Essential Information To Know Before Hiring A Car Accident Attorney
Every year, thousands of car accidents occur in the United States. According to the National Safety Council, more than 40,000 people lost their lives to car crashes in 2018. About 4.6 million people suffered severe injuries in a car accident in the same year. There is no question that fatal accidents and major injuries are devastating to victims and their families.
If you are involved in a car accident that was due to the negligence or carelessness of the other driver, it is imperative that you hire an experienced Car Accident Attorney. A proficient auto accident lawyer in West Palm Beach, Florida can help you pursue the financial recovery you need to move on with your life after the accident. The lawyer will also ensure that you are treated fairly during the claim process. Here are some of the commonly asked questions about car accident attorneys.
When is the Best Time to Hire an Auto Accident Attorney?
After you are involved in an automobile accident, the most important factor is your safety. If you or other passengers in the accident were hurt and require medical attention immediately, call for an ambulance or get them to a doctor right away. It is also advisable that you call the police to report the accident.
In addition to these steps, be sure to contact your attorney. If there were severe injuries, property damages or fatalities, the sooner you contact your car accident attorney, the better. Generally, you call your auto accident lawyer immediately after the accident, preferably with 7 to 14 business days of the accident. During this time, do not accept offers from the insurance company without the knowledge of your attorney.
Initial Consultations Are Usually Free
Many people aren’t willing to call a lawyer because they believe it will cost too much. However, a good lawyer will be willing to discuss the basic facts of your case and tell you whether they believe you even have a case, for free. Costs can be negotiated and discussed afterwards.
Most good lawyers limit their practice to one or two kinds of law. If you are hiring a lawyer to represent you in a brain injury or bodily injury case, you should make sure that they have experience in that specific field.
Past Success Counts
Understanding how a lawyer typically handles cases similar to yours can be very helpful in determining if they are the right lawyers for you. Before making a final decision about a lawyer, do some research into past cases they have handled. If you find it hard to find a lot of information about past cases, ask them during the consultation about the results of the previous cases they have handled.
Lawsuits Aren’t Always Necessary
While up to 96% of cases get settled before a trial ever occurs, some cases do not even need a lawsuit to be settled. A lawyer can sometimes get the important information to the insurance company for the defendant and settle the case without needing to file in court.
Know Your Fees
Any lawyer must be paid for their time and services to you. If you hire a lawyer, you need to make sure you understand what is referred to as a contingency fee, which occurs only after you’ve been paid. This kind of a fee allows you to hire a great lawyer without having to pay that lawyer upfront, but amounts differ and you should be aware of cost at all times.
Four Reasons to Call a Lawyer
Accident lawyers have seen it all before and know how to handle different types of accident cases. Attorneys can be a major asset to your case as they have extensive knowledge of the law which can be invaluable in navigating the often confusing world of trial preparation. Specifically, a lawyer can:
- Investigate the case and make sure that there aren’t other factors that the defendant or the insurance company are going to raise to try to deny your claim.
- Negotiate directly with insurance companies on your behalf, so that you don’t have to handle the stress of such negotiations on top of your physical and emotional pain.
- Advise you of what a fair and equitable settlement would be for your accident injuries, so you don’t have to guess whether the insurance offer is a fair one.
- Advocate for your full and fair recovery.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents can cause traumatic injuries, which may cause great financial, physical, and psychological pain. Individuals who get injured in a car accident that was caused by the gross disregard of road safety rules by another are entitled to compensation by filing a car accident injury claim.
Filing a car accident lawsuit isn’t as straight forward as most people think. In fact, when you need to hire a car accident lawyer. It isn’t always easy to distinguish a good lawyer from a bad one, but you can narrow down the list by asking the following questions.
- Have you successfully handled cases like mine before, and if so what kind of settlements have you been able to get for your clients?
- What percentage of your practice is dedicated to car accident personal injury cases?
- Can you provide references for the cases you have won? This is the one question a good lawyer cannot directly answer because of privacy concerns, but the lawyer can provide you with general information about the cases they have handled.
- How much trial experience does your firm have, and of those trial cases what is your success rate?
- How would you feel about taking a case like mine to trial?
- If your firm took my accident case, which attorneys would be handling it? Why would another attorney handle it instead of you?
How Severe are Your Injuries?
- The severity of the injury will, to a large extent, determine the need to hire a car accident lawyer. The injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident can be either minor or severe and the serious injuries often result in extensive medical care. Examples of serious injuries include:
- Whiplash injury
- Sensory loss
- Organ damage
- Spinal injury
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Brain or head injury
Even if the symptoms of an injury don’t present right away, you should discuss your case with an experienced car accident lawyer. Regardless of the severity, an injury can result in serious physical or financial loss. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney, like Richard Rohde, ensures that you will receive the maximum compensation due to you for your damages.
Has the Statute of Limitations Passed?
Another important question that you should ask yourself is about the statute of limitation. Every state in the US has a statute of limitation that specifies the time within which a car accident case can be filed. In California a personal injury claim for a motor vehicle accident must be filed within 2 years, and If you were involved in an auto accident with a governmental entity, state, local or federal, the statute of limitations is six months. Failure to file within this time frame forever bars your case from being brought to court.
The clock starts ticking the moment the accident happens. However, in exceptional cases, it can be extended when a person knows about the extent of the injury weeks or months after the accident. It’s essential that you hire a California car accident lawyer before the statute of limitation expires.