Car Accident Lawyer & Auto Injury Attorneys
When do you need to hire a car accident lawyer?
After a car accident, you may not know what to do. Fortunately, an experienced car accident lawyer help can protect your rights to compensation. We asked dozens of attorneys with over 700+ years of combined experience to answer a simple yet essential question: “When do you need to hire a car accident lawyer?”
The consensus is that insurance companies have teams of car accident lawyers and adjusters who begin evaluating your injury claim right away and, because of this, it is essential to retain an auto injury attorney immediately if you are injured in a car collision. You never want to go up against the insurance companies alone.
The key is to find a car crash law firm that provides personal attention at your most vulnerable hour. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we believe that everyone deserves justice after a serious auto accident, and, as such, we fight aggressively for all our clients. Our law firm has helped collect millions for injured car crash survivors just like you, so call us today at 833-552-7274, or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.
Experienced attorneys in auto accident claims in Florida and from across the country responded with their answers to this question, including those from:
If you have been injured in a car accident, you only get one bite at the apple. Make sure you hire a firm with a great reputation that actually takes cases to trial. You can easily reach Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA anytime at 833-552-7274, or you can write to us via our contact us page.
Video Transcript: When to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
So the topic of this video is when to hire a car accident lawyer. Stan, why is time of the essence when retaining a car accident lawyer or auto accident attorney?
Well, I’m going to tell you, the reason time is of the essence is there’s a lot of evidence that’s available right at the time of the accident that may not be there weeks, months later when someone decides to hire an accident attorney if they wait. We immediately begin to gather facts about the accident, who was at fault, what sort of insurance coverages are available, and things like that because it gives us a roadmap on what can be done. As personal injury attorneys, we are concerned about getting a financial recovery for our client. We’re concerned about making our client financially whole. And part of that is in the beginning, we got to find out what kind of resources are available to our client. What’s the coverage? What doctors do they have the ability to see? Do we have enough money to fully develop their claim out there? And that needs to be something you find out day one, day two, right at the time of the accident.
And I think most claimants or individuals who’ve been injured in a car accident, they don’t understand that from the very beginning, from the outset of the claim, the insurance company, the chips are stacked against you. The insurance company already has their individuals looking at the claim. They’re already looking at a very skeptical eye. And they usually have lawyers looking at the claim from day one. And the old saying is, he who represents himself has a fool for client. Why is this so dangerous? And why is such a perilous decision to represent yourself in a car accident claim?
Well, because you can’t approach it thinking the insurance company’s looking to do the right thing. The insurance company is a business. And for a business, the right thing is making profit. They make profit about paying as little as they can on claims. And they’ve done this thousands and thousands, if not millions of times before. That gives them a head start on what they need to do to start minimizing your injury. Sometimes they encourage people to delay claim, let them know that claim, that they can go and treat anytime they want or they don’t have to treat right away.
They start taking statements from people at the time of the accident. And this is one that I see all the time, someone, they go, “How are you doing today?” “Good.” All right. Well, they’re going to translate that into the person wasn’t injured when they start taking notes. Later, a month down the road, when you go and look at it, those innocent comments you make when you say, “Hey, I’m doing okay. I’m doing fine,” are going to be used against you to twist it into a statement that, “Hey, this person wasn’t injured or denied injuries at the time of the accident.”
There’s also studies out there that indicate that the individual who is represented by counsel does three times better. And when I say three times better, they net, the recovery is three times better than the individual who’s unrepresented. And that’s important to digest that because it’s not that the gross amount is going to be three times more, it’s the actual net recovery in your pocket as the claimant, as the injury victim, is three times more when you’re represented by counsel. And that’s the whole wide range of lawyers out there. And that’s not even based on who the best lawyers are, who are very experienced, like myself and Stan who have experienced trying cases, Stan’s a board-certified civil trial lawyer. I first chair many different trials and have been lead counsel in over 2,000 Florida lawsuits. But even your average lawyer is always going to do better than the individual who’s not represented by counsel. Why is that?
Well, I can tell you right now, if you asked the average individual, what’s on a jury verdict form? What values a claim? What drives value to a claim? They can’t tell you. I can recite that in my sleep. Day one, we want to start developing the evidence, putting the correct records in place, so that we can fully develop each element of damages. You can’t circle around six months later and begin to build a bridge that should have been built on day one. You need to start establishing wage loss. You need to start establishing your inability to work.
It’s not just the fact that you didn’t show up to work. We need a doctor to say that the reason you’re not showing up to work is because you’re too injured to work. Well, if you don’t have that documentation, you haven’t checked the box. And if you don’t check the box, insurance companies are going to ignore it. And there’s a lot of those little boxes, technical little boxes that attorneys learn how to check and force the insurance company to acknowledge the damages. They can’t ignore it when it’s presented in the correct format.
Agree with everything you said. Well stated. The only thing I’d add to that is that at the end of the day, the individual who’s unrepresented by counsel, it’s like a dog who barks loudly, but that has no bite. What’s the bite? If you don’t have the ability to take a case in front of a jury and try it, then you have to reverse engineer this, then the insurance company doesn’t have much risk. And insurance is just a risk mitigation industry.
Exactly. And insurance companies are like the bullies. There’s going to be a certain number of fights. They’re not going to settle every claim. Which fight are they going to pick? They’re going to pick the one with the person who’s least prepared, the one with the documentation that’s not there, the one without the attorney. That’s the person they’re going to tackle and take down. The one with an attorney that’s punched them a few times in the face, they know it’s serious. They know they can’t ignore that claim.
And they know if they don’t do the right thing, someone’s going to take them to court and someone’s going to make them pay a lot more than it would take to settle the claim in the early phases. So those are the claims they identify as being the most likely to be expensive if they don’t settle them. Those are the ones they try to take out in the initial phase of the claim. And those tend to be the claimants that do the best because not only does their claim get resolved fairly, it gets resolved quickly. And both of those are in the client’s best interest.
And the last question I’ll ask you is this, and we’re going to wrap up the video. When somebody puts in the Google search query, they’re on Google, they’re researching lawyers, and they’re looking for car accident lawyer near me. That’s what they put into the search engine. Why is it so important to hire a local car accident lawyer, somebody that’s local to that jurisdiction?
Well, because you need an auto accident attorney near you that knows the doctors, knows the documentation, knows who the players are. I can tell you on the back of my hand, the five defense orthopedic doctors that are likely to be involved in any claim. One step later, I can tell you what they’re likely to say. I can tell you what the reports say, how they’re going to attack it. And I can begin building the defense proactively into our medical records before it ever happens.
You know how these doctors are going to pick apart the claim. A skilled auto accident attorney has done this in the past. They’ve seen these doctors, the same doctors in your area. And you know the attacks, you know where they’ve messed up in the past, you know where they’ve testified in the past and things that have been contradictory in the past.
Understood. Well, that wraps up this video. For more questions, if you’re in immediate need of an attorney or you want a free consultation with Dolman Law Group, call today. 833-55-CRASH. The website is dolmanlaw.com, D-O-L-M-A-N-L-A-W.com. I’m Matt Dolman. That’s Stan Gipe. Thank you very much.
Clearwater Car Accident Lawyer
Matthew Dolman, Esq.
Retaining a competent and experienced auto accident attorney as soon as possible is vital if you are injured in a wreck. Unfortunately, we see many individuals attempt to represent themselves and fail. There are numerous studies illustrating why a claimant who is represented by legal counsel “nets” (after their medical bills and attorney fees have been paid) in excess of 300% more than if they had handled their own claim. This number would be higher if there weren’t so many personal injury settlement mills (usually the biggest advertising firms found on television and radio), who often leave significant money on the table at the time of settlement.
If you opt to handle your own accident and injury claim, the insurance carrier will offer you a minimal amount of settlement money intending for you to go away. In fact, insurance carriers usually make such offers within days following the collision, hoping to take advantage of the victim. At such time, you will not have any idea as to the extent of your injuries, future prognosis, or the need for future medical treatment.
These propositions are known in the industry as “nuisance value offers” because the insurance carrier sees the claim as just that – a mere nuisance. The carrier will take the position that you have no ability to do anything beyond demand money, as the unrepresented party does not know the lay of the land in litigation and will get chewed up by a seasoned insurance defense lawyer. Sadly, I have seen many individuals take minimal settlements after executing a release of the negligent party, and when they contact me months after undergoing significant medical treatment it is too late because they have already signed away their legal rights.
An unrepresented claimant lacks the experience or training necessary to properly negotiate with an insurance carrier, such as how to negotiate the medical bills they will incur for treating their car accident-related injuries. Most claimants lack the financial resources to retain the best experts available (assuming they even know who they are) to illustrate the compensation that is commensurate with the injuries, harms, and losses suffered. Research the best lawyers in your area and choose an attorney or law firm with significant financial resources to go toe to toe with the biggest insurance carriers, and look at what former clients say about their experience with the law firm, such as whether they offer personal attention or are rarely available by phone.
