Reasons to Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident

Reasons to Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident

Auto accidents can happen anytime, anywhere—no matter how careful you try to be. These unfortunate scenarios are more common than you think. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that more than 5 million car crashes occurred in the United States in one year. Most of these accidents were caused by speeding (29% of all fatal car accidents) and drunk driving (35% of all deadly auto accidents).

Given these facts, it’s understandable that you’re worried about getting involved in a vehicular accident. You likely worry more if you own and drive a car.

Imagine yourself in this situation: you’re involved in a car crash, and you are seeking full justice and maximum compensation for your losses, including your injuries and damages to your property.

Unfortunately, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is trying to trick or pressure you into accepting a lowball settlement offer. 

However, you want to fight back and negotiate a fair settlement. The problem is that you don’t have the time, money, and energy to do so since you’re focused on healing.

How can you get maximum recovery for your losses without undergoing the demanding process of pursuing a personal injury claim?

Personal Injury Lawyer Search is a one-stop site where you can access crucial info regarding personal injury cases, including car accidents. Our free interactive map and search tool can help you find the right lawyer in your state, county, or city for your personal injury needs.

This write-up explains why you might need a car accident lawyer to navigate the personal injury claims process and receive fair compensation.

It also explores how we can help win your personal injury case and the qualifications to check when searching for a lawyer.

Learn more about how to deal with a car accident case, including hiring a personal injury lawyer. 

“How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?”

The most vital aspects of a car accident claim are determining who is at fault and ensuring that the negligent party will take responsibility for the injury they’ve caused you.

A personal injury attorney can help secure these goals by building a solid case for you and accomplishing these tasks on your behalf:

  • Gather evidence, like medical documents and police reports, to support your case. 
  • Negotiate with the other party and their insurance companies so you can focus on healing.
  • Fight for your legal rights, including your rights to medical attention, compensation, and fair insurance policy rates.

Advantages of Hiring an Auto Accident Lawyer

Filing and pursuing a claim can be crucial if you want to get compensation for the injury you sustained due to a car accident.

Auto accident lawyers who specialize in this type of injury case can help you get compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Physical, mental, and emotional pain
  • Lost quality of life

Facing the aftermath of a car accident can be challenging if you’re alone. Experienced lawyers can help you navigate the lengthy and complex litigation process and win your case.

Below are specific ways an auto accident lawyer benefits your personal injury case.

Handling Your Insurance Company

When you’re involved in a car accident, you expect the other party’s insurance company to compensate for your losses, especially if the other party is obviously at fault.

The problem is that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. As such, their agents’ negotiation tactics will likely aim to reduce the amount of compensation. Some may even attempt to avoid paying settlement costs by denying claims. 

Facing these insurance companies alone may not serve your best interest. You may receive significantly less than what you’ll consider a fair settlement. 

However, a reputable car accident lawyer can totally turn things around for you in this not-so-great situation.

Legal experts who have been in the industry for years know how to take on insurance companies and understand what it takes to win a personal injury case. They can see right through the tactics that these bully insurers use to offer lowball amounts or avoid paying for losses. 

Say you have an experienced auto accident lawyer on your side. In that case, the at-fault party’s insurance company will likely have no choice but to pay you the amount you rightfully deserve.

Proving Your Injuries

As someone who had to undergo a traumatic experience like a car wreck, you probably think that getting compensated for your injuries and losses is a no-brainer. 

You’re in pain and have wounds, visible scars, and maybe even a few broken limbs to show for it. The at-fault party’s insurance company only has to cover your losses and expenses while you heal.

Unfortunately, proving your injuries isn’t as straightforward as showing physical signs of injury. You need to establish evidence that your injuries were directly related to the accident to prove your claim. 

A car accident attorney can strengthen your claim. They conduct a thorough investigation and gather evidence to support your case.

For example, your personal injury lawyer can consult witnesses, obtain police reports, and recreate the car accident scene to build your case.

Determine the Value of Your Claim

In addition to proving the other party’s fault, you will also need to determine the appropriate value of your claim. 

