Motor vehicle accidents can have devastating consequences. To add insult to injury, many accidents are caused by driver negligence. If you have mounting medical bills, a car accident lawyer may be your best shot at obtaining the compensation you deserve. Before you schedule a consultation, here’s what you need to know about working with MVA lawyers.
What Is a Car Accident Lawyer?
A car accident attorney has one overall goal: to ensure you receive fair compensation for your accident. This compensation may cover your injuries, property damage and lost wages. Car accident lawyers are personal injury attorneys. They specialize in lawsuits that target at-fault drivers. When you are in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you need an MVA lawyer.
When Should You Call a Car Accident Lawyer?
After an accident, it is normal to feel overwhelmed. You may feel like you have too many obligations, on top of dealing with the pain and trauma of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. While you may feel it should be obvious that you deserve compensation, insurance adjusters and at-fault drivers may argue that you don’t. Calling a lawyer as soon as possible increases your chances of winning a settlement. You can read more about the benefits and advantages of hiring a lawyer as soon as possible after a vehicle accident here.
After a Motor Vehicle Accident
A motor vehicle accident can result in severe injuries and property damage. If another party is responsible for your accident, calling a personal injury lawyer can improve your chances of obtaining compensation. While your priority should be your health, you generally want to contact a lawyer as soon as possible following the collision. Shortly after the accident, you may experience lost wages, emotional anguish, and reduced earning capacity on top of medical bills.
Before the Insurance Company Calls
In some cases, an at-fault driver may have an insurance company that doesn’t require you to do a lot of fighting. However, to receive compensation without a fight, you need to ensure you have strong evidence to prove fault. Likewise, the driver has to have a high enough limit to cover all of your experiences.
Before you try to negotiate with the insurance company, talk with a car accident lawyer first. It is common to require compensation above the policy limit. An attorney has more experience dealing with insurance companies, finding out the policy limits and determining whether your case is worth more than the limit.
Some car accident victims make the mistake of speaking with the insurance company before seeking advice from a lawyer. On the phone, the insurer may sound like he or she has your best interests in mind, but practice caution. The adjuster may look for any reason to claim that you shared fault in the accident. For instance, a polite apology may be looked at as an admission of guilt.
When You Have Growing Medical Bills
If you get a headache whenever you think about your medical bills, a personal injury lawsuit may be in your future. Financial stress can wreak havoc on your health. Not only do you have to cope with the injuries and stress from the accident itself, but you have to handle the adverse effects of financial hurdles. Those who have financial stress are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. In addition to suffering mental health, you may find yourself struggling with stomachaches, sleep disorders, migraines and more.
Often, people have to take time off work following an accident. The length of time varies depending on the nature of the injuries. In some cases, you may be unable to return to work. The lack of income coming in combined with the medical bills can turn into a massive burden. If you do not know how you’re going to pay your bills, pick up the phone and consult with a car accident lawyer. In addition to fighting for compensation, we can advise you on how to handle your medical bills in the meantime.
What Questions Should You Ask a Car Accident Lawyer?
In Arizona, there were 129,750 accidents in 2019. About 90% of those accidents occur because of driver error, including DUI, reckless driving, distracted driving and speeding. In an accident, odds are there is one person who shares most of the fault. If you don’t know what to do after an accident, a lawyer can become your guide.
Before you hire a lawyer, learn to ask questions.
How Much Experience Do You Have?
Experienced MVA attorneys know which Arizona laws to apply to your claim. Arizona has a comparative negligence rule. You may hear the defense argue that you were partially to blame for your injuries. For instance, if another vehicle runs a red light and collides with your vehicle, but you suffer more severe injuries because you didn’t wear a seatbelt, you may be partially at fault. Navigating comparative fault can be difficult. If your fault is 20%, your settlement would be 20% less than the total damages.
Navigating personal injury claims and understanding the various auto insurance laws is the job of your attorney. If during your research, you come across a lawyer with very little experience, you cannot guarantee that he or she will know how to fight for your award. While the majority of cases never go to trial, you need to be able to count on your car accident lawyer if your case is one of the few that needs to go in front of a judge. In addition to years of experience, ask about your lawyer’s record. What does his or her win versus loss record look like?
What Deadlines Do I Have to Meet?
