You cannot drive on a highway without seeing numerous advertisements for lawyers telling you how they can help you after a car accident. The lawyer says they can get you a top dollar or help you recover financially for your car accident injuries.
This is not just advertising trying to get you to call the individual lawyer.
While you may still get some compensation after a car accident that was not your fault, you will not get nearly as much if an attorney does not represent you. An attorney’s job is to advocate for your legal rights after you have suffered an injury in a car accident.
To understand why you must have a car accident lawyer for your case, you must understand who you are dealing with and their motivations. The other driver will likely not pay you out of their pocket. Instead, their auto insurance company will cover their damages up to the policy’s limits.
How Car Accident Lawyers Fight for You?
Car accident lawyers tell you that they fight for you and that they will fight the insurance company on your behalf. You may wonder why attorneys always talk about fighting. It’s because the insurance company does not have your best interests at heart. They are an adversary, and they think only of themselves. What motivates them the most is money and how they can keep more of it for themselves when they have an obligation to pay you.
Therefore, you need an experienced car accident lawyer to look out for you at all phases of the claims process, from beginning to end.
Your lawyer’s importance will show at each phase of your car accident case.
At the very beginning of your case, you will need your attorney to explain your legal rights in your case. You may not know what to do or how to get financial compensation for your injuries.
You Need to Contact an Attorney to Discuss Your Case
You will make contact with your attorney by reaching out to them to schedule a free initial consultation. A lawyer may not seek you out after a car accident.
Here, the lawyer will seek to learn more about your accident and your circumstances. While they may be unable to give concrete answers about whether you have a strong case or how much you can get, they can give you an initial read on your case. They can also answer any questions you have about your case.
Your Car Accident Attorney Investigates Your Crash and Tries to Prove Your Own Case
Once you hire your car accident attorney, their first significant job will be to gather evidence about your car accident. To receive any type of settlement, you will have the burden of proof to show that another driver was negligent in your case.
To do this, you will need evidence about what happened to compare to what a reasonable driver will have done under the circumstances.
Here are some sources of evidence that your attorney may gather to help your case:
- Witness testimony from people who saw what happened (when you have objective third-party witnesses, it is generally the most persuasive form of evidence)
- The police report that the officer wrote when they showed up at the scene (that is helpful for insurance claims only) unless it contains statements
- Pictures of the scene of the accident
- Any dashcam or traffic camera footage from the area or nearby cars
- Testimony from an accident reconstruction expert (if you have no direct evidence that shows what happened)
Your Lawyer Estimates the Value of Your Case
In addition, your lawyer will also help you by coming up with a dollar value of your claim. Before you can file a claim, you need to know how much you will potentially deserve for your injuries. The insurance company has this information and will try to exploit your lack of knowledge if you do not have a lawyer.
Car accident claims are not always easy to value. Even what you think may be objective measurements can have numerous different interpretations. Then, you also have more subjective parts of your claim that the insurance company is trying to undervalue to the fullest extent possible.
Your Damages in a Car Accident Case
Here is what you may receive compensation for in a car accident claim:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Embarrassment and humiliation
Hiring a Lawyer Can Keep the Insurance Company From Harassing You
Once you have the evidence to prove fault and know how much your claim is worth, you will file an insurance claim. Before you even reach that point, you may get a call from the other driver’s insurance company.
These calls are a significant landmine that can only harm you. Even though you have no obligation to talk to them, they may trick you into saying someone that will cost you money.
Your attorney will fend off the insurance company. If the insurance company still tries to contact you, all you need to say is, “Talk to my lawyer.” Then, they cannot continue to talk to you.
Your Attorney Will Prepare the Insurance Claim for You
Your lawyer will draft the claim on your behalf. Depending on your lawyer’s advice, you will file a claim or a demand letter. A demand letter is a more formal document that is sometimes necessary. Your lawyer will present the evidence showing why the other driver’s insurance company legally must pay you. The legal standard you must meet is proving your case by a preponderance of the evidence.
Filing the claim is only the start of your attorney’s work in your case. In many claims, what follows afterward grows more complex.
