Should You Hire an Attorney Following A Car Accident?

car accidentSome people hesitate to hire an attorney following a car accident because they worry it will be too expensive. This should not be a cause for concern. 

Consultations with injury attorneys are usually free and almost all injury attorneys in Texas work on a contingency fee basis.  This means the attorney will front all case expenses necessary to prosecute the victim’s bodily injury claims and will only charge the client for attorney fees in the event of a recovery (typically a settlement).  

If there is no recovery (for example, if the case is dismissed by the judge or the jury renders a defense verdict), the client does not owe any attorney fees or case expenses.

Insurance industry studies have shown accident victims who hire an attorney on a contingency fee basis receive on average 2.5 times as much money in their pocket after attorney fees and expenses as do those who attempt to go it alone. 

But higher settlement amounts and net client recoveries are only part of the benefits client’s receive through hiring an injury attorney.  Below are additional examples:

  • The attorney takes over communicating with the insurance company regarding the bodily injury claim.  This removes a huge stress trigger for many accident victims who are often ignored, belittled, or outright lied to by the insurance adjuster.
  • The attorney, through access to a robust network of medical providers, can help ensure the accident victims receive necessary and convenient medical treatment.
  • The attorney can arrange for the medical treatment to be paid at the end of the case under a Letter of Protection.  This is especially important for people who lack health insurance or who are not able to pay out of pocket for copays and deductibles.
  • The attorney will investigate the circumstances of the car accident to make sure witnesses are identified and interviewed, data is downloaded from vehicles involved in the crash, phone records are subpoenaed to determine if the at-fault driver was distracted by their cell phone, and key documents are obtained such as the Peace Officer’s Car Crash Report and client medical records. The attorney will also send out Preservation letters to help ensure key evidence is not destroyed. 
  • The attorney will educate the accident victim on the legal process to make sure he does not do anything while the case is pending to jeopardize his case. 
  • The attorney will be available throughout the pendency of the case to help address any unforeseen issues that may arise related to the car accident or accident victim’s recovery. 
  • The attorney will pay for upfront expenses necessary to prosecute the accident victim’s case.   These expenses include the cost of obtaining key documents such as medical and billing records, hiring private investigators to talk to key witnesses and obtain witness statements, and hiring experts when necessary to examine the accident scene and determine who is responsible for causing the wreck.  If it is necessary to file a lawsuit, the attorney will also front the costs of filing the lawsuit, taking depositions, and hiring experts to help prove liability and to help establish the amount of the victim’s harms and losses (past and future reasonable and necessary medical expenses, past and future lost income, life care plans…).  These expenses, which are paid up front by the attorney, are deducted from the client’s settlement. 
  • The attorney will help the accident victim document his economic losses (medical expenses, lost earning capacity, and costs of long-term care). 
  • At the end of the client’s treatment, the attorney will obtain all the documentation (medical records, W2s, tax returns…) and expert reports necessary to support the accident victim’s claim for economic losses.  The attorney will also work with the client to address all relevant non-economic damages such as past and future physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment, and disfigurement. 
  •  The attorney will prepare a detailed Demand Letter to the insurance company that includes documentation, expert reports, and arguments in support of all the client’s harms and losses.  This includes all relevant economic and non-economic damages.  In wrongful death cases, this includes loss of pecuniary support as well as loss of companionship and society suffered by the decedent’s loved ones.  
  • The attorney will negotiate with the insurance company on the client’s behalf to obtain the best settlement possible.
  • The attorney will not settle the case without the client’s consent.    
  • If settlement negotiation is not successful, the attorney will try the client’s case to a jury of her peers and obtain a verdict. 

The above examples are some, but not all of the ways, an experienced and competent injury attorney can assist accident victims. If you have been in an accident and need to talk to an attorney, please feel free to call us at 713-236-8330 or email us at info@wylycooklaw.com for a free consultation.

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Wyly & Cook, PLLC

The team at Wyly & Cook, PLLC brings a diverse body of trial and litigation experience to the table, putting us in a unique position to help clients with a wide range of legal issues.

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