We asked dozens of attorneys with over 550+ years of combined experience to answer a simple, yet important question: “When do I need to hire a car accident lawyer?”
This article aims to gather the opinions of attorneys from around the nation into just one article. Some of their answers have commonalities, just as you would expect, and others offer a unique take on the question. But what they all have in common is that they seek to provide the best advice possible about when to hire a car accident lawyer so that people can make the best possible decision.
Keep in mind that the insurance companies have teams of lawyers and adjusters who begin evaluating your injury claim right away. Because of this, it is essential that you retain a personal injury lawyer immediately if you are injured in a car collision in order to level the playing field.
Facing a team of professional attorneys that work full-time for billion-dollar insurance companies isn’t a wise move. It is possible to go at it alone, but you are literally at their mercy; they may give you a thousand dollars, a few hundred bucks, or possibly even deny your claim. It is up to them since you don’t really know what legal rights you have, what alternatives you could use, or what to do to fight them. They spend every day, all day, fighting claims on behalf of their employers (insurance companies) so facing them on your own with no experience has an obvious outcome.
In this article, we also cover what factors an injury victim should consider when hiring the best car accident lawyer for their respective case, why not all law firms are the same, and why it is vital you select a lawyer or law firm that actually takes cases to trial if necessary.
Experienced attorneys in auto accident claims in Florida and from across the country responded with their answers including Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington.
Been injured in a car accident? You only get one bite at the apple. Don’t hire a law firm solely off a television commercial. Can you get a hold of the lawyer on the commercial? You can always reach one of our award-winning lawyers.
Hire a firm with a great reputation that actually takes cases to trial. You can easily reach Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at any time at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH), or you can write to us using our online contact page.
Clearwater Car Accident Lawyer
Retaining a competent and experienced car accident lawyer is vital if you are injured in a wreck. Unfortunately, we see many individuals attempt to represent themselves and generally fail miserably for a few clear reasons. There are numerous studies illustrating a claimant who is represented by legal counsel, ‘net’ (after medical bills and attorney fees have been paid) in excess of three hundred percent more money has they handle their own auto accident claim. This number would be higher if we did not have 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.” In other words, the insurance carrier sees the claim as a mere nuisance. They view the unrepresented accident victim as one who has “no bite behind their bark.” 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. When they contact me months later after undergoing significant medical treatment; it is too late for us as they have signed away their legal rights.
Keep in mind that an injury victim that is not represented by an attorney is at a major disadvantage to an insurance company that handles personal injury claims all day every day. An unrepresented claimant lacks the experience or training necessary to properly negotiate with an insurance carrier. Further, such individuals will not have a thorough understanding of negotiating the medical bills they will surely incur as a result of treating for 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.
As the old saying goes “he who represents himself, has a fool for a client.” Do not go at it alone. Do yourself a favor and research the best lawyers in your area. Choose an attorney or law firm with significant financial resources to go toe to toe with the biggest insurance carriers. Look at what former clients say about their experience with the law firm. Do they offer personal attention or will you rarely if ever be able to get your lawyer on the phone?
Many law firms promise the moon with expensive television and radio advertisements. However, 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. We do! At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, you will receive the cell phone number of the car accident attorney handling your specific case and my cell phone number, the owner of the firm.
Matthew Dolman (17+ years of experience) – Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
The answer is short and simple: You should hire a car accident attorney when you are injured in a car accident.
No matter the property damage, severity of injury, or insurance situation–if a moment goes by after you are injured in a car accident when you are physically and mentally able to hire a lawyer, you’ve waited too long. As soon as an insurance company is notified of a car accident, they are figuring out how to devalue your claim. They make a lot of money using this business practice. The only way for you to level the playing field is to hire a car accident lawyer right away. If you hire the right car accident lawyer, you can actually gain the upper hand. If you wait, you’re late. They have a head start and now you have to catch up.
You have a life and you need to live it. Maybe you have a job, or a family to take care of, maybe you are a student with classes and tests. Everyone has responsibilities, so when you are injured by someone else’s driving, you shouldn’t have to take on the responsibility of handling that case on your own. It costs you nothing to have a trained professional handle every aspect of your car accident case. All you should be worried about is treating your injuries and handling your responsibilities. Let a car accident lawyer handle everything else.
