Being involved in a car accident can change your life, at least for the near future. You not only have to deal with any injuries and damages that resulted from the accident, you usually also have to use the legal system to recover fair compensation for accident-related expenses and claims. If there is only minor damage and no injuries or fatalities, you can handle matters yourself. However, when there are significant damages and injuries, you need to know about hiring a Car Accident Attorney to help you with recovery.
After the Car Accident
Immediately after the car accident, several steps should be taken. First, make sure anyone injured gets medical attention. Call 911 for medical help and the police. When they arrive, the police will take a report of information about the accident from everyone present. Later, obtain a copy of the police report.
You should also take notes and record information you will need for the insurance companies and when you seek help from an attorney. Information you need includes names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and a description of the vehicles and any damage. Be sure to exchange information with other drivers, including insurance policy numbers, and take photos of the scene and vehicle damage, if possible.
Once everyone is safely out of the way of any traffic flow, take care of the vehicles and get them off the road or towed away for repair. Write down your version of what happened while your memory is still fresh. If it was a hit-and-run accident, chances are that person either did not have insurance or there is a warrant for their arrest. Any details about the car or that person can also be helpful to your attorney.
Hiring Your Car Accident Attorney
Once you return home, it is time to go about hiring your Car Accident Attorney. Your first decision will be which attorney is your best choice for legal representation. If you have never worked with a lawyer previously, get some referrals from other people you know who do have experience working with attorneys. Ask for recommendations first from your friends, co-workers or your present attorney.
Since most attorneys specialize in a particular area of law practice, your current attorney may know another colleague who would serve your best interests if they cannot. Other places to contact for a referral are your local or state bar association or an online lawyer directory service.
Questions to Ask
Since you will be working closely with the attorney throughout your case, make sure you feel comfortable with the attorney. Interview several before making a choice, and ask them the following questions:
- Experience – How many similar case have they handled and what is their win record?
- Knowledge – Do they know the state and national transportation laws; do they know how to work with insurance and health care companies? Is Personal Injury and Car Accidents their specialty area of law practice?
- Fees – How will you be charged? Do they work on a contingency basis and what other costs will you need to pay? Do they have payment arrangements? What percentage of any award will they take?
- Consultation – Do they offer a first consultation free?
- Service – Will you work directly with this attorney or with an associate? How available are they to you when you have questions or need information?
- Expectations – What do they foresee as your chances for success? What do they see as the timeframe for completion?
Selecting the Right Car Accident Attorney
Remember always that you have control when you are hiring a Car Accident Attorney. If things do not go smoothly, you can fire them and find another to take your case. For unsatisfactory service, you also can file a complaint with the local or state bar association. Your main goal is selecting the right Car Accident Attorney to handle your case.
The right attorney can help you with personal injury, property damage, wrongful death and determining liability. They can help you find justice and obtain fair compensation for accident losses, medical care expenses, lost wages, disability and car repair. You need an experienced Car Accident Attorney when the accident has resulted in physical, mental or emotional injury, a fatality, or when there is significant damage to your vehicle or other property.
Be sure to interview several attorneys before making a choice. If they offer a free consultation, go in with your information and list of questions. Choose someone you are comfortable with, because this could become a long process. Some accident cases stretch out for years. Make a decision quickly, however, because most states have a statute of limitations for filing your lawsuit. If you miss that deadline, you will lose your chance for expense recovery. Your attorney can advise you of the specific regulations for your state.
Finalize Your Choice
Get agreements and payment information in writing, and make sure you understand every detail. If it happens that the cause of your accident, such as defective parts, is also part of a class action lawsuit, you may receive a notice of that opportunity. If you do not answer that notice, you are automatically included and cannot file your own lawsuit. If you opt out of the class action lawsuit, you can hire your own attorney, but you won’t share in class action benefits. Your attorney should have current information about any class action lawsuits that might relate to your accident.
Once you have selected the right Car Accident Attorney to handle your case, relax and let them do the work. Provide all requested information and attend all meetings and hearings you are asked to attend. Be honest about all facts and answer questions truthfully. Once the issue is resolved, and you are satisfied with the result, let the attorney know you are satisfied with their work.