Obvious liability can appear at the outset of some car accident cases. Even then, your major battle is getting enough money to pay for your damages. Here, the insurance company will pull out all the stops to keep you from getting what you deserve.
The Lawyer’s Key Role Is Negotiating for More Money
While the insurance company may take time to respond to your initial claim, negotiating with them can take far longer. Your car accident lawyer is an experienced negotiator who knows how to deal with the insurance company based on your knowledge and experience.
Not only does your lawyer know how to negotiate, but they also know each particular individual insurance company and how they operate. They understand that insurance companies use different tactics to reach their goal of saving money at your expense.
Once the insurance company makes you a settlement offer, your lawyer will review it line by line. The insurance company may break out its numbers, so you can see how they estimate your claim’s different elements.
Your lawyer will determine precisely how low the settlement offer is. Your lawyer will then advise you on whether to accept the insurance company’s settlement offer. If the settlement offer is too low, your lawyer will tell you can and should say no.
Your Attorney Assesses Settlement Offers and Responds on Your Behalf
If the settlement offer is the initial one, chances are that you should almost always reject it. The initial settlement offer is often just a placeholder and not a serious attempt to settle your claim.
Usually, you will still stick with the claims process for some time in an attempt to reach a settlement. While progress may be slow, the two sides often come together slowly over time.
Your lawyer will then respond with your counter-proposal to settle the claim. This process may repeat itself several times over the coming months. Negotiations can slowly move you closer to a final agreement.
A Lawyer Puts the Legal Pressure on Your Insurance Company
Car accident settlement negotiations are not always linear. Sometimes, your lawyer may need to put more pressure on the insurance company to get more serious about a settlement. One of your most effective weapons is the threat of a lawsuit.
You do not need to pay out of pocket to hire your lawyer, but the insurance company does. They may need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to an insurance defense law firm, depending on the complexity of your case. They may not want to incur this expense, so the prospect of litigation can force them to be more reasonable. They will not fear an individual claimant without a lawyer because there will be no credible teeth to the threat.
Lawyers File Lawsuits for You in Court
At some point, your lawyer may need to decide whether it makes sense to continue negotiating or to take your case to court. If you file a lawsuit against the other driver, the insurance company will defend them.
If you file a lawsuit in your case, your lawyer will:
- Draft the complaint and serve it to the other party to begin the case
- Lay out your case and why you are entitled to money
- Respond when the defendant files motions in court
- Continue to build your case by obtaining more evidence in the discovery process
- Continue working towards a possible settlement in your case before it goes to trial
- Present your evidence to the jury so that you can show your entitlement to money
It is difficult, if not impossible, to represent yourself successfully if your case goes to court. You will go up against the insurance defense lawyers who do nothing but defend these cases.
Your Lawyer Helps You at All Stages of Your Case
Your car accident lawyer is present at all phases of your case. They are there for you initially when you feel you have nowhere else to turn for help. They will put your mind at ease when you fear the legal process and despair about whether you may even obtain financial compensation. Then, they will protect you from the overreaching that insurance companies use as a standard business practice.
You cannot afford to go without an attorney in a car accident case. You cannot beat the insurance company at its own game without legal help.
Even after you pay an attorney through a contingency arrangement, you will likely recover more money than if you dealt with the insurance company alone. The financial results are usually better for those who hire car accident lawyers. You will not want to go through stress and hassle just to end up with less money. All you need to do is hire a lawyer who can handle all the details of your case.
You may wonder what you must pay to get legal representation. Although a car accident lawyer does not work for free, they will also not take any money while your case is pending. They will not take any money at all unless you win your case. Then, they will receive fees from the proceeds of your car accident settlement or jury award. If you do not win, they do not get paid at all. Thus, you have no risk when hiring a car accident lawyer.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you’ve been in a car accident, don’t hesitate to call a car accident lawyer today. Time is of the essence, and early legal intervention is crucial. A personal injury attorney in Long Island can protect your rights, handle insurance claims, gather evidence, and advocate for fair compensation. They will navigate the complex legal process on your behalf, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
Delay in seeking legal assistance can jeopardize your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.