Peter Tragos (6 years of experience) –Law Offices of Tragos, Sartes & Tragos
Sometimes life can throw you some unexpected surprises. No matter how much you try and plan ahead, a curveball is thrown your way. You find yourself the victim of a bad car crash or other terrible accident and your whole world turn upside down. Now you’re in the hospital, disabled, facing mountains of medical bills. This situation will bring about a number of stressful questions: How will you pay your bills? How will you pay rent? What about your lost wages or pain and suffering? What do you say to the insurance adjusters who keep calling you demanding answers? What should you do next? How much is your settlement worth?
On top of being in pain, you also have the confusing and worrisome legal issues, matters of insurance, and financial troubles, all looming. 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 car accident attorney handle all the rest.
Studies have shown that accident victims who hire an attorney usually come out ahead of those who try to represent themselves. 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 in order to trip them up and deprive them of valuable coverage. I see it every day. Many times victims fall into these traps and end up damaging their own claim in the long run. 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 attorney? Probably not on television. Or bragging on the radio. Instead, look for someone that specializes in your kind of case. Start on the internet. Look at their Google reviews. Read what their actual clients say about them. You can also let the Florida Bar help you with deciding which accident attorney is best for you. Hiring a Florida Bar Board Certified attorney is an excellent way to go. The Florida 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 look out for any problems. In fact, 98.5% of all Florida attorneys don’t make the cut. Only 1.5% of all attorneys are selected on the basis of ethics, excellence in the courtroom, and their specialized knowledge and skill to become Board Certified. These factors make this an excellent option. 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
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. A car accident lawyer 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
After enduring a traumatic car crash, many accident victims are too shaken to even think about hiring an attorney. But hiring a car accident lawyer is essential after sustaining even a seemingly minor injury in an auto accident if you want to protect your right to fair compensation. Navigating the no-fault insurance system and accident laws can be complex, and a seasoned attorney can help you understand your options, pursue your claim, and defend you against unfair settlement offers from insurance companies. 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
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, 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 medical providers that they need quickly 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. Insurance 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 legally available damages when an injured victim contacts them without an attorney. For example, the adjuster may not explain that you are entitled to future medical expenses, pain and suffering damages, as well as any lost wages.
Potential clients should also make sure they are not dealing with a settlement mill law firm, where case managers or paralegals dealing with hundreds of cases each have little incentive to help individual clients maximize their recovery.
Tina Willis (24 years of experience) – Tina Willis Law
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 a car accident lawyer. Beyond that there are no hard and fast rules. We have come up with a few of our own that we advise potential clients on to help them make a decision whether to hire us or not. Below are a few of those.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 lawyer. 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 or did not require more than a few weeks of conservative treatment (i.e. no 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 does 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 if at any point in the claims process, regardless of your injuries or the amount of your medical expenses, 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
When do you need to hire a car accident lawyer? Before you have a wreck. Think backwards… think about those videos that move in slow motion backwards, the car in the video goes from crinkled to straight, the girls in the video go from scared to laughing, the shattered glass goes from shattered to smooth. The wreck happens, but backwards…In that backwards scenario, you need to have a lawyer. Not one you’ve written a check to and said “hey, if I’m ever in a wreck, here’s your check, represent me.” That’s not about what I am talking. What I am talking about is hire a lawyer in your mind, way before you need him or her. Read up on what you do if you are in an accident. Look at lawyer’s websites. Good lawyer, not the clowns. Look at the good lawyer sites and know that you shouldn’t talk to an insurance adjuster, know ahead of time that you shouldn’t take blame for the accident, and know that you should go to the hospital to get checked out for your injuries. Know that you should have a maximum amount of UM coverage.
Know what to do. Hire a lawyer in your mind. Have knowledge before the glass breaks. Learn about the best accident attorneys in your state today. Be ready. Don’t send in the joker lawyers, send in the best to represent. Hire them today in your mind, but hire them immediately after you have your injuries checked out after an accident.
