will provide you with an opportunity to discuss the facts of your case. You can also obtain advice on how they would handle your claim. You may also want to ask the following questions:
Whether he or she has experience with car accident cases;
The firm’s record of success;
The fees and costs you can expect to incur if you file a claim;
The strengths and weaknesses of your own case;
Whether he or she would personally handle your case, or if it would be by another attorney;
How long they expect the resolution of the case to take; and
How often he or she will communicate with you regarding your case’s progress.
Initial consultations also provide a good opportunity to assess the lawyer-client dynamic with each attorney.
Bringing Important Documentation to Your Consultation
It’s difficult for an attorney to understand your case if you don’t bring important documentation related to the accident.
This includes any paperwork sent by your insurer. It could also include paperwork from the other party’s insurance provider.
You should also bring a copy of the police report from the accident. Lastly, bring any notes you took about the incident ahead of time.
All of this information can help the attorney determine whether they are the best representative for you.
Evaluating Your Consultation
After meeting with potential attorneys, you may want to consider evaluating the answers provided by each lawyer regarding your questions. At this point, it’s also a good idea to address:
Whether you can afford to pay the attorney’s fees;
How comfortable you felt during the consultation;
Whether the attorney has a heavy case load and will be able to address your own case properly; and
Whether you felt like the attorney has focus on your needs. Or if you felt they were rushing during the consultation.
After addressing these questions, as well as the other information you learned during the consultation, you should have a pretty good idea about your decision.
Asking Additional Questions
It’s not uncommon for claimants to think of additional questions after their initial consultations. You shouldn’t be afraid to make note of concerns and share them with your attorney at next meeting.
You could even call and ask the questions right away. The response you receive can also play a crucial role in helping you make your decision.
Assessing the Law Firm’s Professional Network
When choosing an attorney to represent you during your own car accident case, it’s also a good idea to ensure that whoever you choose has a solid professional network of experts, as your case will undoubtedly require the testimony of expert witnesses.
Ultimately, you will want an attorney who knows and has experts in a variety of fields, all of whom are knowledgeable, specialize in their particular fields, and are well-respected.
Communicating with Your Attorney
Once you have decided on which lawyer to hire, it’s important to ensure that you communicate regularly. Regular communication will help you stay informed about the progress of your case. Plus, any accruing fees or costs.
Hire an attorney who is willing to learn your case inside and out. Then explain the process and progress of your case is important to the outcome of any car accident claim.
The moments following an automobile wreck can be confusing, painful and overwhelming. You could be left with mental or physical injuries from the accident and questions on the best way to move forward. One of the things car accident victims consider is whether to hire a Car Accident Attorney in West Palm Beach. You may wonder if a lawyer is always necessary after a mishap.
The truth is that an Accident attorney plays a vital role when it comes to fighting for your rightful compensation and ensuring your rights are well protected during the claim process. Let’s discuss some of the primary reasons to hire an experienced auto accident lawyer here.
A Good Knowledge of the Law
Unless you have specialized legal training, chances are that you may not know what laws pertain to your specific situation, including comparative fault and the statute of limitations on a personal injury claim. An experienced attorney has a deep understanding of personal injury law. They can help you identify the legal issues and relevant laws related to your incident and help you understand how they are interpreted within the local court system. When you enlist the services of an Injury attorney who clearly understands the law, you increase the odds of winning the case and recovering full compensation for your injuries not discounted justice or insurance company justice.
