What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?

What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?

A car accident lawyer provides legal assistance whenever you need help investigating your crash, filing a claim on your behalf, and getting maximum compensation for your losses.

Suppose you or someone close to you was involved in a car accident. In that case, one hurdle to face is recovering the costs of medical bills and other expenses related to the crash.

What can a car accident lawyer do to help you? What if your insurance company tries to settle for an amount that is less than you need or deserve? What damages or other sort of compensation are you entitled to? 

This article provides insight into these questions. Moreover, it offers information regarding the costs of hiring a car crash lawyer and the many benefits of having one by your side throughout a car accident settlement case.

Personal Injury Lawyers Search is a valuable resource for seeking legal services and lawyer help concerning injury cases.

Browse our website and learn the benefits of working with a personal injury lawyer, especially in cases involving penalties, fines, and possible jail time.

“Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?”

A vehicular accident is usually just the beginning of a long and daunting legal process.

Handling paperwork, organizing medical documents, proving negligence, and negotiating with insurance companies are some of the strenuous tasks that await you should you be involved in a car crash.

Fortunately, a car accident lawyer can deal with all the legal matters while you’re recovering from your sustained injuries.

Seeking the help of a car accident lawyer can be crucial, especially in the following scenarios:

  • You have sustained significant injuries.
  • A loved one was killed due to the accident.
  • You have incurred steep medical expenses.
  • The other party is contesting the fault.
  • The insurance company lowballs or outright denies your claim.
  • You have sustained immense physical pain and emotional trauma.
  • You have sustained a temporary or permanent disability.
  • You have lost wages due to your inability to work.

The Right Lawyer Can Be Key to Getting the Best Outcome for Your Car Accident Claim

Lawyers have the experience and influence to deal with insurance companies and face them in the courtroom if needed.

In successful cases, some attorneys recovered tens of millions of dollars in maximum compensation for injuries, medical bills, and property damage from car wrecks.

Is It Worth Enlisting the Services of a Lawyer if Your Accident Was Minor?

Suppose you were involved in a minor car accident. A lawyer well-versed in this field can help protect you against the other party’s legal claims that may attempt to blame you for the accident and deny responsibility. 

A lawyer can assess your case to ensure you file for all damages you are entitled to. Your lawyer can also determine what evidence to gather to help you build a solid case.

The Reasons to Hire a Car Crash Lawyer: What a Car Accident Lawyer Can Do for Your Case

A car crash lawyer can help analyze the case and determine whether you require legal proceedings or can agree to a settlement with the other party.

Moreover, a personal injury attorney can help if you’re having trouble recovering a fair settlement amount from an insurance company.

The following sections will discuss other notable benefits of hiring a car accident lawyer.

Provide Honest Information About Your Situation

In a car accident case, your personal injury lawyer is the one who represents you and not the insurance company.

By having a personal injury lawyer by your side, you will have an expert legal professional to provide the necessary information and advice for your case.

Moreover, a personal injury lawyer can address how much you can expect from the claims process and if the settlement offer by the insurance company is fair enough.

Ensures You Meet Administrative Requirements

During the settlement negotiation process, your case may require passes between you and the insurer before it reaches a decision.

Your settlement claim record includes forms, letters, and calls, so ensure you aren’t making any errors that can potentially derail your objectives.

Leveraging the services of a car accident lawyer is beneficial in ensuring compliance with administrative prerequisites, streamlining the intricate process, and maximizing your potential for a favorable legal outcome.

Prepares for Settlement but Always Ready to File a Petition

From the moment you enlist the services of an auto accident lawyer, they will document your case and preserve all pieces of evidence. By doing so, they will be prepared if ever your case must be handled in a civil jury trial.

Although most personal injury cases are resolved outside of court, it is wise to let the insurance company know you’re willing to go to trial if offered an unfair settlement amount.

Helps You Understand Your Rights

In most cases, you should not have to pay for damages due to an accident if you are not at fault. However, laws regarding car accident injuries can vary per state.

A good lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and the laws relevant to your case so you can legally protect yourself.