Charlotte Christian (19 years of experience) – Charlotte Christian Law
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. When your car breaks down, you take it to a mechanic. When your air conditioner isn’t working you call the AC repairman. So why, when we are talking about the most important repair of all, your body, do you not call an attorney the moment you are injured in an accident or as a result of negligence? The truth is many people think its 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. After all, we’ve all seen the TV commercials about how you are in “good hands” and they are “like a good neighbor.” The truth is you are NOT in good hands and if they were your neighbor you would pack the moving truck and leave the neighborhood. Insurance companies have one objective and thats to make money for their shareholders and this only achieved if they pay out a small piece of the premiums that they collect.
What you should do (if you live in Arizona, Nevada, Illinois, New Mexico, Texas and Oregon) is call Lerner and Rowe the moment you are hurt in an accident. We have a team of well over 400 attorneys and legal professionals that have helped nearly 150,000 people over the last 29 years. This is what we do every day. We help injured people. This may be your first time ever being faced with this situation. We do this every day of the year. Our people are waiting to help you twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. An accident can be one of the most stressful situations you ever deal with. You are hurting, your car is in the shop and you need help getting a rental and you can’t work. The bills start to mount up and you don’t see an end in sight to the pain and the mounting financial pressure. WE HELP PEOPLE WITH THIS EVERY DAY AND WE CAN HELP YOU! The sooner you call us the sooner we can begin putting the pieces of your life back together again. You’ve done nothing wrong. You deserve a law firm that knows what to do and is committed to you getting better physically and being rewarded financially.
Do insurance companies just roll over when you hire an attorney? No. However, the Insurance Research Council, found that those who hire an attorney on average get 3 to 3 1/2 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: “No, I know I need a lawyer because you guys have no interest in treating me fairly and I’m just a number to you.”
Although, we have built one of America’s largest injury law firms with offices throughout the country, you are not just a number to us. Our legal professionals are trained to treat each and every client as if they are our only case. You get the benefit of our years of experience and our incredible relationships with local doctors and national medical experts to make sure that you get the best care possible to get you on the road to recovery, back to work and back to your regular life. The truth is, its not fun being in an accident. You are in pain and you spend months or longer seeing various doctors to try and get better. You are inconvenienced daily by going back and forth to doctors. You are home in pain. Why settle for some small settlement? Let us be your champions and fight the insurance company. We don’t get paid unless you do and its in our best interest to get you every dollar you deserve.
You may be thinking, “how can I afford the best doctors if I don’t have insurance?” We have built relationships with countless doctors 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 sure isn’t going to pay for it. They want you to feel stressed so that you take a quick check. Let us take away the stress and you focus on getting better.
If the insurance company doesn’t negotiate a fair settlement with us we have a team of lawyers in house and, when necessary, outside the office to fight for you in a court of law. We refuse to ever settle cheap with the insurance company because, just like any bully, once you give them your lunch money they will bully you every day. We’ve built a national reputation on fighting for the average person against these corporate monstrosities called insurance companies. There is nothing we haven’t seen and nothing we won’t handle. As big as we are nationally, we still handle thousands of soft tissue and minor impact injury cases a year . Many attorneys think of these as below them after years of practice. After 29 years there is nothing too big and nothing too small for us. We’ve handled well in excess of one hundred cases in excess of a million dollars but we never forgot where we came from. We love fighting for low impact cases without serious life threatening injuries. That’s because we believe anyone injured through no fault of their own deserves legal representation. Not just the cases that are big paydays. We love people and we love fighting for people, especially on the cases most attorneys consider not big enough to justify their time. Every one deserves our experience and dedication, no matter how much the case is worth. Our job is to help people, not just the ones that get us the biggest reward.
In all of our markets we invariably file the most lawsuits every single year because we refuse to settle our clients’ cases for anything but the full value of what they deserve. It would be easier to settle on many of these but we need to send a message to the insurance company that you are NOT going to take advantage of my client because Lerner and Rowe clients are always going to fight for what they deserve and we are blessed to be their champion.
Glen Lerner (29 years of experience) – Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys
After over 20 years of helping car accident victims and seeing how insurance companies deal with these claims, my short answer would be: “more often than not.”
There are many times when a “fender bender” doesn’t cause anything more than some minor damage to your vehicle. In these instances, you don’t need a lawyer. 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 motor vehicle 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. If you find you have further complications down the line, tough luck — in most states, including California, 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. They will ask you to provide 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 of 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 fair 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 that is looking out for you.
