A car accident attorney is a legal professional who represents clients in cases involving auto accidents. In most cases, this is an attorney who is helping a person who has been injured in an accident and seeks damages to compensate them for their losses.
The attorney is often helping the victim obtain legal remedies for:
- Costs related to car accident injuries: A person injured in a car accident can recover money expended on such items as doctor and hospital bill payments, costs of medication, physical therapy sessions, and the like;
- Car Replacement or Repair: Of course, if another person’s causes an accident in which a person’s car is damaged or destroyed, then the person responsible for causing the accident must pay to repair or replace the car;
- Other economic losses such as lost wages due to missed work because a person was injured or lost earning capacity because a person’s injuries are permanent and affect the person’s ability to work;
- Punitive damages: If a case involves especially egregious behavior on the part of the person responsible for the accident, such as extreme recklessness, or intentional infliction of injuries, there may be an award of punitive damages.
Thus, a car accident attorney’s main task is to research federal, state, and local laws to determine what types of damages and other potential legal remedies are available for their client. In some cases they may also need to help defend their client against accusations of responsibility, or contributory negligence, by the other party.
In legal terminology, a lawyer who specializes in this is called a “personal injury” lawyer. The person who caused an accident is usually covered by their automobile insurance policy for the damages they must pay. Their insurance company provides them with an attorney. However, if it appears that their insurance may not cover all of the damage done, or if they do not have any insurance, a person may have to hire their own attorney to represent their interests.
What Are Some Tips for Finding a Car Accident Attorney?
When looking for a car accident attorney, it is important to keep certain points in mind. For instance, a person should:
- Check attorney’s license: A person should always check the credentials for any legal professional with whom they might work. Make sure that the attorney is licensed to practice law in the state in which the accident happened. Some states license or certify paralegals and even allow them to perform certain services that were traditionally handled only by lawyers.
- No state, however, gives them the legal authority to represent a
person in a civil lawsuit relating to a car accident. A person needs a licensed attorney to represent them in a car accident lawsuit;
- Police Report: A person should get a copy of any police report about the accident. Hopefully, the police were called to the accident scene and completed a written report about their findings. It helps an attorney if their client can provide them with a copy of the report, so they have an initial idea of what happened and who was at fault. The report should reveal any legal issues might be involved in their accident, such as drunk driving or product liability issues. In a lawsuit relating to a car accident, the defective design or manufacture of a car might be the cause of the accident. Handling this issue would be a complication;
- Injuries and Treatment: A person should take notes regarding any injuries they suffer and the treatment they receive for their injuries. They should note the dates of treatment, and the names of doctors and hospitals where they were treated. A person’s lawyer must obtain complete records of all medical treatment provided;
- Missed Work: A person should also make a record of any days of work they miss because of their injuries. They may miss work because their injuries make them unable to work or to attend doctors, appointments or other treatment providers.
- Insurance and Other Issues: Be sure to note if there are any issues with insurance, licensing, paperwork, registration, etc. If one of the drivers does not have insurance, that is an important special circumstance. If one of the drivers was driving without a license, that is also an important fact. The more facts that a person can share with their lawyer, the better.
All these pieces of information can be useful when finding a car accident attorney. The more information a person has about their own case, the easier it will be to connect with a lawyer.
What Should I Expect a Car Accident Attorney to Know?
Every personal injury attorney should be familiar with the traffic laws for the city, county, and state in which a person lives. Also, they should have experience in dealing with medical professionals and assessing injuries of the kind that are typical for car accidents.
Mostly, personal injury lawyers are professionals who study the laws that apply to the operation of a car, the ownership of a car, and the liability of those involved in a car accident, among other laws. When preparing for a lawsuit, technical knowledge of cars or of certain injuries may require the services of expert witnesses. Personal injury attorneys are able to identify these issues and locate the experts needed to address them.
A car accident attorney has to perform many tasks as they analyze the accident and prepare for a trial. They would first communicate with the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance company hires its own attorney to represent its interests. Both lawyers work to collect the evidence of what happened and prepare for a trial. Often the case is settled before trial as both attorneys become familiar with the evidence and what it shows about the accident, especially who or what was responsible for causing it.
The attorney for a person who is not at fault in causing an accident will also obtain a person’s medical records and bills. They may need to work with the person’s medical insurance provider as they may have paid for medical care and want to be reimbursed from damages paid through the lawsuit.
Other insurance companies or agencies such as workers’ compensation or Social Security Disability may also seek reimbursement. A person’s attorney may try to reduce the amount of their claims.
A personal injury attorney may also have to work with a number of experts to make their case. The attorney for a person whose injuries may result in permanent disability may need to consult an expert who can assess the victim’s prospects for future employment. If a defect in an automobile may have been a factor in causing the accident, then an expert in auto engineering may need to get involved.
Or, faulty road design may have been a factor in causing the accident and the services of a traffic engineering expert may be needed. A person’s attorney would have to lead the effort to identify the need for expert testimony and then locate and prepare the necessary experts.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Car accidents can often involve a surprising number of different legal issues, especially if they involve serious injuries or property damage. It is in your best interests to hire a qualified car accident lawyer if you have issues with a car accident.
Your lawyer can provide you with legal advice and guidance, and can also represent you in pursuing a civil lawsuit. They would play a key role in ensuring that you recover the damages to compensate you for your losses. You want a lawyer who has the expertise needed to deal with the technical issues that may arise in your case.