If you were hurt in a car accident, you could be facing serious medical problems and a substantial loss of income that could affect your life for months or years to come. You may have a right to compensation from the negligent driver for your lost wages, staggering medical bills, and emotional trauma. While you may be tempted to try to negotiate a settlement on your own, this would be a big mistake that could cost you when you settle for less than your case is really worth.
How a Lawyer Can Help Maximize Your Settlement
The insurance adjuster for the negligent driver may try to convince you that you can resolve your case yourself. However, do not be fooled. He may offer you a settlement, but it will be significantly less than if you had an attorney on your side. Ways a lawyer can improve the likelihood you will receive a more favorable settlement include:
Knowledge of law and procedures.
An attorney will know the laws and local court procedures that apply to your case, including the statute of limitations—or time limit—to sue the negligent driver. He will also understand how to defeat potential arguments the insurance adjuster will make to try to reduce your claim.
In order to obtain compensation, you will need to show the other driver’s negligence caused the crash. An experienced attorney can help you get the police report, locate witnesses and obtain their statements, and utilize experts like an accident reconstruction expert when liability is complicated.
Documentation of your damages.
Obtaining all the medical records and bills from your doctor and hospital can be challenging, but it is critical to helping you obtain a good settlement. Often these records are incomplete or do not provide vital information such as your prognosis, future medical treatments you will need, and how the accident caused your injuries. An experienced attorney will know what is needed and will follow up on obtaining it before settling your case.
Identification of all liable parties.
While many auto crashes involve one negligent driver hitting another vehicle, other cases could include more than one guilty party. For example, in a multi-car accident, more than one driver could have been negligent and may be responsible for compensating you. If a defect in a car contributed to your injuries, you may also have a claim against the vehicle manufacturer. An attorney can identify all the responsible parties—which will increase the amount of your settlement.
Negotiation of a settlement.
A lawyer who is experienced in handling car accident cases will understand how much your case is really worth and may have experience negotiating with the insurance adjuster or attorney. This knowledge can help him obtain a significantly higher settlement than you could achieve on your own.
Tips for Finding the Best Lawyer for You
The first thing you want to do is not make a mistake in your case by picking just any attorney out of the yellow pages or the first one you find in an Internet search. Here’s how to select the best attorney for your situation:
Ask for a referral.
You should ask family, friends, and co-workers for the name of an attorney they have used who handles car accident cases. You will want to know if they were happy with the attorney, how well he kept them informed, and whether he returned their calls and was easy to communicate with.
Research the attorney.
Once you have a few names, you will want to research the attorney’s credentials and any complaints against him by doing an Internet search and checking with the Nevada Bar Association. Check if he has any board certifications, peer ratings from other attorneys, or other legal awards.
Look for experienced attorneys.
You want an attorney experienced in handling auto accident cases. This is a specialized area of the law and you want an attorney who stays up to date on the laws, understands the complexity of these cases, and has worked with insurance adjusters and their attorneys to settle these cases.
Once you narrow down your choices to two to three attorneys, you should call them and set up a free consultation. Questions to ask during your appointment include:
- How much experience do you have handling this type of case?
- What part of your practice is handling car accident cases?
- What experience do you have handling my type of injury?
- What results have you achieved in similar cases?
- What outcome do you anticipate in my case?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of my case?
- Will you personally handle my case? Some attorneys assign cases to less experienced associates.
- How many cases have you taken to trial? While many of these cases settle, some do not. You want an attorney who is competent in handling trials and is not afraid to take your case to trial if necessary.
- How will you communicate with me? Make sure he is easy to reach and returns calls or emails if he is unavailable.
- How long will my case take to resolve?
- What fees do you charge and will I have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses?
Once you have interviewed possible candidates, you’re ready to pick your attorney. You should decide this based on the following:
- Experience in handling these cases
- Prior success in cases like yours
- Someone you feel comfortable with and who explains things in a way you understand
- Someone who cares about you and your case and will fight to get you the best possible settlement
Have You Been Involved In A Henderson Or Las Vegas Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Henderson office directly at 702.405.6000 to schedule a free initial consultation.