Handling Insurance Companies
Many car accident victims immediately file claims with their insurance companies. Dealing with insurance companies without legal backup can result in very low and unfair compensation. Remember that the insurance adjuster is more concerned about the profitability of their company rather than offering you the full compensation you deserve for your pain, suffering, and human damages. An experienced attorney knows how to handle negotiations with insurance companies to help you win the most compensation possible. They know the insurance laws that may impact your accident case and can interpret the provisions of an insurance policy’s language that applies to coverage, exclusions and limitations. All this will increase your odds of getting full compensation for your neck, back, shoulder, knee, head or other injuries sustained in a car crash. Determining the Amount of Compensation
A proficient accident attorney in West Palm Beach will help the injured person to determine the amount of compensation they are entitled to. The type and amount of compensation a victim is entitled to may change with time and the course of the medical treatment process. An experienced lawyer will ensure the victim receives compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages or income, pain and suffering, car repairs, physical therapy, loss of consortium and other issues. The lawyer may subpoena the health care provider or facility where the treatment was rendered for certified records of the expenses so that they are introduced at arbitration or trial. Proving Liability
A successful auto accident lawsuit depends on whether you can prove liability in court. Proving liability may be trickier than you think. Even if the police and witnesses reports state the other driver was at fault, proving that they were careless enough to breach a duty of care to you can be tough. An Injury lawyer will work to prove the following four element of fault or negligence:
You were owed a duty of care by the at-fault party
The at-fault party breached this duty
You sustained injuries due to the breach of duty
You suffered losses due to your injuries
There are many factors that contribute to winning a car accident lawsuit. It is highly advisable that you enlist the services of an accident attorney who is experienced in personal injury claims. An experienced accident lawyer can provide references to cases and citations that support your cause. Supporting Your Claim With Evidence
Your car accident claim is only as strong as the evidence you can provide. By carrying out a thorough investigation of your accident, your lawyer will collect sufficient evidence that connects your injuries to the accident. This evidence will be used to prove your claim to insurers and in court, if necessary. Evidence in your case may include:
Video footage from cameras at nearby businesses or from witnesses
Accident scene photos from intersection cameras or witnesses
Cell phone photos
Statements from witnesses
Medical scans and tests
In some cases, an accident reconstruction expert is needed to help determine how the crash occurred and who was at fault. A knowledgeable expert can also determine whether a vehicle defect caused the accident as well. Explaining Settlement Options
Apart from helping collect sufficient evidence to prove your claim, your lawyer will help you understand your settlement options. You may not know this but most car accident cases are settled out of court. This means that the at-fault party or their insurance company will likely make you a compensatory offer. Your auto accident attorney will help you understand the repercussions of accepting their offer as once it is accepted, you won’t be able to sue them ever again. The lawyer will also help you determine whether to accept the offer or negotiate for a better deal accordingly. Filing a Court Case
If the out of court negotiations do not work out as planned, your lawyer will help you seek justice in court. This may turn out to be a more time-consuming and expensive affair. If you attempt to do this on your own, the at-fault party and their insurance company might try to stop you from suing them. With a knowledgeable and seasoned attorney on your side, you won’t have to succumb to such pressure or let go of your claim.
The lawyer will help you file your case and ensure that all the necessary documents are submitted. In court, your lawyer will offer you excellent and highly skilled legal representation, answer all questions on your behalf and keep you updated on the court proceeding. The lawyer will present all the available evidence strategically and utilize their tricks and tactics. All this will help to increase the chances of getting full compensation and full justice for your injuries. Going through a car accident is never easy. In some cases, accidents change your life forever. A seasoned auto accident trial lawyer will help you recover financially so you can continue to fend for yourself or your loved one. However, you must hire a car accident attorney in west palm beach who is concerned about your well-being and treats your case with personal attention and dedication.
The team of trial attorneys at RFH Legal takes the time to educate you on the process and fight tirelessly to see full and fair civil justice for your injuries. If you need help with your claim, contact our legal team at RFH Legal. We will help you in your time of need and take on the insurance company to secure the full compensation you deserve.
Even a simple distraction can take your attention off the road for a few seconds but that’s all it takes. If you collided with another car in the intersection, you may think it was probably your fault. What do you do now?
Getting in a car accident can be a frightening experience. When the collision is your fault, it can feel even worse. There are some common-sense steps to take right after any car accident. Even if you may be at fault for the collision, there are a few things you should never do.
What To Do After an Accident
No matter how careful you are, you can be involved in a car accident. Remember these steps to protect your rights and save you hassle down the road.
Check for injuries: Call for an ambulance if you are not certain about the severity of the injuries.
Exchange information: Get the phone numbers, email addresses, and insurance policy information of the other drivers and any witnesses.
Don’t block traffic: If the accident is minor, move your car out of the roadway.
Take pictures: Use the camera on your cell phone to record the accident scene and damage to the cars. Make a note if surrounding businesses may have cameras that captured the accident or if there are cameras mounted on the traffic lights.
