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If you’ve been in a car accident, you know the experience is traumatic and debilitating to say the least. Recovering from the accident takes an incredibly long time and is an arduous journey. To make matters worse, things can become very unpleasant when dealing with insurance companies. As car accident lawyers, we know how difficult the insurance companies can be when you need them most. Car accident claims are complicated and involve financial and legal challenges. Let our team of experienced car accident lawyers reach a successful settlement for your accident or litigate your claim. Call the family of car accident lawyers at Sawan & Sawan today for a free consultation.
Where We Practice
When Should I Get an Attorney for a Car Accident?
After you’ve been in an accident, you should call a car accident lawyer immediately. The advice of an attorney can be invaluable from the moment you experience the accident. If you are injured, however, the absolute first priority is to seek medical treatment. This might include any other people involved. The best time to get an attorney for a car accident is right away after ensuring that medical treatment is sought for anyone seriously injured in the accident. Keep our number handy because we have a team of car accident attorneys standing by to assist victims of car accidents. Even if you’ve been in a minor accident and are wondering if you should call a lawyer for minor accidents, we advise everyone they should still call a lawyer that offers free consultations no matter how minor the accident may be.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Car Accident?
Clients often wonder if they should hire an attorney after a car accident. Many of them are wary of car accident lawyers in general and simply want to know how to settle their accident claim without a lawyer. We strongly advise against that. There’s quite an imbalance of power between insurance companies and victims of car accidents. If you don’t know what you’re doing, the insurance companies may convince you to settle your claim for far less than it’s worth. Even if the accident was your fault, you should still contact a car accident lawyer. Our firm advises prospective clients that no matter what – if they are in a car accident of any kind – call is as soon as possible. We will not charge for an initial consultation and whatever happens with your case, it’s never a bad idea to ask us for guidance. So if you’re trying to figure out when to hire an attorney after a car accident or if you should at all, we strongly recommend giving us a call at 419-900-0955.
Average Car Accident Settlement Amounts
Minor car accident settlement amounts do differ from accidents involving serious injuries. Car accident settlement payouts vary quite a bit and revolve around a variety of state law considerations as well as the facts of your case. Most states have damages caps that set a maximum amount you can recover. For accidents involving insurance, the policy limits could impact the compensation the victims can receive. Many other things impact the average settlement such as the medical bills incurred by the victim and whether they will be able to continue working. A common question we are asked is what are clients entitled to in a car accident lawsuit? The damages can include medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and compensation for property damage. Give us a call so we can factor in the unique aspects of your case.
We will usually reject the call to speculate on the exact value of a claim because often times settlements involve extensive negotiations. The fact is that any claim is worth what a jury or court awards. Early and unrealistic expectations of value can be counterproductive to the goal of resolving injury claims. There are some things you may wish to have your accident lawyer do to try to assess value objectively. This includes: research similar jury verdicts and settlements in the County in which the injury would be tried; and seek opinions from other experienced personal injury lawyers that may have handled similar cases to yours. Your attorney should speak to treating doctors to understand the nature, scope and longevity of the injury. In serious injury accidents, economist experts can be of tremendous value. Also make sure your attorney does not undervalue long term or permanent injuries, or otherwise rush to settlement until you have a full and complete picture of the likely future.
Most carriers have their own specific releases that they will require for settlement. As with any legal document, make sure you read it incredibly carefully. In particular, you want to ensure the information is correct in any documents. You should have a personal injury lawyer review these documents. Increasingly, we see an uptick in releases that contain a confidentiality clause. In general, refusing confidentiality might be advisable unless it was negotiated with value assigned. Thus, if a confidentiality provision is included, it is wise to explicitly assess a value to that provision separate and apart from the pain and suffering proceeds. Settlements are best left to experienced lawyers.
Car Accident Lawyer Fees
While we can’t say this for every firm, we are committed to our No Fee Guarantee. In other words, we don’t get paid unless you get paid. Our law firm represents the victims of car accidents purely on a contingency fee basis. A standard average lawyer contingency fee is one third. That’s how much a lawyer will usually charge out of a settlement. It may seem like a lot, but the value of a skilled accident attorney can pay tenfold when it comes to settling a personal injury claim with an insurance company. It pains us to see victims of accidents take the first settlement offer after the car accident. They simply don’t know how to respond to a low settlement offer. Hiring a car accident lawyer on a contingency fee basis allows negotiations to begin to fairly value your claim and if the offer doesn’t increase – you pay nothing.
Obtaining Information After a Car Accident
In general, insurance information after a car accident should be readily available. Assuming a police report was made, it should clearly indicate the insurance company code and policy number for each vehicle involved. If there is no police report, or insurance was not provided, there are several options available. Your accident lawyer should send a letter to the tortfeasor with a demand that they turn the claim over to their insurer; or, alternatively, work with the local prosecutor’s office to obtain this information through the criminal process- assuming a citation was written.
Every policy of insurance has insurer notification provisions, so time is of the essence in reporting the accident. Failure to do so can result in the tortfeasor being denied coverage, so an intense focus and persistence at the early stage of a motor vehicle accident case is absolutely vital. Another important consideration is that there could be multiple policies in play – especially in truck accident claims. For example, in the case of truck accidents, you may need to obtain insurer information from the truck driver, as well as the hauling company that owns and operates the truck.. You also need to be acutely aware of first party coverage such as uninsured and underinsured coverage. Notice is vital to first party claims – as with third party claims – so early identification of coverage is key. It’s also important to remember that upon receiving an offer of “limits” coverage, to seek written assurance from the tortfeasor where possible that there is no excess coverage to satisfy the claim.
Absent tortfeasor and insurer cooperation, it has historically been nearly impossible to obtain information about the limits to a policy in advance of litigation. Seeking this information once a suit has been filed, however, is made much easier by the law – most notably the discovery provisions of the Civil Rules of Procedure and various statutory provisions.
Dennis E. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Florida
Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan
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