Should I get a lawyer for a car accident that wasn’t my fault?
Answer: It is your choice whether or not to hire a lawyer after a car accident that wasn’t your fault. However, keep in mind that attorneys have dealt with most insurance companies and will know how to advocate for your needs. This typically results in a larger settlement— larger than you might be able to get on your own.
While you might expect the auto insurance company to have your best interests at heart, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Insurers are out to turn a profit for their stockholders. If they see any opportunity to deny a claim or minimize a settlement, they’ll take it.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help the insurance companies, and a jury, understand just how much your injury has affected your life.
When to get an Attorney for a Car Accident
Not all car accidents result in legal battles. However, there are some that would greatly benefit from an attorney’s knowledge, experience, and negotiation skills.
A good example of when to hire a lawyer is if you’ve been permanently disabled or severely injured. These types of injuries are usually life-altering. When this is the case, you’ll need to factor in your long-term medical care and your ability to earn a living.
How much money do you get from a car accident settlement?
There are many factors that go into the calculation of a car accident settlement. Many people want to know what the average car accident settlement is, but that’s hard to say when every case is unique. The major factors include how much money is available and the severity of your injuries.
In most cases, car insurance policy limits will determine how much money is available for a settlement. Agreed to in the insurance policy purchased by the insured, policy limits often represent the ceiling for settlement negotiations. However, a car accident attorney will make sure all avenues of compensation are explored.
Monetary awards, called damages, are intended to compensate victims injured by the negligent acts of others. Depending on the specifics of your car accident, you may be entitled to one or more of these types of damages.
- Medical care related to your injuries such as, hospital bills, ambulance rides, past and future medical treatment, nursing home care, physical therapy, prescriptions, medical equipment, etc.
- Income that may have been lost due to being out of work while you recover. If your injuries affect your ability to earn a living, future loss of income can also be included in your settlement.
- Pain and suffering damages depend on how much mental, physical, and psychological pain you suffered as a result of the car accident. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a pain and suffering calculator. Insurance companies and attorneys use a number of different methods to calculate pain and suffering.
- The Virginia Wrongful Death statute allows certain family members to bring a claim for the losses they have suffered from the wrongful death of a loved one. This can include medical bills, future loss of income, and loss of companionship. Learn more about Virginia Wrongful Death Lawsuits.
How much do accident attorneys charge?
Most car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. Contingent fees, laid out in the retainer that you sign, are paid by the client if a lawyer settles or wins your case. These fees are commonly used in personal injury law where money is to be claimed. The fee is deducted from the money recovered in a successful settlement or verdict.
With a contingency fee arrangement, the attorney agrees to a percentage of the overall money recovered. This percentage depends on the attorney and complexity of the case, but is usually around 1/3. If a settlement cannot be reached and a lawsuit is filed, the fee usually increases. That’s because filing a lawsuit requires a lot more work on behalf of the firm: hiring expert witnesses, depositions, potential mediation, not to mention going to trial and potentially appealing a verdict.
Contingency fees allow the client and attorney to share the financial burden of a case. This creates an incentive for lawyers to work hard for the best possible results. It also shows the level of confidence the attorney has in the case: they wouldn’t take on the client if they didn’t believe they could win. Contingency arrangements are also helpful for clients who might not have the money upfront to hire an attorney.
Virginia Car Accident Lawyer
Virginia car accident and personal injury attorney Richard Serpe has 33+ years experience helping the injured. Our goal is to seek justice and earn the very best outcome for clients in the most trying days of their lives. Contact us to set up your free consultation.
Awards & Recognition
- Named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Norfolk, VA (2020)
- Rated 10/10 – “Superb” by the online attorney rating service, Avvo.com
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America ® (2006 – Present)
- Received an AV rating from the Martindale-Hubbell law directory, which is the highest given
- Named a “Super Lawyer” – among the top 5 percent of lawyers in Virginia (2006 – Present)