Owning and driving a car personifies freedom to most Americans; the freedom to come and go as they please. An unfortunate side effect of owning and driving is the real possibility of being involved in a car accident. Some accidents are minor, and the fault is easily assessed. In other situations a car accident attorney may be needed to protect you, your passengers, and your property.
In those situations, you must know what to do, what information to gather before calling an attorney, even how to choose the right attorney. Below, we have compiled several of the more common questions people have after and accident and when they are searching for a car accident lawyer.
What Information Will A Personal Injury Attorney Need?
There are many things that a car accident lawyer will need to effectively fight for your claim. While you may not be able to compile all of the information before your first meeting, there are several items you can have on hand to speed your claim along. These items should include: as much information as possible about the other driver, a copy of the police report, any pictures you took after the accident, a copy of all medical bills, a pay stub to prove how much you make so they can calculate any lost wages, and an estimate for all damages to your car and any property, and the claim numbers issued by all insurance companies involved. The attorney that you choose will have additional questions, but these essential documents will provide them with base material before they contact the other driver's insurance company
How Do I Choose A Car Accident Lawyer?
Just because a person is a member in good standing with your state's bar association doesn't mean they are a good personal injury attorney. You need to know what to look for in a car accident lawyer if you are going to get the best compensation possible. Many attorneys offer a free consultation. Here are a few questions to ask during that time: How long have you been in practice? Are you going to handle my case personally or hand it off to another, maybe less experienced attorney in your firm? What percentage of your practice involves personal injury cases? Do you regularly represent plaintiffs or defendants? An attorney that mainly represents defendants may be more attuned to the attitudes of insurance companies and not fight as hard for you. What is your fee schedule? An attorney should be able to lay out every possible cost you will face before your case gets filed. They will also tell you if you will be charged based on hours, win or lose, or only if they win your case.
How Do I Find A Car Accident Lawyer?
Car accident lawyers, sometimes called personal injury attorneys, are easy to find. You can open the yellow page section of your phone book or do some online research. The problem with both is that there is no guarantee the attorney you find will be local. One solution that can help your search is to use an online service like LegalMatch or NOLO to find a personal injury attorney close to you.
How Do I Know If I Need A Car Accident Lawyer?
Not every accident requires a lawyer. Ask yourself these questions before deciding for or against hiring a lawyer: is fault contested? If so, you may not recover a penny without one; how much are my expenses for medical and lost wages? If it is more than a few thousand, you may want a car accident lawyer; do you have a serious or permanent injury? If so, you will need an attorney to make sure you are adequately compensated; are you headed to court? If so, having an attorney by your side may be a good idea.
What Do I Do Right After I Have Been In A Car Accident?
The first thing to do after any car accident is to check everyone for injuries.
Step two is to call the police: an attorney and your insurance company are going to need a police report to refer to. While you are waiting for the police to arrive, exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver.
Next, take pictures of the scene, either on your phone or with a camera. Be sure to capture all damage to vehicles and property, the license plate numbers of the vehicles involved, and any road hazards that may have led to the accident.
Finally, contact your insurer. You need to do this as quickly as possible following the accident.