What Does an Auto Accident Attorney Actually Do?
A car accident is often traumatic and damaging for everyone involved. The aftermath of the accident can be a complex and drawn-out process that continues to affect victims and their families many months or years later. For this reason, many people involved in accidents, particularly when injured, turn to the assistance provided by a local car accident attorney.
But what exactly does an auto accident attorney do? If you have recently been involved in an accident, choosing an attorney can be difficult, particularly when the services provided by each lawyer seem to vary. However, a few standard practices of any high-quality auto accident attorney’s process can ensure the receipt of money for damages or injuries.
An auto accident attorney’s goal in an accident or injury case is to get the maximum possible settlement for their client. The settlement amount is based on the evidence presented by the lawyer of damages to your property or person. You may also be entitled to additional funds based on the results of an injury or loss of a car, such as lost wages.
It can be challenging to determine when you should hire an attorney for a car, truck, or bicycle accident. Let’s look at some of the specific ways auto accident lawyers and professional legal service providers assist their clients after an accident.
Dealing With Insurance Agencies
Insurance agencies will often seek to get away with paying you the least amount possible after an accident. It can be difficult to speak with insurance agencies or adjustors without giving out evidence that could potentially affect your final settlement. An experienced auto accident attorney deals with insurance agencies and will get the final insurance funding adjusted to better fit the damages that occurred.
After an accident, make sure to collect the insurance information of any other parties involved in the crash if able. Assess the damages and avoid saying anything related to who is at fault or who owes money- what you say at the time of the incident can come up again in court. You should also report the accident to your insurance company. From there, you may want to consider hiring an auto accident lawyer to speak with the insurance agency on your behalf.
Organize Evidence or Proof of Fault
To help you receive the maximum settlement for your case, an accident or personal injury lawyer will gather all evidence related to the crash and resulting damages on your behalf. This evidence-gathering process is crucial for presenting your case and for dealing with insurance agencies. The evidence available is used to determine the party at fault in court, which can significantly affect the amount of your settlement.
Collecting insurance information for the parties is only the beginning of the evidence-gathering process. Accident attorneys working on a case involving injury will reach out to your medical provider on your behalf to obtain a record of the medical costs and damages resulting from the accident. Disabilities and physical limitations caused by the accident where another person was at fault will directly contribute to the resulting settlement. Work and wages lost due to the injury provide an additional factor for determining compensation.
Accident and injury compensation attorneys are also often able to use any evidence gathered at the time of the accident. This evidence potentially includes dashcam footage when available and any resulting police reports. Many city and county websites will have information on how to order police reports. Photographs of the scene of the accident and the vehicles involved can also be a part of the evidence an attorney will present to the court.
The evidence provided in court through police reports, medical examination results, and photos from the incident can directly assist in receiving an increased level of compensation for the accident. An auto accident attorney will assemble all the evidence to present the facts and remove discrepancies and arguments related to what happened. The evidence presented can also prove negligence or fault.
Negotiations With Defendants (And Their Lawyers)
In accident and injury cases where the potential compensation of either side is higher than paying for auto repairs, all parties involved may carry lawyers that argue or negotiate on their client’s behalf. If the defendant in your case hires a lawyer to represent them, you may also want to do the same. Hiring a lawyer is a benefit beyond the direct arguments in front of a judge in court. Many cases are settled out of court, in which case the negotiation of settlement occurs instead.
The negotiation process is a meeting of both sides (defendant and plaintiff) to discuss terms of resolution for the damages caused by the accident. The value of your case is often officially determined through the negotiation process. An accident injury lawyer will determine from the negotiation process if you are receiving fair compensation and if your case needs to move beyond attempts at a negotiated settlement. Should a negotiation of terms fail, an accident injury lawyer will know when and how to take your case to trial.
Can I Settle My Case Without A Lawyer?
If the damages that occurred to your person or vehicle were minor, you might be able to process the evidence personally and navigate the negotiation process. However, even in smaller auto, truck, or bicycle accident cases, the negotiation process can be challenging and time-consuming. The assistance of legal professionals ensures that you will receive the highest settlement possible.
If other people involved in the accident hire a lawyer, it is usually a good idea to do the same. If the injuries or damages sustained during the accident prevent you from working, you will also almost always need to hire an attorney. If you decide against hiring an attorney, you will need to read through the legislative information provided by your state for accident reports and cases.
Worried about the cost of hiring an attorney? Мost auto accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. With a contingency fee in place, the lawyer representing you is only paid if you win your case in court or receive a settlement in your favor. The fee in question is usually a set percentage of the settlement, meaning you will not lose money by hiring an attorney. Many auto accident attorneys provide free consultations where you can discuss your case and get started on working towards a settlement.