Steven M. Sweat (20 years of experience) – Personal Injury Lawyers, APC
What happens after a car accident? You will need medical treatment. You must plan for your future medical care. You may not be able to return to work. 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.
Hiring a professional car accident victim lawyer is necessary to make sure you get full monetary compensation. A car accident lawyer must work aggressively on your case to make sure all your medical expenses, lost time from work, and full pain and suffering is compensated by the insurance companies.
Insurance companies offer low settlements to car accident victims. The insurance companies 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 accident lawyer is necessary to protect your rights and ensure you are fully compensated.
John Gomez (26 years of experience) – Gomez Trial Attorneys
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 and 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. 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
Short answer: ASAP
An accident victim should consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. My colleagues in this article have already raised many important issues such as post accident investigation and the perils of giving a recorded statement, so I will touch on a couple additional issues that I have personally observed in the Chicago area.
Insurance carriers sometimes trick plaintiffs into settling injury claims immediately. They might offer quick money, in my experience usually $500-$2000. What they don’t tell you is that this is it, there’s no additional money for medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of normal life and 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 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 injury law firms 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
People involved in a serious car accident frequently fail to recognize the fact that insurance companies for at-fault drivers begin defending 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
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. This is 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, it 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 some cases where the injuries are so minimal that hiring an attorney would be against your best interest and an experience 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 lawyer, 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
When do you need to hire a car accident attorney? Immediately.
While at the scene of an accident your adrenaline will be rushing, and anxiety is spiked. It can be hard to remember everything you should do. From calling emergency personal, to taking photos and gathering witness information, it is easy to gloss over important details necessary to protect your rights. In the beginning and 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 in an accident you must first understand insurance companies’ interest 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. This means, insurance companies have a strong interest in paying fewer claims, and devaluing claims as much as possible. Such practices helps insurance companies protects their profit margins. So, you 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.
Once this truth is accepted, it is easier to understand why you should hire an attorney to represent your interest. Following an accident, every doctor you see, every person you talk too, and every step you take impacts your recovery. In fact, everyone involved in helping you recover after an accident, from the tow truck driver to the emergency room physician, knows how the process works. Do you? Hire an attorney as soon as possible, so you can concentrate on recovering from accident with your interest protected.
Digger Earles (16 Years of Experience) – Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyer
If you have a serious injury or wrongful death case, you need to hire a lawyer immediately. There are too many potential facts that can disappear. Witness memories, skid marks and other reconstruction evidence, video records, and other information that is critical to your case can change or disappear. 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. It is risky even in a small case. But it is not always unreasonable to represent yourself. But it a serious injury or wrongful death case (where policy limits are not the controlling issue), the difference a good lawyer can make is critical. Our firm, and I’m sure most of the other lawyers offering advice here, have received overs that are more than 50 times the settlement offer given to our client before we took over the case.
Also remember to take advantage of the fact that most 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 it is that you hire a lawyer immediately.
Ronald V. Miller Jr. (21 years of experience) – Miller & Zois
The aftermath of a car accident is so stressful that hiring a lawyer may take a backseat to immediate concerns like addressing your injuries, dealing with your insurance company and repairing your vehicle.
Many accident victims don’t realize that retaining a lawyer in the days or hours after an accident means gaining an advocate to help you make critical decisions. It’s never too soon to consult an attorney after a crash. I’ve had clients call my 24-7 hotline from the scene of a crash to get advice on how to proceed. Those clients benefit from receiving professional advice about how to navigate the complicated post accident labyrinth of medical bills, physical therapy and vehicle repairs.
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 of the head may not be apparent immediately. As a result, you could make it difficult to recover physical therapy costs down the line if you initially report 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.
Often clients consult me when they are at their wits end, feeling frustrated with delays or denials of liability from insurers. They are 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 to 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 the 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
If you find yourself in a car accident, there are several steps that you should take immediately. Along with calling the police and your insurance company to report the accident, you should seek medical attention if needed. The very next step should be to consider “do I need to hire a car accident lawyer?”
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 car accident lawyer has the knowledge to navigate the complicated side of lawsuits with insurance companies, ensuring that the right information and evidence is collected to best support your case. Additionally, a car accident lawyer 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. And finally, a car accident lawyer will have your best interests in mind and will advocate on your behalf while you recover from your injuries.
