What Do Car Accident Lawyers Do?

What Do Car Accident Lawyers Do?
Lawyer, judge's gavel and miniature car as symbols of auction or court action against driver who got into an accident and received car insurance money on the table.

If you’ve recently been in a car accident, you may receive plenty of advice from others who have been in your shoes. One of the most important pieces of advice you can receive following a collision is to schedule a consultation with a car accident attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide much-needed kindness and clarity during a confusing and tumultuous time.

But what exactly does a car accident lawyer do, and how can hiring one benefit your compensation claim? It’s particularly helpful to understand what a car accident attorney is, what they do, and how hiring one for your case is in your best interest.

What is a Car Accident Lawyer?

Car accident lawyers get their start like every other lawyer. They attend law school, pass the Bar exam in their state, and begin their practice. Usually, these attorneys desire to help people in need and seek the justice they deserve but cannot often achieve on their own. This includes many car accident victims.

Accident attorneys practice personal injury law, which allows individuals harmed by others to seek financial recovery for their losses. Handling a personal injury case can be challenging, but a skilled lawyer has the right experience and tools to reach a favorable result.

Types of Cases Car Accident Attorneys Handle

Car accident attorneys handle a wide variety of collision cases, including the typical two-car crash. These lawyers might also represent clients injured in other types of collisions, including hit-and-run accidents and multi-car pileups. Some attorneys also go beyond representing injured clients and assist families that have lost loved ones in fatal car accidents with their wrongful death lawsuits.

Additionally, it’s common for car accident lawyers to handle other types of crash cases, including truck, motorcycle, and bicycle collisions.

What Car Accident Lawyers Do For Your Case

If you’re considering hiring a car accident attorney, it is important to understand some of the key ways they can assist with your case. A car accident lawyer wears many hats during your case, and they take on many critical tasks. Below are just some of the main ways an attorney can benefit your case.

Getting injured in a car accident can be stressful and puzzling, especially if this is your first experience. You may not know what rights you have as an injured accident victim and what options you have to pursue justice.

A car accident attorney can ask questions and gather information about your crash to give you qualified advice and guidance concerning your case. They can explain your legal rights and determine the best way to seek fair compensation on your behalf.

When you hire a car accident lawyer, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed and confused. An attorney can explain what to expect and support you throughout the process.

Investigate Your Accident

Many car accident cases are not as straightforward as they may seem. Your lawyer may need to thoroughly investigate the situation and obtain information to get answers, especially for questions involving cause and liability.

Determine Cause 

Determining the cause of your collision is one of the most crucial parts of a case. Even if you believe you know what or who caused your crash, your lawyer may need to dig deeper.

Many auto collisions happen due to driver negligence. Some of the most common types of dangerous driving behaviors that result in accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Following too closely
  • Unsafe turns and lane changes
  • Driving under the influence
  • Fatigued driving
  • Failure to yield
  • Running red lights and stop signs
  • Distracted driving

Still, other causes can contribute to car crashes, including:

  • Hazardous road conditions
  • Defects and malfunctions
  • Inclement weather

Understanding what caused your collision is necessary to determine who should be financially responsible for your injuries and losses.

Establish Liability

To pursue compensation, you must know who is liable for your car accident.

Depending on the circumstances, fault may rest with one person alone or with multiple parties. Some of the parties that are often found liable for auto collisions include:

  • Drivers
  • Drivers’ employers
  • Governmental entities
  • Product designers, manufacturers, and distributors
  • Mechanics and maintenance companies

Often, car crashes are the result of negligence. When a party is negligent, it means they failed to act as a reasonable person should have in a similar situation. To prove a party’s negligence, you must satisfy the required elements, including:

  • Duty: The liable party owed you a duty of care.
  • Breach: The liable party’s actions resulted in a breach of their duty of care.
  • Causation: The liable party’s wrongdoing was the actual and proximate cause of your accident.
  • Damages: You sustained injuries, losses, and property damage as a result. 

Establishing the other party’s negligence can be one of the more challenging parts of a compensation claim. A car accident attorney can do whatever is necessary to determine who caused your crash and take the appropriate steps to show their fault.

Gather Evidence

Evidence is critical for car accident cases. Strong evidence can substantiate your claims and prove cause, liability, injuries, and damages.

Several pieces of evidence may be available to help you reach your goals. Some of the evidence most used in collision cases includes:

  • Police reports
  • Photos and videos
  • Traffic cam and security video footage
  • Black box data
  • Medical records and bills
  • Witness statements

Your car accident lawyer can begin collecting evidence immediately and gather documentation and information as more becomes available. Attorneys know what evidence they need and how to use it to build your case.

Calculate Your Damages

Image of a car accident that occurred on the stomach.

When you suffer losses due to your car accident, whether monetary or non-monetary, you deserve compensatory damages. Some of the damages you may be entitled to receive include:

  • Past and future medical expenses: Coverage for your medical bills for your collision-related injuries, including hospital stays, surgeries, and medications.
  • Lost income: The earnings you lose if your injuries keep you out of work for some time.
  • Diminished earning potential: Damages if you cannot return to the same occupation you had before your accident. 
  • Property damage: Compensation for damage to your vehicle and other property caused by your accident.
  • Pain and suffering: Financial recovery for the physical and emotional pain and suffering you experience due to your injuries.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: Damages representing how your accident and injuries have negatively affected your ability to enjoy activities you once did. 

