As you can see from the infographic above, car accidents are all to common of an occurrence in the United States. If you drive a car, it is likely that at some point in your life you will be involved in some type of car accident. Whether it is a minor "fender bender" or a more material accident which involves significant damage to your vehicle and results in you suffering injuries. If you've been in a car accident, it's important to know how to find a the best personal injury attorney for your accident claim as the injuries could have a significant impact on your life or future quality of life.
You can find more car accident statistics for 2019 here.
To find the best car accident lawyer, you need to find a lawyer with experience. While any lawyer licensed to practice law in your State (and called to the State bar) can act as a lawyer on your auto accident claim, it's important to make sure you are hiring a lawyer with the right experience on car accident claims similar to yours. In particular, it's important that your auto accident attorney understand the following:
An understanding of personal injury law and legal procedures applicable to your injury claim
Not surprisingly, before a lawyer can be a good car accident attorney, that lawyer needs to understand the law applicable to accident claims. This includes being current on the state of the law and any recent developments and understanding what facts and information is required to prove your claim. If your lawyer doesn't understand what the relevant legal test or law is that is applicable to your personal injury claim, you are not likely to be successful.
In addition, each State has laws which require you to commence your claim within a certain period of time failing which you may lose your right to bring your accident claim. It's important that your lawyer understands the time period in which you are required to commence your claim and what steps you must take to preserve your claim.
Your auto accident attorney will also need to understand the documentation and information required to establish your legal claim. If your lawyer does not have a strong understanding of what information insurance companies, other lawyers or courts will require to settle or resolve your claim, again, you are unlikely to obtain a favourable award or you may not earn what you are actually entitled to you. So it's important for you to find a top injury attorney so they are aware of all the legal requirements to prove, advance and settle your claim.
An understanding of how to value your car crash claim
While understanding how to value your claim primarily relates to understanding the law, this deserves its own category as there is more to understanding how to value a claim than simply understanding the law. Years of legal experience is needed to understanding how to properly value different types of injuries resulting from a car accident claim.
While each injury you suffered may entitle you to a certain financial amount to compensate you for your actual injuries, you may also be entitled to additional compensation depending on how your accident has impacted your employment or personal life. If your lawyer doesn't know how to properly value your claim, you will not recover the full amount you are legally entitled to.
An understanding of the insurance industry and insurance policies
The availability of proceeds of insurance is an important component of most injury claims. If nobody can pay you, you can't recover anything after an accident. Most drivers are required to carry liability insurance to drive and register a vehicle. That liability insurance is in place specifically to pay for accident claims if and when they arise. As a result, it's important that your lawyer understands how vehicle insurance policies work and the scope of coverage. If your lawyer does not understand car insurance liability policies and how those policies operate, it will likely negatively affect your claim.
Relationships with insurance adjusters
As noted above, insurance is an important part of most personal injury claims. An insurance adjuster is the individual who is going to be the employee of the insurance company responsible for resolving your claim. Some insurance adjusters resolve claims on their own (without hiring a personal injury defence attorney). On some other occasions, insurance adjusters will hire defence counsel to resolve your claim. Regardless, the insurance adjuster will likely be the one ultimately deciding on how much to settle your claim for and if your lawyer has a positive relationship or reputation with insurance adjusters, its going to likely have a positive impact on your claim
Relationships with other personal injury lawyers
Over 90% of car accident injury claims settle. That means the injury lawsuit is likely to be settled out of court by agreement of the parties. Thus, if you have a personal injury claim it is likely to settle out of court. Thus, if your lawyer has a good relationship with other injury attorneys in your City, it will go a long way to helping resolve your claim in a timely basis and for a fair amount.
Relationships with accident investigators, medical professionals and police departments
Many injury claims require some investigation to confirm how the accident happened and the nature of your injuries. As a result, it's important that your personal injury attorney have a network of qualified accident investigators, doctors, chiropractors, physiotherapists and police departments so that your lawyer can obtain the information he or she requires to help resolve your accident claim.