Offers Legal Advice

More often than not, you will receive conflicting advice from well-meaning friends and family members after getting involved in an accident, making you think twice about the course of action.

Meanwhile, personal injury lawyers have years of education, training, and experience with car accident claims. A good lawyer will look at the details of your case and give you solid advice on how to proceed.

Moreover, car accident attorneys are well-versed in the laws and regulations at the state and federal levels. These will be discussed in the below topics.

Traffic Laws

Every state in America follows its own set of traffic laws and regulations. A personal injury lawyer knows such laws, including those about road signs and speed limits.

Personal Injury Laws

Personal injury laws establish liability, tort, and malpractice claims made to protect those who suffered physical, psychological, or emotional trauma due to the carelessness of others.

These laws are imposed to help ensure that individuals responsible for causing harm or injury to others are obligated to compensate those who have sustained losses.

Insurance Law

Car accident attorneys have substantial knowledge of the various laws governing car insurance, healthcare regulations, and insurance company policies.

These regulations expound the responsibilities and obligations of the insurance company.

Civil Liability Laws

Lawyers are well-versed in liability laws, determining who should be responsible for injuries and damages resulting from a vehicular accident.

States can differ on how they determine liability. For instance, some require the at-fault party or parties to compensate accident victims. The negligence of non-drivers can also affect the case.

Suppose the investigation shows that a car part malfunctioned during the wreck. In that case, it is possible to hold the manufacturer partially responsible.

Protects the Client From Insurance Companies

It is the car accident lawyer’s duty to protect their client when dealing with insurance companies.

A typical insurance company has serious resources in its arsenal — finances, lawyers, employees, and industry knowledge.

As such, insurers can cajole accident victims into cheap and quick settlements. Sometimes, they may persuade the accident victim to admit fault even when innocent.

Negotiates for a Fair Settlement With Insurers or Defendants

An attorney works behind the scenes to build a strong case for you and achieve a fair settlement by doing the following:

  • Investigate the accident’s details.
  • Collect relevant information, such as police reports, witness statements, pictures, and proof of damages.
  • Create a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and negotiate a fair settlement if the company makes a low offer.
  • File a lawsuit if the company refuses negotiations.
  • Manage the pretrial process steps.
  • Represent you in court and help you recover the total financial compensation.

A good lawyer should have a good estimate of how much your case is worth. They should also know how to work your case and conduct the required negotiations for the best possible outcome.

Your Attorney Will Reach Out to the Other Driver’s Insurer

In a personal injury case, your attorney should contact the other party’s insurance adjuster. Since the adjuster controls the pocketbook, your lawyer must have a desirable relationship with them.

Typically, adjusters work for the insurance company’s interest. As such, even when the adjuster asks you to provide a recorded statement, the information you provide may benefit them.

Although you can disclose basic information, politely decline when the adjuster requests a recorded statement. Instead, your accident attorney can handle the correspondence with the insurance company.

Negotiates With Lien Holders

Suppose you were involved in an accident and received benefits from a disability, worker’s compensation, or health insurer. In that case, that insurer should have a lien on your injury claim.

Simply put, a lien means the holder gets paid before you do, out of any court judgment or settlement amount you received for your case.

A good car accident attorney should be able to get the lien holder to reduce its lien on your claim.

Establishes Your Damages

A good lawyer can be crucial for your case, especially if you’ve sustained significant injuries and need to record the extent and nature of your damages.

Damages, in the language of the law, refer to compensable losses. In a car accident case, these could be medical fees or other hospital-related bills, pain and suffering, or lost wages due to missed time at work.

Obtaining Car Accident Medical Records

In a car crash scenario, gathering all documentation of your sustained injuries is imperative. However, getting your hands on these bills and records can be quite a challenge sometimes.

Although the records are yours technically, sending them to lawyers isn’t at the top of a healthcare provider’s priority list.

For instance, small doctors’ offices may lack the time or manpower to respond promptly to medical record requests. On the other hand, larger hospitals may adhere to specific procedures before they can send a medical record to anyone.