Your lawyer will review several factors that heavily impact the value of your claim. These details include, but are not limited to:

  • The severity of your collision-related injuries
  • The total cost of your medical treatment
  • Whether you’ve needed to take time away from work, and if so, the total of your lost earnings
  • Whether you’ll need medical care in the future
  • Whether you can work as you did pre-accident
  • How your accident has impacted your life as a whole
  • Whether your collision and injuries have affected you mentally and emotionally

Knowing how much your claim is worth is critical. Your car accident attorney can determine the value of your collision claim and pursue full and fair compensation on your behalf.

File Your Lawsuit

Not all collision claims require a lawsuit. In some cases, you may achieve a favorable result just by filing an insurance claim. However, if you cannot file a claim through insurance or your claim does not yield favorable results, you may have the opportunity to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Filing a lawsuit can be daunting, but when you hire a lawyer, you don’t have to handle it alone. Your car accident lawyer can draft your petition and file that, along with any required documentation and appropriate fees, with the local court.

Engage in Discovery

When you file a lawsuit, the discovery phase of your legal claim is one of the most important. During discovery, lawyers on both sides have the chance to obtain pertinent information about the accident and use this for their cases.

Your attorney can utilize certain legal tools, including depositions, requests for production, and interrogatories. Discovery is usually the longest part of a lawsuit.

Handle Settlement Negotiations

Whether you’re seeking compensation through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll likely need to engage in settlement negotiations at some point. Negotiations can be intimidating, but car accident lawyers are highly experienced.

During settlement negotiations, your attorney works with the opposing side to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. It may take some time to reach a just resolution and get an advantageous settlement, but you can trust your lawyer to do whatever is necessary.

Take Your Case to Court

While most personal injury cases settle before going to court, some cases do go to trial. Going to trial can seem frightening, especially because you’re entering the unknown, but your car accident attorney continues their representation inside the courtroom.

During the trial, your lawyer argues the case before a judge (and sometimes a jury). They explain the circumstances and present supporting evidence and testimony. After closing arguments by both sides, the judge (or jury) makes their determination.

If your lawyer recommends proceeding to trial, you can rely on their professional opinion. Your car accident attorney will always try to steer you and your case in the right direction.

How a Car Accident Attorney Benefits Your Case

If you’re unsure whether to hire a lawyer, recognizing the advantages can help sway you. Often, recognizing the many ways a car accident lawyer can benefit your claim can lead to the decision to hire a knowledgeable attorney to handle everything from start to finish.

A Lawyer Provides Support, Guidance, and Direction

The days, weeks, and even months after a car accident can be challenging. You may be dealing with the aftermath of your collision, including painful injuries, and facing the financial difficulties that come with a car crash. The future may seem uncertain, but a car accident lawyer can be your light in the dark.

Hiring an attorney means having a supportive ally in your legal battle. Not only will they do the heavy lifting for your case, but they’ll also give you the candid advice and guidance you need during a trying moment.

The Insurance Company Won’t Take Advantage of You

Company Insurance Policy Document.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to try to take advantage of accident victims, especially those who go unrepresented by legal counsel. Insurance companies are known to employ several tactics to benefit themselves and harm your claim, including requests for recorded statements and quick settlement offers.

When you hire a car accident lawyer, you safeguard yourself from the insurance company. Attorneys know how insurers operate, and insurance companies are less likely to get away with anything when lawyers are involved.

Your Case is More Likely to Yield Beneficial Results

If you handle your claim alone, you have a chance to reach a resolution and obtain a monetary settlement. But will it be the best one? Probably not.

Having a lawyer on your side gives you the best chance of obtaining a just result. An attorney knows the ins and outs of car accident claims and utilizes their skills and resources to protect your rights and pursue a worthwhile outcome.

When is the Best Time to Consult a Lawyer Following a Collision?

Simply put, the best time to consult a car accident lawyer after your collision is “right away.”

Meeting with an attorney following an accident may not be high on your list of priorities, but it should be. Time is limited to take action and pursue monetary recovery, and the quicker you hire a lawyer, the faster they can begin working on your claim. Waiting too long can result in forfeiting your rights to compensation.

There is no need to wonder how a lawyer might benefit your claim. When you’re interested in giving yourself the best chance of obtaining a fair case result and valuable compensation, contact a seasoned personal injury attorney. Case evaluations are free, so you have nothing to lose by exploring your options for representation.

William B. Kilduff


Author's Bio

Related Blog


Schedule A Free Case Evaluation

If you have been injured because of someone elses negligence, contact one of our experienced personal injury lawyers for a free consultation. For your convenience, Emroch & Kilduff has two office locations in Virginia: Richmond and Tappahannock.

Contact our offices today online or by calling (804) 358-1568 to schedule a free consultation, discuss the details of your injury, and determine the best path forward given your individual circumstances.

Free Case Consultation

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.