Navigating a auto accident attorney is a tricky process. From the immediate aftermath when you’re shaken and confused to days later when you’re fielding calls from your insurance company and a mechanic, to weeks down the road when you realize you still have aches and pain, it often seems like a never-ending process. When it comes to handling a car accident, being proactive is key. If you have recently been in an accident and are considering legal representation, here’s what you need to know.
Reasons to Call a Lawyer
Determining whether or not you need an accident lawyer is often as simple as assessing the severity of the accident. Are you significantly injured? Is your car totaled? Is the other driver trying to say it’s your fault? These are all reasons to seek a consultation with an attorney as soon as possible. On the other hand, if the accident leaves minimal cosmetic damage or the damage is minor enough that insurance covers the repair, you may be able to settle with the other driver on your own.
Another primary cause for retaining legal counsel is if the insurance company denies your claim or wants you to settle for as little money as possible. In this instance, a lawyer determines the actual value of your claim and negotiates with the agency on your behalf. Many insurance agencies will tell you that hiring a lawyer only complicates the claims process but this is typically a ploy to wrap up your case as soon as possible with the least amount of financial compensation.
Filing Your Claim
A lawyer greatly simplifies this complex process and helps you gather the requisite information as you get ready to file your claim. This is especially helpful when it comes to communicating with the other driver’s insurance adjuster. The adjuster is often the one who assesses your claim’s worth, so it’s important to establish contact with them early on in the process.
If you are injured in an accident, your lawyer is going to be your primary method of obtaining hospital records, copies of medical diagnoses and billing paperwork, and liability evidence. Often, your doctor won’t mention causation when it comes to describing your injuries. In this case, your lawyer will request a specialized letter in which your doctor will state their opinion on the exact cause of your injury. This is an invaluable step in the claims process and helps it run far more smoothly.
Selecting the Right Lawyer
If you are ready to hire legal counsel to support you through this process, there are a few things to keep in mind as you decide. Primarily, your chosen lawyer needs to have extensive car accident experience. If you’re speaking with a firm that primarily handles civil disputes, it’s not a good fit for your case. Even a general personal injury attorney may not be your best bet. Instead, opt for someone who has previously represented individuals after car accidents.
Always take reputation into account. A good word of mouth referral works in a pinch but it helps if you do a bit of your own research, as well. Take a look at your lawyer’s online presence and their reviews. When you look them up, do you see any red flags such as billing complaints or unhappy clients? Look for someone who is well-regarded in the industry.
Lastly, your lawyer should be someone you’re comfortable with. You’re going to be spending a lot of time together going over the particulars of your case. If your lawyer makes you feel uneasy or as though they aren’t invested in your case, take your business elsewhere.
The Road Ahead
Car accidents are never easy to handle. Even simple fender benders are a frustrating resource drain. Hiring a lawyer after an accident is one of the best steps you can take to streamline the process. By finding someone to go to bat for you, you’re upping your chances of a successful claim and a solid payout. With a quality lawyer’s help, you’ll be back on the road in no time.