Why Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
David Muñoz | October 26, 2022 | Car Accidents
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you may have been told that you need to speak to a car accident lawyer. But you may be worried about the cost of legal representation. Do you really need to get a lawyer involved in your case?
Hiring a car accident attorney is your best shot at recovering full compensation for your injuries. Read on to learn why you should hire a car accident lawyer and what it is they actually do.
What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?
Before we dive into all the reasons you should hire a car accident lawyer, let’s talk about what they do. A car accident lawyer’s job is to make sure you get fair compensation for your injuries and protect you from claims that the accident was your fault.
When you hire a car accident lawyer, they will
- Investigate your claim to make sure it’s viable
- Gather evidence for your case
- Gather expert witnesses and statements from witnesses to the accident
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Advise you of your legal options
- Represent you in court if needed
And best of all, as we’ll discuss more later, you likely won’t have to pay up-front fees for these services.
They Advocate for You While You Recover
One of the first things a car accident lawyer can do for you after your crash is advocate for you during your recovery.
Insurance companies’ number-one goal after an accident is to pay you as little money as possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s your insurance company – they’re only interested in protecting their bottom line.
Often, an insurance company will reach out to you in the days after a crash and make you a settlement offer. While this might seem generous, the truth is that they’re almost certainly giving you a lowball offer. The hope is that you’ll accept it, no questions asked, and they won’t have to pay you the full amount you’re owed.
A car accident lawyer can review these offers for you and make sure you don’t accept one that’s lower than you deserve. They’ll advocate for you while you’re at your most vulnerable and make sure no one takes advantage of you.
They Protect You from Blame
If the lowball settlement offer doesn’t work, insurance companies will switch tactics. Usually, their next strategy is to blame you for causing the accident. This is particularly effective in states where you can’t get compensation if you share any percentage of the blame for the accident.
This concept is known as contributory negligence. Sharing fault for your accident can bar you from recovering compensation or reduce the amount of your award. There are three types of contributory negligence systems: contributory fault, pure comparative negligence, and modified comparative negligence.
Contributory Negligence: California vs. Texas
In a contributory fault state, you cannot recover any compensation if you share any blame for your accident — even as little as 1%. Fortunately, California is a pure comparative fault state. That means you can recover compensation as long as you are not 100% at fault. However, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of blame. If you are 50% to blame for a car accident, you can only recover 50% of your damages.
Modified comparative fault states like Texas lie somewhere in between contributory fault and pure comparative fault rules. In Texas, you can recover compensation if you share fault for your injuries — up to a point. Under Texas’s rules, you are barred from recovering compensation if you bear 51% or more of the blame — i.e., you are more responsible for the accident than the other party. If your percentage of fault is 50% or less, your compensation will just be reduced to account for your share of the blame.
Suppose you are in a car accident in Texas, and have $100,000 in damages. Suppose you are 40% at fault for the accident because you were speeding at the time of the crash. In this case, you can only recover $60,000 (60%). Now, suppose you are determined to be 60% at fault for the same crash. In this case, you would be barred from recovering damages under Texas law. An auto accident lawyer will protect you from accusations that you share fault for your crash.
Car accident lawyers can make sure you don’t wind up blamed for the accident that caused your injuries. They’ll also work to prove that the other party is at fault and is responsible for compensating you for your pain and suffering.
They Calculate Your Full Compensation Amount
Hiring a car accident lawyer can help you ensure you get the full compensation amount you’re entitled to. Compensation packages can be complex and often include multiple types of damages.
The types of damages you can collect may include
- Economic damages – These cover any losses that have a specific monetary value attached, including medical bills, lost income, property damage, and more.
- Non-economic damages – These cover losses without a specific monetary value, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and loss of consortium, to name a few.
- Punitive damages – These are meant to punish a defendant who engaged in reckless behavior or intentional misconduct and caused an injury. They are rare in personal injury cases.
Because you’re dealing with so many types of compensation, calculating settlement packages can be complex. Your lawyer will meticulously tabulate every damage you’re owed and put together a settlement package that covers every injury you’ve suffered.
They Gather Evidence and Witnesses to Support Your Case
As negotiations for your case begin, your word about what happened isn’t going to be good enough. You’re going to need witnesses who can confirm your version of events. You’re also going to need official records documenting both the accident itself and the injuries you received.
Your lawyer will work to gather evidence and call witnesses to support your side of the story.
They’ll pull police reports and medical records and will even call your doctors as witnesses to confirm the injuries you suffered. And they’ll track down anyone who was at the scene of the accident and who can confirm what you said happened.
They Explain Your Legal Options
Negotiating a settlement is a tricky procedure, and often, just sending a demand letter to your insurance company doesn’t get you the results you need. You may need to decide what legal actions you want to take if the insurance company denies your settlement.
But how do you know what the best course of action is and what the options even are?
Your car accident lawyer will let you know what your options are and help you decide the best one for you. They’ll work with you, advising you about your options, but never dictating what you have to do.
You’re in charge of your case – they’re just there to guide you and fight on your behalf.
You Won’t Have to Pay Up Front
One of the biggest concerns many car accident victims have is how they’ll pay for legal representation. After all, lawyers’ fees are expensive, and many car accident victims wind up with piles of medical bills. To make matters worse, they may not be able to work while they recover, meaning they aren’t bringing in income to cover those bills.
The good news is that most car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that they take a portion of the money they recover for you as their fee, rather than you paying up front.
If they don’t recover a settlement in your case, you may not have to pay them a dime.
Discover the Benefits of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
Hiring a car accident lawyer can help you take on the insurance companies and get the settlement you deserve. They’ll advocate for you while you’re recovering from an injury and protect you from blame for the accident. They’ll also figure out exactly how much money you’re owed and do what it takes to ensure you get a fair settlement.
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers has more than four decades of experience fighting for San Diego citizens. We put award-winning trial lawyers in your corner, and our 99 percent success rate speaks for itself.
Contact the Texas Car Accident Law Firm of Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Get More Information
We proudly serve San Diego County:
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108
We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.