Many law firms promise the moon with expensive television and radio advertisements, but this is nothing more than a personal injury settlement mill. Always ask whether the firm has a policy wherein each and every client is provided the cellphone number of both the handling lawyer and the managing partner. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, you will receive the cell phone number of the auto accident attorney handling your specific case and my cell phone number, as the owner of the firm.
Matthew Dolman (17+ years of experience) – Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
Marcus Viles, Esq.
As the victim of a bad car crash or other terrible accident, your whole world can turn upside down. When you’re in the hospital, disabled, facing mountains of medical bills, how will you pay those bills? What do you say to the insurance adjusters who keep calling you demanding answers?
The smartest thing you can do at this point is to hire an experienced attorney. After a car accident, it’s important for you to focus on getting your life back to normal; this is best accomplished by letting a trained auto accident attorney handle all the rest.
Studies have shown that accident victims who hire a personal injury attorney usually come out ahead of those who try to represent themselves. This is because there are many aspects to a car accident that you may not be aware of until it’s too late. Insurance companies are notorious for exploiting vulnerable victims and twisting their answers to trip them up and deprive them of valuable coverage. Most people don’t know the intricacies of a car accident claim, so for your own good, hire an attorney who does.
But where do you find the right car accident attorney? Look for someone who specializes in your kind of case. Start on the internet with their Google reviews, and read what their actual clients say about them.
Hiring a Florida Bar board-certified attorney is an excellent way to go. The Bar has already done all of the work for you: deeply investigated them, subjected them to rigorous written exams, and has even called former clients, judges, and opposing attorneys to research any potential problems. In fact, 98.5% of all Florida attorneys don’t make the cut for board certification; only 1.5% of all attorneys are selected on the basis of ethics, excellence in the courtroom, and their specialized knowledge and skill.
Once you have hired an experienced attorney, you can have peace of mind that someone is looking out for you and your best interests.
Marcus W. Viles (30 years of experience) – Viles & Beckman
Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
Alex Knapp, Esq.
As the saying goes, there is no time like the present. From the moment your car accident occurs, the insurance company is looking to protect itself. As the victim of negligence, you should be looking to protect yourself as well.
A car accident lawyer’s help can guide you from the moment your claim begins. Often, defendants will admit fault at the scene of the accident and then later deny it. An experienced personal injury attorney will begin investigating your accident and document all the necessary information to prove liability in your case, such as obtaining surveillance that recorded video of your crash. The attorney will have the means and wherewithal to seek out and obtain this footage.
Additionally, if you did not take photographs of your vehicle, hiring an attorney early in your case will allow them to take photos of the property damage your vehicle suffered. While this may seem like a simple task, a competent personal injury attorney will be able to take photographs in such a way that shows the damage to your vehicle. Insurance adjusters are often looking for any excuse to not pay you what is fair, and if the damage to your vehicle doesn’t look serious, they will treat your crash as being non-serious – and juries will often do the same.
Further, a personal injury attorney will be able to help you find the medical care you need quickly. Most people don’t know many doctors, and almost no one personally knows doctors who take personal injury cases. An experienced attorney with a high-quality network can help get you into high-quality physicians, which will help you treat your injuries more quickly while also documenting them thoroughly.
Insurance companies are in the business of paying as little to settle claims as they possibly can. The longer you wait to hire a car accident attorney, the more opportunity you give the insurance company to build their defense case. The quicker you file your insurance claim to collect on your insurance policy, the better. And if you wait too long…you might have no case at all.
If you are injured in a car accident in Florida, the time to hire a car accident attorney is NOW. Waiting might hurt you more than the crash itself.
Alexander Knapp (11 years of experience) – Knapp Accident & Injury Law
John K. Lawlor, Esq.
After sustaining seemingly minor injuries in a car accident, many drivers believe they don’t need a lawyer. Sometimes the accident is minor caused by distracted driving. Maybe you were a victim of a rear-end collision. Or were involved in a pedestrian accident. This line of thinking can be a dangerous and costly mistake—oftentimes, car accident injuries don’t appear for weeks or even months after the initial accident. If you’ve been in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, it’s highly advisable to consult with an auto accident attorney as soon as possible, even if you think that you’re totally fine.
A car accident attorney can help you understand your options and assist you in obtaining fair compensation for any medical and rehabilitation costs that may arise in the future, as well as repair fees, lost wages, and overall pain and suffering. No-fault laws can make it difficult to secure adequate compensation, but an attorney can help you push for the settlement you need to ensure your long-term recovery.
John K. Lawlor (25 years of experience) – Lawlor, White, and Murphy
Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer
Andrew Winston, Esq.
After sustaining seemingly minor injuries in a car accident, many drivers believe they don’t need a lawyer. This line of thinking can be a dangerous and costly mistake—oftentimes, car accident injuries don’t appear for weeks or even months after the initial accident. If you’ve been in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, it’s highly advisable to consult with an auto accident attorney as soon as possible, even if you think that you’re totally fine.
It’s important to remember that insurance companies are first and foremost a business, so insurers will often try to pay the minimum amount of compensation possible to secure maximum profit for their company. Frequently, their settlement will not be enough to cover the cost of medical treatment and basic repairs. An auto accident attorney can fight vigorously on your behalf, ensuring that you receive adequate compensation not only for medical and repair costs but also for lost wages and overall pain and suffering.
Andrew Winston (25 years of experience) – The Law Office of Andrew Winston
Tina Willis, Esq.
You need to consult with an auto accident attorney immediately. The only thing that takes priority is visiting your doctor or hospital because prompt medical treatment is also essential. The good news is that you are never obligated to hire an accident attorney, but you can still benefit from hearing a thorough explanation regarding how a personal injury attorney might help you recover more money.
There are numerous critical problems with waiting to call a lawyer and initiating your legal claim, including the destruction or disappearance of needed evidence or witnesses. Also, accident victims without lawyers usually do not deal with medical providers in the best way nor visit all the medical providers they need fast enough. Good lawyers will spend the time to educate their clients regarding how to navigate their medical situation, which is essential because medical records are probably the most important evidence presented during any accident lawsuit.
Additionally, accident victims without lawyers often make big mistakes when talking with insurance adjusters. Adjusters pretend that they want to help while trying to convince the injured victims to take often far less than they deserve after any car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, or bicycle accident. Make no mistake: the insurance company only cares about paying you as little as they can, so adjusters often do not mention the legally available damages available to an injured victim who contacts them without an attorney, such as future medical expenses, pain and suffering damages, or any lost wages.
Potential clients should also make sure they are not dealing with a settlement mill law firm, where case managers or paralegals who are dealing with hundreds of cases have little incentive to help individual clients maximize their recovery.
Tina Willis (24 years of experience) – Tina Willis Law
Boca Raton Car Accident Lawyer
Arye P. Corbett, Esq.
One of the main decisions that a person involved in a car accident will need to make is whether they need to hire a lawyer. The simple answer is that hiring a lawyer is never a bad idea – especially when you are injured. Generally speaking, serious car accidents warrant hiring a lawyer.
For example, if the car accident resulted in physical injury, death, or other serious repercussions, you should probably hire legal representation to protect your rights and ensure your situation is not taken advantage of. In the case of minor car accidents, such as fender benders or crashes that result in no damage or injury, you probably don’t need a personal injury lawyer, but you should be aware that even minor car accidents get out of hand sometimes.
You may not think you are injured but something still doesn’t feel quite right, or maybe the other driver is injured. Because of this, it’s always best to at least consult with an attorney before completely writing the idea off. By hiring a lawyer soon after an accident, you can safeguard yourself against costly mistakes and ensure that you are compensated fairly for any medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Arye P. Corbett (11 years of experience) – The Law Office of Arye P. Corbett
Charlotte Christian, Esq.
When do you need to hire an auto accident lawyer? Before you have a wreck. Think about those videos that move backward in slow motion: the car in the video goes from crinkled to straight, the girls in the video go from scared to laughing, and the shattered glass goes from shattered to smooth. In that backward scenario, you need to have a lawyer.
Look at lawyer’s websites and the good lawyer aggregate sites. Know ahead of time that you shouldn’t talk to an insurance adjuster, that you shouldn’t take the blame for the accident, and that you should go to the hospital to get checked out for your injuries. Know also that you should have a maximum amount of UM coverage.
Know what to do, have a lawyer in mind, and have the knowledge you need before the glass breaks. Learn about the best accident attorneys in your state so you can know who to hire immediately after having your injuries checked out after an accident.
Charlotte Christian (19 years of experience) – Charlotte Christian Law
Glen Lerner, Esq.
There’s a reason they say “he who represents himself has a fool for a client.” When you have a leaky faucet, you hire a plumber, and when your car breaks down, you take it to a mechanic. So why, when we are talking about the most important repair of all – your body – would you not call an attorney the moment you are injured in an accident?
Many people think it’s simple if you’re hurt in a car accident that someone else caused. Go see a doctor a few times and send the bills to the insurance company and they will treat you fairly. The truth is, insurance companies have one objective and that’s to make money for their shareholders and this is only achieved if they pay out a small piece of the premiums that they collect.
