When someone’s injured in a car accident, the aftermath can be devastating. Insurance companies are prone to offering low settlements that don’t come close to the true cost of an auto accident, and victims are often left to pick up the pieces on their own.
Depending on your situation, hiring an auto accident lawyer may be the best way to increase the amount of compensation you receive as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault.
With over 40 years of experience handling personal injury cases, Sokolove Law has helped thousands of clients across the country get the financial compensation they need to get their lives back on track after an injury.
If you or your loved one were injured in a motor vehicle accident that wasn’t your fault, get a free legal case review today to see what your legal options are.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney After an Auto Accident
If you’ve recently been in a serious car accident, you’re likely swimming in questions: How did this happen? What went wrong? How am I going to get to work? Will insurance cover this? Answering questions like these is difficult, and the immediate stress surrounding an accident can push some car accident victims into hurriedly accepting whatever settlement the insurer offers.
While accepting the insurance company’s first offer seems straightforward, the truth of the matter is insurance companies generally offer low-ball settlements because their goal is to reduce their liabilities and maintain as high of a profit margin as possible.
For many Americans, insurance settlements simply come up far too short and fail to cover the true cost of a damaged vehicle, let alone serious injuries and undue mental pain and suffering. Hiring an attorney after an auto accident is one of the best ways victims can position themselves to recover the true cost of their accident.
An experienced traffic accident attorney will work directly with car accident victims to understand the full extent of their losses, including medical costs, property damage, lost wages due to inability to work, and pain and suffering.
When these considerations are factored in, the size of an auto accident settlement can grow to be much larger than the insurance company’s initial offering.
Auto Accident Injuries
Car accidents can result in injuries ranging from minor scratches and bruises to catastrophic, irreversible bodily damage and even death. On the physical side, a car crash victim may need brain/body scans, surgery, slings, casts, mobility assistance, medication, and physical therapy, among other things.
Often, physical injuries are just one side of the equation. Many drivers also experience stress, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a motor vehicle accident. A car crash victim may even require talk therapy or career-coaching if they have lost their ability to work at their current position.
Generally speaking, the more severe one’s accident and injuries, the higher their potential compensation can be in an auto accident lawsuit.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 2 million American motorists experience permanent injuries in car crashes every single year.
Common injuries in a car crash include:
- Whiplash (neck injury)
- Fractured or broken bones
- Cuts, bruises, or abrasions
- Injuries from airbags or seat belts
- Permanent scarring
- Sprained muscles or torn ligaments
- Organ damage
- Loss of hearing or vision
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
From a financial standpoint, car crash victims can drain their resources by simply trying to recover and heal, which is why it’s important to contact an auto accident attorney as soon as possible.
What to Do After a Car Accident
After a car accident, your first step is also your most important: Get the medical attention that you require. The immediate aftermath of motor vehicle crashes can be confusing and overwhelming — and physical and mental injuries may not readily present themselves for several days.
That’s why it’s especially important to have a plan and know what you should do next.
Address your immediate situation. If you’re hurt and need assistance, call for help. Dialing 9-1-1 is a crucial but sometimes overlooked step.
From a legal standpoint, it also helps to have a record of the accident — when it happened, how it happened, who was involved, and what the injuries were.
If you’re able to, it’s very important to take photos of the scene on your phone and write down the immediate circumstances surrounding your accident.
Be sure to record the following in your photographs and notes:
- License plates
- Road signs
- Eye-witness accounts
- Weather and road conditions
- Traffic around you
In both an insurance claim and a car accident lawsuit, this evidence will help prove that the accident and the injuries you suffered were not your fault.
Call a Lawyer
Insurance companies work hard to maintain their profits and often pressure victims into accepting a settlement immediately after a car accident. If you were injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be eligible to file a motor vehicle accident lawsuit and pursue financial compensation to cover your medical bills, missed work time, and more.
Avoid taking a smaller payout that may not cover all of your accident-related expenses, and instead contact an auto accident lawyer who will fight on your behalf to secure the compensation you truly need to recover.
How Do Car Accident Claims Work?
After a car crash, the thought of hiring a lawyer may not be top-of-mind. If you decide to take legal action, scheduling a legal consultation with an auto accident attorney will be your first step.
Below is a brief, step-by-step guide on how the auto accident claims process works at Sokolove Law and what you can expect each step of the way.
- Request a free consultation by contacting us or submitting the form to the right.
- Wait for a case manager to review your case and reach out to you. If we’re able to offer assistance, we’ll be in touch within 24 hours.
- Hire one of our attorneys to handle your case. Our firm operates on a contingency-fee-basis, which means if you hire us, you pay nothing upfront. Sokolove Law will only accept an attorney’s fee if your case succeeds in securing financial compensation.