The wrong value can decrease your chance of winning the case. Inaccurate estimation may even result in you having to pay out-of-pocket expenses.

You might say that your claim’s value is worth more than your medical expenses and lost wages. However, without a solid grasp of how to assess the claim, you risk filing for far too little or far too much.

Insurance companies employ a mathematical formula to calculate the estimated value of a claim. 

If you want fair compensation from the insurance company, consider hiring a car accident attorney. An experienced lawyer can help estimate the appropriate amount for your claim and determine the ideal starting point for claims negotiation. 

Determine Which Damages You’re Owed

The compensation you can claim and receive depends on the nature and severity of the damages you sustained in the accident. 

An experienced car accident lawyer with in-depth knowledge of personal injury law can help evaluate the accident’s impact on your life and identify what losses you can recover under the law. 

Two types of damages you can include in your injury claim are the following:

  • Economic (quantifiable losses)
    • The cost of medical treatment you’ve already incurred and anticipated medical costs related to the injury 
    • Loss of current wages and your ability to earn future income
    • Expenses for necessary medical devices and services to aid in daily activities
    • Costs of vocational or other training to assist with a permanent disability
  • Non-economic (incalculable in terms of monetary value)
    • Pain and suffering experienced to date, including future suffering
    • Loss of enjoyment in life’s activities (usually experienced by the injured party)
    • Emotional distress
Costs of a Car Accident

Each car accident is different in terms of its impact. That said, some specific costs you may incur from such cases may include the following:

  • Medical costs
  • Loss of work
  • Car repairs
  • Loss of vehicle
  • Insurance hikes
  • Emotional trauma costs
  • Possible funeral costs

Negotiating for Settlement

You can save on legal fees by pursuing your personal injury claim. 

However, the litigation process may be too complex and demanding for you to handle, especially if you’ve sustained significant injuries due to the car accident.

You might not have the time and energy to learn how the claims process should work. This limitation could hurt your chances of getting fair compensation for injuries and losses.

Given this scenario, you may consider working with an experienced lawyer to negotiate a fair settlement.

These legal pros are professional negotiators and can take on the insurance adjuster on your behalf. 

An insurance adjuster investigates the validity of an insurance claim. 

What Happens in an Accident Settlement?

An accident settlement agreement is a legally binding contract that releases all involved parties from future liability for the claim. 

You don’t have to be in a formal courtroom with lawyers to negotiate this agreement. Still, attorneys can help speed up this out-of-court process.

Say you and the other party have gathered the necessary details about the accident and understand the applicable laws related to the case.

In that case, you can consider these factors during settlement negotiations:

  • How likely a lawsuit will reach a verdict
  • Expenses incurred during a trial
  • Effect of the verdict on the parties involved

Given these considerations, you want to seek the help of a legal professional to ensure you get a fair deal.

Determine Whether You Have a Case

Not every car accident case can warrant compensation. Understanding whether your case qualifies for a claim is crucial if you want to save time and money.

Fortunately, you don’t have to decide this matter on your own. A reputable auto accident lawyer can assess your case and advise whether or not you have a good basis for pursuing a claim.

Represent You in a Lawsuit

People involved in an accident don’t usually agree on what is fair.  What happens if the negotiation for a fair settlement doesn’t go smoothly?

You can choose to bring your car accident case to a trial. This decision allows you to present your case to a jury and argue your claim against the insurance company’s lawyers.

Say you have very little or zero experience in handling courtroom procedures. In that case, going through the litigation process alone could be extra challenging.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer to file your case and represent you in court can help retain your peace of mind. They can also help you improve your chances of getting a higher compensation amount.

Your Lawyer Will Meet Important Deadlines

All jurisdictions in the United States have set deadlines for filing a civil lawsuit, including a personal injury lawsuit. 

These procedure rules that limit legal actions based on time are called statutes of limitations. 

For example, most car accident and personal injury lawsuits in New York are governed by the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CVP) § 214. This law mandates that any legal action related to personal injuries must commence within three years of the incident.

