A personal injury claim is a legal process that can take months to process. If you’ve been in an accident and are in recovery, awaiting the result of a case from the lawyer you hired, you could be wondering what gears and rotaries your lawyer is turning for you in this period of waiting. Here, we’re going to break down exactly what your lawyer is responsible for and how they’re gearing your case toward success.
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Legal Mechanisms: How does a Car Accident Lawyer Operate?
Your mechanic is in charge of knowing all the ins and outs of your engine: your carburetor, your wheel suspension, whatever it may be to make sure your car is fit for the road. In the same way, your car accident lawyer will know all the ins and outs of a personal injury claim, how to access it, how much it’s worth, and how precisely they can make sure you’re properly compensated for an accident.
A car accident lawyer will, first, investigate the accident scene and gather evidence. Then they will negotiate with insurance companies and advocate for fair compensation, using their expertise to ensure that their clients’ rights are protected.
They will determine how much your claim is worth in a dispute and make the necessary argument that the faulty party was negligent and violated specific PA laws and regulations, and thus will owe an amount pursuant to the plaintiff (you). They will reach a settlement that will compensate for any medical expenses, car expenses, time missed from work, school, or anything related, psychological treatment and lasting injury, and any other inconvenience to you or your loved ones caused by the accident. They’re prepared to take the case to court if the need arises, but most of these cases reach a settlement before a case escalates to that level.
Even after a settlement is reached, a lawyer’s job isn’t always done. If there are still insurance claims or medical liens that need resolving, this can often be done after the settlement is reached, and there will also be finalizing forms and paperwork with the opposing party’s legal team.
They will also advise you with any tax implications that arise from the settlement amount, and if you have any questions in the aftermath, they can still provide counsel for you if your agreement is still under term. The settlement does not always resolve the legal issue, either, and your lawyer can help take the necessary steps to pursue further legal action/litigation if necessary.
The Profession Defined: What is a Car Accident Lawyer?
Car accident lawyers are lawyers who specialize in accidents caused due to negligence or intentional harm and represent clients that have been significantly injured or psychologically affected by the accident. This is known as tort law. These lawyers are well-versed in torts as well as the laws and regulations, state-level and federal, that are involved in any given accident and how these are used to determine fault and liability, and how much compensation is due for clients. Their clients may have suffered long-term trauma, car debts or lost insurance, medical payments, wounds that won’t heal for many years, or even the wrongful death of a loved one, for which each and every circumstance will entitle their client to compensation.
Whether through skillful negotiations or courtroom litigation – though, in most cases, a settlement is reached without needing to go to court – their ultimate goal is to secure the best possible outcome for you, the plaintiff, both financially and emotionally.
Financial Considerations: How Much Does Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Your lawyers will be paid on a contingency fee basis, following the outcome of the case. If a settlement is reached and compensation is awarded to the plaintiff, they’ll receive a percentage of the lump sum. If the case is lost, typically there is no upfront payment needed, however there may be in-case expenses that the plaintiff is responsible for, namely medical report fees or any informational fees. These in-case expenses can also be added against a compensation amount. But don’t worry, as most cases with a PI lawyer almost always settle (96% according to Cornell Law) at an average settlement rate of $52,000, making any in-case fees of $50-$200 almost negligible.
How much does a lawyer take in a contingency fee if the case is won? Generally, most agreements will payout one-third of the compensation amount to the lawyer for helping you win your case. These percentages can be negotiated when you go into signing your agreement, but the industry standard will fall between 25% to 40%.
Making Informed Decisions: How to Choose the Best Car Accident Lawyer in 2023
Just like when you choose a doctor or a babysitter, you’ll likely do a handful of research on them beforehand to make an informed decision. Same goes for any lawyer or law firm you choose heading into making a personal injury claim. If you live in the Philadelphia area, there are plenty of directories, including the Philadelphia Bar Association, to find ratings and local listings of the best lawyers suited for your case.
Generally, it is good to look up online advisories and local listings, find reviews left from previous clients, look at ratings left from peers, see what previous cases they’ve worked on and how much experience they have in the field, and consult second opinions.
Like with any working, professional relationship, honesty and trust are the foundation. A lot of it is personal judgement, how you feel making the call, but once you’ve done your due diligence, the first consultation you book is normally free with a PI lawyer, and there you can gauge how well they can help your case.