What you should do is call an attorney the moment you are hurt in an accident. This may be your first time ever being faced with this situation, and an accident can be one of the most stressful situations you will ever deal with. The sooner you call an attorney, the sooner you can begin putting the pieces of your life back together again. You’ve done nothing wrong, and you deserve a collision law office that is committed to you getting better physically and being rewarded financially. We know traffic laws and will go after the responsible party. Establishing the liable party will help us determine how to best establish your accident injury claim.
The Insurance Research Council found that those who hire an attorney, on average, get 3 to 3.5 times more money than those who try to settle their claim on their own. So, when the insurance company calls you or shows up at your door to try and offer you a tiny check right after the accident, you can feel confident in telling them you know you need a lawyer because you know they have no interest in treating you fairly.
You may be thinking, “how can I afford the best doctors if I don’t have insurance?” A good attorney builds relationships with medical professionals who are willing to handle your case on a lien, meaning you pay them out of your settlement. This takes away the stress of figuring out how to pay to get better when you’ve been injured through no fault of your own.
The insurance company wants you to feel stressed so you take a quick check. Let an attorney take away the stress so you can focus on getting better.
Glen Lerner (29 years of experience) – Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys
Steven M. Sweat, Esq.
After over 20 years of helping car accident victims and seeing how insurance companies deal with these claims, my short answer to when you need an attorney would be: “more often than not.” There are many times when a “fender-bender” doesn’t cause anything more than minor damage to your vehicle. In these instances, you don’t need a lawyer. Simply submit the claim to your insurance company (or the carrier for the at-fault driver) and let it process.
However, if either you, as the driver, or any passengers in your vehicle are hurt or killed, I would not only suggest retaining an attorney but doing so as soon as possible after the collision. Why? Because insurance companies make money by trying to take in as much in premiums as possible, holding (and investing) these funds for as long as they can, and trying to pay out as little as possible on claims.
Contrary to the catchy slogans, you are not “in good hands”, they are not your “good neighbor”, and they do not have your best interest in mind. They are interested in their own bottom line.
How does this manifest itself? Here are some examples:
- The quick settlement offer. Before you even have time to assess the extent of your injuries, you may be contacted by a claims adjuster and offered something like, “we will pay your medical bills and give you another $500 for your troubles.” Many people take this deal and sign a release, but if you find you have further complications down the line, tough luck – in most states, a release is worded in such a way as to make it almost impossible to ever seek anything further after you sign.
- The evidence gathering that favors them, not you. An insurance representative will contact you and act like they are your friend, asking for a recorded statement about what happened…but, the questions favor them and not you. Once you have gone “on record”, it can be difficult to undo this damaging evidence.
- The delay game. Insurance representatives can discourage you from seeking medical treatment or infer that they won’t pay for any such treatment until they can “confirm liability” or “find out more information.” However, if you don’t seek prompt medical attention, it can later be used against you with the argument, “Well, if you were really hurt, why did it take you so long to see a doctor?”
Don’t be a victim twice! If you get into an auto accident that is not your fault and you sustain any type of injury, go to an ER or urgent care immediately, follow up with your primary care doctor, and at least consult a personal injury law firm to determine your legal rights. This can not only mean the difference between recovering from your injuries more quickly through proper medical care, but it also means you will be treated more fairly and get paid out what the law allows on your personal injury claim.
Don’t be fooled into thinking the insurance company is your friend. They are looking out for their own financial interests and you need a strong advocate who is looking out for you.
Steven M. Sweat (20 years of experience) – Personal Injury Lawyers, APC
Orange County Car Accident Lawyer
Kevin Crockett, Esq.
If you were injured in a car accident (such as a rear-end collision), you probably need to hire a car accident lawyer. It’s as simple as that.
An insurance adjuster’s sole job is to save their employer money by paying you as little as possible in compensation for your injures. If you think they’ll treat you fairly, you’re wrong. If you think the facts of your case are somehow unique or different, you’re wrong.
I’ll give you an example. I represented someone who sustained a torn meniscus from a car accident, and my client tried negotiating on his own before hiring me. The first thing I did was request a copy of the recorded statement my client gave to the insurance company…and what I heard was pathetic.
The adjuster tried to get my client to settle for a couple of thousand dollars and even offered to drive to him with the check-in hand! She said something to the effect of “Just think, you could walk away with money in your pocket today! Now, doesn’t that sound great?” Of course, I presented the same facts and evidence to the insurance adjuster, and she agreed to pay their insured’s full policy to me – no questions asked.
The point is that insurance companies are unscrupulous and try to see how much they can get away with. They know that statistically speaking, unrepresented claimants recover less money than claimants who are attorney represented. So, the quicker they get you to settle, the less chance you have to consult with an attorney who could help you recover more money for your injuries.
Kevin Crockett (6 years of experience) – Crockett Law Group
John Gomez, Esq.
After a car accident, you will need immediate medical treatment, and you must plan for your future medical care. You may not be able to return to work, and your life may be changed forever. You may have lost a loved one.
Drivers who are reckless and negligent are responsible for all of your damages and harm, and hiring a professional car accident victim lawyer is necessary to make sure you get full monetary compensation. An auto accident lawyer must work aggressively on your case to make sure all your medical expenses, lost time from work, and full pain and suffering are compensated by the insurance companies.
Insurance companies offer low settlements to car accident victims because they know that without the threat and work of a real trial lawyer on your case, they can offer low settlements to get out of paying your full damages. A car accident victim lawyer must be prepared to work hard on your case to get the highest recovery amount. When you are in a car accident, hiring a known professional car crash attorney is necessary to protect your rights and ensure you are fully compensated.
John Gomez (26 years of experience) – Gomez Trial Attorneys
Ram Fletcher, Esq.
Anytime you are injured in a car accident, it is a good idea to consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer. An attorney can:
- Help explain the best way to achieve compensation for your injuries
- Provide guidance on the process
- Evaluate the value of your case
- Evaluate if you are entitled to punitive damages
- Evaluate your insurance settlement
- Evaluate your quality of life as a result of drunk driving or negligent driver accident
- Evaluate non-economic damages
- Identify the evidence you will need to obtain the best outcome
Generally, whenever possible, you should speak with an attorney before having any communications with the insurance company for the driver responsible for the collision. In some cases, when the injuries are minimal, it may turn out you will not need an attorney. In those kinds of cases, an ethical lawyer should usually advise that—absent unique circumstances—it is not in your best financial interest to retain an attorney since there is not enough anticipated recovery to justify his or her involvement. We understand comparative negligence laws, which are critical in a car accident lawsuit.
However, if your injuries involve more than minor bumps and bruises, having an attorney on your side can make a huge difference. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, so you should always seek out the advice of an experienced lawyer before making decisions about your case.
Ram Fletcher (40 Years of Experience) – Bohn & Fletcher, LLP
Ted Spaulding, Esq.
There is no exact science as to when you should and when you should not hire a lawyer to represent you in your car accident case. As a general rule, if at any time you do not feel comfortable handling your claim on your own, for any reason, you should consult with and hire an auto accident lawyer. Beyond that, there are no hard and fast rules.
However, if you were not injured in the accident and therefore only have a property damage claim, you likely do not need to hire a lawyer. This is because insurance companies typically do not play games with the value of the property damage.
If you were injured in the accident then it is more likely that you will want to hire a car accident attorney. Still, there may be instances where you can handle the claim on your own. For example, if you have relatively minor injuries that do not require more than a few weeks of conservative treatment (i.e. surgery, etc.), then you may be able to handle that claim on your own.
Much like the property damage claim, insurance companies tend not to play games with the value of minor injury claims. We typically tell potential clients that if your medical expenses are less than $10,000.00, then it is something you may be able to settle on your own without the need for a lawyer’s help.
If you were severely injured and/or your treatment has lasted well beyond just a couple of weeks, it is probably time to hire a lawyer. As your claim increases in value, so do the chances that the insurance company is going to dig in and fight to minimize your claim as much as possible. So, if you have bills over $10,000.00 or found out you have a major injury, like a herniated disc or broken bone, it is probably time to hire a lawyer.
In conclusion, remember the first rule that at any point in the claims process, regardless of your injuries or the amount of your medical expenses, if you feel uncomfortable handling your claim on your own, it is time to seek legal representation.
Ted Spaulding (10 years of experience) – Spaulding Injury Law
David Abels, Esq.
When do you need to hire a car accident attorney? The short answer is: ASAP.
Insurance carriers sometimes trick plaintiffs into settling injury claims immediately. They might offer quick money – in my experience, usually $500-$2,000. What they don’t tell you is that this is it – there’s no additional money for medical bills, pain and suffering, or lost wages.
They also may try to offer a small sum of money plus medical treatment for 30 days. That might sound good, but they are already responsible for medical treatment related to the collision. They are just fooling you into limiting your treatment to 30 days.
