So often we hear or read this quote “Anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone driving faster than you is a maniac”. But do we really pay attention to this statement? Most accidents that happen on the roads are preventable. Whether you lost control of your vehicle or you simply did a slight mistake that caused an accident, you as the driver are responsible for your actions.
Some of the causes leading to the majority of the accidents on our roads include;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drunk driving
- Careless or negligent behavior on the driver’s part (e.g. not observing traffic signs, over speeding)
- Faulty vehicle parts and negligence in vehicle maintenance (e.g. faulty breaking system)
When an accident happens the driver is held accountable for injuries sustained by the passengers, other motorists, pedestrians or any other affected person. If an accident happens to you or your loved one, you should know your rights as a citizen to seek compensation for medical bills, time away from work, and any other losses you may have incurred.
Every country has laws governing and protecting the rights of the injured party. This is the main reason why you should seek the services of experienced automobile accident lawyers who are quite versed in this field.
Which types of cases do automotive accident lawyers handle?
There are various categories of automobile crashes that accident lawyers handle, though most of them usually have almost similar impacts. For instance;
- Trucking accidents – large and heavy trucks are the most notorious causes of many accidents especially on highways. Usually, they are caused by driver’s fatigue or negligence, jackknifing or overloaded cargo. There are also other reasons though these ones are the most common.
- Accidents caused by drunk driving – this one is pretty obvious. If a driver causes an accident while under the influence of alcohol or any other substance, they are held responsible for any losses or injuries sustained.
- Brew store cases – did you know that you can sue a bar or restaurant that served excess alcohol to a driver who caused an accident? Now you know!
- Rollover accidents – this is usually common with high end vehicles. If such a car rolls over in an accident and it was due to driver negligence, then the driver and car manufacturer can be held liable for any fatalities or injuries based on the conclusions of the investigation.
- Motorcycle accidents – in the event of a collision with a car or any other vehicle, even if the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet the driver can still be held responsible for the accident.
- Fatalities accidents – where your loved one has been killed as a result of a fatal crash, you will need to seek the services of an expert automobile accident lawyer to advice you on your available legal options.
- Passenger interests – if you were a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in an accident, you have grounds to seek for compensation from the parties liable for your injuries.
Why do you need an automobile accident lawyer?
The need for taking immediate action following a car accident cannot be stressed enough. Specifically, you should get yourself an expert automobile accident lawyer or a firm that has experienced lawyers for automobile accidents.
Such lawyers work very intensely with law enforcement officers, professional investigators, and accident specialists so as to collect and document evidence and eye witness accounts that will strengthen your case. That is the reason why we insist, the sooner you take action the greater your chances of winning.
A good automobile lawyer should ensure that their job will be to boost the value of your case and seek the best compensation possible.
In most automobile law firms, automotive accident cases are engaged on a contingent fee basis. This means that you will not pay for any lawyers’ fees until the lawyer gets a settlement for you then they get their fee from that settlement.
What happens in situations where insurance is involved?
First things first, you should immediately get medical attention and document your case as comprehensively as possible.
Second, ensure you do not talk to any insurance company representative that insures the driver responsible for the accident without your automobile accident lawyer. In this case, it means you have to contact your lawyer as soon as possible.
Why do we insist on this? Understand first that insurance companies are not on your side. It is because most insurance companies prefer settling out of court, and they give an offer that will definitely favor them even though it may not favor you. They are in the business of making profits and not giving you the compensation that you deserve.
If it goes to court, some insurance companies have the resources to ensure that the process is unnecessarily prolonged which makes it very inconvenient for you. This is why if you have a lawyer following up the process for you, they are able to advice accordingly on the best course of action and fast track the process.
When dealing with insurance companies, an automobile lawyer will seek compensation for the following things;
- Pain and suffering
- All medical expenses compensation relating to your accident including ambulance hospitalization and drug costs
- Physical therapy costs
- Permanent disability
- Emotional and mental anguish
- Loss of wages from missed working days
- Any vehicle or household modifications such as adjusting the house to include ramps for wheelchairs
- Decreased earning capacity
- Other relevant damages such as car repairs
Nonetheless, the decision is ultimately yours to make. However, the lawyer will guide you on whether to settle if a good offer is provided or reject if the offer is not reasonable. For example, the lawyer should advice you to factor in costs for future treatment or therapy sessions as a result of the accident.