First, you need to hire a personal injury attorney before the statute of limitations expires for your personal injury claim (before you run out of time to bring a lawsuit for your car accident!).
Second, it's a good idea to engage a car accident lawyer quickly after the accident occurs as your injury attorney will help you get in touch with medical doctors, chiropractors or physiotherapists who can help you recover from your injuries and can help ensure your claim is properly documented and investigated so you can recover the damages (compensation) you are entitled to for your car accident claim.
If you do not hire a lawyer quickly after your accident, it is not fatal (unless you run out of time to bring your claim). With that said, the longer you wait to hire a car crash lawyer, the more likely it is that you may not have taken the steps to document or maximize your claim. The lesson, hire a car accident attorney ask quickly as possible if you've been in injured in an auto accident.
If you've been involved in an accident and have been injured, it is unlikely that an insurance company is going to call you and offer you a cheque for the full amount of your injury claim. To be more specific, there is a zero percent chance of that happening. Car insurance companies are in the business of making money for themselves, and have no obligation to pay you the full value of your claim unless they are forced to do so.
More likely, after your accident the insurance company responsible for paying for your personal injury claim may offer to repair your vehicle. They may even offer to pay for some of your medical, physio or chiropractor bills. On some occasions, and if you ask, they may offer you a small amount of money to settle your claim (much less than then actual value of your claim). More likely, the insurance company may attempt to delay the progress of your injury claim so that you run out of time and are no longer able to bring your claim because your claim has expired under the statue of limitations in your State.
After hiring an auto accident attorney, the insurance company will now know they will need to settle your claim or be responsible to incur significant costs defending your claim. It is only after hiring an attorney will the insurance company know they will be responsible to pay you the full value of your claim.
In addition, your personal injury attorney will know the steps you need to take to resolve and preserve your claim, including the documentation you need to prove your claim. Your attorney should also recognize that you will likely be entitled to compensation for the impact your injuries have had on your personal life or on your employment (or that they may have on your personal life or employment in the future).
In sum, hiring a top car accident lawyer will result in you recovering the amount you are legally entitled to for your auto accident lawsuit. You will need to pay your lawyer, however, even after paying your attorney you should still recover more than you would have without hiring an accident attorney.
Well, it depends. Typically you will pay a car accident attorney on a "contingency fee" basis, and most contingency fees are typically in the ~30% range, however, there are a number of factors to consider that can impact the price you pay to hire an auto accident lawyer.
You can see our article "How Much Do I Need To Pay My Personal Injury Attorney" here for further details.
It depends. The length of time it takes to resolve your personal injury claim typically is dependent on the following factors:
The complexity of your claim (how significant was the accident?, how significant were the injuries?, did the car accident impact your employment?, did the car accident impact your personal life?, the amount you are asking to recover);
Whether your lawyer takes steps to advance your claim as quickly as possible;
Whether the defence lawyer or insurance adjuster is willing to progress your claim in a timely manner; and
Whether you need to go to court to get a court award for your claim (get a judge to order how much you are owed).
Depending on the above, it can take anywhere between 3 months and 3 years (or longer if your claim requires a decision of a judge) to resolve your car accident claim.
If you don't want to do all the work yourself and call a number of lawyers to find the top accident lawyer near you for your claim, you could simplify life and just use Adidem and let Adidem do the work for you.
At Adidem, we use software to simplify the process to hire a personal injury lawyer and to provide you with the relevant information you need to help decide which is the best personal injury lawyer near you to hire.
We also allow any lawyer to sign-up to use Adidem. No restrictions, no-sign-up fee and no exclusivity with any particular firm or lawyer. Rather than you having to look for the right lawyer, we bring the legal market to you.
This is important, as Adidem:
can provide you with access to the broader legal market in your city without you needing to contact all those lawyers;
allows any lawyer with an opportunity to offer their services for your claim;
allows you to obtain information with respect to your claim to determine which lawyer you may want to hire; and
makes lawyers compete for your work.