By not hiring an experienced car accident attorney, you may find yourself in a position where you do not receive the fair compensation that you deserve to cover the medical bills and other costs associated with your accident.
David Altman (21 Years of Experience) – Altman & Altman, LLP
Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyer
The “right” car accident lawyer is always needed by a victim of any form of accident. First, a great car accident lawyer will protect the innocent victim’s rights against the big, powerful insurance companies. People, let’s get one thing straight: the insurance companies (even your own) are not on your team. Second, a great car accident lawyer 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 accident lawyers work for their clients for free up front, cover all the expenses, do all the work, and become an extension of their client. As your car accident attorney, we are your biggest advocate, your biggest supporter, and your family. We all have skin in the game together. Why wouldn’t you hire a great car accident attorney?
In brief, a great car accident lawyer takes all the stress out of the car accident process. A great car accident lawyer fights every day for clients, making sure they get the best value for their cases. While the lawyer fights, the clients have the chance to try to get their lives back to some form of normalcy.
At the Nussbaum Law Group, we pride ourselves on not just being great car accident lawyers, but rather the “right” car accident lawyer. Hiring the right lawyer can be a game changer for your claim. Not only do we protect car accident victims from the insurance companies, but we put our focus on the individual needs of each client. Our promise to help all of our clients is not limited to a car accident; we will help you manage any of your life’s hardships to make sure you are made whole again. Your case will eventually settle, but you are our client for life!
Larry Nussbaum (11 years of experience) – Nussbaum Law Group
Contacting a car accident lawyer 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 motorist, medical payments, liability and collision is difficult enough before you add a third party being liable, or health insurer wanting to get or your 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.Good people 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 and so you can give the adjuster the information in a way that does not jeopardize your claim. It’s not about lying – it’s about giving the correct information that allows maximum coverage.
Here’s a little known secret! 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 victim 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
When to Hire a Lawyer after an Automobile Collision in Missouri
The sooner you hire a lawyer after an automobile collision in Missouri, the better. The insurance companies will actively work to defeat your claim from the instant that it occurs. Without representation, the insurance company will diminish the value of your case or not pay at all. After an automobile collision, Cantor Injury Law suggests that you 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. Do not give the opposing parties insurance company a statement, and they will call you as soon as they are aware of the claim. These 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
The earlier you get an attorney involved in your car accident claim, the better.
A car accident lawyer 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 again that can be proven without the need of 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 (wage loss, medical expenses, future special damages, pain, and suffering) are three primary factors (and subfactors) 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
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. Once the insurance company is notified that you have obtained an attorney they will no longer contact you and the persistent phone calls will come to an end.
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 and many others that are not immediately apparent. Your ability to recover for these types of harms can be severely diminished if proper representation is not secured soon after the accident occurs.
Gabriel Levin (10 years of experience) – The Levin Firm
Hiring a car accident lawyer 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 in 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. As the son of a steelworker and first-generation lawyer, I understand the “do it yourself” mentality.
In fact, I pride myself in doing my own work on my home. Show me a clogged drain or a broken water heater, and consider the job done. But, for larger projects like a roof replacement or an addition to my home, I call in a professional roofer or the best contractor. The same is true with practicing law. 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 injury, head injury, lacerations, etc), than you really need a professional. It’s like trying to replace the roof on your house no experience in roofing. Some people will do just fine and their roof will last for years. But, the anxiety of not knowing if you are doing it correctly is simply overwhelming. And, unfortunately, when it comes to legal cases, it can be very complex. There simply 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
When you are involved in an automobile crash the first thing that comes to mind is what do I do now?You must do the following:
1) If you are injured get treatment at the scene or go to the hospital;
2) Obtain the other driver’s personal and insurance information;
3) Take pictures of the property damage and accident scene;
5) Give a statement to the police;
6) Do not talk to anyone other than the police.
Our firm believes 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 personal injury attorney is important when you are injured. I know 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. This is not in your best interest.
Your attorney will help you get a recovery that is equal to your damages.
