In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, and about 424,000 people were injured. Engaging in texting, dialing, or even reaching for the phone and other portable devices increases the risk of getting into a crash by three times. It’s not only cell phone usage in the car that’s deadly, it’s distracted driving in general. A 2015 Erie Insurance distracted driving survey reported that drivers do all sorts of dangerous things behind the wheel, including brushing teeth and changing clothes. The survey also found that one-third of drivers admitted to texting while driving, with three-quarters saying they’ve seen others do it.
So what if this doesn’t describe you at all? What if you are fully focused on the road and aware of all the traffic signs? What if you stay the speed limit and leave an acceptable amount of space between you and the driver in front of you? What if you do all of these things and you still end up hurt in an accident? You may ask yourself, “Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?” And if you do, you should know what to look for in a law firm. You should also know your rights when it comes to insurance claims and what the legal process will entail. You should have a whole list of questions to ask personal injury lawyers before hiring someone to represent you.
A personal injury attorney should provide a free consultation prior to taking your case. This gives you a chance to ask questions and get a good idea of what to expect. When hiring your lawyer, keep in mind that experience does matter! Ask the lawyer how long he/she has been practicing and what percentage of the practice is devoted to similar personal injury cases. Also be wary of “ambulance chasers.” If you receive a call or letter from a lawyer after a car accident without contacting them first, you might want to do some deep digging on that law firm or lawyer.
You can also ask the lawyer what plan of action he/she will take in moving forward. While most cases settle without going to trial, some cases do not even need a lawsuit to be settled. A lawyer can sometimes get the important information to the insurance company for the defendant and settle the case without the need to file a lawsuit. A whole 95% to 96% of personal injury cases are settled pretrial. This is less expensive and takes less time.
Be aware of the fees involved and feel free to ask for specifics in terms of how the lawyer will charge for his or her services. Finally, make sure the lawyer explains the personal injury settlement time frame. It is important to know approximately how long this might take as well as any foreseeable problems along the way.
Once you’ve found a lawyer that you like, your job isn’t quite done yet. You’ll need to create a clear, written fee agreement and then keep in contact with your lawyer to make sure your case is progressing as it should.
You can be a safe driver and do everything right but still find yourself in a situation where a lawyer is needed. If you pride yourself on being a prepared driver, ensure that you are also a prepared litigant. Prior to meeting anyone come up with a list of questions to ask personal injury lawyers that are important to you and important to your case.