Following a car accident, it’s rarely a good idea to accept a settlement offer before consulting a lawyer. Without understanding your full legal rights, you’re likely to receive a much smaller figure than you deserve. In fact, studies have found that, on average, accident victims who hire a lawyer receive over three times more in compensation. Let’s take a look at the various reasons to hire an experienced car accident injury lawyer in San Antonio before you accept a settlement.
- 1. I’ve Been Offered a Settlement for a Car Accident: Do I Still Need a Lawyer?
I’ve Been Offered a Settlement for a Car Accident: Do I Still Need a Lawyer?
Know the Full Damages You Can Claim
Without in-depth knowledge of Texan personal injury law, accident victims usually aren’t aware of all the damages they can claim compensation for. Beyond medical bills and property damage, you can often claim lost wages and work benefits, including any reduced capacity to work in the future as a result of your injury.
There are also many non-economic damages that might apply to your case, such as pain and suffering, mental distress, loss of enjoyment in life, harmed reputation, and loss of consortium, which means a disruption to your supportive family relationships. If a deliberate criminal act was involved, you can also claim punitive damages. An attorney well-versed in personal injury law will ensure that you’re not leaving money and unclaimed damages on the table.
Gather Evidence To Strengthen Your Claim
If you’ve gotten as far as a settlement offer without an attorney, then it’s quite likely the only full investigation into the accident was carried out by the insurance company. This puts them at an advantage. Insurance companies frequently withhold information discovered during an investigation that would hurt their case and prompt a larger payout.
Once you’ve hired a good personal injury lawyer, they can leap into action and launch a thorough investigation of their own. An abundance of evidence will be gathered, including photographic and video evidence, eyewitness statements and reports, the police report, surveillance footage, and specialist expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction and road engineering experts. All of this can be used to build you an ironclad case in support of your full damages.
Negotiate a Better Settlement
The key to successful car accident claims is firm negotiation based on legal know-how and rock-solid evidence. If you’re hesitant or a little intimidated by the prospect of negotiating with an insurance company, you’re not alone. When you’re unsure of your legal footing, it’s hard to know where to even begin.
Experienced car accident lawyers have no problem in this regard: negotiating with insurance companies is what they do all day long. That’s why hiring a lawyer tends to double or triple a claimant’s compensation. With a strong understanding of your rights and buckets of evidence to support them, a lawyer can negotiate firmly for you and win you a far larger settlement.
Prepare to File a Lawsuit If Necessary
After consulting with a few attorneys, you’re likely to realize that your current settlement offer is a paltry sum compared to what you should be receiving. One of the best things you can do at this point is to hire a personal injury lawyer with experience trying car accident cases in court.
Even though fewer than five percent of personal injury cases end up going to court, you want to be ready to file a lawsuit and go all the way. This sends a powerful message to the insurance company, which is then likely to take your case more seriously and meet your higher settlement demands.
Take Care Choosing Your Car Accident Injury Lawyer in San Antonio
Hiring a lawyer will almost certainly improve your current situation and settlement offer, but you don’t want to just hire the first lawyer you come across. Carry out a little research and due diligence to find the right lawyer for your case.
Most personal injury attorneys and firms offer an initial free consultation. So take the time to interview half a dozen candidates or more, and don’t hesitate to ask them plenty of questions. You can learn more here about free consultations with an excellent personal injury firm in San Antonio.
What To Ask Potential Lawyers
During your consultations, find out how confident they are in your case, how much they believe they can increase your settlement offer, and how they intend to achieve that outcome. Ask them how the entire litigation process will work with them, how you’ll stay in touch, and how often they’ll send you updates.
Also, ask them how their fee structure works, what percentage of the final settlement amount they take, and who pays for out-of-pocket expenses during the claim process. Make sure you won’t be caught paying any expenses at all until your settlement is won.
Hopefully, you now have a much better picture of the enormous value a car accident injury lawyer can provide. Almost any case can benefit from one, even when you’ve already received a settlement offer. And if you’re still in any doubt, a few free consultations should help you decide.