When the actions of a careless driver have you injured and dealing with the aftermath, you may not be able to count on the insurance company. These for-profit businesses are not known for their willingness to pay deserving victims what they deserve. Instead, you may need to speak to a personal injury attorney and get a case started against the other driver. Sometimes, just taking the first step after dealing with an injury and a wreck can take a lot of effort but is usually well worth it. If you do the below things, you can have your personal injury case off and running, so read on and take action.
Make an Appointment and Be Prepared
Using referrals from friends and relatives can help you identify a great attorney. Be sure to use someone that practices in the area of car accident cases because they are sure to have a deep understanding of actions to take and what needs to be done. When you appear at the lawyer's office for that important first appointment, be sure to come with everything the lawyer needs to make a case evaluation that day. Try to gather the following information for your new legal team:
- The accident report. Often prepared at the scene but can be accessed by contacting the law enforcement agency that responded to the wreck.
- Insurance information for you and the other driver.
- A summary or records of your medical treatments up to this point.
- A repair estimate for your vehicle, unless it's totaled.
Learn About the Value of Your Case
Most attorneys won't provide victims with an estimate of the compensation they can expect at this stage, but they also won't agree to take your case unless it is worth pursuing. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. If they win your case, they get paid from those winnings. If you have a case that appears to be solid and valuable, they will agree to represent you. The amount you may be entitled to can only be understood after some research is performed into the evidence, the final dollar amount of your medical needs, the cause of the accident, and more is uncovered in the coming weeks.
Sign and Make Things Happen
Before leaving the legal office, your new attorney will ask you to sign a contract for representation (the retainer). Here, the exact details about legal fees and the scope of work they are agreeing to is spelled out. Additionally, you may be asked to sign some releases that allow your lawyer to access your medical records.
Don't waste a moment of precious time, contact an auto accident attorney as soon as possible.