What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?

The primary job of a car accident lawyer is to help crash victims receive the best possible settlement from the insurance company. There are a few tactics they use to accomplish this. For instance, they will gather key evidence, compare similar cases, and negotiate with the insurance company. Many lawyers can also file a lawsuit and take a victim’s case to court if they can’t get a fair settlement offer.

If you’ve been in a car accident, you might be wondering if you should contact a car accident lawyer. Undoubtedly, you have questions. What can the lawyer do for me that I can’t on my own? What will it cost? How do I find a good lawyer? Our aim is to help answer these and other commonly asked questions to better inform you on the process.

The Basics of What a Car Accident Lawyer Does

First, you should know that not all lawyers handle all areas of the law. For instance, a lawyer might specialize in estate planning, criminal defense, or family law. Car accidents fall under the broader category of personal injury law. In injury law, the focus is to help injured victims recoup compensation from the at-fault party. In short, the injury lawyer will manage your insurance claim, from start to finish.

Here are the basic benefits a lawyer can offer you after a car accident:

  • Help you understand your legal options and the process
  • Gather valuable evidence about your case
  • Help sort out liability issues
  • Handle communication with all interested parties
  • Negotiate with the insurance company
  • Take your case to trial

We’ll now discuss each of these benefits in a bit more detail.

Accident Lawyers Explain your Legal Options

Every car accident is unique. So, one of the lawyer’s first jobs is to assess the circumstances of what happened to you and explain your legal options. Remember, a lawyer must go through rigorous schooling and exams to be licensed. They also handle car accidents and deal with insurance companies every single day. In other words, you are relying on their expertise to help you navigate this process.

However, a good lawyer is also a good teacher. They should explain the process and your rights in simple-to-understand terms. Even though your lawyer is managing the details, you should feel empowered and educated at every step of the way. They should also feel approachable whenever you have questions.

Finally, understand that a car accident lawyer works for you. They can advise you about whether to accept a settlement offer, but ultimately the choice is yours.

Lawyers Gather Evidence about Your Case

You probably know that it’s a good idea to take pictures of the scene following an accident. But there are other things to collect that may make a significant difference for your case. When you choose to work with a car accident lawyer, they’ll get to work gathering evidence to back your claims for repayment.

These items could include:

  • Doctor reports
  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Video surveillance
  • Expert testimony

Some of these items would be time-consuming, stressful, or difficult to get without the help of a lawyer. In the event your case goes to trial, evidence gathering requires an even greater level of skill.

Lawyers Can Help Sort out Liability Issues

It’s not always obvious who’s at fault in a car crash. Sometimes, both parties are partly responsible. Here in Washington, we are a comparative negligent state, which means that each party can be assigned a fault percentage. If you are partly to blame, your settlement will be reduced by that amount.

Here are some ways a car accident lawyer could help you in a disputed liability situation:

  • Use evidence to defend your version of events
  • Bring in an accident reconstruction specialist or other experts
  • Negotiate a lower fault-percentage on your behalf
  • Defend you in court, if necessary

If you have a complicated collision situation where fault isn’t clear, it’s a very good idea to reach out to a lawyer for help.

A Lawyer Communicates with All Parties

One benefit of working with an accident attorney is they will handle all communication on your behalf. Depending on the circumstances, this could include a variety of parties, including:

  • The at-fault driver and/or their insurance company
  • Your insurance company
  • Medical staff
  • Other attorneys
  • Law enforcement
  • Witnesses
  • Experts
  • Members of the court

When you authorize an attorney to manage your case, they’ll represent your interests with all they interact with. This means you can direct the insurance company to reach out to your attorney with any questions. Some people are surprised by the sheer volume of mail and phone calls following a car accident, so having someone else take care of this can be a tremendous stress reliever.

Accident Lawyers Negotiate with the Insurance Company

One of the most important roles of a car accident attorney is to negotiate with the insurance company. Their aim is to get you the highest possible compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering. Typically, negotiations start when your treatment ends. This gives your lawyer the fullest picture of all you suffered from the accident. The final cost of your medical care makes a strong case for your settlement award.

