After an accident, your first instinct might be to rely on your insurance company to handle your claim. While this approach works in some circumstances, hiring a car accident lawyer is often the better choice for ensuring your right to compensation after a serious accident.
What Will a Car Accident Lawyer Do for Me?
A car accident lawyer will act as your advocate throughout the settlement process. Insurance claims adjusters are responsible for protecting the interests of their employer, and this doesn’t necessarily align with what's best for your needs. Your lawyer will work to get you the maximum amount of compensation you're legally entitled to receive while freeing up your time to focus on fully recovering from your injuries.
Some specific tasks your lawyer will perform include:
- Answer any questions you might have regarding your legal rights
- Evaluate the strength of your case against the other driver
- Handle communication with the other driver's insurance company on your behalf
- Organize your medical records and copies of accident-related bills to document your need for compensation
- Obtain missing records from your healthcare providers, and work with your medical team to document your injuries
- Line up experts to testify on your behalf as to the severity of your injuries and/or whether you’re partially at fault for the accident
- Defend against claims that you were responsible for the accident if you were not
- Negotiate a settlement with the insurance company or defense lawyer for the other driver
- Inform you if a settlement offer you've already received is fair
How You Can Help Your Case
Your lawyer's job is to protect your legal rights, but there are some easy steps you can take to protect yourself while the details surrounding your claim are still being sorted out:
- Don't rely on others to provide the necessary paperwork. Don’t assume that others will handle all accident-related paperwork. Insist on obtaining copies of all medical records and repair bills for damage to your vehicle or other property. If you were unable to work while recovering from your injuries, you should keep records of your lost income. It's also a good idea to note the day, time, and name of any person you spoke to regarding the accident.
- Don't agree to sign documents you don't understand. The only documents you should be signing after an accident are for the police and for your insurance agent. If you have questions about what you're being asked to sign, request clarification. If you're still uncertain, contact a lawyer.
- Don't admit guilt. It's natural to want to be polite, but be very cautious about statements that could be interpreted as admitting fault in the accident. Even if you think you may have caused the accident, you might be mistaken. The last thing you want is for your statement to be used against you in court.
- Don't discuss the accident with other parties. The only people you should discuss the accident with are the police, your insurance agent, and your lawyer. Stick to the facts, and avoid speculating about who is at fault.
Can I Afford a Lawyer?
When you're recovering from your injuries and unable to work, it's understandable to want to cut back on unnecessary expenses. However, car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means you don't owe any money unless you receive a settlement. Then, your lawyer will require a percentage of the settlement as his fee.
When your case is resolved, it's considered standard practice for the settlement check to be sent to your lawyer first. This is a precautionary measure to ensure that your lawyer is paid for the work he performs. After your lawyer's fees and the costs related to preparing your case are deducted, you'll be issued a second check.
The team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault have helped hundreds of Louisiana residents get compensated for their auto related accident claims. If you’ve been seriously injured and are struggling to resolve your case, please complete our online contact form to learn more.