Why Hire an Auto Accident Attorney?
We asked several experts this question and their answers appear below:
Auto accidents happen every day and sooner or later, most of us will be involved in one. Hopefully, the one you’re involved in will be minor and only involve minor property damage. Often, however, people are injured in a serious accident. Following an auto accident caused by someone else in which you have been injured, whether you are in Illinois or any other state, you will find yourself with many important decisions to make, not the least of which is whether to hire an experienced auto accident attorney to help.
It is not uncommon for injured accident victims to put off hiring an attorney to help them based on a belief that lawyers are expensive, which is a mistaken impression. Virtually all accident attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means they are paid by taking a percentage of the settlement you get from the insurance company. The flip side of that is, if you don’t win, you pay zero.
There are many reasons other than money why hiring an experienced and knowledgeable auto accident attorney is the best thing you can do. Here are a few of the main reasons you should always hire an attorney to handle your accident case:
1. An Experienced Auto Accident Attorney Will Protect Your Rights
When auto accidents caused by others result in serious injuries or even death, the victim(s) of the accident need and deserve someone on their side who can negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement amount that compensates them for all of their losses. You deserve to be fully compensated for whatever losses the accident causes, whether those losses are physical or some other type of loss.
Hiring an experienced and knowledgeable auto accident attorney could very well be the best thing you ever do to protect your rights and recover as much of your pre-accident life as possible for you and your family.
For example, immediately following an accident, many claims adjusters will request a recorded statement, claiming it’s necessary to assess your claim. However, a recorded statement is unnecessary and potentially damaging, since they could use what you say against you in court.
It’s important to understand how insurance companies communicate with accident victims. Just because the insurance company admits their client caused the accident does not mean they won’t try to deny the accident caused your injuries. They will try anything to show that your injuries are less serious than you claim and/or that you had them before the accident. Your auto accident attorney will use their experience and knowledge to get the company to admit that your crash caused your injuries.
2. An Accident Attorney Can Level the Playing Field with the Insurance Companies
If you have been injured in an auto accident, getting a proper settlement from an insurance company is not as easy as you may think. It’s important to understand that insurance companies are huge businesses with large teams of claims adjusters and attorneys with a single mission; to settle with you as quickly and for as little as possible. Again, insurance companies are less interested in providing you with justice than preserving their bottom line. By hiring a knowledgeable and experienced auto accident attorney, you gain some clout, which means you will be more likely to get the settlement you deserve.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, the last thing you want to do is to fight with one or more insurance companies to make sure your medical bills get paid and you get properly compensated for your physical injuries and other losses. You may need to seek recovery for pain and suffering and psychological damages, but you can’t do that on your own.
If you are unsure of your rights and obligations under the law – and most accident victims are in the same boat – hiring an auto accident attorney can make the entire process easier for you and your family. Your lawyer knows how insurance companies work and they will know what to say and do to get you a settlement that will fully compensate you for everything you’re entitled to.
3. Auto Accident Attorneys Can Better Identify and Prove Your Damages
Many of the forms the insurance company will ask you to sign right after your accident allow the release of information that will help the insurance company create a case against you. The forms may even allow the insurance company to get your medical records. If you complained about similar pain to the pain caused by your accident 20 years ago, they will attempt to use it against you.
An experienced auto accident attorney won’t allow you to sign anything that could help the insurance company. They will also use their resources to get any and all medical information about your injuries and they will consult experts to find out how long the effects of your injuries will last and how much everything you will need will cost you in the future. An auto accident attorney will also assess your ability to work and determine how much not working will cost you. They will also determine how much pain and suffering you will endure in the future and put a number on many other similar losses, to make sure you get everything you’re entitled to.
4. Auto Accident Attorneys Can Identify All Responsible Parties
It’s often easy to know who is to blame for the accident that caused your injuries, but sometimes more than one party can be proven negligent for your accident. This can be a useful thing to know. In many cases, especially if the insurance the other driver is carrying has a limit that won’t allow you to recover everything you are entitled to. It is often necessary to identify others who may be at fault.
For example, if you were paralyzed in your accident, you will need many years of medical care and physical therapy, at the very least. If the driver of the other vehicle was had a personal insurance policy with a $50,000 limit, that won’t be enough. However, if the driver was operating a truck for a large trucking company with a million-dollar policy limit, naming them in the lawsuit might be a wise thing to do, as long as you can prove them responsible. Likewise, if the truck he was driving was named in a recall for a defect that could be proven as a cause of the accident, naming them could be a great idea, as well. Since you will have to prove your case with all parties named, that is best done by an experienced auto accident attorney, and not just you.
5. Why Hire an Auto Accident Attorney?
Being in a car accident can leave you feeling a variety of emotions. Accident victims often feel:
- Angry with the other driver
- Frustrated with insurance companies and doctors
- Anxious about covering medical bills and lost wages
- Scared of losing their job or home
Most of all, victims of car accidents are often confused about their options and next steps.
Knowing whether you need to hire a personal injury lawyer can be one of the most challenging parts of the process. Maybe you’ve considered hiring an attorney, but you don’t know where to begin. Do you even need a lawyer? Can you afford legal fees? Was your accident serious enough to make hiring a lawyer necessary? Or maybe you’ve been told that you don’t need to hire an attorney, making you hesitant to contact one. These issues can feel overwhelming, even for experienced drivers or those who have been in multiple accidents.
If you have been injured in an auto or motorcycle accident and you have unanswered questions, the good news is that you’re not alone, and we’re here to help. The following Frequently Asked Questions can help you to learn whether hiring an auto accident attorney is the right choice for you.