In such cases, working with a car crash lawyer is always a good choice since they can request the records from the healthcare provider, saving you time and effort as you recover from your injuries.

Making Sure Your Medical Records Are Complete

Often, doctors don’t mention causation and the extent of a disability or injury in their records.

Suppose such a thing happens to you. In that case, your attorney will ask the doctor for a special letter that contains their opinions regarding the accident that caused your injury and if you’ll be limited or completely disabled for a set period.

Representing You In Court

Many car accident cases get resolved before the involved parties proceed to a court trial. The insurance carrier will likely offer a fair settlement if you have an accident lawyer.

Should you still end up going to court, a car accident lawyer will work with you throughout the trial. An experienced lawyer can deal with insurance providers and fight for your right to fair compensation.

Your Attorney Will Gather the Right Evidence of a Car Accident Fault

A good attorney can gather the evidence you need to prove someone’s liability in a personal injury case. Although you may have already taken pictures and footage of the car crash scene, it’s very likely that your lawyer will go back to collect more information.

Your attorney will also gather police or accident reports and often communicate with the investigating officers and witnesses at the scene.

A good attorney should leave no stone unturned when it comes to collecting pieces of evidence for liability.

What Does the Investigation of a Case in a Car Accident Look Like?

To properly establish liability for your car accident, your attorney will gather general information about the accident, such as the location, time of the crash, date, and the names of the drivers and other passengers involved.

A car crash attorney can obtain copies of police reports to understand your accident case better. Moreover, your attorney can obtain testimonies from witnesses.

Common pieces of evidence that a lawyer can gather are medical reports and records that detail the injuries you suffered in a car crash. Your lawyer may also analyze physical evidence to help strengthen the case and contact experts to verify any negligent acts.

Proving Negligence In Your Car Accident Case

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 90% of vehicular accidents are caused by negligence or driver error.

Here are some common negligent driving behaviors:

  • Drunk driving or driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI)
  • Driving a faulty motor vehicle
  • Distracted driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Disregarding traffic signs
  • Overspeeding

In any car accident scenario, proving the negligence of another party isn’t easy, especially when multiple motor vehicles are involved. Having an experienced car accident lawyer by your side can help you traverse the legal complexities of such a case.

A Lawyer Can Assist in Collecting Factual Evidence

Often, people don’t realize how much work a car accident lawyer does behind the scenes of a particular case.

The following sections discuss the additional tasks that a car accident lawyer does that you, as a client, might not think about until after you’ve decided to hire one.

Investigating the Case Completely

Car accident attorneys can visit the accident scene to observe, gather, and review evidence, such as witness statements and pictures from the accident. 

They can also work with outside experts, such as investigators and retired police officers. Moreover, they can recreate the scene to determine specific details.

Documenting Your Financial and Future Losses and Assessing the Full Extent of Your Damages

When your car accident lawyer makes a claim, they look at how the accident can affect you in the present and future.

They consider the injuries that may compromise your ability to work, current and future medical treatment costs, and emotional impact due to the accident.

Your attorney can also provide an accurate estimate of your damages to ensure you do not bear any unforeseen accident-related costs.

Contacting Medical Professionals

Most car accident lawyers have professional connections with medical experts who can provide the right services for your case. These experts specialize in serious injuries and are among the best individuals to consult for your treatment options.

The Cost Of Hiring A Car Accident Lawyer

Car accident lawyers can cost significantly, depending on your case. Most car crash attorneys charge a percentage of the final award amount.

For instance, some lawyers charge around 33% of the final settlement. This percentage can go higher if your case goes to trial. You will also likely need to cover filing and expert witness fees personally.

To ensure you understand what you are paying for, read the lawyer’s fee agreement and ask questions if necessary. However, do not decide on the fee alone. That said, some of the best lawyers are worth the extra money.

No Upfront Attorneys’ Fees

Your personal injury attorney usually won’t charge you advance fees. Often, car accident lawyers offer their services on a contingency fee basis.

A contingency fee means the firm will only receive lawyer fees if you recover money from your case. The attorney or the law firm will be compensated by a fraction of the amount you receive in a court or settlement award should the case proceed to the trial phase.