Make notes: Immediately record facts about the accident, including specific damages to all vehicles involved, witness information, and comments by the other drivers.
File a report: If the police do not come to the scene of the accident, file a report with the police department or the department of motor vehicles. Some regions even offer online car accident reporting systems.
There are a few things you should not do if you’re legally responsible for a car accident.
Don’t yell: Emotions can run high right after an accident. Don’t get mad or accuse the other driver of anything.
Don’t admit fault: Even if you think you caused the accident, do not say you caused the accident to the police or the other driver. Likewise, do not apologize for the accident. The other driver may be partially at fault for the collision or the severity of the damages.
Don’t discuss the accident: You shouldn’t talk about the details of the accident with the other party, their insurance company, or their attorney. Be honest with the police and your insurance company by giving the facts. Consider talking to an attorney for legal advice.
Don’t negotiate: The side of the road, right after an accident is not the time or place to be signing statements regarding fault or promising to pay for the damage. Let the insurance companies do their job.
Don’t be first to leave: After the police have made their report, wait until the other drivers have left the scene before you depart.
If You Caused a Car Accident, Get an Attorney’s Help
Causing a car accident can have serious consequences. Personal injuries and car repairs can cost a bundle. If you don’t have enough insurance to cover all the damages, the other drivers may attach your savings or other assets to make up the difference. You need to protect your interests. Get help from an experienced auto accident attorney.
After an accident, car accident victims are often left to deal with serious injuries and rising medical bills on their own. Insurance companies often offer accident victims a low-ball settlement that is just a fraction of what they need to recover. These insurance companies don’t have your best interest in mind—the only people they have in mind are their shareholders and reducing their liabilities. They may pressure accident victims into signing a settlement too quickly and you could end up with less than you need to cover your injuries.
The moment your accident occurred, a clock started ticking. It’s a countdown to the first financial hit coming your way as a result of your injuries. For most folks, that first hit is a missed paycheck. Then the first medical bill comes in, and there won’t be just one. Pretty soon, you find yourself with a financial problem that you don’t know how to solve.
That’s why it’s important that you call one of our experienced car accident attorneys as soon as possible following your accident. This ensures that our team can collect important evidence and witness accounts that could be lost over time. It also allows our legal team to go to work quickly to build a strong case for you. The sooner you call, the sooner you can get the compensation you deserve for your accident.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Immediately after you are injured in a car accident, there are steps you can take to help you collect the compensation you need.
Call 911 – Call 911 and report your accident, which helps alert both police officials and emergency medical teams to the scene of the accident. Your police report and your medical report will be invaluable when establishing fault and liability. Without them, it’s just your word against theirs.
Gather Evidence – Gathering evidence can be done easily now that we have smartphones. Snap pictures of license plates, eyewitness information, vehicle damage, traffic patterns, intersections, and any other important information that could help your lawyer establish fault.
Contact a Lawyer – Insurance companies will always seek to reduce their liabilities by offering accident victims a low-ball settlement offer. This is usually a fraction of what you need to recover. Contact an experienced car accident attorney immediately to begin building your case. Remember, contacting an attorney is not the same thing as filing a lawsuit.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident
While it’s important to know what to do after a car accident, it’s equally important to know what NOT to do. Immediately after your accident, avoid making these serious car accident mistakes.
Not Reporting Your Accident – Sometimes it can be tempting to just exchange information with the other driver and go on your way, especially if you don’t believe you’ve been injured. Unfortunately, some car accident injuries can take days and even weeks to become fully apparent. Always report your accident and obtain a police report.
Admitting Blame – It’s human nature to apologize – even when we are not wrong. Yet after a car accident, saying “I’m sorry” can be used to show that you admitted fault for the crash. Even if you believe that you were partly to blame, do not admit fault.
