People often feel overwhelmed in the aftermath of a serious car accident. There’s so much to worry about — dealing with injuries, car repairs, police reports, the insurance company — and basic questions about what steps to take next. How am I going to pay for this? Do I need a lawyer? Will I have to go to court?
If you’ve never been in an accident before, you may have reservations about contacting an attorney. But if you’re thinking about going it alone because you assume that doing so will save you time and money, think again. Not every accident requires legal representation, but serious cases do. And there is ample data that indicates people who have an experienced personal-injury attorney on board tend to settle their claims for far more money than those who don’t have an attorney.
Here are some basics you should know about when to get an attorney involved — and why it can make a world of difference.
Minor accidents may not require an attorney at all. If the incident was a mere fender-bender, no injuries, both parties carrying adequate insurance, you may be facing a routine filing of paperwork and a trip to the body shop, period. You also may not need an attorney if you live in a no-fault state, meaning you seek compensation from your own insurance company and don’t have to establish which driver is at fault in an accident.
Colorado, though, is an at-fault state. If the accident wasn’t your fault and involves injuries of any kind, you should consider talking to a personal-injury attorney before making a decision about how to proceed.
Most firms that specialize in personal injury proceed on a contingency basis; they don’t get paid unless you do, and that means they have no incentive to mislead you about whether you have a legitimate claim or not. At Franklin D. Azar & Associates, we offer a free, no-obligation initial consultation, so there’s really no downside in having your case evaluated by an experienced accident attorney.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney
A top priority after any accident should be making sure that injured parties receive the medical care they need. If it turns out that you have suffered injuries as a result of the accident and may be facing significant medical expenses, from physical therapy to major surgery, you need to get an attorney. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the damage and figuring you can just “shake it off” — some impacts from an accident may not be obvious right after a collision and only manifest themselves over time.
In addition to making sure you get a proper medical evaluation, an experienced accident lawyer will know how to assess other ways the accident has impacted your life, including losses you’ve incurred that you may not realize are compensable, such as lost wages and pain and suffering. Attorneys know how to negotiate with an insurance company to obtain fair compensation for these claims.
An attorney may also be required to address other factors that can affect your claim. The case may need additional investigation, beyond what the police chose to do. There may be disputes over liability, witnesses to locate, an issue over a defective car part or whether the other driver carried adequate insurance, or a dispute with your own insurance company over coverage.
Covering all the bases may sound like a lot of bother, but it pays off down the line. Most personal injury cases are settled without ever having to go to court. And, on average, plaintiffs who hired an attorney end up with much larger settlements than those who didn’t.
Doing the Math
How much larger? These figures come from studies funded by the insurance industry:
- In a comparison of settlements received by accident victims for the same type of injury, people represented by an attorney recovered approximately 3.5 times more money than those without an attorney. That’s after deducting the fees paid to the attorney.
- Another report indicates that 85 percent of the money paid by insurance companies for injury claims goes to clients represented by an attorney.
- A study of insurance payouts in 6000 accident cases showed that claimants who hired an attorney received settlements that were, on average, 40 percent higher than those paid to people who didn’t have an attorney.
The bottom line? No attorney can guarantee a certain outcome in all cases. But your chances of maximizing your settlement to receive all the compensation you deserve increases greatly when you have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side.
The Car Accident Lawyers at Franklin D. Azar & Associates
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Greenwood Village, Thornton, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 800-716-9032 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.