How Do I Hire and Work With a Car Accident Lawyer?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident, you should immediately consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. Michigan’s laws relating to auto accidents are complex, and the no-fault claims process can be complicated.
It is important to ensure you obtain the right advice at the outset so you receive all the compensation and benefits you are entitled to. One misstep in your case could cost you thousands of dollars in potential damages. To avoid needless losses, speak to a car accident attorney at Cochran Kroll & Associates P.C. for legal advice on your rights and entitlement.
How Do I Pick the Right Lawyer?
The laws relating to car crashes and how victims are compensated vary from state to state. If you are injured in an auto accident in Michigan, it’s essential to choose a Michigan attorney who specializes in auto crashes and personal injury law.
There are steps you may take to ensure you hire the right lawyer for you.
- Ask friends and family if they have hired this type of lawyer in the past and if they have any recommendations.
- There are many advertisements for attorneys and law firms online, on television, and in the media. Most offer free consultations. Take advantage of this opportunity to speak to them and gauge whether you can work with them.
- Discuss your case with the lawyer you are considering hiring. Evaluate whether they come across as competent, interested in your claim, and prepared to act quickly and firmly to win your case.
- Check the lawyer’s reputation and credentials. When did they start practicing law? Are they well regarded? Are they considered knowledgeable and experienced?
How Your Attorney Affects Compensation
Your choice of lawyer can have a significant impact on how your case progresses. Insurance companies are in the business of making a profit, so they will always try to settle for the lowest amount possible. They know which attorneys delay action, accept less than their clients claim is worth, and avoid going to court. This means they can delay paying out or offering less than you deserve.
When insurance companies face lawyers who act quickly and are willing to fight the injury case out in court, the insurance companies offer much bigger settlement figures. The lawyers at Cochran Kroll & Associates P.C. specialize in motor vehicle accident claims. We have a well-earned reputation for achieving high settlement figures for our clients such as:
- $1.4 million award for a pedestrian hit by a van causing brain injuries in Radford Michigan
- $1.3 million settlement for a Marlette Michigan family whose 5-year-old son was killed in a traffic accident
- $400,000 for a paraplegic woman from Monroe, Michigan in no-fault benefits, as a result of an auto accident, including the purchase of a new home and attendant care
- $80,000 award for a Bay City grandmother following a motor vehicle accident that resulted in her having a broken leg
The lawyer you choose for your case can ease your financial burden by settling the claim for the right amount faster.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a No-Fault Insurance Claim?
Michigan’s no-fault law was supposed to make claiming compensation easier. However, the process is still complex, and there are many potential pitfalls when trying to file the claim yourself. Hiring a lawyer is still beneficial even if you’re not suing the at-fault driver.
- You must apply for benefits within one year of the crash. If this deadline is missed, the victim loses the right to claim medical bills and lost wages.
- Notice of an automobile crash within 30 days of the accident is a common requirement with many uninsured motorist insurance policies. If this notice isn’t given, the insurance company will void its coverage due to failure to comply with the notice requirement. This may have catastrophic implications for the accident victim, leaving them with no recourse to recover compensation for pain and suffering, excess medical expenses, and lost wages.
- Your own auto insurance company may not tell you about all the benefits and compensation you are entitled to under the policy.
At Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C., we will work hard for you and ensure your legal rights are fully protected by:
- Filing your application for no-fault benefits on time
- Complying with uninsured motorist coverage notice requirements
- Dealing with insurance adjusters seeking to get you to accept a low ball offer or say something prejudicial to your case
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?
If you were not injured in the accident but your car suffered some damage, you can pursue the at-fault driver through Michigan mini-tort.
However, you should consult a personal injury lawyer, no matter how minor it may seem if you were injured. Many serious injuries, such as those to the back and head, may not manifest for weeks or months after the accident. These injuries can be life-changing and result in life-long chronic pain or disability.
A seasoned personal injury lawyer has the expertise to ensure you seek the proper medical attention for your injuries and acquire the necessary documentation of treatment. Your lawyer can use your medical records to build evidence for your case. At Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C., our senior partner Eileen Kroll uses her extensive medical background in nursing to interpret your medical data in support of your claim.
What Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Do for Me?
If a car accident results in serious injuries or death, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled lawyer can help you with the wrongful death damages, no-fault benefits, and pain and suffering compensation you deserve.
Every accident is different and has to be treated on its own merits. The period after an accident is understandably very stressful. An accident victim may be subjected to an even more traumatic time because they don’t know how to file claims for benefits and pursue a personal injury claim.
Personal injury lawyers can reduce that stress and pursue the compensation you are entitled to by law. They can ensure the case is handled professionally by:
- Evaluating the case and collecting evidence: Experienced lawyers investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident. They locate and interview independent witnesses and obtain statements supporting your claim. They also locate and examine photographic evidence from traffic and third-party CCTV cameras. They can obtain expert engineer and accident specialists reports where it is necessary.
- Preparing and filing your claim: Your attorney collates all the required documentation for filing your claim. They protect your rights by ensuring the claim is filed within the time limits imposed by the statute of limitations and all other notice periods are complied with. They also ensure you claim for everything you are entitled to, such as lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Your lawyer can also ensure your claim includes all parties who may be liable for your accident.
- Protecting you from insurance companies: Insurance companies try to coax you into accepting a low offer. They will also try to get you to say something that may be prejudicial to your claim. It may be something that could be construed as admitting your injuries aren’t that severe or a comment about a pre-existing condition.
Comments of this nature may substantially reduce your settlement payout. That is why you must hire a lawyer to protect you from these underhanded tactics. An experienced lawyer knows what the insurance company is trying to do and will prevent them from jeopardizing your case.
What Can I Claim for?
If your injuries can be satisfactorily covered by no-fault law compensation, your personal injury lawyer can ensure you receive a fair settlement. However, if you are more severely injured, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the other driver. To do so, your injuries must fall within the definition of MCL 500.3135.
Under this section, the at-fault driver may still be liable for another party’s non-economic losses. This is true if their actions caused the wrongful death, permanent serious disfigurement, or serious impairment of bodily function to the accident victim.
Non-economic losses may be defined as those losses which are not simply monetary but one that may be compensated for by a money judgment such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death claim
- Bodily impairment
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder
Your attorney can also guide you as to whether you may sue the at-fault driver for excess economic loss damages. This loss is defined as present, past, and future expenses that are not recoverable through the no-fault law’s PIP benefits.
These are losses such as:
- Medical expenses that exceed the no-fault medical expense coverage
- Lost earnings that exceed Michigan’s no-fault work loss benefits
- Attendant allowance
You may pursue the at-fault driver for these losses even if your injuries do not reach the severe permanent disfigurement or serious body impairment standard.
How Much Will it Cost Me to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
There is no immediate cost to you when hiring a lawyer at Cochran Kroll & Associates, P.C. We don’t charge upfront fees; instead, we work on a contingency fee. This means that we only get paid if we win your case.
How Do I Work With My Lawyer?
Your auto accident lawyer will work hard to help you win your case and get the compensation that you are entitled to under the law. There are several steps you can take to assist them in doing this:
- At the scene of the accident: Collect as much evidence as you can. Take photographs of the scene and the damage to the vehicles. Record the names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses, the other driver, and their passengers. Take a note of any CCTV or traffic cameras. Call the police. Tell paramedics and emergency room workers about your symptoms.
- Go to your doctor: As soon as possible after the crash, see your doctor and seek their advice about your injuries. Follow your doctor’s advice. Do not miss follow-up appointments or therapy sessions. If you fail to do this, the insurance company will say you are not that badly injured. They will use your lack of evidence to reduce the value of your payout.
- Do not talk to the insurance company: The insurance company may try to talk to you to get information about the severity of your injuries. Do not speak to the insurance company without your lawyer present to protect the integrity of your case.
Hire an Auto Accident Lawyer in Michigan
Following a car accident, you will be dealing with your injury recovery and the associated financial stress. You should seek help to relieve the burden of your situation. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. can help protect your legal rights and ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to from all responsible parties.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.