When a driver is involved in a minor fender bender, he or she likely went through the usual motions. If no one was injured, the drivers may have exchanged insurance information with each other. The police were probably called and arrived to take statements and file a report. Then each driver was left to figure out how to mitigate his or her own damage and wade through the insurance paperwork. In the case of a minor fender bender, drivers don't often hire a lawyer. Unfortunately, not all car accidents are so cut-and-dried. There are several situations that may arise that will necessitate the services of an auto accident attorney. Here are three of the most common.
When injuries are involved, car accidents become very messy, both literally and figuratively. People are left unable to work or with injuries that require hospitalization and long recoveries. In cases of small fender benders, the monetary rewards may not be worth hiring an attorney — but when a significant injury happens, a person's very livelihood may be at risk. Hiring an attorney to help with an accident injury is often necessary to ensure that the victim isn't financially devastated by the injury.
Since most lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they don't get paid unless they win the case for their client, accident victims won't have to pay out of pocket. The average contingency fee is typically one-third of any settlement or award. When there are broken bones, hospital stays, long recoveries, medical treatment costing thousands of dollars, legal representation can be vital.
Another situation that can get messy is when there is a dispute about which driver is at fault for the accident. A lawyer will be invaluable in the case of a fault dispute because emotions always get heated in these kinds of accidents. A lawyer will act as their client's representative, a buffer for the emotional toll that a messy dispute of this type can take. A lawyer also takes care of all of the legwork needed for gathering evidence to support their client's case.
Questionable Legal Zone
One situation that most accident victims don't realize can be messy — until they're in the midst of it — is when an accident occurs in an area where the laws are unusual or unclear, for example, an accident in a construction zone. Though the driver may be the victim of poor signage or dangerous conditions, it can be difficult to prove and navigate the laws without an experienced legal representative.