An aggressive insurance adjuster might even try to record your acceptance of the offer over the phone, attempting to block you from subsequently consulting with an attorney. It’s questionable whether a recorded settlement would hold up in court, but you’re unnecessarily creating a significant hurdle for yourself.
All of these moves are made by insurance adjusters to try to limit your financial recovery and stop you from consulting with a lawyer before settling. If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact an attorney before you damage your own case. Remember, most collision law offices offer free consultations, and there’s no fee unless you win.
David Abels (22 years of experience) – Abels & Annes, P.C.
Chicago Car Accident Lawyer
Jonathan Rosenfeld, Esq.
People involved in a serious car accident frequently fail to recognize the fact that insurance companies for at-fault drivers begin building a defense for their cases almost immediately after an accident. Auto insurance companies have teams of accident investigators who are experienced with putting together information that can be used to assist them in defending or denying a legitimate injury claim. Consequently, it is imperative that people injured in a car accident take steps on their behalf to protect their legal rights by, most importantly, hiring a lawyer to look out for their interests.
Hiring an attorney experienced with auto accident claims can substantially improve the chances that vital information from an accident is collected after a crash. When insurance companies see that an individual is represented by a competent attorney who is actively involved in the prosecution of the case, the chances of a successful outcome increase drastically. As I tell my clients, “prepare for war and hope for peace.”
Jonathan Rosenfeld (12 years of experience) – Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers
William W. Hurst, Esq.
Anytime you are injured in a car accident you should consult a car accident attorney. Doing so will ensure you get the best advice possible on how to proceed with your claim. Most of the time an attorney will be needed in order to get you the compensation you deserve because insurance companies will attempt to pressure you into settling for much less than you deserve.
They will use various tactics to convince you that what they are offering is a fair settlement, but what you must remember is they are looking out for their own best interests – not yours. That is why hiring a personal injury lawyer is imperative in these situations. Doing so will not only alleviate the stress involved with trying to settle a claim on your own but will also ensure that you are adequately compensated.
Pursuing a claim for serious injuries requires extensive resources that only an attorney will be able to provide. In cases where the injuries are so minimal that hiring an attorney would be against your best interest, an experienced personal injury attorney will recognize that right away and instruct you to either settle with your insurance company on your own or file suit in a small claims court. Most small claims courts have specific instructions on how to handle your own claim and a personal injury lawyer can point you in the right direction.
Regardless, if you are involved in a car accident you should reach out to a car accident attorney. Most, if not all, offer free consultations and will steer you in the right direction.
William W. Hurst (20 years of experience) – Law Office of William W. Hurst
Digger Earles, Esq.
When do you need to hire a car accident attorney? Immediately.
While at the scene of an accident your adrenaline will be rushing, and it can be hard to remember everything you should do. From calling emergency personnel, to taking photos and gathering witness information, it is easy to gloss over the important details necessary to protect your rights. At the beginning, and at every step along the way, having an attorney will help you navigate the steps forward.
To understand why it is so important for someone involved in an accident to hire an attorney immediately after being injured, you must first understand the insurance companies’ interests are contrary to yours. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, so it follows that the more claims an insurance company pays, the less money they make. Insurance companies have a strong interest in paying fewer claims and devaluing them as much as possible.
Such practices help insurance companies protect their profit margins, so you’d better believe insurance companies actively work to avoid paying you for your medical bills and damage. In short, insurance companies are never on your side.
Following an accident, every doctor you see, every person you talk to, and every step you take impacts your recovery. Hire an attorney as soon as possible so you can concentrate on recovering from the accident with your interests protected.
Digger Earles (16 Years of Experience) – Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyer
Ronald V. Miller Jr., Esq.
The defendants and their insurance companies are usually quick to collect and preserve this evidence. If you do not do so yourself – the right way – you are starting your case behind the eight ball.
The serious injury or fatality qualifier is an important one. The value that an experienced lawyer with a track record of success can deliver varies inversely with the size of the case. In a smaller case, an argument can you can get by without an attorney but it is risky.
It is not always unreasonable to represent yourself. But in a serious injury or wrongful death case where policy limits are not the controlling issue, the difference a good lawyer can make is critical. Remember to take advantage of the fact that most car accident lawyers will offer a free consultation.
There are some cases where a delay in hiring a lawyer – based either on the facts of the case or the fact that too much time has already passed – is not likely to be fatal to your claim. Getting good experienced counsel on the phone can make all the difference in understanding what is needed to be done in your case and how urgent to hire a lawyer immediately.
Ronald V. Miller Jr. (21 years of experience) – Miller & Zois
Randolph Rice, Esq.
Many people don’t realize they have options in the aftermath of an accident. Most importantly, sharing information with insurance companies can be tricky. It’s critical to contact your insurance company immediately after an accident, however, it is generally never a good idea to speak to the insurance adjuster representing the other driver.
Typically, the other party’s insurer will ask you to give a recorded account of the accident as soon as possible. You have no obligation to give an official statement to the other driver’s insurance company. In fact, locking yourself into a version of events recalled while still under duress from the accident often hurts your damage claims down the line. Soft tissue injuries, for example, may not be apparent immediately, and as a result, you could make it difficult to recover physical therapy costs down the line if you initially reported that you were feeling fine.
Some clients don’t initially consult a lawyer because they trust that insurance companies will fairly cover their medical bills, vehicle repairs, and lost time at work. Unfortunately, this is the exception to the rule. Victims are often surprised to learn that insurance companies aren’t actually on your side; they are looking out for their bottom line and their shareholders.
If auto insurers can find a reason to deny your claim, they will. Hire a lawyer, so you can recover the compensation you deserve for the injuries, vehicle repairs, and time lost dealing with your accident. Let your lawyer wade through the paperwork and hours of negotiating that accrues after a crash.
Finally, make sure you put your case in the hands of a professional who is adept at dealing with insurance companies. Only experienced personal injury lawyers understand how to handle the intricacies of a case to ensure adequate compensation.
Randolph Rice (13 years of experience) – Law Offices of Randolph Rice
David Altman, Esq.
If you or a passenger in the accident has been injured, the answer is a resounding “yes!”
There are countless benefits to hiring a personal injury attorney to fight for the justice that you deserve when you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence. An experienced auto accident attorney has the knowledge to navigate the complicated side of lawsuits with insurance companies, ensuring that the right information and evidence are collected to best support your case. Additionally, an auto accident attorney has the subject matter expertise to know what the maximum financial recovery for your losses and injuries should be based on the details of your accident.
Finally, an auto accident attorney will have your best interests in mind and will advocate on your behalf while you recover from your injuries. By not hiring an experienced auto accident attorney, you may find yourself in a position where you do not receive the fair compensation that would otherwise cover the medical bills and other costs associated with your accident.
David Altman (21 Years of Experience) – Altman & Altman, LLP
Boston Car Accident Lawyer
Larry Nussbaum, Esq.
Second, a great auto accident attorney and their team will take care of all of your needs; leaving you stress-free and with the necessary time to focus on getting the proper medical treatment. My saying goes that “if a client focuses on the healing process, the lawyer will take care of the rest.”
Car crash attorneys with a track record spanning many years, work for their clients for free upfront, cover all the expenses, do all the work, and become an extension of their clients. An auto accident attorney is your biggest advocate, your biggest supporter, and your family. In brief, a great auto accident attorney takes all the stress out of the car accident process, making sure clients get the best value for their cases. We care about your quality of life. Hiring the right lawyer can be a game-changer for your claim.
Larry Nussbaum (11 years of experience) – Nussbaum Law Group
Watford Car Accident Lawyer
William Sand, Esq.
If you were involved in a car accident resulting in bodily injury, and you’ve found yourself with more questions than answers, you are not alone. Nearly 6 million people are involved in car accidents each year in the U.S. – that’s over 16,400 accidents each day. No matter what type of accident you were involved in, one of the questions that will likely come to mind is: how do I know I need a car accident attorney?
Below, I have summed up the top 7 reasons that you should consult with a car accident attorney so that you can make educated decisions for yourself and your family’s future. Essentially, you should hire a car accident attorney:
- If you suffered serious injuries or wrongful death
If you were involved in a tragic car accident that resulted in serious personal injuries or death, hiring an attorney to help you pursue a claim or lawsuit is a no-brainer. When injuries like brain trauma, spinal cord damage, paralyzation, or wrongful death are involved, you should hire an experienced car accident attorney so that you have the resources necessary to handle your case. Cases involving catastrophic injuries require lots of money and connections to hire medical experts, reconstruction specialists, and filing fees and should not be handled on your own.
- To protect yourself from doing or saying anything that may compromise your right to file a claim
Whether it’s your own insurance company or the other driver’s, you can be sure that their main interest is protecting their bottom line. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses whose main goal is to keep their costs low and their profits high, and the simplest way for them to do this is to either flat-out deny claims or to offer the lowest amount of money possible. Hiring a personal injury attorney will not only level the playing field but will also relieve you of having to speak to the insurance companies because your lawyer will do that for you.
