When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident
The moment a car accident is over, you face a flood of decisions to make and issues to resolve.
You need to treat your injuries, but can you afford the expense of medical care? What will it cost to repair or replace your car? Are the pain and emotional distress from your injuries bad enough to disrupt your quality of life? Perhaps most pressing, do you really need a car accident lawyer?
Some of these questions have complex answers, but not the last one: The answer is yes. The sooner you speak to a car accident lawyer, the more they can do to help you.
There are other reasons to hire a car accident attorney right away. To win your case, your lawyer must gather and present evidence showing how the driver who hit you (or another party) caused your injuries.
The strongest evidence in these cases often comes from the crash scene, and the proof you need can disappear or deteriorate within days. A car accident attorney can collect evidence from the scene while you heal.
Moreover, drivers or other liable parties sometimes try to hide or destroy evidence that could implicate them in a personal injury claim. The faster you hire a car accident lawyer, the sooner they can protect and preserve essential evidence before anyone can dispose of it.
The Deadline to File a Car Accident Lawsuit
Every state has a law that specifies how long injured parties have to initiate a lawsuit against any at-fault parties.
In Connecticut, for example, state law says you must file any personal injury lawsuit within two years of when you sustained your injuries. If you attempt to file your suit after the deadline has passed, the courts will most likely dismiss your case.
While this deadline applies directly to lawsuits and not insurance claims, missing the deadline effectively removes your leverage with the at-fault party’s insurer.
Without the threat of a civil suit to worry about, an insurance company is much less likely to offer a fair settlement. Hiring a car accident lawyer immediately after a collision gives them the maximum time to build your case and, if necessary, file a lawsuit to enforce your rights.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Recover Maximum Compensation
A car accident lawyer plays a pivotal role in guiding your claim toward a successful outcome. They bring a wealth of experience and legal knowledge to the table, which can be the deciding factor in recovering maximum compensation for your injuries.
More specifically, your car accident lawyer can help your case by:
- Gathering and Analyzing Evidence: A lawyer meticulously collects evidence of the accident, including photos, police reports, and witness statements. They understand how to build a strong case by piecing together this information to tell a compelling story of what happened and why.
- Handling Insurance Companies: Attorneys know the tactics insurers might use to minimize payouts and can protect you from them. They can also negotiate effectively to help you avoid lowball offers.
- Connecting with Expert Witnesses: Lawyers often have networks of medical professionals, reconstructionists, and other experts who can testify about your injuries and the underlying accident, strengthening your claim.
- Calculate the Full Value of Your Claim: Lawyers have the experience and training to put an accurate dollar figure on the value of your claim. To assess the accident’s full impact on your life, your attorney will consider your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
- Managing Timelines and Paperwork: One of your attorney’s jobs is to file all the documents in your claim correctly and on time, preventing any procedural errors that could harm your case.
- Offering Legal Advice: Your car accident attorney can provide clear guidance on legal procedures and your rights. This helps you make informed decisions throughout the process.
- Representing You in Court: If your case goes to trial, a lawyer can represent you in court, presenting your case to a judge or jury and aiming for a favorable verdict.
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Most car accident attorneys work on a contingency basis. That means that they take your case without any upfront fees and only charge you on the contingency that they win. That way, you can protect your rights without worrying about the cost of hiring a capable attorney.
Furthermore, because your attorney gets paid a percentage of whatever compensation they recover for you, the contingency approach incentivizes them to fight hard for every dollar they can.
How to Choose a Car Accident Attorney
As you look for a New London personal injury lawyer to handle your case, don’t go with the first name you see in the phonebook or on a billboard. This decision can greatly influence the direction and outcome of your case.
Here are some factors to consider as you make your choice:
- Experience in Car Accident Cases: Look for an attorney with a track record of handling car accident claims. Their experience in this specific area is fundamental to how much they can recover on your behalf.
- Success Rate and Case Outcomes: Consider their history of success in similar cases. A strong record of favorable settlements or verdicts indicates a high level of competence and effectiveness.
- Communication Skills: Your attorney should communicate effectively, keeping you informed throughout the process and making complex legal concepts understandable.
- Client Reviews and Testimonials: Check reviews and feedback from previous clients. This information can provide insight into the attorney’s working style and client satisfaction.
- Legal Fees and Payment Structure: Understand their fee structure. Most car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, but you want certainty before selecting your legal representative.