Accepting Settlement – The insurance company will often use a “take it or leave it” approach to pressure injured accident victims into accepting a settlement that is far below what they need to truly recover. Don’t sign anything without first speaking with an attorney.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
In the state of Arkansas, car accident victims only have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim. While this may seem like a lot of time, three years can pass quickly after a crash. You may be injured severely and focused on recovery and on improving your life. You may be struggling to make ends meet and trying to help your family stay out of bankruptcy after an accident. During this time, valuable evidence might get lost or even destroyed. Contact an experienced lawyer for your car accident immediately to begin building your case and to avoid missing any critical deadlines.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, don’t wait to get the legal help you need. Call our car accident attorneys today for a free consultation. We’re ready to help you get maximum compensation for your injury claim.
When to Call a Lawyer
Not everyone who has been involved in a car accident will need to seek legal representation. However, if your accident was severe or complex, then it’s necessary to call a lawyer as soon as possible, so they can begin building your case. If any of the following apply to your situation, call a lawyer right away:
Any accident that causes significant injury to you or someone else
Any accident where fault is not clearly established
Any crash involving another motorist, such as a pedestrian, other cars, truck, or cyclist
Anytime insurance companies send mixed messages or offer confusing answers to liability concerns
Small fender-benders often will not require the assistance of an attorney, however, there are special circumstances where an attorney’s services could be invaluable after a minor crash. These include:
Minor collisions that result in significant vehicle or property damage
Any injuries to a passenger in your own vehicle or to yourself
Any significant work missed by you or your passengers
Problems dealing with car repairs and insurance limits
The sooner you contact an attorney, the better. In the state of Arkansas, you only have three years to file a personal injury claim. While that may seem like a lot of time, valuable evidence can be lost or destroyed in just a few weeks. That’s why injured accident victims should call an attorney as soon as they are able, even if they’re not certain they wish to file a lawsuit.
Our lawyers offer a free consultation and review of your case and we can help you choose the legal path that is best for you and your family. Call us today at www.rfhlegal.com to learn more.
Once you’ve met, your attorney will investigate all aspects of your case and begin negotiating with the insurance company. Remember, a personal injury claim is different from a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury claim is between you and the at-fault driver’s insurance company and involves a series of negotiations. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our Arkansas personal injury lawyers are skilled negotiators who obtain maximum compensation for our injured clients.
If the insurance company plays hardball, however, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party to seek damages. This often occurs when the insurance claims adjuster denies who was at fault for the accident or doesn’t agree with the severity of your injuries. When negotiations stall and a settlement cannot be reached, the next step is a personal injury lawsuit.
Benefits of Hiring an Attorney
It may seem easier to handle the aftermath of a car accident by yourself. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Hiring an attorney can make your life and your recovery process easier and prevent unscrupulous insurance adjusters from taking advantage of you. Some of the benefits of hiring an attorney include:
Taking on the Insurance Company – insurance companies don’t always play fair. That’s why you need an experienced Arkansas car accident attorney to fight for you during this time. Your lawyer can take on the insurance company and ensure that they are not acting in bad faith.
Filing Necessary Paperwork – filing a car accident claim and filing a personal injury lawsuit involve paperwork and forms. These forms must be filed properly and on-time to ensure that your case proceeds accordingly and so you obtain a favorable outcome. Improperly filed forms or failure to file the necessary paperwork can add lengthy delays to your case and prevent you from receiving the money you need.
Not Missing Deadlines – a car accident attorney will make certain that you do not miss any critical deadlines, such as the statute of limitations. In some cases, accident victims only have a small window to file a claim, so your attorney will act quickly to meet these deadlines and protect your rights to compensation.
Increased Compensation – those who call a lawyer receive more compensation than those who do not. Lawyers know how to build a case to show the insurance company just how much money you need to recover. They aren’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with large insurance companies and they will fight to make sure ALL of your medical expenses are considered – both now and in the future.
Contingency Basis – most car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that you owe them nothing unless they win or settle your case. Any injured accident victim can seek justice after an accident – not just those who can afford it.
Thorough Investigation – attorneys have extensive experience investigating car accidents. They often use accident recreation teams, forensic specialists, and experts to uncover all liable parties, even ones not listed in the police report, such as the car manufacturer, the city responsible for maintaining the roads, or the bar that served the intoxicated driver.
There are many different types of car wrecks. It may be helpful for you to understand more about the type of accident that has injured you or a loved one. You can get a better understanding of what may have caused the accident, the party who should be held responsible, and what you may possibly recover for your losses.