Meanwhile, in California, you have two years to file a claim due to a car crash-related injury.

If you file your claim late, you risk your chances of getting compensation for your injuries and losses, such as bills, physical and emotional pain, and mental distress. 

Working with an experienced car accident attorney can help you meet legal deadlines and avoid late filing.

Car Accident Lawyers Don’t Charge Upfront Fees for Their Services

Auto accident attorneys don’t always charge out-of-pocket fees for their services. Some will only charge you based on a percentage from the settlement or jury verdict as their contingent fee.

In other words, you don’t pay your legal representative any upfront costs. You only pay if they win your case.

For example, your lawyer may take 30% of the compensation you receive in exchange for legal representation and counsel. 

This typical setup may explain why many law firms offer services at no charge, such as free consultations.

Prevent You From Damaging Your Case

When you pursue a personal injury claim, you may commit mistakes that can hurt your chances of winning.

Say your injuries are apparent. In that case, you might think the other party will cooperate and readily admit fault once they see the damages they’ve caused you.

Likewise, you might think the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster will immediately work to compensate you for the damages you’ve sustained. 

Unfortunately, things don’t usually work well for car accident victims, especially those who assume that insurance companies are on their side.

For instance, insurer adjusters who seem friendly and willing to help may call you after the crash. 

However, these professionals may only be contacting you to protect their company’s financial interests rather than fully cover your losses. 

For example, the insurance company may require you to provide a written statement. 

If you disclose the wrong details, the company can use them against you to deny your claim or trick you into accepting a lowball settlement offer.

Some insurance companies use this tactic, especially if you pursue a claim without a lawyer. They’ll also ask tricky questions that can cause you to respond out of context and jeopardize your case.

Hiring a car accident attorney soon after the accident can help avoid these unfortunate mishaps.

“Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?”

While hiring a personal injury attorney is not always required when pursuing a car accident claim, having one is almost always a good idea.

Even if you experience a fender bender (a minor collision) without injuries, it can turn into a significant headache without a car accident attorney.

Do You Have a Car Accident Case?

One of the first things your car accident lawyer should determine is whether you have a case against the other driver.

You may have a legal claim if the at-fault driver caused your accident, whether deliberately or carelessly. 

However, accidents involving multiple vehicles may take time to determine the cause. In such situations, you may need the services of a reputable law firm to handle your case.

If you want to recover damages from the accident, you must meet the following criteria to qualify for a claim:

  • The driver’s negligence must have contributed at least a fraction to the occurrence of the accident.
  • The car crash must have resulted in serious injuries to either yourself or a loved one.

Your lawyer may collaborate with investigators or accident reconstruction professionals to understand the complex circumstances surrounding the crash and help strengthen your claim.

Qualifications to Look for in a Car Accident Lawyer

If you want to win your car accident settlement, you must act quickly after the accident and choose the right attorney. 

But how do you determine which lawyer is right for you?

The following sections discuss the qualifications to consider when searching for a car accident lawyer.

Choose a Lawyer With Extensive Experience Handling Car Accidents

Personal injury and property damage often have special laws governing them. That’s why you must choose a lawyer specializing in vehicular accidents and settlements.

These car accident attorneys can use their experience and expertise to help solidify your case. Working with a pro in car accident cases can help increase your chances of acquiring the maximum compensation for your injuries.

Find a Lawyer With a High Settlement Record

Consider choosing an experienced car accident attorney with a track record in securing maximum settlements.

These lawyers use their expertise to navigate complex cases, significant settlements, and challenging at-fault parties. 

Suppose your attorney has a history of successful settlements. In that case, you can be confident they can handle your case.

A long list of won cases also builds trust in the attorney-client relationship. You likely need this need assurance after experiencing a traumatic situation.

Shortlist Lawyers With Litigation Experience

Don’t make the mistake of hiring inexperienced lawyers. They might be exploited by insurers offering lower settlements.

Instead, consider working with a seasoned attorney. They know how to deal with these companies and can take matters to court to compel insurers to provide you with a fair settlement offer.

