Warwick Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents happen all the time, but do you always need a car accident lawyer if you get into one? Can you just exchange insurance information and move on with your day? What if it was a minor accident and you don’t think your injuries are bad? Every choice in life is a cost/benefit analysis. It doesn’t cost you anything out of pocket to hire a car accident lawyer and the benefit is that you get a professional evaluation of your claim.
If it turns out your injury really is minor then speaking to an attorney hasn’t cost you anything. But if it turns out that the injury is significant your attorney will have made sure that everything is properly documented and will preserve the evidence necessary to prove your case and prove the extent of your injuries. Contact us right away to help you with your case and to make sure you don’t sabotage your own claim before you fully realize your losses. Free Consultation.
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What is A Car Accident Lawyer?
A car accident lawyer is someone who handles personal injury cases, particularly auto accidents. They know the laws used to determine liability in car accident cases and have experience dealing with injured clients and car insurance adjusters. Car accident lawyers help their clients get fair and reasonable settlements by putting together a proper demand that fairly represents your injuries and by negotiating with the other party’s insurance company or attorney to get you the best settlement possible.
If a lawsuit must be filed, your attorney knows how to present and prove your case to a jury. If you are ever in an accident, make sure to hire an experienced lawyer right away. You should retain a car accident lawyer as soon as possible so that he or she may make sure that you don’t do anything to hurt your case.
But How Do I Pay the Lawyer?
The most common way for a car accident lawyer to get paid is by contingency fee. With a contingency fee agreement, the attorney will receive a percentage of the settlement or judgment the lawyer obtains on your behalf. He or she only receives compensation if they successfully obtain a settlement or judgment for you.
The most common contingency fee for car accidents cased is a one-third contingency fee, though they can range between 25% and 40% depending on the type of the case, the complexity of the litigation and the likelihood of success. Usually, a car accident lawyer will help you settle the property damage to your car without a fee, unless liability is disputed, but even then your lawyer may resolve that for you as a courtesy.
What is The Accident Claim Process?
Initially the most important things you need to do are to make sure you get proper treatment and to preserve any and all evidence. Take note of how your injuries have affected your day-to-day life – this includes physical symptoms and also emotional distress. Your car accident lawyer will gather and preserve all of your evidence to evaluate your claim and prepare your demand.
Once your treatment has concluded, or you have reached maximum medical improvement, your lawyer will submit your demand to the other party’s insurance company. There will be a period of negotiation after which your case will settle for an agreement upon amount, or your car accident lawyer will advise you that it’s necessary to file suit. Even when you file suit, your claim is likely to be settled before trial, but a small percent of claims do go to trial.
For a comprehensive list of things you need to do after your accident, please review our list of Car Accident Do’s and Don’t.
How Much is My Case Worth?
If you have been injured in a car accident and are wondering how much compensation will be reasonable to ask for, there is no easy answer. We evaluate a number of factors to determine what a reasonable settlement for your case would be. These factors include the severity of your injuries, the extent and length of any disability, lost income and income earning ability, and pain and suffering.
We have decades of experience evaluating, settling and trying car accident cases, so we have a good idea of its value. Usually, it is some multiple of the value of the financial losses plus the pain and suffering, plus the value of any permanent injuries. We will discuss the reasonable settlement value with you before we submit your demand and you will make the decision as to how much to accept or reject.
An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
If you don’t hire an experienced car accident lawyer right away you can seriously hurt your case. There are many important steps to take to make sure you are properly compensated if someone injures you in a car accident. The most important step is to consult with an experienced attorney. Don’t hire a settlement mill law firm whose primary interest is to move cases quickly and efficiently and for low settlement amounts.
The best car accident lawyer for you is the one who will look out for your needs and will take the time to properly evaluate and present your case and the way it has affected you. A settlement mill law firm won’t do that.
What’s a settlement mill law firm? Read on to find out and to learn the things you need to know and do to protect your interests after your car accident.
Insurance Adjusters Work Against You
Over the years, car accidents in Rhode Island have become more and more difficult to settle without an experienced car accident lawyer. When I first started practicing 35 years ago, it was much simpler. But over the course of time insurance adjusters became more sophisticated and auto insurance companies developed more sophisticated tools to help them, with the biggest change coming when they developed the ominously named Colossus.
