6 Questions to Ask If You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Accident
Over 2 million Americans are injured every year in car accidents. But let’s face it—if you’re one of them, you don’t care about the statistics. You’re concerned about your own car accident injuries and (even more importantly) what you should do next. Few things in life are as stressful as getting hurt in a car accident. If you’re feeling confused or overwhelmed, you’ve landed on the right page.
In this post, we’ll answer the most common questions people ask after a car crash. We’ll also offer guidance on when and how to reach out to a car accident lawyer.
When Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
Not every accident requires a personal injury attorney. If you suffered minor whiplash that resolved completely with a few chiropractic sessions, you might not need a lawyer.
The tricky part is that you don’t always know how serious your injury is. It can take hours or even days for some injuries, such as whiplash or concussion, to become obvious. Or you might start to feel better with treatment but then hit a plateau where you realize you’re not fully healed.
Here are a few situations when it’s a good idea to seek out a lawyer:
- Your injuries were serious (broken bone, concussion, joint damage, etc.)
- You’re still unclear about the extent of your injury or what type of long-term care you’ll need
- You’re missing time from work
- You’re worried about paying for medical treatment
- Your insurance company is blaming you (or not taking your claim seriously)
If any of the above applies to you, take advantage of a free consultation with a car accident attorney. They’ll review the details of your claim to determine if you have a case and the best way to proceed.
How Can I Choose a Car Accident Lawyer?
Before you turn to Google, start by asking for personal recommendations from friends and family. Someone you know may be able to give you a referral to a lawyer in your area.
Another place to turn is your local or state bar association’s attorney directory. Search for personal injury lawyers in your area, ideally those who have a lot of experience with car accidents.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, schedule a consultation to meet with the lawyer in person.
How Much Is a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
Rather than charging an hourly rate, most car accident lawyers work with a “contingency fee” agreement. The contingency is that they don’t get paid any fees unless you recover money (via a settlement or a jury verdict).
It sounds basic, but you’ll still want to read the fine print of any agreement. For example, who covers any costs connected with your case, such as filing fees or expert witness fees? Does the law firm absorb those costs, or will they be deducted from the final amount?
What Percentage Does a Car Accident Lawyer Get Out of a Settlement?
Speaking of final amounts, what percentage of the settlement goes to the lawyer?
There are no hard and fast rules, but the standard percentage lies between 25%-40%. One third, or 33%, is the most common contingency fee percentage.
However, this percentage could be less if the case settles before the lawsuit is filed. Or it could be higher (up to 40%) if the case goes all the way to trial.
How Can I Find a Good Car Accident Lawyer?
It might feel intimidating to contact an attorney, especially if you’re still shaken from the accident.
However, it’s in your best interest to learn about your rights and the options that are available to you. Prepare a list of questions to ask when you meet for a consultation.
Before, during, and after the consultation, you should receive good communication from the attorney. They should answer your emails or calls promptly while providing clear, easy-to-understand answers to your questions.
Most importantly, the attorney should seem genuinely interested in you—not just the money. You don’t need to become best friends, but you should feel a certain amount of rapport with your potential lawyer. If something seems “off” during the consultation, go with your gut and look for someone you connect with.
Should I Contact a Lawyer Before an Insurance Adjuster?
Never answer questions or give a statement to your insurance company (or the other driver’s insurance company) until you’ve spoken to an attorney first. This includes:
- Admitting fault
- Speculating about unknown details of the accident
- Revealing information about your health or injuries
- Accepting a settlement offer
If they contact you, politely tell them that you’re not in a position to discuss the accident until you’ve received legal advice. This is well within your legal rights to do so. More importantly, you don’t want to risk saying something that could hurt your case later on.
Bonus tip: Insurance adjusters may review your social media accounts during the investigation, so be mindful of what you share or post. Don’t share any details about the accident or your injuries on social media, as this could come back to haunt you later!
Hurt in a Car Accident? Follow These Steps
A car crash is a frightening experience, and it’s only natural to feel uncertain about what to do next.
After you’ve sought medical attention, use the tips listed above to find a reputable attorney in your area. Schedule a free consultation to review the details of your claim and learn more about your legal options.
If you do decide to move forward with legal representation, make sure you understand their fee structure. It’s also good to get advice about when and how to speak with insurance adjusters.
Have you been hurt in a car accident? Are you ready to take the next step? Click here to schedule a free virtual consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer.