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Is Hiring a Car Accident Attorney Worth It?

— December 20, 2023

Another factor to take into account when considering whether it’s worthwhile to hire a car accident attorney is the fee arrangement.

In the aftermath of a car accident, it’s completely natural to feel overwhelmed. You may be recovering from injuries, worrying about the damage to your vehicle, and dealing with emotional stress. Whether you need to hire a car accident attorney is probably the last thing you want to think about – and yet, it is very important that you do. While it is normal to be hesitant about incurring legal fees, there are also many circumstances in which hiring a car accident lawyer will likely be worthwhile. We take a look at some of the factors you should consider when making your decision below.

Have You Sustained Significant Injuries Or Vehicle Damage?

The first question to consider is the extent of your or the other party’s injuries and the damage to the vehicles involved in the accident. If the accident is fairly minor – a fender bender resulting in a slightly dented bumper, for example – then parties will often simply swap insurance details and go their separate ways. However, where a serious collision has occurred, resulting in significant injury, loss of life, or serious vehicle damage, then the stakes are much higher. In this case, it is worthwhile to consider hiring a car accident attorney. An attorney will be able to assess your potential claim and advise you as to whether you qualify for compensation.

Remember that some injuries are not immediately apparent but may cause health issues later in life. It is always a good idea to be examined by a doctor following the accident to assess the possibility that you may experience future health complications. If a car accident has left you with long-term injuries that will affect your ability to earn an income, it’s important to speak to a lawyer to gain an understanding of the kind of compensation you should receive. When your earning capacity is impacted, losing out on appropriate compensation can have lifelong consequences.

Is The Other Party To The Accident Blaming You?

Unlike a number of other states, California car accident law uses an at-fault system for car accident claims. In a no-fault system, all parties are responsible for sharing the costs arising from the accident, regardless of who was at fault. In an at-fault system, the party who caused the accident is usually the one who is responsible for the costs arising from the accident. If the other party to the accident is blaming you for the accident, and you do not agree with their position, it is a good idea to consider hiring a car accident attorney – especially if you have sustained injuries or vehicle damage and want to ensure that the other party pays their fair share. A lawyer will carry out an investigation to gather the evidence necessary to prove that the other party was at fault. Without this proof, it will be very difficult to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Are Insurance Companies Being Difficult?

Red denied stamp; image by tswedensky, via
Red denied stamp; image by tswedensky, via

Insurance companies are notorious for offering less than the fair compensation amount or denying car accident claims entirely. If you’ve been in a car accident and have suffered injuries that are going to impact your health for the rest of your life, you want to be sure that you are getting the maximum compensation from the other party’s insurers because once your claim has been finally settled, you won’t be able to claim further compensation. The unfortunate reality is that insurance companies often take advantage of laypeople’s lack of legal knowledge to settle claims for less than what is reasonable in law. If you’re dealing with an insurance company, having a car accident attorney on your side could ultimately make a significant difference to the compensation you receive. They’ll have the expertise to assess the strength of your claim, provide you with an indication of the amount of compensation you can reasonably claim for, and advise you on the best course of action to follow.

The Advantages Of Hiring Legal Representation

Many people assume that if they have a right to compensation for an injury or claim, then that compensation will be paid to them without hassle. But as any good lawyer will tell you, having a right to compensation is one thing, but enforcing that right is another matter entirely. When you’re claiming compensation, there are a number of legal formalities and timelines that you’ll need to comply with. An experienced car accident attorney will have a clear grasp of these requirements and will ensure that your case is pursued quickly and within the necessary timeframe. They’ll know what evidence you’ll need to successfully prove your case, and will be able to advise on the appointment of experts (such as medical doctors and actuaries) who can submit a report to the court detailing the nature and extent of your injuries. What’s more, with a lawyer to take care of all the paperwork relating to your claim, you’ll have more time and energy to focus on recovering from your injury.

Have The Upper Hand In Settlement Negotiations

One misconception people tend to have about car accident cases is that they always end up in court, when in fact, this is not what usually happens. Most car accident claims are settled out of court long before a case ever goes to trial. Having legal representation in settlement negotiations will help you to get the most out of your settlement claim. Lawyers are experienced negotiators and know when it’s time to push back on a settlement offer and when it’s time to settle. The fees you incur hiring a lawyer are likely to be far outweighed by the benefit you’ll gain from having a qualified lawyer representing you in settlement discussions.

Contingency Fee Arrangements Can Work To Your Advantage

Another factor to take into account when considering whether it’s worthwhile to hire a car accident attorney is the fee arrangement applicable. Most car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that they will only charge fees if they win your case or successfully negotiate a settlement on your behalf. If your case is unsuccessful, you won’t be charged any lawyer’s fees. Knowing that you won’t be charged unless you receive compensation should give you peace of mind if you’re hesitant about incurring legal costs.

How To Choose A Car Accident Attorney

While there are many excellent car accident attorneys out there, there are also a few bad apples. One downside of the contingency fee system is that it can incentivize some unscrupulous lawyers to accept a low settlement on their client’s behalf because they want to receive payment quickly (rather than refusing a low settlement offer and working without payment for a bit longer to obtain a better outcome for their client). It’s only worth hiring a car accident lawyer if you’re going to hire a good one – a lawyer who is experienced, ethical, and determined to use their legal expertise to get the best possible outcome for their client rather than to make a quick fee.

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