Throughout your recovery, your lawyer and their staff will check in to hear how things are going. Once your treatment has ended, your lawyer will send a demand letter, which will request what the lawyer believes to be fair based on your injuries and policy limits. There may be some back-and-forth interactions and you should be informed of any offers the insurance company makes.

Now, there are times when you may have multiple insurance claims. For instance, suppose you were hit by a driver with insurance policy limits that don’t fully cover your limits. In this case, your lawyer may work to obtain the full policy limit with the at-fault driver and then file a claim against your own policy if you have underinsured motorists’ coverage.

There are other situations that are more complex than this! For instance, if:

  • Two insurance policies exist to file claims against
  • You were hit by a government employee, such as a USPS driver
  • You were hit by a commercial truck driver, or other corporate entity

A good accident lawyer will make sure to identify all potential sources of compensation on your behalf to get the most money possible.

A Lawyer Can Take Your Case to Trial

Most cases that accident lawyers accept are settled outside of court. In other words, they can help reach a favorable conclusion through a series of letters and phone calls. However, there are situations where your lawyer may feel that the settlement offer is too low and that negotiations are stalling.

When this happens, your lawyer may suggest that you file a lawsuit. The choice to proceed is entirely yours.

If you decide to move forward, your lawyer will now have some additional tasks:

  • Filing the lawsuit and notifying all related parties
  • Building your case through the discovery process
  • Preparing you for your involvement in the trial
  • Representing you in court

To learn more about this process, please read our post about what happens when your case goes to trial.

Choosing a Good Car Accident Lawyer

Perhaps you’ve decided to reach out to a car accident lawyer about your recent collision. But how do you find the right one? Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Ask your friends and family. Chances are that someone in your circle has been down this path before. Who would they recommend?
  • Consider online reviews. What do past clients have to say? Reading testimonials can help steer your decision.
  • Opt for a local firm. Many larger firms may appear at the top in search results, even if they are cities – or even states – away. Always look up the physical office locations. A local firm means you’ll be able to meet with your lawyer and their team face-to-face.
  • Select a firm that focuses on personal injury law. Some law firms may practice several different types of law. But when you choose a firm that only handles injury law, they are more likely to give your case the specialized care and attention it deserves.

Finally, don’t hesitate to ask any prospective lawyer questions. Ask about the process, their past success rate, if they are comfortable taking cases to trial, and their thoughts on your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are accidents where you won't need a lawyer. For instance, if you were in a minor incident where only your car was damaged. Sometimes, a lawyer may decline your case. An example of this is if you caused an accident or were breaking the law. However, there is usually no fee to call a law firm to see if they can help.

It depends. If you were only partly to blame or believe there are some issues about what happened, it's worth a call to a lawyer to see if they can help. However, keep in mind that accident lawyers typically advocate for injured victims.

Most injury lawyers, including Ladenburg Law Injury Attorneys, work on a contingency basis. Simply put, you pay them out of your settlement, when you receive it. This means you do not need to pay anything up front which is a significant benefit as you're likely facing other bills related to your accident. In general, most lawyers will charge about a 33 1/3% fee for their services, and more if you go to trial. Your lawyer will disclose all fees in the contract before they start working on your case. In the event they are unable to win you a settlement or verdict, you pay them nothing.

Yes! Most injury lawyers can help if you've been injured in other types of collisions, too. Here at Ladenburg Law, we work with victims of motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents, to name a few. Bottom line, if you've been injured due to someone else's carelessness, call us.

Free Call with a Car Insurance Lawyer

With decades of combined experience, the Ladenburg Law team knows what it takes to get maximum compensation for our injured victims. We want you to know that it’s always free to speak with one of our attorneys for a consultation. There’s also no obligation, and we hold all conversations in strict confidence.

During this initial consultation, we’ll hear what happened and let you know if we can help. Remember, if you choose to work with us, you only pay a fee if we’re able to win you a settlement. Call us or fill out the short form on our contact page to get started.


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