Car accidents are stressful no matter the circumstances, but they are even worse when they result in injuries that seriously impact your life. Medical bills are piling up, and your injuries may leave you unable to work. You ask yourself “should I call a lawyer after a car accident?”
The simple answer is yes. But always make sure you are prepared with these questions to ask attorneys reviewing your car accident claim.
This is a common question for attorneys representing car accident victims, and their first response should be to seek out medical attention if you have not already. The extent of your injuries may not be immediately evident, and some car accident injuries may not reveal themselves for weeks, months, or even years after a crash. A medical professional will be able to diagnose injuries and damage that may otherwise be left unidentified and worsening over time.
This is also one of the more common car accident questions received by personal injury attorneys. In addition to preserving evidence from the scene of the accident and after, your attorney will likely advise you to be wary of the adverse driver’s insurer and may ask you to refrain from providing a recorded statement to the insurer until your attorney is able to review the facts of your accident with you.
There are a number of deadlines you will want to be aware of when filing a car accident lawsuit. The one you need to be aware of before hiring an attorney is that you do have a limited amount of time in which to file your claim. This is called a “statute of limitations” and, in Texas, it typically means you have two years to file a lawsuit in which an injury has occurred. After that deadline, you have no legal recourse against the adverse driver. Your attorney will also their own deadlines to meet throughout your claim.
Like any lawyer, auto accident attorneys want to document all facets of your crash, case, and injuries. Asking an attorney what kinds of photographs, evidence, witnesses, documents, and other information will best serve your case can give you a better understanding of what items you are able to provide them.
When you ask a personal injury attorney this question, you should be looking for an honest answer. The truth is a lawsuit may take anywhere from a few weeks to over a year to resolve, whether it be through settlement or trial. This is because ensuring you receive full financial compensation for your car accident injuries and damages takes time. Further, the insurance company will want to analyze and evaluate each photo, witness, and piece of information provided as part of your case.
Out of all the questions to ask a lawyer after a car accident, this one is asked far too little. Chances are you have never worked with an attorney before, and you may not be familiar with how some personal injury law firms treat their clients. It is essential that you ask the attorney if they will be providing regularly check-ins and updates on your case; ask if these check-ins will be calls, emails, or in-person meetings; and ask if the attorney themselves will be providing these updates or if you will be spending most of your time communicating with a paralegal. You should establish some basic communication protocols you would like for your case to avoid future issues and stress.
Remember, this is your case and, in the end, you have the most on the line. Do not be afraid to ask an auto accident attorney what he or she can do for you and how he or she plans to represent you. This will provide the attorney an opportunity to explain how your case will be handled and make the case of why they are a good match for you and your claim. Make sure they can provide a step-by-step plan for your case.
Every auto accident is different, and the damages available vary greatly from case to case. While typically, car accident lawsuits seek damages like medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage, your attorney should be able to detail exactly what potential damages you are entitled to based on the facts of your accident and your injuries.
As previously mentioned, injuries sustained in a car accident can be long-lasting or permanent and some may even worsen over time. An attorney should be able to determine if you will need frequent visits to physical therapists and chiropractors or whether your injuries may require surgery. They should also have a plan of how to demonstrate these future expenses to a jury should your case go to trial.
Never take an offer from an insurer without first consulting with an attorney. The job of the insurance adjusters is to pay out as little as possible. They want to protect the insurance company’s bottom line and are unlikely to offer a fair settlement out of the gate. Make sure you have someone in your corner with your best interests in mind.
When considering what questions to ask a lawyer after a car accident, this one may tell you more about the attorney you are speaking with than it would seem. The truth is most cases settle out of court, and most plaintiff’s never set foot in a courtroom. An attorney will likely tell you this upfront, but you also want to make sure your attorney is preparing for the off chance of a trial from day one of you hiring them. They should demonstrate confidence in their ability to deal with the insurer outside of trial as well as readiness to litigate against the insurer in front of a jury should the need arise.
The cost of hiring an attorney and how payment is processed will vary from firm to firm. At Thomas J. Henry Law, we work solely on a contingency fee basis. This means our clients pay nothing upfront and collect attorney fees and costs from the final verdict, settlement, or judgment. In other words, you pay us nothing unless and until we win your case. We offer FREE case consultation to all victims of auto accidents, and our fees are negotiated and agreed upon prior to you hiring us.
After you have met with an attorney and have gone answers to all questions to ask a lawyer after a car accident, you may want to move forward with hiring the attorney. That leaves one final question: how to ask a lawyer to represent you? This one is fairly easy, just ask. If an attorney believes your case has standing, they will want to take your case. In fact, they will probably ask you if they can move forward with your claim during your initial consultation. Attorneys want to start your claim as soon as possible as an early start grants you the best opportunity at securing maximum compensation.
If you have any additional auto accident questions or are unsure about how or when to call an attorney after a car accident, reach out to Thomas J. Henry Law. We have car accident attorneys in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Austin, TX available 24/7 to assist clients, and we would be happy to help you with any additional questions or concerns you may have about your car crash.
You may also want to check out these other Frequently Asked Questions about car accidents and other personal injury matters.