So, when you shortlist car accident attorneys, consider choosing those with a proven record of fighting (and winning against) unfair offers. 

These legal beagles will likely demonstrate unwavering resolve despite the huge odds before them.

“What Compensation Types Can I Receive With the Help of a Car Accident Attorney?”

Say you’re injured in a vehicular crash and want to seek compensation for your losses. It can help your case if you contact your car accident attorney immediately. 

They can help you obtain compensation for these losses:

  • Medical bills involving any of the following:
    • Consultations with healthcare providers
    • Physical or cognitive therapy (if you sustained brain injury)
    • Ambulance fees
    • Accessories, like heat pads or crutches
    • Permanent disability
    • Disfigurement 
    • In-home services (even if non-medical)
  • Lost wages due to injury-related factors that make you unable to earn a living, including:
    • Physical injuries
    • Therapy sessions
    • Time spent as a patient in a hospital
    • Difficulties with movement
  • Property damage

Your lawyer can gather evidence proving these damages, estimate your claim’s value, and negotiate a fair settlement.

Statute of Limitations for Filing Your Car Accident Claim

Each state has a statute of limitations restricting the time you can file a lawsuit. This statute exists for the following reasons:

  • Memories fade, and evidence can be lost over time.
  • It’s unfair for people to constantly have the threat of being sued for decades-old incidents.

Suppose you got involved in a car crash on May 28, 2024, and your state’s statute of limitations for vehicle accident claims is three years. You should have until May 28, 2027, to make your claim.

Car Accident Statistics

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report estimated that motor vehicle accidents caused around 30,435 traffic fatalities in the first nine months of 2023. 

This figure represents a 4.5% decrease compared to the first nine months of 2022.

Maine, with 25.2% fewer deaths, and Rhode Island, with 50% more fatalities, were among the states that experienced a significant percentage change in estimated traffic fatalities between 2022 and 2023.

Typical Injuries Suffered in Car Accidents

Some injuries are more common in car accidents and may represent a significant part of your personal injury claim. The following sections discuss these car accident injuries.

Emotional or Stress-Related Injuries

Emotional injuries sustained in car accidents can be just as consequential as physical injuries. 

Here are three examples of emotional or stress-related injuries you might have following an accident:

  • Depression: A mental disorder involving loss of pleasure or interest in activities or a depressed mood for extended periods
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A disorder that develops after you experience or witness a terrifying or dangerous event
  • Anxiety: An anticipation of a future concern and often associated with avoidance behavior and muscle tension

Internal Injuries

Serious car accidents can often result in internal injuries unseen to the naked eye. Sometimes, internal organ injuries or internal bleeding can become life-threatening if not treated promptly. 

An immediate medical evaluation is vital to determine such injuries.

Head Injuries

Whiplash (a neck injury caused by forceful and rapid neck movement) is among the common injuries you may sustain during a car accident. Pain from this injury often worsens over time.

Concussion symptoms can also appear a few days after a car crash and may severely impair brain function.

If you have memory loss, headache, disorientation, or neck pain following a vehicle collision, it would be best to seek medical help immediately.

Fractures, Bruises, and Nerve Damage

Car accidents can lead to hand, arm, leg, and foot fractures. While broken bones aren’t necessarily life-threatening, they can impede your work and lead to job absence and costly operations.

Additionally, collision injuries can happen to your muscles, ligaments, and nerves. If you want these injuries treated, such as through therapy, expect to spend plenty of money and experience lots of pain.

Determining Fault in a Car Accident

Determining who is at fault in a collision affects legal liability and the outcome of an insurance claim.

In most car accident scenarios, the term at fault refers to someone whose negligence or carelessness led to the accident.

Generally, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company bears the burden of covering medical expenses, vehicle damage, and other related costs. 

However, several factors can influence or even complicate this seemingly straightforward process.

Deciding who is at fault in a vehicular collision typically depends on whether you’re in an at-fault or no-fault state.

In an at-fault or tort state, a driver who causes a car accident must compensate the other party or parties for the losses.

