Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
Statisticspublished by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than 2 millionpeople on averageare injured in car accidents each year. Of those 2.5 million, 200,000 requirehospitalization after their accidents. In addition to injuries, more than 32,000people lose their lives in car accidents each year.
For someindividuals, they may suffer from catastrophic injuries that affect them forthe rest of their lives. If you areseriously injured in a car accident, then it is imperative to seek legalcounsel as soon as possible.
Serious injuriesnot only incur medical bills, they may keep you from working, temporarily orpermanently. Compensation from a car accident lawsuit can help you pay for theseexpenses, or forcosts associated with a loss in your family.
When Should I Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident?
In addition todetermining whether you need an attorney, you should also know when you needone. Never wait after a car accident to contact an attorney. There are severalreasons why waiting is a bad idea.
First, evidence candisappear from the scene of the accident in hours or days. You would not wantevidence crucial to a car accident claim to be altered or destroyed, as it willimpact your ability to recover compensation. An attorney can preserve evidenceand uncover additional evidence shortly after the accident occurs.
Second, there is astatute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit in Pennsylvania. Ifyou wait too long and end up going past the statute of limitations, then youmay be unable to recover compensation for your injuries or loss. An attorneycan help you determine if you are past the statute of limitations.
The last reason youshould never wait is because it is very easy to make mistakes that couldjeopardize your claim. For instance, some people may talk with the otherparty’s insurance adjuster. Keep in mind, what you say to the adjuster could beused against you later to reduce the value of your claim or to deny the claim altogether.The same rule is true for social media. Be extremely, extremely cautious aboutwhat you put in writing.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
You should nevermake the mistake of being your own legal counsel. This rule also applies to caraccident lawsuits. Simply put, an attorney with experience can use his or herknowledge of the law to argue for a settlement or verdict.
An experiencedattorney also knows how to uncover and use evidence against the defendant (ordefendants) on your behalf. Doing this on your own, especially if you areinjured are grieving, is not a good idea.
What Should I Look for In a Car Accident Attorney?
You should look foran attorney with experience handling car and truck accidentcases.Experience with product liabilitylawsuits could alsohelp, especially if your accident was caused by a defective vehicle.
In Pennsylvania, itis important to choose an attorney with trial experience. Yes, it is commonknowledge that most car accident cases settle before going to trial. However,reaching a settlement is not guaranteed. Each case is going to be different.Depending on what happens while your attorney is attempting to reach asettlement, it may be necessary to seek a jury trial.
You should alsotake a close look at the law firm or attorney’s settlements and verdicts page.Almost all personal injury law firm websites will list this information. Take alook at the site and see if the attorney handled cases that are similar to yourcase. If the attorney or law firm has a history of successful verdicts orsettlements for cases similar to your own, then it should weigh into your finaldecision.
How Do I Find a Car Accident Attorney?
There are many waysto find an attorney to take your case. Referrals are one way. You can askfamily members, the state bar association and personal injury associations inPennsylvania. Other law firms may also refer you to an attorney who is mostappropriate for your case.
Search engines areyour friend when looking for a car accident lawyer. For instance, you couldtype “Wilkes-Barre car accident lawyer” into Google and check the results. Youwill want to make sure that you use geo-specific keywords to find an attorneyin your state, or more specifically your county or city. Super Lawyers isanother listing where you can find good attorneys. In fact, attorney NeilO’Donnell is listed as a Top 10 Super Lawyer in Pennsylvania.
There are also manyonline listings that personal injury attorneys use. Lawyers.com, Avvo andMartindale are good examples. You can search by practice area and location onthese sites to locate the best lawyer for your case.
What Should I Expect After Hiring a Car Accident Attorney?
After you hire anattorney, he or she will likely try to reach a settlement with the other party.Your attorney will review the evidence for your case and develop a strategy forhow to use that evidence to negotiate an adequate settlement. If a settlementcannot be reached, there are other options, such as a jury trial, your attorneycould pursue.
The process forobtaining compensation is not guaranteed to be expedient, regardless of who youhire. Keep in mind, the circumstances surrounding your case and what occursafter you hire an attorney will determine how long the process takes.
About Our Wilkes-Barre Car Accident Lawyers
The Wilkes-Barrecar accident lawyers at O’Donnell Law Offices have extensive experience withauto accident and wrongful death lawsuits. For a free consultation, call 570-821-5717 or use our online contact form.
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