- You’re being blamed for the car accident or for the other driver’s injuries
If you are being blamed for the accident, do not try to fight these allegations on your own. If you truly believe that you were not responsible for the accident, contact an attorney right away to protect yourself and your claim. Your lawyer can make sure that the accident is thoroughly investigated and provide insight into why the accident happened and who is at fault.
- If you cannot work for a period of time because of your injuries
If your injuries have prevented you from working or earning a living for your family, this is significant enough to justify hiring a car accident attorney. In addition to medical bills and other costs, the inability to pay your daily bills can make an already stressful situation even worse. Consulting a personal injury attorney in this situation is the best way to get answers to your questions and to find some solution to how you are going to make up for your lost income.
- If there are possibly multiple at-fault parties
If your car accident involved multiple vehicles and liability is in question, you should consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in car accidents. Additionally, if your car accident was caused by something like a defective tire or some other issue that was not related to the other driver, you should also consider contacting an attorney. Cases that involve multiple at-fault parties can become very complicated very quickly so it is best to have legal representation right away.
- When you have pain and suffering damages
Economic damages are paid to compensate you for things like medical bills, repairing damaged property, or the value of your lost wages. Non-economic damages are paid to compensate injured victims for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and/or loss of companionship. Since non-economic damages can be difficult to put a value on, it’s important to work with an attorney when negotiating a settlement.
- To protect yourself from a lowball offer or a claim denial
Trying to handle a car accident claim without the assistance of an attorney can have serious consequences, especially when it comes to getting enough money to cover all your bills. Once you accept that check from the insurance company, you cannot ask or sue for more. So, if your injuries turn out to be more severe than you had initially thought, the money you had accepted may not be enough to cover your medical bills or lost wages. This is why it is so important to consult with an attorney before you accept any offers.
Final word: The long and the short of it is that determining when to hire a car accident attorney can be complicated, but that is why almost all personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only get paid when they get money for their clients. So if you were in a car accident that involves injuries, find a reputable attorney near you and give them a call.
William Sand (10 years of experience) – Sand Law PLLC
Minneapolis Car Accident Lawyer
Benjamin Nicolet, Esq.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Minnesota, you should consider getting an attorney to assist you in your injury claim if your medical expenses exceed $4,000. Minnesota has a tort threshold that sets a minimum amount of medical expenses an individual must have before they can seek a claim for pain and suffering. There are certain exceptions to the rule, but the general rule is that an individual’s medical expenses need to exceed $4,000 before they are entitled to pain-and-suffering damages.
If you are injured in an accident and exceed the $4,000 tort threshold, you can seek compensation from the other driver and their insurance company for (i) medical expenses, (ii) wage loss, and (iii) pain and suffering.
One important thing to keep in mind is that Minnesota is also a “no-fault state”. This means that your own auto insurance (or the auto insurance of the vehicle you were riding in at the time of the accident) must cover your medical expenses and wage loss up to a certain limit. The minimum limits in Minnesota for no-fault coverage are $20,000 medical and $20,000 wage loss.
If you exceed the limits of your no-fault insurance, you can potentially make a claim for the additional losses against the other driver and their insurance company. Long story short, if you have been injured in an accident in Minnesota due to someone else’s negligence, you should consider getting an attorney to assist you if your medical expenses exceed $4,000.
Benjamin Nicolet (14 years of experience) – Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers
Kenneth P. Carp, Esq.
Contacting a car accident attorney before you make your initial puts you in the best position possible. Auto accident claims are like spider legs: lots of moving parts and without coordination, you can fall. Insurance coverage is hard to understand, and coordinating your coverages for uninsured motorists, medical payments, liability, and collision is difficult enough before you add a third party being liable, a health insurer wanting to get paid, or being told that your car is worth less than what you owe.
Obviously, there’s more to a car accident claim than a personal injury settlement. People often think there is no harm in giving a statement to either insurance company because once they tell the truth the insurance company will do the right thing and pay what you are asking for. However, insurance companies are motivated by: (1) taking in more money than they pay, and, (2) adhering to the terms of your policy.
Therefore, what you and the insurance company see as the right thing may differ. Speaking with an attorney before providing a statement follows the old saying that “it’s not what you say but how you say it.” A responsible attorney can educate you on what the insurer is trying to find out so you can give the adjuster the information in a way that does not jeopardize your claim and that allows maximum coverage.
Medical providers who have not been fully paid can be forced by law to settle for pennies on the dollar if you are working with an attorney. If you deal directly with the insurance company you can lose this privilege. The best time to contact an attorney is when you decide that you and your family want the maximum coverage possible with the least amount of stress.
Statistically speaking, victims net more with the help of an attorney than going at it on their own.
Kenneth P. Carp (25 years of experience) – Law Office of Kenneth P. Carp
Mark Cantor, Esq.
After an automobile wreck, you should call the police to the scene and secure a police report. This will preserve the evidence of the collision, the parties involved, the date, time, and other vital facts about the collision. You should not make any statements to any parties other than the police or as it relates to your medical care.
The opposing party’s insurance company will call you as soon as they are aware of the claim, but do not give a statement. Insurance companies are in the business of collecting premiums and not paying benefits. The reason the adjuster will be calling you is to escape liability and/or reduce the amount of money they must pay you for your injuries.
Mark Cantor (28 years of experience) – Cantor Injury Law
Richard P. Console, Esq.
A car accident attorney gets to work from the very beginning of their involvement in the claim – long before the case goes to trial. Hiring a lawyer promptly allows your lawyer to investigate the accident right away and gather all available sources of evidence. If you wait, crucial evidence could get lost or destroyed before your lawyer has a chance to uncover it.
Then there are the issues that arise with insurance companies. Put simply, insurance companies – even your own – aren’t on your side. Too many accident victims talk freely with the various insurance adjusters who contact them, unknowingly saying things that can undermine their claim. Limiting interactions with the insurance company makes you less likely to make a big mistake that hurts your claim.
One benefit of having a lawyer is not having to deal with the hassles of a car accident claim yourself. If you hire an attorney right after the crash occurs, you reap the full benefits of having professional legal representation, saving hours of time and unnecessary frustration. Your lawyer handles the paperwork and insurance company interactions, so you don’t have to.
Richard P. Console (25 Years of Experience) – Console and Associates P.C.
The decision to hire an attorney after a car accident is usually predicated on whether a party sustains an injury and, when that occurs, it is critical to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. Property damage alone is probably not worth the efforts of the victim or the lawyer, as property damage is fairly straightforward to deal with and most insurance companies use body shop repair estimates or Nada Guides to appraise losses. Diminished value and/or loss of use can be a tricky property damage issue, but that can be proven without the need for a lawyer.
However, when a party is injured, medical treatment must be managed, and an attorney’s expertise will come into play when navigating the personal injury process and evaluating the value of specific injuries. In Nevada, a potential client must not be more at fault than the other party. Nevada subscribes to the 51% rule whereby a party who is more than 50% at fault is barred from making a claim.
Knowing the types of medical specialties (who may need to be hired for treatment and evidentiary reasons) can be directed by the attorney, and legal pitfalls including insurance coverage and available avenues of recovery can be fully explored. Established liability, insurance coverage/collectability, and incurred damages (such as wage loss, medical expenses, and pain and suffering) are three primary factors (and sub-factors) that attorneys look at when evaluating a case. What distinguishes the need for a car accident attorney is the counsel that is provided for the value of the pain and suffering element, which is normally left up to a jury to determine.
Competent lawyers can assist a client in the right decision in settlement negotiations and offer assistance when they should file a lawsuit.
Joseph Benson II (20 Years of Experience) – Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC
Gabriel Levin, Esq.
The only thing more important than hiring a lawyer after a car accident is seeking medical attention. Once you are stable, you need to find representation quickly. Insurance companies start working immediately after an accident to undermine your ability to recover for the harm you have suffered.
Evidence from the accident can be lost in days and sometimes as quickly as a few hours. An experienced car accident attorney can ensure that all of the evidence is properly preserved. Often times the insurance companies will reach out to you and try to get you to give a recorded statement – this is never a good idea.
For one thing, the information you give can be used against you in later proceedings. Additionally, the information that you give shortly after an accident may not be fully informed and you may not yet realize the full extent of the harm you have suffered. All communications with the insurance company should pass through your attorney, and once the insurance company is notified that you have obtained an attorney, they will no longer contact you and the persistent phone calls will stop.
One of the most important responsibilities of a car accident attorney is establishing and fully proving the harm that you have suffered. A good lawyer will recognize harms that you did not even realize you have sustained. These can include:
- Past and future lost wages and loss to future earning capacity
- Future medical costs, including treatment and surgery
- A life care plan that lays out all of the future economic harms you will incur as a result of the accident.
Your ability to recover for these and other types of harm can be severely diminished if proper representation is not secured soon after the accident occurs.
Gabriel Levin (10 years of experience) – The Levin Firm
Eric Chaffin, Esq.