- Once you have decided to work with Sokolove Law, your car accident lawyer will review the details of the accident, determine cause and fault, and make an attempt to reach a financial settlement before filing a lawsuit.
- If a settlement isn’t reached, your lawyer will file a car accident lawsuit on your behalf. Once filed, the discovery phase begins. During this period, both sides will collect and present information, evidence, and arguments pertaining to the car accident.
- Once discovery is complete, your lawyer will once again try to reach a settlement.
- If a settlement is not reached, you can work with your lawyer to determine whether you wish to bring your case to a trial before a judge and jury. The jury will then determine the merits of the claim and how much compensation — if any — will be awarded.
All car accident claims are different, and the above only represents the general structure of the claims process from start to finish. Most auto accident lawsuits settle out-of-court, but some do proceed to trial.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents?
Simply put, the statute of limitations is a law that bars individuals from filing a lawsuit after a certain amount of time has passed. Each state has its own statute of limitations, which determines exactly how much time a car crash victim has to file a lawsuit.
A given state’s statute of limitations will vary, depending on whether the claim is for personal injury or wrongful death in the case of fatal car accidents.
Rarely does a state’s statute of limitations exceed a period of 1–4 years. The majority of states have 2-3-year windows during which a victim can file a lawsuit for injuries sustained in a car crash.
Once the statute of limitations ends, the window for an individual to file a lawsuit closes forever. Given this, it’s important to begin the legal process as soon as possible.
How to Find a Lawyer for a Car Accident Case
No one expects to be in a car crash — but when accidents happen, it’s important to be prepared. In addition to being incredibly expensive, car accidents can turn lives upside-down. Insurance companies typically don’t make the situation any easier and tend to pressure car-crash victims into blindly accepting the first settlement offered, even if it barely covers their medical expenses. That’s where lawyers come in.
The personal injury attorneys at Sokolove Law have more than 40 years of experience working alongside victims to help maximize the amount of compensation they receive from a settlement.
We have roots in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, so we understand the roads and weather conditions for this area. Our local attorneys have conveniently located offices, so your case can be handled close to where you live. With that said, as a nationwide law firm, we can also take cases nationwide.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, we are standing by to help. Sokolove Law offers a free legal case review. Don’t wait — time is of the essence. Contact us today.
FAQ About Motor Vehicle Accidents
What do you do if a motor vehicle accident is not your fault?
If you’ve been in an auto accident and you weren’t at fault, it’s important to:
- Call the police and report the accident if you’re able
- Collect evidence by noting your injuries and recording license plates, insurance information, road signs nearby, weather conditions, nearby roads and intersections, and traffic patterns — anything that may later help prove that the accident wasn’t your fault. Take photographs or videos using a camera or a smartphone.
- Call your insurance company.
- Reach out to a qualified attorney who can review your case and provide legal advice.
If the accident was not your fault, you have the legal right to pursue compensation from the negligent driver responsible for the accident.
Is it worth getting an attorney for a car accident?
Hiring an attorney is your best chance at increasing the amount of compensation you receive after a car accident. Insurance companies typically offer small payouts compared to the full extent of the actual damages and pressure victims into accepting these payouts.
An experienced car accident attorney will fight on your behalf to increase the amount of money you receive. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, Sokolove Law may be able to help you. Get a free legal case review today.
How long can you make a claim after an auto accident?
The amount of time that one has to file a claim varies state-by-state, according to a given state’s statute of limitations. Generally speaking, the majority of states allow victims of auto accidents to file lawsuits up to 2-3 years after the accident occurred, though it is not recommended that a victim wait that long.
Some states limit claim-filing to 1 year after an accident, and still, others allow up to 6 years to pass before a victim is barred from filing an injury claim.
If you or a loved one were injured in an auto accident, reach out for a free case review today.
How much do car accident lawyers charge for auto accident claims?
Most reputable auto accident lawyers do not charge individuals upfront, instead working on what’s known as a “contingency-fee basis.” This means that victims pay nothing out-of-pocket, and the lawyer only accepts a portion of the total amount of compensation awarded if a case is successful. If a case isn’t successful, the car accidents lawyer doesn’t get paid.
What is the average payout for an auto accident settlement?
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an average auto accident settlement. Payouts will vary based on the different factors that make up a given case.
Important factors to car accident settlement amounts include:
- Property damages
- Medical costs for physical injuries (both present and ongoing)
- Lost wages due to inability to work
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
Generally speaking, payouts will increase along with the severity of one’s injuries. For example, an innocent driver who experiences whiplash from an auto accident will likely receive less than an innocent driver who permanently loses their ability to walk.
How long do car accident settlement negotiations take?
The amount of time it takes to settle an auto accident case can vary from a couple of weeks to several months. Negotiations can go back and forth for a few weeks, and the victim retains the right to accept or reject any proposed settlement amount.