In Arizona, you have two years following your accident to file a personal injury claim. You have time limits when it comes to filing different types of personal injury lawsuits. The reason for deadlines is to ensure that you make your claim when the evidence is still new. In some instances, you may be able to file a claim after the two-year rule. This generally happens if you could not reasonably know that you were injured.
When it comes to any other deadlines you need to make on your case, you don’t have to keep a strict calendar and just hope you don’t miss anything. When on the phone, ask about deadlines to ensure you still have time. Your car accident lawyer will not only be able to explain the deadlines, but he or she can keep you on top of them.
How Long Will My Accident Case Take?
While you should ask for the lawyer’s opinion, do not expect to receive an exact estimate on time. The case begins when you file and serve the complaint. Following the complaint, the defendant answers and discovery can take place. In many cases, the case settles following the discovery phase, but if it doesn’t, then the trial occurs. If the case goes to trial, then you may have to deal with appeals in the future.
By looking at the details of your case, an experienced lawyer can provide an estimate of how long he or she thinks it should take. Based on prior cases or work with specific insurance companies, he or she may be able to give you a relatively accurate estimate.
What Damages Can I Expect To Recover?
If you are not educated in personal injury claims, it is normal not to know the ins and outs of the damages you can seek. While medical bills and lost wages may be obvious to some people, there are other types of damages that may be included in the claim. For example, if your injury affected your relationship, you could add damages for loss of affection or companionship. In addition, you may be able to seek pain and suffering, which addresses the impact your injury has on your quality of life. For instance, if you were an avid skier and your accident makes it impossible to pursue the things you love, you may be able to include that into your claim.
Over time, your lawyer may be able to answer this question more fully. During your first consultation, he or she may have a general idea of the types of damages you will likely recover. Throughout the discovery phase and the course of the claim, he or she may discover you deserve more.
Will I Have To Go to Trial?
More complex cases tend to go to trial. If there is sufficient evidence for the defense to argue against a claim or if the insurance company stubbornly refuses to offer a fair settlement, then your case may go to trial. After discussing the details of your case, we may be able to determine whether we believe you’ll have to go to trial. Keep in mind that through the course of the claim, this answer may change.
How Much Do You Charge?
Financial hardships often keep injured victims from seeking the help of a car accident lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation where you can ask plenty of questions, including what the lawyer charges and what other fees may be associated with that cost. A bonus to hiring a personal injury lawyer is that you usually do not have to pay right away. MVA attorneys work for a contingency fee. They only receive payment after you receive your settlement. The fee is typically a percentage of the overall settlement. Before you hire an attorney, ask the percentage. In addition to the overall cost, there may be filing fees and other court costs that you have to pay. Find out if you pay the costs at the end or during the course of the claim.
What Can a Car Accident Lawyer Do for You?
Your attorney can offer you advice and take steps to advance your case in your favor.
After an accident, one of the most critical elements to prove your claim is to obtain evidence. Evidence includes police reports, medical records, witness testimonies and photographs of the scene. While you may be able to collect some of the evidence following the accident, a lawyer can help you obtain police reports and may even contact the witnesses for you to gain more information. In some cases, a MVA lawyer does his or her due diligence and visits and photographs the accident scene.
Negotiate With Insurance Companies
When making a MVA claim, you present the insurance company with a demand letter and supporting documents. Once the insurance company receives the letter, the negotiation may only consist of a couple of conversations with the claims adjuster. The lawyer and insurance adjuster may have to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the claim to secure the best possible settlement. Often, the parties go back and forth with different offers until a settlement is reached.
Attorneys understand how insurance companies work and what the settlement process looks like. They have a figure that they believe you deserve and can strategize how to get to that number. Most attorneys will advise you never to take the insurance company’s first offer.
Take the Case to Trial
Odds are you do not have experience with court trials. Unless you have a law degree, you may not understand how the proceedings work or how you need to prepare for trial. Any court case can be daunting. Since there is always a chance your claim could go in front of a judge, having a lawyer ensures you do not have to deal with it on your own. You would not have to do extra research or strategize to win your settlement.
Recover the Damages You Deserve With MDK Law Group
Accidents happen all of the time. Your best chance against a negligent driver is to consult with a car accident lawyer. At MDK Law Group, we understand our clients’ struggle following a car accident. If you suffered injuries or damages due to another driver’s negligence, we have the resources, experience and skills to help ensure you receive fair compensation. When you schedule a free consultation, we can answer any and all questions surrounding your case. Contact us today to find out how our team can assist you with your car accident case.