When to Hire a Lawyer After Your Car Accident (and Why You Should!)
Car accidents occur on Texas roadways at staggering rates. On average, an accident occurs every 59 seconds, which means that every minute there’s at least one motor vehicle collision in Texas. Over the course of a year, more than 17,000 people suffered a serious injury statewide as a result of a car accident. Keep in mind that injured victims may be entitled to financial compensation for their injuries when an accident was caused by another person.
Many people are wary of hiring an attorney, especially after a car accident. Folks tend to think that lawyers are too expensive and that they can secure a fair settlement without having to hire a personal injury lawyer.
Unfortunately, this isn’t usually the case. When you’re injured in a car accident, you face an uphill battle with insurance companies who have their own team of lawyers. Your best chance of winning this battle is to hire your own team of experienced car accident lawyers – and straight away!
Types of car accidents that lawyers handle
The most common car accidents that attorneys handle include:
- Side-swipe collisions;
- Rear-end collisions;
- Failure to yield;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Reckless driving;
- Texting while driving;
- Unlicensed drivers;
- Uninsured and underinsured drivers; and
- T-bone accidents.
Working with a trusted car accident attorney can give you the peace of mind you need to put all the legal stress behind you and focus on your physical recovery.
Lawyers can help you get compensation
The financial repercussions of a car accident vary widely. When you’re injured in a car accident, you can expect your injuries, recovery and lost wages to range from $28,600 to $235,400. That’s a wide range, but it also underscores how costly your medical expenses can be.
By working with a car accident attorney, you can get help seeking damages for:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of consortium;
- Past, present and future medical bills; and
- Rehabilitation costs.
Your physical recovery should be your #1 priority. To give yourself the best chance for a full and complete physical recovery, you need someone to focus on your financial recovery. That’s where the George Salinas Injury Lawyers can help.
A car accident attorney can investigate your accident by reviewing police reports and talking to witnesses, if relevant. He/she can also review your medical records to see the extent of your injuries and the prognosis for your recovery. Most importantly, your car accident attorney can give you the peace of mind that he/she is handling your case competently.
Lawyers negotiate with insurance companies
When people are injured in a car accident, regardless of the severity of their injuries, they often think that they’ll be able to settle quickly with insurance companies. While it’s certainly possible to settle quickly, it’s not always in your best interests.
Shortly after being injured in a car crash, the at-fault driver‘s insurance company will usually get in contact with you. Often they will offer a quick settlement. You may be excited about this because you may be out of work and need money to pay your bills. The insurance company knows all this too, which is why they might take advantage of you.
When you sign their low settlement offer, you give up your right to pursue any future claims against the insurance company for your injuries in the car accident. If you don’t have an attorney to review the settlement before you sign it, you’re putting you, your family and your recovery at risk.
The best way to avoid this situation is to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who knows the insurance company’s tricks and can help you make a realistic estimate of what your recovery will actually cost you. It all starts with understanding what you need to get a full recovery.
Your car accident attorney will work with you to analyze your injuries and better understand your recovery needs, such as how long you’ll be out of work, how long you’ll be in the hospital, and how much time you might need in rehabilitation.
Coming up with this estimate gives you a starting point to begin your negotiations with the insurance company. When an insurance company sees that you’ve hired a law firm that has a track record of getting results, they will be more likely to offer a fair and reasonable amount.
Understanding fees when hiring an attorney
Most car accident attorneys offer potential clients a free consultation to discuss the facts surrounding your accident. An experienced car crash attorney can help you determine if hiring an attorney is in your best interests.
In addition, it’s common for car accident victims to have questions before they can decide on the best strategy moving forward. Contact a car accident attorney and get your questions answered by someone who understands your legal rights and options.
Questions to ask a lawyer before hiring him/her
When asking questions of a potential car accident attorney, you want to get information about his/her depth of experience. Here are some questions that may help you.
Have you worked on car accident cases like mine?
This is an extremely important question. Although a novice attorney needs opportunities to gain experience, you don’t want to be a guinea pig. Make sure he/she has sufficient experience in the area relevant in your case. Experience is very valuable.
Have you ever worked on a case in the court where my case will be heard?
A regular presence and past experience with court staff can be helpful. This doesn’t mean that you’ll get special treatment. However, lawyers who know the local law clerks, assistants and judges understand how to navigate the courtroom and evaluate the possible outcomes in your case.
Have you ever been sanctioned or charged with misconduct?
You have the right to know if a potential lawyer has violated (or been accused of violating) the rules of the profession. Having prior misconduct or accusations doesn’t always mean that the lawyer isn’t qualified to help you. However, this information is useful in order to make an informed decision.
If this is the case, take into account how long it’s been since the accusation or sanction, or if it has occurred more than once. This may help determine whether you’re dealing with an unethical attorney or simply someone who has learned from his/her past mistakes.
Is there any conflict of interest related to your representation in this case?
Although every lawyer has an ethical and professional obligation to inform potential clients of any conflicts of interest, it’s always a good idea to ask directly. This will make sure you know if there’s anything that may limit their potential to represent you to the best of their abilities.
Examples of conflicts of interest include if an attorney has previously represented the hospital you’re suing for malpractice, or if he/she has a personal or professional relationship with the attorney representing the other party.
At George Salinas Injury Lawyers in San Antonio, our car accident attorneys will help you get the maximum compensation possible. Call (210) 225-0909 today.