Hiring a car accident attorney is a personal decision, but it is also a very practical consideration. You may be ready to represent yourself if you are not seriously injured, you learn quickly, you can detach your emotions from the objective facts, you can ensure that you don’t step into a trap, and you know the true value of your case. If you lack any one of these qualities, or simply do not want to go through the significant hassle of fighting for yourself, it’s time to talk with a professional who specializes and is experienced in handling auto accident cases.
If you have a small claim where you are not seriously injured but have never handled a case on your own, at least consider a free legal consultation with an auto accident lawyer and perhaps do it on your own after talking with them. But, if you are significantly injured (broken bones, back or head injury, lacerations, etc.), then you really need a professional. When it comes to legal cases, there are far too many things that can go wrong, and the adjusters inevitably will pay you far less than you deserve for your case.
Eric Chaffin (17 years of experience) – Chaffin Luhana
Robert Clements, Esq.
When you are involved in an automobile crash the first thing that comes to mind is “what do I do now?” To answer this, you must do the following:
- If you are injured, get treatment at the scene or go to the hospital.
- Obtain the other driver’s personal and insurance information.
- Take pictures of the property damage and accident scene.
- Give a statement to the police.
- Do not talk to anyone other than the police.
The most important part of a personal injury claim is your health. If you are injured, you need to seek medical attention immediately. Hiring a car accident attorney is important when you are injured.
Most people believe the insurance companies will take care of them in an automobile crash. However, most insurance companies are more concerned about the bottom line than the injured party which, of course, is not in your best interest. Your attorney will help you fight for a recovery that is equal to your damages.
Robert Clements (25 years of experience) – Clements & Clements
Chi-Hung David Nguyen, Esq.
The short answer is that you should ALWAYS consult with a car accident attorney whenever you’ve been involved in a car accident. Most reputable car accident lawyers will evaluate your case for free, so there are no risks or obligations. No car accident is the same, therefore an experienced car accident attorney will be able to best advise you on hiring representation after an initial consultation.
A few key roles the best auto accident law firms will do when hired to represent you after a car accident include:
- Assisting you with medical care and costs so that you may reduce/avoid out of pocket costs for the treatment necessary
- Collecting evidence regarding the accident
- Negotiating on your behalf, with the threat of potential litigation
- Establishing liability on the defendant driver/party
- Increasing the value of your claim
Insurance companies have done a great job implanting the misconception that they are in the business of helping people. They are not. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and paying you fairly for your injuries negatively affects their bottom line.
At the onset of a car accident claim, insurance companies have a team of lawyers and adjusters for the sole purpose of undervaluing your claim. Common tactics insurance companies deploy against injured parties include:
- Denying a claim without reviewing or investigating the circumstances
- Offering a lowball settlement that’s subject to a ticking clock
- Using your emotions and stress to attempt to manipulate you into accepting less money than you deserve
Hiring a reputable personal injury law firm to represent you in your car accident will help ensure these dirty tactics have zero effect on your claim. Most reputable car accident law firms work on a contingency fee, meaning they don’t get paid unless they successfully recover a settlement for their client. In the event that they are not successful, you wouldn’t owe them any legal fees for their work.
Chi-Hung David Nguyen (6 years of experience) – Pusch & Nguyen
Houston Car Accident Lawyer
Stewart Guss, Esq.
If you or your passengers have been injured in a car accident, or if you have sustained significant property damage, it is always a good idea to consider hiring an auto accident lawyer. A good car accident attorney can help make sure that you get the medical care for your injuries, often without the co-payments or deductibles you face when using your health insurance.
Oftentimes, people don’t realize they are injured until the day after a car accident. By then, they may have spoken to an insurance adjuster and already said something to jeopardize their right to a full recovery. This is why we recommend anyone who may have sustained an injury or major damage to their vehicle consult a lawyer before calling the insurance company.
Even if you are unsure if you need representation, most reputable car accident attorneys will offer a free, no-obligation consultation in order to help assess your rights.
Stewart Guss (20 years of experience) – Stewart Guss, Attorney at Law
George Salinas, Esq.
Hiring an auto accident lawyer should be done as soon as possible following a car accident, after contacting the police and seeking any medical attention necessary on the day of the collision. There are many important steps that need to be taken by a lawyer immediately following an accident in order to protect their client’s rights and their claim. This includes not just accomplishing certain tasks related to the investigation of the wreck and medical care for the victim but also avoiding some things that are common pitfalls for many accident victims.
The timing of calling an attorney soon after an accident is particularly important since there are many steps to be taken that are very time-sensitive. Also, insurance companies will immediately take advantage of the lack of representation of a car accident victim early on in the process, making it more difficult for the lawyer to undo later in the claim process.
George Salinas (15 Years of Experience) – The Law Offices of George Salinas
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyer
John Yannone, Esq.
Retaining a lawyer immediately following a car accident can make the difference between keeping your life on track and facing thousands in medical bills. If you were involved in a car accident, seeking medical attention and focusing on your recovery should be your first step. Contacting and hiring a personal injury attorney is a very important second step.
The insurance industry is complex. Often, insurance companies will contact the victim of a car crash shortly after the accident offering a settlement amount or asking for a statement. It is wise to speak with an attorney before talking to the insurance company.
Car accident attorneys are experienced in handling insurance adjusters. They know the questions to ask and evidence to collect in fighting for the most compensation possible for a car accident victim. The sooner you hire a personal injury lawyer, the sooner that attorney can investigate the accident, collect evidence to support your claim, find and talk to witnesses, and file necessary paperwork.
In addition, many involved in car crashes are unaware of the severity of their injuries or the fact that they may be able to receive compensation for certain damages, including lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Hiring the right lawyer can make all the difference. The attorney can estimate the compensation you deserve and fight for it either from the insurance agency or in the courtroom.
After an accident, it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible so they can do the work for you and you can focus on what matters – your health and recovery.
John Yannone (30 years of experience) – Price Benowitz
Superior Car Accident Lawyer
Russell Nicolet, Esq.
In Wisconsin, you generally need to consider hiring an attorney as soon as possible. Wisconsin is not a no-fault state like some other states, so there is no minimum injury needed to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver. In fact, Wisconsin law requires that the other driver that is at fault will have to pay for all the damages incurred in the accident. This is true regardless of if the damages and injuries are minor or very severe.
Additionally, Wisconsin requires all drivers to have a minimum of $25,000.00 liability cover for the personal injury or death of one person and at least $50,000.00 liability coverage total (in the event more than one person is injured or killed). However, those are the bare minimum policies and often do little to cover serious injuries. It is a good idea to at least consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to see what insurance coverage is available through the at-fault driver, and if you need to proceed with additional coverage through your own insurance for either underinsured coverage (UIM) or uninsured coverage (UM) in the event the other driver was operating with no insurance in violation of Wisconsin law.
Russell Nicolet ( 14 years of experience) – Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers
Your Guide to Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
- How Do I Decide When to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
- Is it Worth Getting a Car Accident Lawyer?
- What Type of Lawyer Deals with Car Accidents?
- How Much Is a Car Accident Settlement?
- Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident that Wasn’t My Fault?
- How Long Does a Car Accident Lawsuit Take?
- How Much Does a Car Wreck Lawyer Cost?
- How Do I Know if a Lawyer Is Legit?
- How Long Do You Have to Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
- What Should I Do in a Minor Car Accident?
- How Can I Maximize My Car Accident Settlement?
- Why Should You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
- Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today
There are some general truths that hold up no matter what the specific details of your car accident are. A car accident victim is vulnerable to the insurance companies when they are not represented by a competent attorney. Insurance carriers like State Farm, GEICO, Progressive, and a host of others are all mega-corporations that got that way by employing an effective method of keeping costs low and profits high. This method is rooted in the idea that they attempt to pay as little as possible to victims, and they accomplish this by employing skilled claims adjusters and attorneys who can poke holes in what may otherwise appear to be clear-cut fact patterns.
Insurance carriers are well aware of which attorneys and law firms are known for taking cases to trial as opposed to the lawyers and firms that settle easily while leaving money on the table. Hiring the best auto accident law firm with significant trial experience levels the playing field between you and the insurance companies’ substantial financial resources and skilled attorneys. It is essential you retain a lawyer that handles only personal injury law and deals with car accident claims on a daily basis.
Consult with an Auto Accident Attorney Even if Your Auto Accident Was Minor
Deciding whether or not you should hire a car wreck attorney is based on your own case. If you have simple injuries that required a simple fix, then hiring an attorney is probably not necessary, but you should still consult with one. Attorneys offer free consultations for a reason: so that nobody’s time is wasted and so prospective clients are aware of all their available options.
Hire an Attorney with Caution
Once you decide that hiring a lawyer for your car wreck is necessary, use caution in which attorney you hire. Do your research and apply diligence. Some firms make their money through volume by taking in a lot of smaller cases and settling them as quickly as possible. These are known as settlement mills, and you can spot them by their flashy advertising.
Instead of being persuaded by ads meant to persuade you, do some research, read reviews, check the firms’ results, and call around. That’s the best way to find the best car accident lawyer.