When an accident occurs in a no-fault state, the drivers’ insurance companies typically pay for their respective insured’s medical expenses using the insured’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. 

This condition applies regardless of who’s responsible for the collision. However, the at-fault driver must use their property damage liability coverage to compensate for the other driver’s car repairs.

Sometimes, you and the other party share the responsibility for the accident. 

For example, some states mandate that if a driver is 51% or more at fault, they cover 100% of damages. In contrast, in other states, each driver’s insurer pays damages proportionate to the fault percentage.

Duty of Care in Car Accidents

Every driver is legally obligated to act cautiously and exercise proper care while on the road. So, the “duty of care” is almost always fulfilled during car accidents.

This duty entails not causing harm to anyone using the highways, roads, and streets. Therefore, as a driver, you have a duty of care to the following:

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

After a vehicular accident, consider taking the following steps:

  • Call 911 and report the accident and anyone needing urgent medical attention. Confirm if anyone is hurt, but avoid too much interaction with other individuals at the accident scene.
  • Exchange information with authorities if it is safe. Also, only exchange insurance information and contact details with the other party.
  • Take photos of the accident area, including your vehicle. Document everything immediately and keep all medical receipts and exchanges.
  • Write down everything the medical personnel or emergency medical technicians (EMTs) tell you as soon as you can. 

Do not downplay or exaggerate your injuries. Once the situation is safe, call a personal injury attorney.

What Should You Say When an Insurance Company Calls?

After a vehicle accident, expect the defendant’s insurance company to contact you. Remember: exercise caution because some insurers mislead injured people regarding compensation rights. 

Avoid answering any questions from the defendant’s insurer’s claims adjuster as much as possible.

The insurer may even try to persuade you that you’re at fault (even if partly) if they misinterpret your statement, especially if your statement implies that you caused the accident and you have no severe injuries.  

Furthermore, the insurer may bully you to settle for less than you deserve by law.

Instead of answering the insurer’s questions, contact your auto accident attorney. Let your lawyer take on the insurance company for you. 

They have the legal know-how to protect you from tricky insurance practices and defend your rights.

At-Fault Law for Car Accidents 

Fault is usually determined based on negligence, a legal concept referring to one’s failure to provide reasonable care while driving.

In a “fault” state like California, the driver responsible for the accident should cover the damages and losses incurred by the other involved parties. 

Likewise, your insurance company may compensate for the damages if you’re at fault. These damages include property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages.

Note: If the damages exceed the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy limits, they may be required to pay the difference.

It is essential to contact your personal injury lawyer for legal advice on this matter, especially if you’re unsure whether you’re in an at-fault or no-fault state.


1. What should I do if the insurance company is challenging to work with?

After you submit a claim to the insurance company, expect it to do everything in its power to lower or deny the payment you deserve.

Therefore, consider hiring a lawyer before you approach the insurer for a settlement.

An experienced attorney knows the insurance company’s strategies to deny valid claims. Thus, they’re likely more skilled at negotiating on your behalf.

2. How can a car accident attorney help me with my insurance claim?

If you get involved in a car accident, you may sustain significant injuries that can take years to recover from. Some victims may never fully recover at all.

A car accident lawyer can assist you in pursuing maximum compensation for the damages caused by an at-fault driver.

3. What is the process of working with a car accident attorney?

The process depends on the law firm you work with. For example, in California, the consultation process may involve the following steps:

  • Discussing options and calculations
  • Signing papers
  • Gathering evidence
  • Writing a demand letter
  • Negotiating a settlement
  • Pursuing court action (if necessary)

4. Should I get a lawyer for a car accident that wasn’t my fault?

If you’re injured in a car accident that isn’t your fault, consider getting a personal injury lawyer immediately. They’ll protect your rights and help you get the appropriate compensation for your damages.


  1. Legislation
  2. Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First 9 Months (January–September) of 2023
  3. Depressive disorder (depression)
  4. What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
  5. What are Anxiety Disorders?
  6. Whiplash

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