Please review the information and links we have provided in this section and contact an experienced car crash attorney from our firm to discuss the specific aspects of your case.
CAUSES OF CAR ACCIDENTS
Common causes of car accidents include:
Distracted Driving Drivers that have their attention diverted to distractions are more likely to cause accidents. Driving distractions may include: Eating/drinking, talking, brushing hair or putting on makeup, reading books/maps, using GPS devices, watching videos, tuning radios.
Texting-While-Driving Drivers who are texting on a cell phone have both their hands and eyes distracted from the road. You are 23 times more likely to get into a crash when you are texting while driving than you would be if you were driving without a distraction.
Drowsy Driving Drivers who don’t get enough sleep are more susceptible to causing accidents. The body requires rest in order to remain alert and have a fast enough reaction time to prevent an accident. Drowsy driving accidents are both common and dangerous.
Drugged Driving Drivers under the influence of any drug that impairs one’s motor skills, reaction time, or judgment have a higher risk of causing accidents. Drugged driving is a threat to the safety of motorists and is considered to be negligence.
Drunk Driving Drunk driving, like drugged driving, is a common cause of car accidents. If one’s mind is impaired, their ability to drive also becomes impaired. Drunk driving crashes have a horrible impact on victims and their families.
Speeding Speeding causes accidents because speeding drivers often don’t have enough time to stop or avoid a collision. Speed limits are in place to keep drivers safe and reduce the likelihood of accidents. Drivers who speed are driving recklessly.
Reckless Driving Reckless driving can include speeding, running lights, failing to yield, weaving, tailgating, racing, or other negligent actions while driving. Reckless driving puts other drivers at risk and is a common cause of car accidents.
TYPES OF CAR ACCIDENTS
Common types of car accidents include:
Head-on Collisions Negligence usually plays a role in head-on collisions. These types of collisions are among the most devastating.
Highway Construction Accidents Construction companies have a responsibility to not cause accidents. Other drivers should drive more carefully in highway construction areas.
Intersection Accidents Accidents at intersections are usually caused because someone made a driving error, which could be attributed to negligence.
Interstate Accidents Accidents on the interstate can be more serious due to the speeds at which the cars are traveling.
Rear-End Accidents Rear-end accidents are among the most common types of accidents, and they frequently cause whiplash.
Side-Impact Accidents Side-impact accidents are also common, and usually occur at intersections. They can cause more injuries depending on where the car was hit.
If you’re hoping to recover damages from your car accident, a car accident report from the police can be very helpful. You can still pursue a claim without one, but an official police report can go a long way to protect your rights.It Provides Documentation of the Accident
It sounds silly, but without a completed car accident report, the other driver’s insurance company may question whether a car wreck happened at all. Having a police officer come to the scene and make an official report provides written proof that there was indeed an accident. It Provides Details of the Accident
Most car accident reports include a description of the car wreck a diagram of where the cars were located, and even the officer’s opinion about what or who was responsible. An experienced car accident attorney will review the accident report to get a good picture of what happened at the scene and determine a course of action. It Provides Details of the People Involved
When involved in a minor accident, most people will simply exchange information with the other driver and commit to working it out later. What happens, though when you don’t hear from the other driver? How do you know for sure who was even driving the car that night? How will you be able to prove what happened?
A car accident report gathers vital information regarding the drivers, witnesses and the police officers involved so that you can follow up on your claim. It provides valuable contact information for your car wreck attorney and helps ensure that your claim is filed against the correct person. It Provides Information for the Officer to use in Court
Police officers deal with multiple car accidents every day. The odds of the officer remembering your car wreck are pretty small. A car accident report provides the police officer a written account that he or she can use as a reference in court.
Our opinion as experienced wreck attorneys is that you should always wait for the police to make an official report of your accident – especially if you were injured. While you can still make a claim for your car accident injuries without a report, it is better to be safe and have the documentation that you need. Call Today for a Free Consultation
The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto are serious lawyers who know how to win. With more than 75 years of combined experience, we have recovered more than $45 million for our clients. Our office is conveniently located in West Knoxville, with plenty of free parking. We’re happy to meet with you free of charge to discuss your case and answer any questions that you may have. Give us a call at (865) 328-7841 or contact us through our website Brown & Roberto, PLLC to set up a free consultation.