Contingency fee percentages in legal agreements vary case by case, with typical rates falling around 25%, 33%, or 40%.

The contingency fee percentage may also be adjusted if a car accident lawsuit is filed against the defendant. The rate can be reduced if the case is settled before reaching a court hearing.

Compensation You Could Recover After a Car Accident

The financial compensation you can get for a vehicular accident claim relies on the extent of damage suffered, among other factors. Data collected on average car accident settlement amounts vary on a case-to-case basis.

For example, some states, such as Texas, have no cap on civil lawsuits, meaning there is no limit to how much payout you can receive.

According to a report by the Insurance Information Institute, the average bodily injury claim after a car accident was $20,235. Meanwhile, the average property damage claim was reported to be at $4,711.

Moreover, data from a five-year study showed that the average settlement of those who made car accident claims was $23,900. Most of the respondents claimed that they received $10,000 or less.

What Compensation Will a Lawyer Seek for You?

Typically, a car accident lawyer should seek coverage for your losses. The total amount and the type of awards a lawyer can pursue for you will be based on your financial losses.

Your judgment or final settlement amount may cover the following:

  • Ambulance transportation and emergency medical care services
  • Hospital expenses and medications (including follow-up medical care and medical imaging services)
  • Lost income or diminished earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • The loss of a loved one
  • Consortium

How Do I Know What My Car Accident Case Is Worth?

Settlement amounts will differ depending on various factors. For accidents that caused little to no injuries, the amount could be within a few thousand dollars to cover any medical bills or property damage.

Meanwhile, the settlement amount might be in the tens of thousands range for car crashes that resulted in moderate injuries and more significant damage to properties. These cases usually involve medical treatment, missed work hours, and, potentially, more extensive recovery periods.

In cases of fatalities, permanent disabilities, long-term medical treatments, and severe injuries, the settlement amount can be substantial, reaching hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in some instances.

Factors like lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and negligence’s extent significantly determine high settlement amounts.

Remember that the above examples are simplified overviews and that every case is unique. The circumstances of each accident, the severity of the injury, and other factors will affect the final settlement amount.

There is no set formula for determining the value of a vehicular accident claim. Consulting an experienced car crash lawyer is crucial to understanding the appropriate settlement amount for your specific situation.

Who is Responsible for My Medical Bills After a Car Crash?

Car accident victims are generally responsible for covering their medical expenses, particularly in the first instance. Still, they can do any of the following:

  • Submitting bills to private health insurance
  • Negotiating deferred payments with medical providers
  • Leveraging any medical coverage with the car insurance policy

Once a settlement has been given, the insurance company that paid the medical expenses should receive reimbursement via subrogation.

Subrogation refers to the legal right held by insurance carriers that allows them to legally pursue a third party that caused a loss to the insured.

How Does a Lawyer Negotiate With an Insurance Company?

After a car accident, a lawyer will file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company on their client’s behalf. During the claims process, the lawyer will detail the accident and the damages accrued by the client.

The car crash lawyer will negotiate for fair and adequate compensation with the insurance provider. Presenting factual evidence or legal dialogue may be necessary to reach a settlement.

The car crash attorney can take the case to a court trial if the at-fault party’s insurance company does not agree to a fair settlement.

Who Pays in a Car Accident Case?

Generally, the negligent party should be responsible for a car accident. Although motorists typically perform acts of negligence, other parties can also be liable for a car accident.

For instance, someone who creates or permits hazardous road conditions may be liable for an accident case. Moreover, manufacturers may be liable for product defects that lead to a crash. There have been cases where the defendants are responsible for acts of negligence.

Finally, an employer may owe you if their employee was proven to be at fault for your accident.

How Does a Car Accident Lawyer Work in Court?

When both parties in a car accident case can’t agree to a fair settlement, an attorney may represent their client in a court hearing.

A lawyer’s responsibilities if a car accident case goes to trial are the following:

  • Oversee the case preparation.
  • Create a litigation strategy.
  • Ensure deadlines and other legal requirements are fulfilled.

