Statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than 2 million people on average are injured in car accidents each year. Of those 2.5 million, 200,000 require hospitalization after their accidents. In addition to injuries, more than 32,000 people lose their lives in car accidents each year.
For some individuals, they may suffer from catastrophic injuries that affect them for the rest of their lives. If you are seriously injured in a car accident, then it is imperative to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
Serious injuries not only incur medical bills, they may keep you from working, temporarily or permanently. Compensation from a car accident lawsuit can help you pay for these expenses, or for costs associated with a loss in your family.
When Should I Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident?
In addition to determining whether you need an attorney, you should also know when you need one. Never wait after a car accident to contact an attorney. There are several reasons why waiting is a bad idea.
First, evidence can disappear from the scene of the accident in hours or days. You would not want evidence crucial to a car accident claim to be altered or destroyed, as it will impact your ability to recover compensation. An attorney can preserve evidence and uncover additional evidence shortly after the accident occurs.
Second, there is a statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit in Pennsylvania. If you wait too long and end up going past the statute of limitations, then you may be unable to recover compensation for your injuries or loss. An attorney can help you determine if you are past the statute of limitations.
The last reason you should never wait is because it is very easy to make mistakes that could jeopardize your claim. For instance, some people may talk with the other party’s insurance adjuster. Keep in mind, what you say to the adjuster could be used 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 about what you put in writing.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
You should never make the mistake of being your own legal counsel. This rule also applies to car accident lawsuits. Simply put, an attorney with experience can use his or her knowledge of the law to argue for a settlement or verdict.
An experienced attorney also knows how to uncover and use evidence against the defendant (or defendants) on your behalf. Doing this on your own, especially if you are injured are grieving, is not a good idea.
What Should I Look for In a Car Accident Attorney?
You should look for an attorney with experience handling car and truck accident cases. Experience with product liability lawsuits could also help, especially if your accident was caused by a defective vehicle.
In Pennsylvania, it is important to choose an attorney with trial experience. Yes, it is common knowledge 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 a settlement, it may be necessary to seek a jury trial.
You should also take 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 a look at the site and see if the attorney handled cases that are similar to your case. If the attorney or law firm has a history of successful verdicts or settlements for cases similar to your own, then it should weigh into your final decision.
How Do I Find a Car Accident Attorney?
There are many ways to find an attorney to take your case. Referrals are one way. You can ask family members, the state bar association and personal injury associations in Pennsylvania. Other law firms may also refer you to an attorney who is most appropriate for your case.
Search engines are your friend when looking for a car accident lawyer. For instance, you could type “Wilkes Barre car accident lawyer” into Google and check the results. You will want to make sure that you use geo-specific keywords to find an attorney in your state, or more specifically your county or city. Super Lawyers is another listing where you can find good attorneys. In fact, attorney Neil O’Donnell is listed as a Top 10 Super Lawyer in Pennsylvania.
There are also many online listings that personal injury attorneys use. Lawyers.com, Avvo and Martindale are good examples. You can search by practice area and location on these sites to locate the best lawyer for your case.
What Should I Expect After Hiring a Car Accident Attorney?
After you hire an attorney, 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 for how to use that evidence to negotiate an adequate settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, there are other options, such as a jury trial, your attorney could pursue.
The process for obtaining compensation is not guaranteed to be expedient, regardless of who you hire. Keep in mind, the circumstances surrounding your case and what occurs after you hire an attorney will determine how long the process takes.
About Our Wilkes Barre Car Accident Lawyers
The Wilkes Barre car accident lawyers at O’Donnell Law Offices have extensive experience with auto accident and wrongful death lawsuits. For a free consultation, call (570)258-8820 or use our online contact form.
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