After the Crash:
Hiring an Auto Accident Attorney

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An auto accident is a terrifying experience, even if it is only a minor fender-bender.

The only thing on your mind is your safety, the safety of your passengers, and the condition of your vehicle. Unfortunately, insurance issues, impaired drivers, and corporate vehicles can cause a small wreck to become a major hassle and require months of litigation. If you feel like another driver or party has wronged you in some way after being involved in a wreck, you might need to hire a personal injury attorney. These lawyers are specially trained to help you recover monetary losses due to auto accidents and get reimbursed for any medical expenses that you incur. Locating and retaining an auto accident attorney is often an intimidating process. So, what can you expect?

How To Hire an Accident Attorney

  1. 1

    Most auto accident attorneys do not charge a fee for consultations.

    Unless your situation requires immediate legal advice, schedule meetings with several auto accident attorneys to find one who you are comfortable with. Chances are you will be communicating with this person and his or her office staff for several months while your case is proceeding, so you want to make sure that your auto accident attorney is professional, prompt, and has your best interest in mind.

  2. 2

    Many personal injury attorneys do no charge a fee unless the case is won.

    While some lawyers may require you to make a payment before the case is opened, it should be easy to find someone who will take on your case without requiring an out-of-pocket expense. If you are awarded a settlement as the result of your auto accident case, your attorney will then collect a percentage of the monies as his or her service fee.

  3. 3

    Ask the lawyer what his or her fee will be if your case is successful.

    Most personal injury attorneys will retain a certain percentage of your settlement. Ensure that you are made aware of this amount before you hire the attorney. Ask for a service contract that explicitly states this percentage and keep a copy for your personal records.

  4. 4

    Provide your auto accident attorney with any and all information you have about the wreck.

    When you go to your initial visit, bring your automobile insurance policy, medical insurance policy, any medical records or hospital bills that resulted from the accident, pictures of the vehicle after the wreck, a copy of the police report, and any contact information you may have collected from the other parties involved. All of this information will help your attorney build your case in a timely manner and get your benefits to you quicker.

  5. 5

    Don’t expect a quick settlement.

    Depending on the circumstances surrounding your car accident, it could take months or even years before you receive any compensation. While your attorney should maintain communication with you throughout this process, understand that taking someone to court over a wreck is a lengthy process.

  6. 6

    Do your part.

    The attorney you hire to represent you in an auto accident case is only one member of the team. Maintain all appointments to meet with your lawyer, keep all of your documents organized, and answer any letters or phone calls you receive from your attorney’s office. If you are required to appear in court at some point in the process, follow your personal injury lawyer’s instructions, appear presentable, and be respectful to the judge.

If you have an attorney who has represented you in the past, it might be a good idea to keep one of his or her business cards in your wallet or glove compartment.

In the unfortunate event that you have an accident, you can immediately inform their office that you need legal assistance. He or she may send a staff member to speak with police officers or insurance agents at the scene of the wreck. Many attorneys will meet with auto accident victims and their families while they are still in the hospital to get an immediate start on the process. Whether you desire to have a company pay for damage one of their drivers caused to your car or sue a drunk driver for the pain and suffering their mistake inflicted upon you, a dependable and experienced auto accident attorney will be able to fight for the compensation you desire.

Andrei Zakhareuski, Driving-Tests.org Founder
Andrei is a driver with 11+ years of experience and the founder of Driving-Tests.org.

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