What to Expect at Your Initial Consultation
Once you have made it through the process of hiring a personal injury attorney, you will be well on your way to getting the compensation you deserve. Your attorney can then sit down with you and explain how Florida’s PIP system works and how they will approach your own insurance company and the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. Your accident lawyer will lay out how the entire process works.
The best thing you can do is be informed about the process of filing a car accident claim in the state that you reside in and within the appropriate timeline.
There are practical limitations to that advice, of course. Most people probably will not think to call an attorney while they are still at the accident scene, dealing with sudden injuries, or being loaded into the back of an ambulance. While seeking medical care should always be your first priority, calling an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as the dust has settled will almost always reap benefits.
There are practical limitations to that advice, of course. Most people do not have a car accident lawyer on speed dial. They probably will not think to call an attorney while they are still at the accident scene, dealing with sudden injuries, or being loaded into the back of an ambulance. Seeking medical should, in any event, always be that person’s first priority. But, as soon as the dust has settled on an accident, calling an experienced car accident lawyer will almost always reap benefits.
Yes, particularly so following an automobile collision resulting in severe injuries resulting in fractured bone(s), disfigurement, limited use of a body part or function, or disability. Such injuries are compensable and may be maximized using a personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney will handle an oftentimes unclear claims process to ensure that the compensation for your claim is commensurate with the injuries you have suffered.
A car accident injury attorney acts as an advocate for clients injured in car accidents, protecting the injured client’s legal interests. The lawyer shields the client from individuals and entities who might try to impair or limit the client’s rights after an accident, such as aggressive insurance adjusters and defense attorneys hoping to pin “fault” on the accident victim instead of on their own, blameworthy clients.
An attorney also serves as an objective voice of reason for the victim and the victim’s family during a stressful, chaotic time. Crash victims often find it difficult to think clearly about potentially important, financially significant decisions in the hours, days, and weeks after a car accident. Car wreck attorneys support their clients by giving clear, level-headed advice.
Finally, an experienced car accident attorney acts as the client’s representative in pursuing the client’s legal rights to make sure the client sees justice and accountability done. Lawyers know all about how a brewing legal storm can affect car accident victims. The sooner you contact a lawyer for help after an accident, the sooner they can begin taking steps to protect you, your family, and your right to receive compensation.
Any licensed attorney in your state can handle a car accident claim. However, a personal injury attorney specializes in cases involving injuries suffered as a result of an auto accident. An experienced personal injury attorney is familiar with the nuances involved in obtaining the greatest possible compensation for your injuries.
Through experience, these attorneys are inherently familiar with the medical condition(s) associated with your claim and are best served in providing you with the guidance necessary in obtaining the greatest compensation for your injuries. Additionally, these attorneys understand the treatment necessary in getting you back to full health.
Make Sure the Law Firm Is Not a Settlement Mill
It is important to note that not all law firms that represent motor vehicle accident victims are the same. In fact, many of the biggest advertising firms are little more than settlement mills, which is a firm that relies heavily on advertising as their main source of gaining new business. They actually take very few cases to trial, even if the situation calls for it.
Settlement mills do not rely on current or former clients to refer their friends and family to them, so they can afford to employ a “mill mentality” in how they handle their cases. In fact, settlement mills tend to leave money on the table at the time of settlement, as they are more concerned with resolving a volume of personal injury cases each month to pay their expensive advertising budget. Keep in mind that even an average trial lawyer is superior to a settlement mill, as the insurance carrier must spend money defending a trial or a case that has advanced far in litigation.
The goal of any insurance carrier is to save money and forcing them to run up costs gets their immediate attention.
Factors to Consider in Selecting the Best Car Accident Law Firm
Some factors to consider when determining how to select the best car accident law firm for your case includes the following.
- Does the law firm have a reputation for taking cases to trial? A law firm or individual attorney who rarely tries cases before juries and who does not aggressively litigate their cases is essentially saying the insurance company is being fair – and we know this is rarely true. Thus, it is essential you retain a law firm that is known for litigating cases because one that doesn’t pose minimal risk to the insurance company and will often leave money on the table.
- Does the law firm have the financial resources to retain the best experts? At Dolman Law Group, we devote significant financial resources to our biggest and most complicated cases, and in order to properly understand and demonstrate the harms and losses our clients have sustained, we retain nationally recognized experts to level the playing field with the biggest insurance carriers and corporate giants. Our firm has litigated car accident lawsuits against some of the biggest companies in the world and has the financial means to take on any corporation regardless of size.
- Has the law firm handled and litigated catastrophic injury claims? Many law firms lack experience handling catastrophic injury claims such as traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs/amputations, burn injuries, and other life-altering tragic events. The worry is whether the attorney or firm is operating out of their comfort zone, whether they have the necessary financial resources to handle the size of such a case, and the prior experience to understand whether they are truly maximizing the compensation for their client who will likely require lifetime care.
Car accident victims receive varying settlement offers depending on:
- The severity of the injury
- Past and future medical expenses
- Witness testimony
- Suggested fault
- The age of the injured party
- The effects the injury has on your everyday life
Insurance companies use an algorithm to compute their suggested case value and settlement amount. Based upon this number, the insurance company, through an adjuster or attorney, will offer your attorney a certain sum to settle your case.
Absolutely. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney following an auto accident resulting in personal injury is imperative in receiving the greatest possible compensation for your untimely injuries. When a third party is at fault for your accident, you will like to seek compensation through a third-party insurer (the at-fault party’s insurer).
Without an attorney, a third-party insurer may attempt to settle your claim by offering you a sum of money for less than the actual value of your case. By hiring an experienced personal injury attorney, you provide legitimacy to your claim and force the third-party insurer to properly evaluate your claim and fairly compensate you for your injuries.
Each auto accident lawsuit is factually different and therefore varies in length depending on a variety of factors. Such factors include:
- The insurance carrier(s) and adjustor(s) involved
- Past and future medical treatment
- Any witnesses involved
- Whether fault is determined or admitted
Depending on the factors above, you may see that your lawsuit takes anywhere from several months to one or two years.
Personal injury attorneys typically work on what is called a “contingency fee basis,” meaning you will not pay your attorney until and unless you are compensated for your loss. Guidelines regarding contingency fee agreements are typically outlined by the State Bar Association in the state in which you make your personal injury claim. Such contingency fee agreements are discussed at length with your personal injury attorney before you ever commit to the prospective attorney’s representation.
Although you can never truly find anything online that will tell you whether a car wreck lawyer is good, or “legit”, you can make some assumptions on your own by searching for their licensing information. Car accident lawyers are licensed by a state agency where they practice, and this is who grants the lawyer their bar license. In most states, the licensing is managed by what is called the “state bar” or the “state bar association”.
In 44 states and D.C., you can search that state’s online database to more easily figure out whether an attorney is licensed and active, has any past infractions, and is in good standing. You can search the American Bar Associations’ database as well.
Unique to personal injury cases, time is of the essence when hiring a personal injury attorney as doing so is imperative to maximizing the value of your case. Much of your case comes down to the nature of the treatment you have received when such treatment was rendered and the ability to identify witnesses to the accident. By quickly hiring a personal injury attorney after your accident, you provide your attorney with the greatest opportunity to achieve the best possible compensation for your personal injury claim.
It is important to document all things related to the car accident while the information is still fresh in your mind. Additionally, you should see a doctor as soon as reasonably possible, even if you do not feel or see an immediate injury. Your adrenaline rises during an accident, and thus you may not feel pain until that excitement has died down.
A doctor will be able to properly assess any injuries and render a professional opinion, which can be vital if you are to pursue legal action against the at-fault party. Once you are physically and emotionally able, you should file a claim with your insurance company, as doing so is a contractual prerequisite for obtaining coverage under your policy.
You can maximize your personal injury claim by:
- Finding witnesses
- Documenting your injuries in great detail
- Keeping all documents (medical records, insurance information, police reports, witness information, etc.)
- Documenting the limitations your injury imposes on your daily life
It is equally important that you follow your medical provider’s treatment plan and that you never miss scheduled appointments, as doing so decreases the legitimacy of your claim to the adjuster evaluating the same.
Car accidents wreak havoc in the lives of Floridians. Every year, around 400,000 crashes occur on Florida roads, according to official data. In some of those collisions, drivers and passengers were lucky enough to walk away without serious injury, but many accident victims were left in immense physical, emotional, and financial pain.
If this happened to you, then you may need an attorney to help you recover compensation to help pay for your recovery from your injuries. Because all car accidents are unique, advocates for accident victims usually start by investigating three key questions:
- How did the accident happen? What chain of events, obvious or not, ended in a crash that caused a client’s injuries?
- Who has legal responsibility for the crash? What do the facts of the accident say about who had a legal duty not to act in a way that might harm others, violated that duty, and caused the crash?
- How much has the injury impacted the client’s life? What is the appropriate amount of money a victim should receive to compensate for all of the ways the injury has caused them harm?
The answers to these questions provide a road map of sorts for the attorney and client to decide on a strategy for seeking maximum compensation. Armed with this information, the lawyer can help you decide who to pursue payment from and how much is realistic to expect to obtain. The information can also help them decide whether to pursue settlement negotiations right away or collect more information before making a decision.