If going to trial is the best choice, having an experienced automobile lawyer will guarantee you success in your case.
So how do you pick the best automobile accident lawyer?
As we have emphasized before in this article, selecting the best or most experienced automobile accident lawyer will determine the success of your case. This means you have to put in a lot of thought in the selection process.
If you are well-informed and know what you want, the process of selecting an automotive accident lawyer will be easy and might save you time and money.
Some of the factors you should consider include;
- Experience – you will need to find one who has a history of handling similar cases to yours and not only that, but in winning them as well.
- Another aspect to think about is whether you can trust the lawyer and can afford them. When it comes to accident cases, some medical issues are quite confidential and you will need a trustworthy lawyer to take you through the process.
- Also go for the one who seeks contingency fees, because this means that they will have to seek the best alternative compensation for you as this is how they will get their fees paid.
- The lawyer’s expertise in investigation and representation – with a good investigation and witness account to back up your case you have high chances of success.
- Commitment to the cause – the lawyer should set ample time to examine all the details leading to the accident by thoroughly examining and reviewing the police report. He/she should also consult widely on other expert opinions in order to help build the case and work on it until results are achieved time notwithstanding.
- Focus – get an automotive accident lawyer who will focus on your case and not handle several cases at once otherwise your chances of success will be greatly affected.
- Reputation – in the legal fraternity, reputation is everything. Especially when it comes to their negotiation skills and their winning abilities. Get one who has a reputation for negotiating a good compensation package from insurance companies for their clients. The disadvantage with this is that such lawyers can be quite expensive.
- Personality – go for a lawyer that has a friendly personality and you can get along with and you can comfortably confide in them.
When you are doing your search for an automobile accident lawyer, ensure you have all the necessary detailed information and facts of the accident and injuries incurred with you. This is so that you are able to adequately brief the lawyer including your compensatory expectations.
It is imperative that you are compatible with your lawyer to ensure you have a smooth process as you seek justice. Some questions you should ask your prospective lawyer include;
- How much experience do you have in automobile accident cases?
- How will you handle the case to ensure it is successful? Do you have any winning strategies?
- How long have you been practicing?
- How much participation is required of me in this case?
- How will you keep me updated and informed on the progress of my case?
- How accessible are you? Or which is the fastest way to reach you?
- Will you charge me any fees? Or is there a specific arrangement in regards to expenses incurred, any related payments and general fees?
Once you have all these information with you, you can then make an informed choice and be comfortable with your choice as you await the outcome of your case.
What to bear in mind in relation to automobile lawyer fees
Prior to settling for a lawyer who handles automobile accidents, it is important you understand the payment or fees arrangement so that you can plan accordingly.
As has been noted previously in this article, most law firms do not charge, but instead go for contingency fees or what is commonly referred to as “no win-no pay” basis which is paid after a settlement has been secured. However, this is not universal and you need to reach to an understanding with your lawyer. Do not sign anything unless you have an agreement in place.
It is not possible to account for how much effort, time and work will be required for automobile accident cases because they are dependent on current situations.
This is why it is important to have an agreement in place on how much contingency fees will be paid in terms of percentage to the lawyer following the conclusion of the case. While this percentage may vary from case to case, it normally ranges around 35% – 40% of the total compensation package.
Accidents happen all the time and they can happen to anyone. However, if an accident was as a result of driver’s negligence which can be proven, you have a right to seek damages and compensation. For you to succeed in such an endeavor, you need to get an expert automobile accident lawyer to assist you in this journey.
It is important to have an experienced lawyer to advice you on the best action to take, which avenues to explore and how much settlement you should go for.
Through intensive investigations and examining of evidence, the lawyer is in a good position to identify if the accident involved multiple parties. If so, who is liable for what and whether there will be a single, joint or multiple liability case and obtain damages where appropriate.
Also, when it comes to the insurance company it is the lawyer’s responsibility to ensure that the insurance company operates with utmost good faith. For example, if the cause of the accident was a defective part of the vehicle, the lawyer should seek for a product liability claim. An expert automobile accident lawyer should make it his/her mission that you are not victimized by either the party responsible or by the insurance company.
Finally, there are laws and regulations to protect you. You have rights under the law to exist in a healthy environment. No one should compromise those rights for you. If not for anything else, choose a lawyer who will work for you and your best interests and protect those rights for you.