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7 Questions to Ask Your Attorney After a Car Accident

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Legal issues can be complicated. That’s why, after a car accident, it’s important to ask your lawyer the right questions. You need to deal with injuries and insurance quickly, but you’ll also need a lawyer’s help for the long-term effects. 

Asking the right questions helps you understand your rights and what money you might get, and it helps your lawyer fight for you better. 

Once you’ve had a car crash, asking the right questions helps your car accident lawyer look into things more deeply and build a stronger case for you. 

Talking about who was at fault and how to handle settlements is key to getting through the legal process after an accident.

Let the Ikerd Law Firm help you. Call (337)366-8994 for a consultation. 

1. What kinds of losses can I be compensated for if injured?

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Medical Expenses

Medical bills pile up post-accident. You might need compensation for both immediate and ongoing care.

This includes hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and physical therapy. Even future medical needs related to the accident should be covered.

Car accident victims often face extensive treatment. These may last months or even years. It’s crucial to account for all health-related expenses when seeking compensation.

Lost Wages

Injuries from auto accidents can keep you from work. This leads to lost wages and possibly affects your long-term earning capacity. Even if you are able to work, you may have to take a job that does not pay as much as prior to your injuries, which is also compensable. Damages claimed should reflect this financial impact.

Property Damage

Your vehicle will likely need repairs after a wreck, or it might be totaled. Compensation should cover repair costs or the replacement value of your car.

Other property damaged during the incident may also qualify for reimbursement, such as personal items inside the vehicle at the time of the crash.

Pain and Suffering

The emotional distress caused by an accident and the resulting injuries are real and compensable. However, quantifying these damages requires careful consideration as they are subjective in nature. A skilled lawyer can help you get full compensation and properly value your losses. 

2. Will you help me file all the personal injury paperwork?

Lawyers are well-versed in accident law and can navigate the complex procedures that follow a collision. 

Your lawyer will handle the paperwork associated with your injuries, ensuring that every form is completed accurately. This is important because any mistakes or omissions could potentially weaken your claim.

Moreover, there are strict deadlines, known as “prescription” in Louisiana but called the “statutes of limitations” in most other states, for filing injury claims after an accident. Your lawyer will keep track of these timelines to make sure you file all necessary documents within the legal time frames.

In addition to handling forms and deadlines, lawyers are familiar with dealing with insurance companies. They know how to negotiate so that you’re not lowballed or rushed into accepting a settlement that’s less than what you deserve.

Since they understand how stressful and overwhelming it can be for you to juggle recovery and legal matters, they take on the burden of managing these tasks. 

This way, you can focus on getting better while your lawyer takes care of securing the best possible outcome for your case.

Document Management

Sorting through medical bills and records post-accident is overwhelming for many victims. A good lawyer will take on this burden for you. They compile the necessary documents meticulously, which form the backbone of your car accident case.

Medical Coordination

Your attorney should assist beyond just legal advice; they must coordinate effectively too. After an auto accident, obtaining accurate medical records and bills is vital to establishing claim credibility.

They should ensure all relevant information related to injuries received during the car accidents gets documented properly.

 Your attorney may also be able to arrange for payment of your medical bills so you can get the care you need and focus on recovery and getting back to normal.

Financial Documentation

A comprehensive approach includes managing financial impacts as well—like lost wages or work inability due to car-related injuries.

Ask whether your lawyer will communicate with your employer about documenting any lost wages resulting from the incident.

3. What are the chances I’ll have to go to court?

A key element that affects the outcome is the strength of your evidence. This includes things like photos from the accident scene, witness statements, police reports, and any medical records related to injuries sustained in the crash. 

Strong evidence can greatly improve your chances of a favorable settlement prior to trial, as it helps to build a compelling case for your claim. Another factor that plays a significant role is the policy of the insurance company involved. 

Each company has its own procedures and guidelines for handling claims. Some are known for being more cooperative and willing to negotiate fair settlements quickly, while others might be more resistant and prone to challenging claims. 

Your lawyer’s experience with similar past cases will also inform their ability to estimate the potential outcome of your case. They’ll have an understanding of how certain types of evidence tend to influence negotiations and what amounts you might expect based on the severity of your damages and injuries. 

Additionally, they’ll consider any precedents set by previous court decisions that could affect your situation.

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Settling out of court is often beneficial because it reduces the time it takes to resolve your case and eliminates many of the additional costs associated with going to trial.

However, settling just to get the case over means you will almost certainly not receive full compensation because the insurance company will know you will take less than you deserve.

Legal fees can accumulate quickly during lengthy court proceedings, so if an agreeable settlement offer is on the table, it might be wise to consider it.

Always consult with your lawyer about the best course of action. 

They will guide you through the process, helping you weigh the pros and cons based on their expertise and knowledge of the law as it applies to auto accidents. 

Remember that each case is unique, so what worked for one individual may not be appropriate for another. Your lawyer is there to help tailor their advice to your specific circumstances.

4. How many cases have you won?

Win Rate

Your lawyer’s “win” rate is a critical piece of information. It shows how often they succeed in court. Ask, “What is your win rate in auto accident cases?” 

A high win rate can indicate strong legal skills.