Hiring a car accident lawyer fills the gaps left by the insurance companies. Leaving a car accident in an insurance provider’s hands could cause more financial harm. Injured motorists have several reasons to turn their case over to a New York auto accident attorney.
How Accident Attorneys Help With Motor Vehicle Accident Claims
A car accident case’s success could hinge on securing the proper legal representation. Car insurance companies have their legal representatives, so car accident victims should, too. That way, the legal playing field becomes balanced. Motor vehicle accident attorneys advocate for their clients, representing them before a judge, jury, and insurance companies.
Communicate With the Insurance Company
We believe that auto insurance companies may not offer fair settlements, even for legitimate claims for car accident injuries, because they want to save money for their shareholders. In our experience, it seems that insurance adjusters may go out of their way to avoid paying a claim’s total value. Worse, the injured person may not realize their claim’s worth and accept the initial offer. Sometimes, adjusters use victims’ words against them to deny their claims. That is why victims should not speak to insurance representatives without consulting with an attorney.
Those inexperienced in dealing with insurance businesses may not know the tricks companies use or learn to look out for their interests. After getting into car accidents, victims should focus on recovering, not arguing with insurance carriers. A car accident lawyer in New York can take over the case and create a strategy to help recover every penny of compensation the injured party needs and deserves.
When legal representatives communicate with insurance companies, they focus on negotiating with adjusters. Attorneys also take over all details of the victim’s claim and draft verbal and written statements to support their case.
Receive Medical Care
After a car accident, a victim could require additional medical treatment. Injuries could worsen, or the person may suffer further harm related to the auto accident. By notifying their legal representative, clients will help secure their medical benefits and they could increase their chances of getting the proper care and recovering faste.
Prove Liability for the Car Accident Victim’s Injuries
Harmed victims bear the burden of proof in motor vehicle accident cases. That means they must gather evidence that shows the at-fault party’s negligence caused serious injuries and harm. Of course, negligent individuals attempt to shift blame or demonstrate how the injured party’s actions contributed to their injuries. Rather than split their focus between collecting proof and recovering, those injured benefit from letting experienced legal representatives prove liability.
Car Accident Lawyers in New Rochelle, New York
Car accident lawyers have the experience and resources needed to build a solid case against negligent parties. New York injury attorneys make powerful arguments by consulting expert health care professionals to validate client injuries. They may need to consult with other professionals to establish fault. Lawyers may also investigate the accident details and gather witness statements to determine what happened during the collision. A client’s accident report and medical records also help build a case.
While proving liability, it may turn out that the victim contributed to the car accident, which is contributory negligence. Bearing partial fault may not prevent harmed parties from recovering damages. Despite contributory negligence, a person could still recover compensation. Whether a victim recovers damages after contributing to an accident depends on the state.
Car Accident Damage in New York
In pure contributory negligence states, if a person bears even 1% fault for a car crash, they cannot receive damages. In pure comparative fault states, parties could recover compensation equal to the other party’s fault percentage. For instance, if the at-fault party is 60% at fault and the injured party suffered $100,000 in damages, the injured party can only recover 60% of those losses from the at-fault party, which equals $60,000.
Get Faster Compensation
If a car accident victim does not accept an insurance company’s initial offer, they could wait to recover. This makes sense, but waiting could cost them. While healing, the victim may face a mountain of medical bills, unpaid debts, and unmet financial obligations. The person’s financial health could take a severe hit, leading to more complications. Legal representatives can save victims time and help them receive compensation faster. Legal representatives will also take all necessary steps to fully understand the full extent of the injuries involved and how much to seek in damages. Lawyers also help victims understand New York’s statute of limitations, limiting how long a person has to take legal action.
Resist Scare Tactics
To force accident victims to submit to low-ball settlements, insurance providers may resort to scare tactics. Injured individuals may not have the energy to argue, and some medications make it hard to think clearly. Experienced lawyers understand underhanded strategies and the know-how to defuse them.
