No one expects to be involved in a car accident, but the sad truth is they happen every day. Sometimes, these accidents are severe enough to cause serious injury and property damage. If you’ve been involved in an accident and you’re thinking about getting an attorney, you may be wondering how to choose one. Here are some questions you should ask prospective car accident lawyers before making a final decision and hiring one.
Do They Have Experience Fighting Personal Injury Cases?
The thing about needing a lawyer is that you don’t just need “any” lawyer. There are many different types of law that a lawyer can practice. They may all be licensed to practice law, but if you need a lawyer to help you seek damages after a car accident, you would be well advised to find one with experience in personal injury law.
Ask your prospective attorney directly what kind of law they practice and whether they have applied experience representing personal injury cases after car accidents. If they don’t have experience with personal injury accident cases, it may be a good idea to continue your search.
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What Are Their Fees?
Anytime you’re looking to have an attorney represent you, the question of legal fees will be at the forefront of your consideration. Everyone has heard the proverbial jokes about high legal bills, but the good news in your case is that most personal injury lawyers who handle car accident cases take them on contingency.
When lawyers take cases on contingency, they don’t bill you up front for their services. Instead, they take a percentage of the total recoverable damages they collect on your behalf. That’s of course assuming they win your case. If a lawyer takes your case on contingency and doesn’t win your case, they will pay the cost for their services themselves.
However, that’s not the only consideration. There is no “set amount” lawyers charge in contingency cases. That means some lawyers charge a higher percentage of the case than others. Obviously, the higher contingency fee the lawyer charges, the less of the recoverable damages they collect will end up in your pocket. So, make sure you understand what their contingency fee is and that you’re comfortable with it beforehand.
How Long do You Have to File Your Case?
Every state has what is known as a statute of limitations on personal injury cases. This means you have a fixed amount of time from the date of your car accident to seek damages from whomever caused your accident. Under most circumstances, if you don’t file your case before the expiration of the statute of limitations in the state where you had your accident, you can’t seek recoverable damages.
So, when you’re consulting with attorneys, it’s important to know how much time you have to decide to pick an attorney and begin your case. Generally, the earlier your car accident lawyer files your case, the better off you are. This is because eyewitness testimony can be critical to proving fault in the accident and people’s memories of events get worse as time passes.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Car Accident Cases in Texas?
Under Texas law, the statute of limitations on collecting recoverable damages after a car accident that caused injury is two years from the date of the accident.
How Much do They Think Your Car Accident Case Is Worth?
While it’s perfectly reasonable that you’d want a car accident attorney to give you an idea of the potential value of your case, they may not be able to tell you offhand. That’s because no two car accidents are alike. The fact pattern, extent of property damage, and medical bills resulting from accident-related injuries are different in every case, including yours.
All of these details will factor into the potential value of your case. So, you will probably have to have a consultation with a car accident attorney to get an answer to the question of how much recoverable damages they will seek in your case.
When you meet with them, be completely open and honest about the facts in your case. Remember, the attorney will be your representative. The more they know about the circumstances surrounding your accident, the more accurate an estimated value they give you will be.
What Kind of Recoverable Damages Can You Demand After an Injury Accident?
If you’re injured in a car accident you didn’t cause, the money you spend on your recovery and fixing property damage caused by the accident is classified as “recoverable damages”. Other types of recoverable damages include, but are not limited to the following:
- Medical transportation from the accident to the hospital, such as ambulance or airlift fees
- Replacement cost of your vehicle if the damages exceed its total value
- Long-term aftercare or physical therapy needed to regain loss of bodily functions caused by the accident
Remember, this is just a partial list, and your car accident case could include other recoverable damages not specifically listed here.
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Clay Jenkins & Associates Can Help
After you or a loved one are injured in a car accident, it’s perfectly normal to have more questions than answers. That’s one of the main reasons people consult with car accident attorneys in the first place. If you find yourself in this situation, Clay Jenkins & Associates can help. We’ve been fighting for car accident victims’ right to seek compensation since 1948. If you have any questions or doubts about how to proceed after being injured in a Texas car accident, please call our office for a free consultation! We’re here to help and we’re ready to fight for you!