Lawyers with experience in auto accident cases often have strategies that work. They know the laws and how to argue effectively for their clients.

Remember, that a good lawyer will be able to prove to an insurance company and defendant before trial that it is in their interest to settle the case without a trial because of the risk of a much larger verdict at trial. Therefore, the settlement rate and results of an attorney are also important to ask about. 

Case Examples

Case examples show a lawyer’s ability to handle similar situations. Request examples of car accident cases that they’ve won.

Hearing about past successes builds confidence. It helps you understand what outcomes might be possible for your case.

Experience Success

Experience matters in law just as much as facts do. Ask about how their experience translates into success for clients during trials.

A skilled lawyer uses their knowledge from previous accident cases to benefit new ones. This could mean better results for your lawsuit.

More Questions During a Consultation

Free consultations are valuable opportunities to learn more about a lawyer’s track record without commitment or cost on your part. 

During this meeting, ask them to discuss the facts of past lawsuits where they’ve demonstrated an ability to win a car accident case. 

This conversation gives insight into the level of transparency and openness the lawyer has regarding their professional history and capabilities.

5. Will you help me recover damages for future medical expenses?

Assessing Costs

After a car accident, medical expenses can become a significant concern. It’s crucial to understand how your lawyer will handle them. Your lawyer should know how to assess future medical expenses related to your car accident injuries for potential compensation. 

Your lawyer should also explain the process of evaluating future medical needs. This includes looking at current injuries and consulting with healthcare professionals about long-term care. This may also require hiring experts in life care planning and economics to fully calculate future damages.

The right documentation is vital for substantiating claims for ongoing care. Your attorney should guide you in gathering the necessary proof, such as detailed medical records and expert opinions.

Insurance Negotiations

Negotiating with insurance companies is another critical aspect of securing compensation for both present and future costs.

An experienced lawyer knows how to deal with insurers effectively. They aim to ensure that not only immediate but also prospective health-related bills are addressed.

6. What do I do if the insurance company makes an offer?

Assessing Offer

Ask your lawyer how they assess the offer in light of your car accident case. They should consider current and future medical bills, as well as pain and suffering, during an evaluation. 

Your lawyer can help you gauge whether the proposed amount will cover all related expenses. Take time to think about any offers handed to you. 

Policy Specifics

Request that your lawyer clarify policy details that impact the insurer’s proposal. This knowledge helps ensure you are getting a fair deal based on what you are entitled to under your coverage terms.

Negotiation Tactics

If initial compensation offers seem low, discuss negotiation tactics with your lawyer. There’s often room for negotiating a better settlement, especially if medical treatment for injuries sustained in the car accident continues.

A good lawyer will have strategies ready to challenge lowball offers from insurance companies and fight for full compensation.

Acceptance Consequences

Before accepting any offer, know how it affects potential future claims or lawsuits. Ask about consequences tied to acceptance of the initial proposal regarding long-term implications on recovery rights post-accident.

Knowing these implications ensures informed decisions that protect interests beyond immediate needs.

7. If a settlement is reached, how long until I get the money?

Settlement Timeline

Ask your lawyer about the typical timeline for receiving payment after a car accident settlement. This information helps you plan ahead for covering medical bills and recuperating lost wages from time off work.

The parties must draft and sign settlement documents and a motion to dismiss the suit. The insurance company typically has 30 days from receipt of the signed settlement agreement to send your attorney a check. 

The attorney must then deposit it, which takes time to clear the bank, especially if the check is for a large amount. Your attorney will then likely need to pay some bills on your behalf, including doctor’s bills. After other fees are taken out, your attorney should be able to promptly release the funds to you. 

In other words, settlement payments don’t come instantly. Your lawyer can provide an estimated timeframe based on previous cases. Generally, it can take several weeks to months after reaching an agreement before you see any money. 

Delay Factors

Several factors may delay your settlement payment in auto accident cases. It’s wise to discuss these with your lawyer early on to avoid surprises later.

Appeals and additional legal procedures often slow down the process significantly. Understanding potential roadblocks helps set realistic expectations regarding when you might receive damages awarded in court or through settlements.

Distribution Process

The process of distributing damages must be clear between you and your lawyer, particularly how medical expenses will be covered in the final payment alongside work-related losses due to missed employment opportunities because of injuries sustained in the accident.

Your attorney should explain whether they handle direct payments for medical costs or if you’ll need to pay upfront and seek reimbursement from your settlement amount later on.

Closing Thoughts

The questions outlined offer a framework to understand the potential for compensation, the legal process, and the timeline for resolution. 

They empower you to engage with your attorney effectively, ensuring clarity on your case’s nuances and the likelihood of courtroom proceedings. Knowing what to ask post-accident positions you for informed decision-making, crucial for a favorable outcome.

Remember, selecting an attorney with a good track record increases your chances of recovering your rightful compensation swiftly. 

Secure your peace of mind by choosing a professional who aligns with your needs and stands ready to champion your cause.

If you feel you have been wrongfully injured in Louisiana or Texas by the negligence of someone else, the Ikerd Law Firm would like the opportunity to speak with you about your case. We are a client-centered law firm and believe in full disclosure and open communication with our clients. See how we can help by scheduling a visit today.

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