Depending on the complexity of the case and the compensation amount sought, a lawsuit may be filed in a federal or state court.

Even after a lawsuit is filed, negotiations and mediation between the parties can still occur. However, a trial would be necessary if the case is still unresolved.

During the trial, the car crash attorney will present arguments and evidence to prove the damages and injuries resulting from the crash.

The jury will examine the case at the end of the trial procedure to establish just compensation.

How Much Time Do I Have for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit? What Is the Statute of Limitations, and How Does It Apply to Car Accident Claims?

The statute of limitations is your state’s time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit or claim.

For instance, in some states like North Carolina, you are granted up to three years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit against the possibly liable party.

However, there are some situations in which the deadline may be extended. If someone under 18 is hurt in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, they will have three years from the date they turned 18 to file a lawsuit.

Moreover, the deadline for such lawsuits can be extended if the defendant cannot be found or is currently in another state.

How Long Does It Take To Settle a Car Accident Claim?

Vehicular accident settlements typically occur at a reasonably fast pace. This is an advantage of settling a claim instead of taking your case to court.

According to a report of individuals who made car accident claims within five years, it took about 10.7 months for car accident victims to claim settlement for their accident.

Also, over half of the victims settled their car accident injury claims within six months.

When Can I Handle A Vehicular Accident Claim Myself?

After a car accident, if you’re comfortable collecting all necessary documents and evidence and willing to negotiate a settlement, you can handle your claim yourself.

However, it’s not uncommon to run into a few hurdles without legal representation.

Should you find yourself at a dead end, you can discuss your situation with a lawyer, especially if the other party’s insurance provider does the following:

  • Refusing to accept that the insured driver was responsible for the accident
  • Denying insurance coverage for your claim
  • Not offering anything close to what you believe your claim is worth
  • Not taking you seriously

What Are the Best Steps to Take After a Car Accident?

When you get into a vehicular accident, consider these pointers to help ensure everyone is safe. It’s also important that you adhere to the law and get the insurance claim process rolling.

Seek medical assistance – Even if you don’t feel unwell, seek medical aid after a car accident. Some potentially serious injuries can remain undetected for a certain period, especially if the accident occurred recently.

Contact your insurance provider – After an accident, contact your insurance provider as soon as possible and provide all the required information, such as the other driver’s contact and insurance details.

Organize and gather evidence – Keep all physical documents connected to the accident. These include the following:

  • Medical reports
  • Out-of-pocket cost receipts
  • Repair estimates
  • Pictures from the crash site
  • Police reports

Contact a personal injury lawyer – In any vehicular accident, contacting a personal injury attorney can be optimal, especially if you sustained injuries or accrued any damages.

How to Find the Best Car Accident Attorney

If you need to look for the best car crash lawyers anywhere in the U.S., Personal Injury Lawyers Search can help you find one for your legal needs.

Our online directory lets you filter car accident lawyers by name and state so you can immediately work with one near you. Some of our lawyers even offer free consultations and free case evaluations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Who pays for my car rental costs after a car accident?

Suppose your car was badly damaged or totaled after an accident, and the other party was at fault. In that case, the other driver or their insurance company should cover the costs of a rental car.

However, in most cases, you may have to shoulder the costs out of your own pocket while waiting to receive the settlement.

2. When should I hire a car accident lawyer?

In any car accident case, it is advisable that you seek legal representation as soon as possible. Doing so protects yourself against costly mistakes you might commit alone, especially if this is your first time dealing with such an issue.

3. Do I need a car accident lawyer if the insurance company offers me a settlement?

Suppose the insurance provider offers you a fair settlement covering your expenses. In that case, you may not need to enlist the services of a car crash lawyer.

However, you must ensure you receive a sum covering your costs. Think carefully about all of your accrued damages before you proceed.


  1. Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts (2023)
  2. Property damage cases
  3. Filing an Auto Claim with the Other Party’s Insurance Company
  4. Non-Injury Vehicle Collisions
  5. Personal injury cases
  6. Minimum insurance requirements

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