Why You Need an Accident Lawyer

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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The law will never require participants in an accident to hire an accident lawyers. But unless you are absolutely certain that the accident was very minor and that there are no injuries or questions as to who was at fault, it is usually a good idea to have an accident lawyer on your side. 

How Can Accident Lawyers Help Me?

There are many reasons why you may want to have an accidnet lawyer on your side in almost every accident case:

  • Insurance companies aren’t focused on protecting their policy holders, despite what their marketing campaigns might say. The purpose of an insurance company is to make a profit, which means avoiding paying out huge claims. To make sure you get a full and fair settlement, you need to have an accident lawyer on your side to counteract the efforts of the insurance company to pay the least amount possible.
  • Sometimes injuries don’t become apparent right away. You could walk away from an accident, not hire an accident lawyer and think everything is fine, and then find out a few days or months later that you suffered an internal injury, soft tissue injury or brain injury that wasn’t apparent right away. If you don’t have an accident lawyer, you may have missed an opportunity to collect evidence or you may have signed a liability release and given up your rights.
  • State laws differ on when and how to collect for accidents. If you miss a deadline, you could end up being unable to receive any compensation for the injuries that you sustained. Accident lawyers can help make sure this doesn’t happen. 

In addition to the many reasons why you may want to hire an accident lawyer, you should also know that most accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means if you don’t win, you do not pay. Since a lawyer can help you increase your recovery in almost every case, this means that hiring accident lawyers involves low risk and a high degree of potential reward. 

Personal injury lawyers generally handle accident lawsuits. Most personal injury lawyers across the country will take an accident lawsuit on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney collects his or her fee by charging you a percentage of the damages he or she helps you recover.

The Benefits of a Contingency Fee

This contingency fee is often beneficial for both the attorney and the client. An attorney usually has a huge line of credit to support the expenses of a lawsuit, and knows that the average client will not be able to pay for the costs of the suit upfront. Further, the client benefits by not having to bear the upfront expenses of the suit; and the attorney has his or her own money invested in the case and will likely work hard for recovery because of it.

However, some state statutes require the client to pay the out-of-pocket costs of the suit. Further, even in states that allow the attorney to pay the upfront expenses of the case, some state statutes require the client to pay the attorney back for these costs whether they win the lawsuit or not.

Disadvantages of the Contingency Fee

Because an accident lawsuit can quickly become expensive, personal injury lawyers will generally only take cases that they believe will succeed at trial. Otherwise, it’s too risky for them, as the costs of fighting the suit may outweigh the damages awarded. Further, while a personal injury attorney may start by paying all costs and expenses upfront, he or she will often refuse to continue paying for expenses if the client declines a reasonable settlement offer. This too is a risk assessment that lawyers must make. If they believe that your case is not worth more than a certain number, then it will often not make sense for them litigate it past this number. While they may agree to do so, they also may require the client to pay the out-of-pocket expenses of the suit from that point on.

If a personal injury attorney refuses to take your case on a contingency fee basis, you should ask why. Sometimes the attorney will tell you that the risk is too great, or that he or she does not have the funds to support a case of your size. In this situation, you should always contact other lawyers, as they may have more resources to litigate a bigger case, or may believe that the risk is worth the potential payoff.


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