Calculate the Full Value of a Victim’s Injuries
Insurance companies may try to get away with offering unfair settlements by undervaluing the victim’s injuries. For instance, say a person gets into an accident and suffers physical injuries and car damage. While the insurance provider may offer a fair settlement to repair the damaged vehicle, their bodily injury settlement may fall short. Some injury symptoms take days or weeks to appear, meaning victims may not understand the full scope of their harm until much later after the collision. If they accept an insurance adjuster’s initial offer, they could cheat themselves out of compensation for future medical treatments.
After getting into a motor vehicle accident, a person may need to take time off work. An insurance settlement may account for the first two weeks an injured victim takes off, but the person could need more recovery time. Depending on the severity of injuries, harmed individuals may qualify for pain and suffering damages. Injuries could cause anxiety, PTSD, depression, or stress, any of which could increase the victim’s extent of losses.
Offer Peace of Mind
Even after a minor car accident, a person may have several questions and uncertainties to navigate. Having access to someone experienced with motor vehicle accidents may bring accident victims peace of mind. Attorneys help victims manage their stress and understand where to focus their energies. Without this guidance, injured parties could suffer considerable mental and emotional unease.
Negotiate a Balanced Settlement
Insurance companies look out for their interests, and car accident attorneys look out for their client’s interests. Not only do experienced legal representatives negotiate with insurance providers, but they also work with the at-fault party’s attorney. With so many parties at play and so much at stake, those injured deserve someone on their side. Motor vehicle accident lawyers know the facts and issues insurance companies and other attorneys make priority to win a case. This knowledge helps car accident attorneys mount a counterattack.
Break Down Relevant Regulations and Laws
Motor vehicle accident victims should understand how insurance policies work. That way, they know whether an insurance carrier acts in good faith and honors a contract’s contents. Legal jargon may easily overwhelm uninjured persons, let alone accident victims. Harmed individuals cannot afford to waste a moment on their legal case, making it essential to consult with a knowledgeable legal professional. An experienced NYC car accident attorney will know how to untangle agreements and connect them to relevant laws and regulations.
Having a legal background helps attorneys explain a client’s legal options. Their experience also lets them help their clients make well-informed decisions. That way, injured parties feel confident about their choices and understand how to protect their legal rights.
File a Personal Injury Suit
Depending on how negotiations go, an auto accident victim may need legal action against the at fault driver. That could mean filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver whose insurance provider was unwilling to compromise on a settlement. Sometimes, at-fault parties do not offer fair compensation until harmed victims take legal action.
What To Expect When Meeting With an Accident Attorney
Victims may wonder what to expect during the first meeting with their lawyer. Knowing how to prepare for the initial meeting can maximize a victim’s time with an attorney. Such insights also help injured parties take full advantage of the benefits the attorneys have to offer.
After an initial phone consultation, lawyers must sit down with injured parties to understand the case thoroughly. Meeting face-to-face lets victims explain the accident’s circumstances and damages. An attorney may ask a few questions after the individual gives their account:
Did the person speak with insurance representatives? If so, what did the person say, and whom did the person speak with?
Did anyone witness the collision? Does the victim have the witness’s contact information?
Did the injured person speak to anyone else about the collision?
Does the victim have health insurance or car insurance?
Attorneys also get answers from medical documents, police reports, car repair estimates, and photographs. Victims should bring these items with them for their first meeting.
Harmed individuals must remember their attorney wants to help them, not judge them. Clients should not hold back information or lie about what happened during the accident. Embarrassing or potentially harmful details could become essential to a case. Withheld information could also compromise an issue, so it makes sense to share it. Victims must remember that they have attorney-client privilege, which protects details exchanged during the case.
Declining a Case
An attorney may not accept a person’s case, but that does not mean the person has a valid claim. The lawyer could have a conflict of interest, or they could have a full workload. Some legal professionals lack the resources and experience a specific case requires. However, you can always seek a second opinion from a different lawyer concerning your claim.
Accepting a Case
After an attorney accepts a case, victims may ask about likely outcomes. It makes sense that they want to know their case’s worth and when they should expect to receive compensation. Attorneys cannot accurately predict a claim’s resolution. Uncontrollable factors and variables influence car accident claims, and attorneys cannot foresee them all.