Colossus is a software program created by the automobile insurance industry to minimize the amount the industry pays to people injured in car accidents. Its use became very prominent in the 1990’s and has been used in one form another since then though other similar software has been developed and used by car insurance companies. Colossus was developed because the insurance companies realized that their adjusters were outmatched by attorneys and they needed something to level the playing field.
A Car Accident Lawyer Takes the Advantage Back
To counter the uneven playing field between lawyers and adjusters the car insurance companies used their greatest asset, their wealth, to develop software to minimize the value of claims and box-in their own adjusters by taking away their discretion to assess the subjective value of pain and suffering. They instructed the adjusters not to budge and to let the car accident lawyers either give in or file a lawsuit.
This strategy was based on their conclusion that busy car accident lawyer could not bring to trial the majority or even a significant percentage of their cases. Initially, their refusal to deal in good faith caused a great deal of litigation and a corresponding increase in costs to the car insurance industry. Eventually though their strategy worked with a little help from some lawyers.
The Wrong Attorney Can Play Right Into Their Hands
A segment of the legal industry contributed to the reduction in the value of car accident injuries with the emergence of personal injury mills. Personal injury mills are high volume law firms which usually engage in mass marketing to lure potential car accident clients in and process them as if they are on an assembly line. As Nora Freeman Engstrom stated in her Stanford Lawyer, Spring 2010 Issue 82, article, “Run-of-the-Mill Justice” An Examination of High-Volume Personal Injury Law Practices,
In other words, when you use a settlement mill law firm, instead of matching an experienced lawyer against an insurance adjuster, you have a paralegal or an inexperienced lawyer working on your case instead. Even worse, you have a paralegal (or inexperienced lawyer) with instructions to move your case quickly and efficiently in service of the law firms interests, not yours. Insurance companies are businesses. They utilize a business model to minimize your settlement to maximize their profits. Settlement mills are a lot like them, they are more business than law firm. Instead of trying to maximize your recovery, they are minimizing their costs by pushing claims towards a fast and low settlement which helps their bottom line, but hurts yours.
What does this mean for you? It means that a settlement mill will do the minimum for you because according to them and to Colossus, your case can be reduced to certain objective factors such as the damage to the vehicle, the location and type of your injury, etc. But the law doesn’t accept that. It explicitly rejects it.
Don't Be Just Another Client
Settlement mills and insurance adjusters treat you like a widget. What’s a widget? Before “widget” became widely used in software terminology it referred to a a generic, mass produced item. That’s how both settlement mills and insurance adjusters treat you. They check a few boxes, do some simple calculations and that’s how much your case is worth to them. It is not a proper evaluation of your case and often they are not even checking off the correct boxes or doing the calculations correctly.
If you have a particularly serious reaction to a collision and your injury is worse than might be ordinarily expected, the law states that an accident victim must be taken as they are, not as they are expected to be. If it would take 10 weeks of treatment for the average person and it takes 40 weeks for you, that’s not your problem. The accident wasn’t your fault and the guilty party isn’t supposed to get the benefit of only having to pay compensation for the injures that the average victim would receive. They must compensate you for the injuries YOU received.
Hire an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
If you use a settlement mill law firm, you risk being unceremoniously dumped. Why? Because these mills will quickly come to a conclusion about the value of your case. If your treatment starts to seem excessive to them at a certain point they will conclude that your case doesn’t fit their high volume, low settlement business model. And even if your treatment fits into what they and Colossus thinks you should be getting, if you think the settlement offer they want you to accept is too low, they drop you and just move onto the next case. Time is money and you’re slowing them down.
Settlement mills play right into the hands of the insurance companies and Colossus. They embrace the cookie cutter approach, but you are not a cookie. I can’t promise you will never speak to a paralegal from my office. Paralegals provide very important support. But they won’t be valuing your case. I will. And if your case needs to go to trial, we are prepared to do that. Don’t let your case be treated like a cheap product on an assembly line. Let us help you get the results you are entitled to, not the results that makes someone else’s job easier. There are many reasons to hire an experienced car accident lawyer. Contact us ASAP