Robert Clements (25 years of experience) – Clements & Clements
The short answer is you should ALWAYS consult with a car accident lawyer whenever you’ve been involved in a car accident. Most reputable accident lawyers will evaluate your case for free, so there is no risks nor obligations. No car accident is the same, therefore an experienced car accident lawyer will be able to best advise you on hiring representation after an initial consultation. If you have been injured and the collision was not your fault, hiring a car accident lawyer is always advisable. A few key roles a reputable law firm will do when hired to represent you after a car accident include:
- Assist you with medical care and costs so that you may reduce/avoid out of pocket costs for the treatment necessary
- Collect evidence regarding the accident
- Negotiate on your behalf, with the threat of potential litigation
- Establish liability on the defendant driver/party
- Increase 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, and
- 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
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 a car 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. Often times, 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
Hiring a car 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
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
Been injured in a car accident? You only get one bite at the apple. Don’t hire a law firm solely off a television commercial. Can you get a hold of the lawyer on the commercial? You can always reach one of our award-winning lawyers.
Hire a firm with a great reputation who actually takes cases to trial. You can easily reach Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at any time at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH), or you can write to us using our online contact page.
Table of Contents
- When to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
- Is it Worth Getting a Car Accident Lawyer?
- How Much is a Car Accident Settlement?
- How Long Does a Car Accident Lawsuit Take?
- How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
- What to do in a Minor Car Accident Lawyer?
- How to Maximize a Car Accident Settlement?
- Why Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
- Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today
As you can see above, there are some general truths that hold up no matter what the specific details of your car accident are. It is a fact the car accident victim is at a disadvantage advantage to the applicable insurance companies when not represented by legal counsel; let alone a competent and experienced accident attorney. Insurance carriers, like State Farm, GEICO, Progressive, Allstate, USAA, Liberty Mutual, Farmers, Nationwide, and a host of others are all mega-corporations. They 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 the victim of an auto accident. They accomplish this by employing skilled claim adjusters and attorneys who can poke holes in what may appear to be a clear-cut fact pattern.
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 a car 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.
Deciding whether or not you should hire a car accident lawyer 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 one. Attorneys offer free consultations for a reason: so that nobody’s time is wasted and prospective clients are aware of all available options.
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. They take in a lot of small cases and settle them as quick as possible. They are known as settlement mills. These mills are often spotted by flashy advertising. So instead of being persuaded by something that is literally meant to persuade you, get on your computer, read some reviews, check results, and call around. It’s the best way to find the best car accident lawyer.
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. To get you started, we have created an in-depth guide to the personal injury process, which can be found here: Timeline of a Personal Injury Case. By reading this article, you will be well on your way to getting the fair compensation you are owed
Bottom line: It is never too soon after a crash to hire an experienced car accident injury attorney.
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.
Here’s why. A car accident injury attorney acts as an advocate for clients injured in car accidents. What do we mean by “advocate”? To start, the lawyer is a protector of 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; people like 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 injury. Lawyers 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; the client’s strong, clear “voice,” if you will, in making sure the client sees justice and accountability done.
In our experience, car accident victims and their families need that kind of advocate right away. Whether or not they realize it, from the moment a crash occurs, injured crash victims land smack-dab in the eye of a potentially massive legal storm. Immediately, individuals and companies the victims may know nothing about begin positioning themselves to avoid holding financial liability for the victim’s injuries. Most victims have no idea how to act in response. As we said, most are not even aware of the flurry of law-related activity that spins up almost instantly after someone’s bad decisions or dangerous conduct causes a car accident that injures an innocent victim.
Lawyers, however, know all about the brewing legal storm and how it can affect car accident victims. The sooner you contact one of them for help after an accident, the sooner they can begin taking steps to protect you, your family and your rights to receive compensation.
Yes, particularly so following an automobile collision resulting in injury. Such injuries include fractured bone(s), significant disfigurement, limited use of a body part or organ, limited use of a body function or system, or injuries causing 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.
What Type Of Lawyer Deals With Car Accidents?
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 Car Accident 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. A settlement mill is a firm that relies heavily on advertising as their main source of gaining new business, and they actually take very few cases to trial even if the situation calls for it. These so-called 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’ to 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
Does the law firm have a reputation for taking cases trial? Insurance carriers are giant for-profit entities and their biggest concern is for their shareholders; not their policyholders. A law firm or individual attorney who rarely tries cases before juries and who does not aggressively litigate their cases; is essentially stating the applicable insurance company is generally being fair. We know this is rarely true. Thus, it is essential you retain a law firm that is known for litigating cases. Insurance is simply a form of risk management. A car accident law firm that does not try cases poses minimal risk to the applicable insurance company. In this case, such a law firm will often leave money on the table.
