If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you probably have a lot of questions. How will you pay for your medical bills? How will you get to and from work? Will you even be able to work your job in your full capacity? A car accident personal injury lawyer can give you the guidance you need, but that brings another question: how will you pay for an attorney?
Why You Should Call a Car Accident Attorney Now
In the state of Missouri, personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. What that means is that you do not pay a retainer and you don’t pay for consultations. They make their money on the backend when they settle or litigate your case. It’s important to have an attorney in a car accident injury case. These cases are significantly more complicated than you might think. In addition to your medical bills and the damage to your vehicle, you’re owed damages for your lost wages and pain and suffering. An itemized list of damages will provide a starting point for negotiations with an insurer.
How Attorneys Prepare Your Case for Negotiations
The process starts with a one-on-one interview. This can usually be done remotely or in the hospital if you’re unable to get around. Once you commit to your car accident attorney, they become a central point of contact for the insurance companies, medical billing agents, and all other interested parties. They will begin collecting medical records, the police accident report, and any other evidence needed to get a full picture of the circumstances around your accident. Additionally, they will depose witnesses and solicit the opinions of expert witnesses. When they approach the insurance company with a counter-offer—the insurance company almost invariably makes the first offer—it will be based on a full understanding of the impact the accident has had on your life.
Never Accept a Settlement Offer Without Talking to a Lawyer
In the aftermath of an accident, you’re probably going to be concerned about the money. When the insurance company makes an offer to pay your doctor bills, it might seem like the smart move. You might even feel some temporary relief. But if that money runs out, you can’t go back for more. Initial settlement offers come with a requirement that you sign a waiver of liability. That means you can no longer sue for additional compensation.
Before you commit to a car accident lawyer to represent you, you’ll want to do some homework. Part of this homework will be meeting with the attorneys, but you’ll also want to do some independent research.
- Perform a Google search on your attorney. You may be surprised by what you’ll find.
- Ask the attorney to see testimonials from past clients.
- Discuss the attorney’s fee structures. You should know going in what portion of your settlement they will take.
- Ask them about their availability to clients. It’s unrealistic to think you can talk to the attorney every day, but you shouldn’t have to wait for more than 24 hours to receive an answer to your questions.
For more information about car accident lawyers, contact St. Louis car accident attorneys Hipskind and McAninch.