A car accident can throw you into a chaotic situation where you may feel like you are being pulled in multiple directions. You worry about your health and well-being as you try to recover from your injuries. Still, your concerns will also likely revolve around how you will overcome the challenges you are facing both physically and financially.
Contacting a lawyer is optimal after a car accident where you sustain damages or injuries. As you wait to meet your car accident attorney, you might begin to think of all the questions you want answered to help you understand your case and manage your expectations.
There may be some time before you meet with your lawyer after a crash. Take the time to think about what questions you have regarding your car accident claim or case and how you will ask your attorney these questions when you meet. It may be helpful to jot down your questions in a notebook when you speak with your car accident lawyer and review the details surrounding your case.
Do I Need to Pay Upfront to Hire a Lawyer for My Car Accident Case?
The biggest concern accident victims may have as they consider hiring an attorney to represent them in a motor vehicle accident claim is the cost. Often, there are situations where a car accident victim may hesitate or forgo calling an auto accident attorney because they believe they cannot afford it. Ask the car accident attorney you are meeting with how they will charge you for their legal services and when they will receive payment.
Most car accident lawyers work under a contingency structure for legal fees. In a contingency fee arrangement, the payment of your lawyer is contingent upon you winning some form of compensation.
Any compensation you receive in the case will warrant payment of your attorney’s services. Under a contingency fee agreement, you agree to pay a lawyer representing you a percentage of the total compensation you receive in your case.
The risk to the attorney is that if you do not win your case by reaching an agreeable settlement or a verdict in your favor, they will not receive compensation for their legal services.
When a lawyer represents you under a contingency fee, then there are no upfront costs you are responsible for. You will only pay your lawyer for their attorney’s fees when your case resolves successfully.
What Compensation Might I Recover?
While you are on the topic of money, you may also wonder how much compensation you can expect as part of your car accident claim or case. Compensation in car accident cases can vary widely depending on various factors. The damage to your vehicle and other property combined with your injuries, including the type of injury and severity, can all influence the amount of money you may be eligible to receive as part of a claim.
You may not be sure how to calculate your damages or determine what damages you may be eligible for. Every car accident case is unique; however, with the help of a car accident lawyer, you can add up the losses you incurred following a crash and include losses you may incur in the future as part of a claim. Your lawyer can help answer your questions about compensation in light of the evidence in your case.
Damages to consider as part of a car accident claim may include:
- Compensation for medical expenses, including future medical costs
- Compensation for income loss, including future income losses
- Pain and suffering compensation, including physical, emotional, and mental distress
- Compensation for damage to your vehicle, rental, or repair costs
Who Could You Hold Liable for Your Damages After a Crash?
When you meet with your lawyer to discuss your case, you can have the opportunity to go over how the accident happened and the subsequent injuries you sustained and damages. As you review your evidence and identify evidence that may be outstanding or necessary to track down, your lawyer can help you determine who may be liable to you following the crash.
Liability for car accidents can present complicated issues. Insurance companies, when there is coverage in place at the time of the crash, are most often responsible for paying out the damages to a victim caused by their insured.
However, there are instances when the facts of a car accident case may involve challenging scenarios, such as when a negligent driver is on the job at the time of the crash, or a victim suffers additional injuries due to a defect in the vehicle.
When you hire a lawyer to represent you in a car accident claim, they can work with you to identify issues of liability and the parties that may be responsible for paying the losses to you. This is an important step because it guides you and your lawyer to determine who to file an insurance claim with or lawsuit against, depending on the case.
Parties potentially liable in a car accident:
- Insurance company
- At fault driver
- Vehicle owner
- Another negligent third party
What Is the Statute of Limitations That Applies in My Case?
The statute of limitations that applies to car accident cases is not something that many people think about when they first begin to take steps in their case. However, as an accident victim, it is essential to know the statute of limitations in your state and how it will apply to your case.
By asking your lawyer about the statute of limitations at the outset of your case, you can have an overall guide on how your case may move forward and the time limits that apply in your circumstances.
Statutes of limitations in car accident cases vary widely from one jurisdiction to another. Although in one jurisdiction, you may have years to file a lawsuit, in another jurisdiction, you may need to file within one year of the crash. This can affect how you and your lawyer approach your case and strategy in reaching a resolution that benefits you. Once you know the statute of limitations, you can make better decisions in your case under the guidance of your car accident lawyer.
What Should I Do to Help My Car Accident Claim?
In talking with your lawyer, they may discuss much of what they can do to help you with your claim and case. However, it can also help you to ask how you can positively impact your case and if you can do things to help rather than hinder the process.
Each car accident case is different, and different pressing issues can affect the outcome or compensation you receive. By asking your lawyer how to help, you can take proactive steps that help you prepare for your claim and case and make things easier for your lawyer to manage your case.
You can help your car accident case by:
- Going to your doctor to continue to care for your injuries. Follow through with treatments, follow-ups, and therapy to help you achieve maximum recovery.
- Writing down important details about your case you could forget in the future. Information or developments about your injuries, the accident, or any communications with other interested parties to the case.
- Gathering all the paperwork you have so far. Medical records, bills, repair estimates, work communications, police reports, and other documentation may serve as evidence to prove fault for your injuries and the extent of your damages or losses. When you meet with your lawyer, bring this paperwork with you.
Are There Any Things I Should Avoid That Could Cause Complications in My Case?
Although you can take action to help your car accident claim and case following a crash, there are also some things that can harm your case. Asking your lawyer how to prevent causing complications or what to avoid following a crash can help you remain aware of actions that could be detrimental and have an unintended effect on the outcome of your claim.
Each car accident case can present different challenges or disputes among the parties. However, there are some universal best practices that could help you avoid running into trouble as you move forward in the case.
Examples of things you should avoid when going through a car accident case include:
- Do not talk to the insurance company until consulting an attorney
- Do not accept any offers until speaking with your lawyer
- Refrain from talking about your case with others or posting about the accident and your injuries on social media
- Do not skip medical appointments or cease treatments prematurely
How Soon Do You Think My Case Will Reach a Resolution?
Your lawyer will not know the exact timeline for your case or the date a case will be resolved. Surprises and challenges can arise with any car accident claim. However, you can ask your lawyer for their perspective on your case’s complexity and their opinion on how long it could take to reach a resolution.
Often, car accidents involving high monetary damages or complex liability issues can take longer to resolve and may require a lawsuit. On the other hand, cases where the liability is clear and the negotiations center mostly on the amount of compensation a victim may be eligible for can resolve more quickly.
When you ask your lawyer this question, you will not get a concrete answer but rather a general viewpoint of where your case may head and the likely timeframe for resolution.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help With My Case and Claim?
Asking your lawyer how they can help you with your case is the best way for you to understand the value and resources they can bring to your claim and case. The lawyer themselves can best describe their perspective, tactics, and strategies for how they can handle your claim and case.
Car accident lawyers can provide unique insight and knowledge in a car accident claim that can put you in the best position as you attempt to reach a successful resolution for compensation.
A car accident lawyer can not only negotiate on your behalf and communicate with all the parties involved, but they can also help you prepare a claim by gathering the evidence necessary to support your claims and damages. Contact a personal injury attorney in New York for a free case evaluation if you have not already done so.