Does the law firm have the financial resources to retain the best experts? We strongly believe that a shoestring budget leads to shoestring results. At Sibley Dolman Gipe, we devote significant financial resources to our biggest and most complicated cases. 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, including Uber, Lyft, Old Dominion Freight Line, Knight Transportation Trucking, and Anheuser Busch. We have also brought personal injury lawsuits against Walt Disney World, Walmart, 7-Eleven, Hyatt, Publix, and many others. We have the financial means to take on any corporation regardless of size.
Has the law firm handled and litigated catastrophic injury claims on simply soft tissue injuries? There is no shame in being a firm or lawyer that only handles soft tissue cases. These are often some of the most difficult cases. However, many law firms lack experience handling catastrophic injury claims such as traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs and 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 their 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, age of the injured party, the effects the injury has on your everyday life, etc. 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.
Should I Get A Lawyer For A Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?
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), the insurance adjustor(s) involved, past and future medical treatment, witnesses involved, whether fault is determined or admitted, among other things. 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 of 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.
How Long Do You Have To Get A Lawyer After A Car Accident?
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 your 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 that you document all things related to the car accident while that 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 the 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 may be vital if you are to pursue legal action against the at-fault party. Lastly, once you are physically and emotionally able, you should file a claim with your insurance company as soon as you are physically and emotionally able to do so 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.), and 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. Those accidents caused more than 3,000 fatalities and more than a quarter of a million injuries in one recent year, according to official data. In some of those collisions, drivers and passengers were lucky enough to “walk away” without serious injury. Many accident victims, however, did not get off so easily. Their injuries left them in immense physical, emotional, and financial pain.
Sunshine State car accident victims usually have a sense that they might need an attorney to help them recover compensation to help pay for their recovery from crash injuries.
There Are No Routine or Typical Car Accidents
Car accidents happen so often in Florida (on average, over 1,000 per day) that it is easy to think of them as routine and ordinary. Experienced car accident injury lawyers, however, know that there is no such thing as a “routine” car crash. Every one of them represents a unique story with its own particular causes and outcomes.
We say this because we believe it is important for car accident victims to understand and believe that they deserve personalized attention. Too often, virtually everyone a car accident encounters in connection with an accident—police officers and first responders at the scene, emergency room doctors, insurance representatives—treats it as “just another crash” to process and move on from. However, for many Florida accident victims, particularly those who sustained severe injuries or lost a loved one in a crash, there is nothing ordinary or forgettable about what happened. The accident and its impacts dominate their lives.
And so, they deserve to have someone listen to them, understand the difficulty the crash has caused them, and fight on their behalf to sue at-fault parties held accountable. In short, they need an experienced, committed car accident injury attorney.
What Experienced Car Accident Injury Attorneys Do
You may be thinking: Okay, so I get that I need an attorney right away… but what will the attorney actually do for me? Well, remember how we said that no accident is “routine”? By the same token, how an attorney serves a client’s interests will vary from accident to accident. As a general proposition, however, a lawyer for a car accident victim will try to take steps to ensure that the victim receives the maximum compensation possible for the harm the accident caused. This often includes any or all of the following steps.
Careful Investigation of How, Who, and How Much.
Because all car accidents are unique, advocates for accident victims usually start by investigating three key questions:
- How did the accident happen? That is, what chain of events, obvious or not, ended in a crash that caused a client’s injuries?
- Who has legal responsibility for the crash? In other words, what do the facts of how the accident happened say about who had a legal duty not to act in a way that might harm others, violated in that duty, and caused the crash?
- How much has the injury impacted the client’s life? Specifically, what is the appropriate amount of money that a victim should receive to compensate for all of the ways the injury has caused harm?
The answers to these questions provide a road map, of sorts, for the attorney and the injured client to help them decide on a strategy for seeking the compensation the client deserves. Armed with this information, for example, the lawyer and client can decide who to pursue payment, and can have a sense of how much money it is realistic to obtain from each one. The information can also help them decide whether to pursue negotiation right away, or take legal action, or hold their fire and collect more information before making a decision.