A Car Crash Attorney Can Negotiate from a Position of Strength
One option for seeking accountability and compensation that is always open to car accident victims and their lawyers is to negotiate with the parties who have legal liability for the crash (which usually also includes those parties’ insurance carriers). Collision attorneys frequently give careful thought to how to enter into these negotiations to give a client the best chance of recovering the most money possible. Perhaps the most significant consideration in that regard is the lawyer’s assessment of when the client’s case has reached peak strength since that is usually the most advantageous moment to press the other side for maximum payment.
An Attorney Can Defeat the Underhanded Tactics Used by Insurance Carriers
Car accident lawyers and their clients cannot always dictate the terms of negotiations. Insurance companies, for example, have a bag of tricks they often deploy in hopes of minimizing the amount of money they need to spend to escape liability for an accident. One such tactic involves them trying to negotiate directly with a victim before the victim has had a chance to hire a car accident lawyer.
This represents a calculated bet on the part of insurance companies. They hope to catch accident victims at a vulnerable moment and to convince them to jump at what is almost always a lowball settlement offer. Underhanded tactics like this illustrate why we believe it is so important for accident victims to retain experienced car accident injury counsel right away.
Dealing with aggressive insurance adjusters is much easier when all you have to say is “talk to my lawyer.” Letting a collision attorney take over discussions with the insurance company levels the playing field and gives you the power to decide when your case is strong enough to press your advantage.
You May Need Skilled Trial Advocacy
Another option car accident victims and their lawyers always have is to take legal action against the parties responsible for causing the accident. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the crash, the lawyer and client may decide to file an action right away or to give negotiations a chance to play out before suing. They may also need to collect more evidence before deciding on a course of action.
The most important factor in taking legal action can often end up being the skill, experience, and reputation of the lawyer the victim hires to prepare the case. Not all attorneys who advertise for car accident cases can take a case to trial and win. A victim cannot hope to recover maximum compensation without a true trial lawyer by his or her side.
Most car accident cases settle before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. However, unless the other side knows the victim’s lawyer can take a case to trial and win, they and the insurance representatives will try to pay you to avoid going to court. A lawyer can win a higher-value settlement for their clients simply by having a reputation as a trial lawyer to be feared.
Of course, some cases do not settle. In those instances, a victim always benefits from having an attorney who wasn’t bluffing in telling the other side they’d “see them in court.” No lawyer can guarantee the outcome of a trial or settlement negotiations. But victims give themselves the best chance of winning when they retain legal counsel who, from Day One, looks at a case with an eye toward how to win.
Not Hiring a Car Accident Attorney Costs You Money
We would be remiss not to mention one other consideration in deciding when to hire an attorney after a car accident: waiting costs you money – potentially lots of it. The older a case is when an attorney takes it, the less fresh the evidence and the more difficult the investigation into the how, who, and how much.
Witnesses’ memories fade, first responders move on, and accident scenes get cleaned up. The passage of time steadily eats away at the top-end of the amount of money an accident victim might hope to recover.
Then, there is the statute of limitations, a state law that sets the deadline by which an accident victim can take legal action. Missing this deadline means losing your legal rights to compensation altogether. In Florida, most car accident lawsuits must begin no later than four years after the accident, and just two years if the victim died in the crash.
In other words, if you wait too long to get a good auto accident attorney after a car accident, your claim will be worth zero. A lawyer can ensure you don’t miss any deadlines and are more than aware of how time can play an integral role in a car accident lawsuit. Placing your case in a lawyer’s hands as soon as possible also comes with the benefit of giving your legal team the additional time they need to stay ahead of the curve.
Hire a car accident law firm with a great reputation that actually takes cases to trial by reaching out to Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at any time at 833-552-7274, or you can write to us using our contact page. Our car accident attorneys have a combined 115+ years of experience in handling Florida motor vehicle collision lawsuits and claims, and to date, we have recovered over $175 million on behalf of car wreck and serious injury victims.
Matthew Dolman is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and has been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and to Florida’s Legal Elite. Stanley Gipe is a Florida Bar board-certified civil trial lawyer and has served as lead counsel on over 1,000 Florida accident and injury lawsuits. We have offices in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, Sarasota, Aventura, Orlando, Doral, North Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, and Boca Raton, which includes the counties of Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.
How to Find a Good Car Accident Lawyer
When trying to find a good car accident lawyer there are a few ways to find a firm that is best suited for you and your case. Here’s how:
Seek out lawyers with experience – Experience is everything, in any field, and an attorney that has a proven track record in a case similar to yours is always beneficial. For example, if your crash involved a bus or occurred within a school zone, you may want to find a lawyer who has had experience representing cases with similar circumstances. Additionally, finding a lawyer that has court representation experience might be helpful, if necessary.
Look for lawyers with high success levels in a court situation – The law firm or specific attorney you are seeking should have experience with taking cases to trial. The more a given attorney is known for litigating cases, the better. This is because a lawyer that is well-versed in taking cases to court, tends to make the highest amount of compensation for their clients.
Car accidents happen every day, and when they do, it’s important to have a good car accident lawyer on your side. Choosing the right lawyer for your car accident case will be based on various factors, but it’s still important that you do all the research needed and take your time to find an attorney that will fight for your case.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
Yes, it is always recommended to hire an experienced lawyer following a car accident. In these given situations, you will want to seek legal assistance:
In an accident where no fault is established – Some accidents can occur where no driver is at fault, meaning they were caused by uncontrollable events. If this is the case, a lawyer will be able to do what is needed in order to get you the compensation you deserve.
You were at fault for the accident – On the other hand, if you were the person to cause a car accident, then your insurance company will generally provide you with an attorney for your defense. Due to this, it’s best to seek your own trusted car accident lawyer to fight for you and your case.
A crash involving an uninsured driver – This type of accident creates complicated situations, and in order to navigate the legal process, an attorney will be extremely helpful.
Any accident in a school zone – Due to the severity of school zone accidents, you could face serious penalties. Because of this, it’s crucial to have a lawyer who can help you navigate the legal system.
Should I Get a Lawyer For a Car Accident That Was My Fault?
Yes, if you were involved in a car accident where you were clearly at fault, you will need to seek legal assistance. It’s incredibly important that you know what you should and shouldn’t do in this sort of situation because, in many cases, the wrong decisions can cost you large amounts of money and time.
Seeking the help of a car accident lawyer in an accident where you were at fault is the best option because a lawyer can help protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Additionally, there are many benefits to getting a lawyer for a car accident that was your fault. For example, they may be able to negotiate a lower settlement amount with the other involved parties’ insurance companies, because many car accident lawyers have extensive experience dealing with similar claims.
Lastly, if you do end up having to go to court, hiring a lawyer can increase the success rate of your case outcome. If you’re involved in a car accident, it’s important to consult with a reputable car accident lawyer to learn about all of your legal options.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?
In almost all cases, yes you should still hire a car accident attorney for a minor case. But, if you’re still not sure whether or not you should hire a lawyer for a minor car accident, consider the following factors:
The severity of the accident – If there was only minor damage to both parties’ vehicles and no one was seriously injured, you may not need to hire an attorney. However, if there was more significant damage to property and vehicles or someone was seriously injured, it is probably in your best interest to consult with an attorney moving forward.
The extent of your injuries – For example, if you wouldn’t need to see a doctor after your car accident, then you will not need to hire an attorney. On the other hand, if you do need medical assistance following your accident, or if you are looking to file a claim against the other driver, then seeking legal assistance would be beneficial.
Whether or not the other driver has insurance – Things can get complicated if this is the case so hiring a lawyer will be needed to file a proper claim and give insight into the legal process.
In general, many people involved in minor car accidents don’t hire a lawyer, but there are some instances where legal counsel should be sought out. If needed, the sooner you contact a car accident lawyer, the sooner you could get the composition you deserve.
When Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
When the question of if you should hire a car accident attorney arises, consider these factors:
If you have been injured in a car accident, or if your car has been damaged- This is especially important if you are considering filing a claim against the other driver involved in the accident.
If you are unsure about who was at fault for the accident – In some accidents, it may be unclear who caused the accident and whether or not you would have a case against the other individual involved.
If you have already filed a claim against the other driver and are not happy with the progress of the case – All car accident lawyers can help you understand your rights and guide you through the legal process.
Additionally, they can help you negotiate a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company.
When you find yourself involved in a car accident, it can be tricky to decide when a lawyer should be hired. On top of the multiple stressors of being in a car accident, there are countless other things to worry about, such as the property damage caused, medical expenses, and dealing with insurance companies. Due to this, many forget to seek legal assistance.
Hiring a car accident lawyer should happen as soon as possible following a car accident. Contacting an attorney on the day that the collision happens, or within the days following, will be the most beneficial. A lawyer can help to inform you of your rights and best advise you on how to carry out your claim if needed. They can deal with insurance companies and get any medical expenses sorted out as quickly as possible.