Deciding To Work With a Legal Representative
Even if the best car accident lawyer accepts a case, the client must agree to participate in the process. Clients must feel they can trust their lawyers and feel comfortable working together. To make a decision they feel satisfied with, injured parties should ask themselves a few questions:
What kind of history does the lawyer have with similar car accident cases in New York City?
Does the attorney have trial experience? If the case goes to trial, what are the attorney’s chances of winning?
Who handles the case? The lawyer or an associate?
Who covers litigation costs? How much does the lawyer charge in legal fees?
Potential clients should also understand the representation or fee agreement they sign. The document establishes the lawyer as the client’s legal representative. To access treatment records, clients could need to sign medical release forms.
Contact Car Accident Lawyers Experts Near You Today!
If you were injured in a car accident in New York City or Westchester County, do not take your chances with taking the first settlement offer from an insurance company. Sattler Law Group wants to help you protect your legal rights and build a solid case against the at-fault party. As you can see from our Google reviews, we successfully represent our clients who have been in motor vehicle or motorcycle or pedestrian accidents to get the best results possible.
Please schedule a consultation as soon as possible with our New Rochelle office by calling 914-239-4900. If you prefer, fill out and submit an online form. Let us put our experience and dedication to use to help you recover fair compensation for another’s negligence.
Immediately following an auto accident, your first thoughts flash to your safety, that of your passengers, and the condition of your car. Sadly, other distractions come into play that you must deal with, from insurance claims to impaired drivers. If you feel as though another party wronged you in some way, causing your injuries as a result of a car accident, hiring an auto injury attorney may be yet another task you have to tackle. No one wants to even be in this situation in the first place. The last thing on your mind is money, as you try to heal and return to normal.
Seek Out a Trusted Resource
If there is an attorney who has represented you in the past, it’s wise to keep his or her business card handy such as in your glove compartment or your wallet. You really never know when you will need access to someone you can trust – fast. That way, if you are involved in a car accident, you can inform the office that you require legal assistance in a timely manner. Having a dependable and experienced auto injury attorney ready to fight for you can be comforting.
Create a List of Questions
If you don’t already have an attorney in your corner, you’ll need to find one. That means you have to do some research. Most lawyers offer a free initial consultation, during which you can ask questions. Create this list ahead of time so you don’t miss anything. Outline the details of your auto accident and keep notes.
Inquire About Background
Ask about education and professional experience. Some good questions to ask include:
How much of your practice is made up of auto accident claims?
How many car accident victims do you represent annually?
How many do you settle? How many go to trial?
What is your success rate?
Do you frequently handle cases similar to mine?
Where did you attend law school?
How many years have you been in business?
Are you a member of any bar associations or professional organizations?
Have you represented victims of auto accidents who suffer from injuries like mine, such as back and neck injuries, TBIs and any other injuries that may result in long-term medical issues?
Don’t be afraid to ask all of these questions. The answers you receive will allow you to make the most informed decision possible in hiring an auto accident attorney to handle your case – and indeed your future.
Inquire About Case Assessment
After discussing the details of your case, ask the lawyer what his or her opinion of your case is.
What is your assessment of my case?
What kind of financial settlement can I realistically expect?
What are some of the factors that work in my favor? What factors work against me?
Do you think we will have to go to trial?
Do you think arbitration or mediation is a better option?
How long do you expect my case to take?
No matter how good your lawyer is, sometimes the answers to these questions just can’t be said with certainty. However, good auto injury attorneys should be able to give you estimates based on their knowledge, experience, skill and nature of similar cases.
Once you have secured representation, do your part to ensure a successful claims process. That includes showing up to all appointments with your lawyer and doctor, keeping all documents pertaining to your case organized, and answering letters and phone calls regarding your case promptly. Follow the instructions of your lawyers and doctors, show up on time, and be respectful in all meetings with other lawyers and the judge.
Doing your part in the matter can contribute to a seamless process with a successful outcome.
Contact Kuzyk Law
Don’t let the aftermath and confusion of an auto accident cloud your better judgment of calling an auto accident injury attorney sooner rather than later. We are here for you whenever you need us. Call us for more information.