Negotiation Conducted From A Position Of Strength
One option for seeking accountability and compensation that is almost always open to car accident victims and their lawyers is negotiating with the parties who have legal liability for the crash (which usually also includes those parties’ insurance carriers). Lawyers 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 the maximum payment.
Underhand Tactics Used By Insurance Carriers
Of course, 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 insurance companies trying to negotiate directly with accident victims before they have had a chance to hire a 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 gets a whole lot easier when all you have to say is “talk to my lawyer.” Letting a lawyer 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.
Skilled Trial Advocacy
Another option car accident victims and their lawyers virtually always have is to take legal action in the courts against the parties with the legal liability for causing an accident. Depending upon 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, or that they need to collect more evidence before deciding on a course of action.
Whatever the decision, the most important factor in taking legal action can often end up being the skill, experience, and reputation of the lawyer the accident victim hires to prepare the case. We are going to clue you in on an open secret of the legal profession: not all attorneys who advertise for car accident cases have what it takes to take a case to trial and win. However—and this is the important part—an injured car accident victim cannot hope to recover the maximum compensation they deserve without a true, honest-to-goodness “trial lawyer” by his or her side.
Here’s why. Most car accident cases in Florida and throughout the United States “settle” before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. However, unless the “other side” knows that the accident victim’s lawyer has the chops to take a case to trial and win, the other side’s lawyers and insurance representatives will never “pay” to avoid going to court. Lawyers 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 car accident victim always benefits from having an attorney who wasn’t bluffing in telling the other side “we’ll see you in court.” To be sure, no lawyer can guarantee the outcome of a trial (or negotiation, for that matter). But accident 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 it in front of a judge and jury.
Waiting Costs Money
We would be remiss not to mention one other consideration in deciding when to get an attorney after a car accident: Waiting costs you money, potentially lots of money. 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. Witness memories fade. First responders move on. Accident scenes get cleaned up. In short, 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 law that sets the deadline by which an accident victim can take legal action in Florida courts. 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 lawyer after a car accident, your claim will be worth zero.
Do not wait to retain the services of an experienced car accident lawyer after a crash. The sooner you act, the better off you and your case are likely to turn out. A skilled car accident injury attorney can help you understand your options.
Been injured in a car accident? You only get one bite at the apple. Don’t hire a law firm solely off a television commercial. Can you get a hold of the lawyer on the commercial? You can always reach one of our award-winning lawyers.
Hire a firm with a great reputation that actually takes cases to trial. You can easily reach Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at any time at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH), or you can write to us using our online contact page.
Car Accident Lawyer Near Me – Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
Deciding On Which Car Accident Attorney To Hire
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, picking a car accident lawyer can be an added stress to the situation. Though the process of selecting an auto accident lawyer should not necessarily be difficult, it is an important decision. Some car accident lawyers use an assembly line system to get one client in, get them settled, and get them out the door. This settlement mill process almost always ends up leaving money on the table and a bad taste in the client’s mouth.
So when it comes to choosing an “automobile accident lawyer near me”, be sure that the firm you choose has the dedication, drive, and resources to pursue your case to the lengths necessary to ensure that your case’s fullest value is realized. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has the experience, the skill, and the initiative to get the job done while still maintaining a strong focus on the attorney-client relationship.
Why Sibley Dolman Gipe
The accident attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe have a combined 115 plus years of experience handling Florida motor vehicle collision lawsuits and claims. As of date, we have recovered over $175 million on behalf of car wreck and other serious injury victims.
Matthew Dolman is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Matthew has been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and to Florida’s Legal Elite. Less than 2% of practicing lawyers can make such a claim.
Stanley Gipe is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer which connotes he is an expert in the discipline of trying cases. Stan has served as lead counsel on over 1000 Florida accident and injury lawsuits.
We have offices all over Florida so that we can more conveniently serve you. So when it comes time to search, “Accident Lawyer Near Me” keep in mind that Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has offices in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, Sarasota, Aventura, Orlando, Doral, North Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa and Boca Raton. This includes Pinellas County, Pasco County, Sarasota County, Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.
So before you search for “lawyers near me”, know that we are your personal injury lawyer and know that we are near you.
Visit our Florida Car Accident Lawyers page for more information.