There is no single formula or guideline for how to get paid after a car accident. The two most common ways to seek compensation for a car accident is to file an insurance claim or lawsuit. Many accident victims determine that hiring a lawyer is the best way to get paid after an auto collision.

More than anyone else, car accident lawyers know strategies for seeking compensation for victims of negligence. Whether your circumstances require an insurance claim, lawsuit, or combination of both, an attorney will lead your case from start to finish.


Want to Get Paid After a Car Accident? Consider Hiring a Lawyer

Though each car accident victim has their own reasons for working with an attorney, you should know that experienced car accident lawyers:

Have Dealt with Insurers Countless Times

The first path to payment for a car accident typically runs through insurance companies. One or more insurers may owe you compensation for accident-related losses. Retaining a lawyer who has negotiated with many different insurance companies can be wise, as insurance companies may:

  • Have different reputations for handling claims fairly or not
  • Have the intention of avoiding paying for your accident-related losses
  • Employ various tactics in attempts to undermine your claim
  • Be stubborn negotiators, which may require your lawyer to take an aggressive tack in pursuing a settlement

An experienced lawyer will not be intimidated or caught off guard by insurers’ bad-faith tactics or handball negotiations. In fact, your attorney may anticipate a resistance to your claim and have multiple strategies prepared.

Know the Process of Completing Insurance Claims

If you lead your own claim and aren’t familiar with the process, you may spend valuable time learning the ropes. An attorney will be familiar with the claims process, which means:

  • They will start your claim as soon as possible
  • They will not waste any time because of inexperience or ignorance of the process
  • They will pressure the insurance company to handle your case promptly
  • They will fight to secure the compensation you need as soon as possible

You deserve to receive money for your losses as soon as possible. Your attorney will rely on their training and experience to resolve your case urgently; in doing so, they will support you in moving past your car accident.

Can Calculate Both Economic and Non-Economic Damages

Claim Adjuster Showing Car Accident Settlement Amount

Traffic accidents cost hundreds of billions of dollars each year in America, and attorneys work to ensure that clients receive fair compensation for their damages. Ensuring a fair financial recovery for a client requires considering:

  • Economic damages: These kinds of damages have a measurable financial cost, including lost income, vehicle repair costs, and medical bills.
  • Non-economic damages: These damages do not have an apparent financial cost, as they can include harm like physical pain and psychological distress. Attorneys can use one of multiple methods (such as the per-diem and multiplier methods) to calculate the monetary value of non-economic damages.

Overlooking either of these damages can be financially catastrophic. Your attorney, their paralegals, and hired experts will ensure an accurate value for all your accident-related damages.

Are Willing and Able to File Lawsuits

Car accident cases do not always end with a settlement from an insurance company. Instead, some cases evolve into lawsuits.

If insurance companies are not willing or able to cover the cost of your accident-related damages, an attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf. If you handle your own case, you may lack the experience or knowledge to file a lawsuit.

Provide Total Financial Support for Clients’ Cases

Car accident lawyers provide many resources and don’t charge clients any out-of-pocket cost for their services.

Contingency fees are the most common fee structure for car accident lawyers, and these fees mean:

  • Clients pay no upfront or hourly fee
  • The law firm covers all standard case costs
  • If the law firm uses experts, reconstructs the accident, or uses any other resources during the case, the firm will cover the cost
  • The law firm only receives its fee if the client receives compensation

A contingency fee will vary depending on the complexity of your case and whether financial recovery requires litigation or not. You should ask any prospective law firms about their fee structures and what services you will receive in exchange for promising a contingency fee.

These are all compelling reasons to hire a car accident attorney to handle your claim.

Steps You Can Follow to Position Your Case for Success

It can help to have a simple post-accident roadmap, as car accidents often cause chaos and confusion. Two important steps to take after your auto accident are:

  1. Protect your physical and mental health: If you have not already undergone a detailed medical examination, do so as soon as possible. You may also want to see a mental health professional about psychological and emotional symptoms resulting from (or exacerbated by) your accident.
  2. Consider retaining a car accident lawyer: A lawyer will take your insurance claim or lawsuit off your hands. You can follow your doctor’s treatment instructions while your attorney seeks the compensation you deserve.

Attorneys take a proactive role in their clients’ cases. If you must do anything related to the case (such as make a statement to insurers), your lawyer will inform you.

What Should I Seek Payment for After a Car Accident?

When you retain a lawyer, they will discuss your accident-related damages with you. They may even bring in a mental health professional to examine and detail your pain and suffering.

In addition to your input, your lawyer will complete a detailed evaluation of your damages, which may uncover:

Pain and Suffering

Your accident may cause several challenges, such as pain and suffering, including:

  • Injury-related pain
  • Emotional anguish
  • Psychological distress
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Lost quality of life

While many associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with military veterans, it is a relatively common symptom among car accident survivors.

Mental Health Treatment Expenses

Rather than suffering the effects of your accident indefinitely, you may seek treatment for pain and suffering. Therapy, medications, and any other mental health treatments will be part of your lawyer’s case.

Auto accidents often keep victims away from work, which can cause:

  • Lost income (whether you earn a salary, hourly income, or per-project fee)
  • Lost earning power
  • Lost bonuses
  • Lost opportunities for (or progress toward) promotions
  • Psychological distress from the fragility of being unemployed

Your attorney will total your current professional damages and consider whether you’ll face long-term professional harm.

Medical Expenses

You deserve compensation for any accident-related medical services, including:

  • An ambulance ride
  • Imaging services (such as X-rays and MRIs)
  • Surgery
  • Hospitalization
  • Mediations
  • Doctors appointments
  • Rehabilitation services

Attorneys often work with medical professionals to better understand and accurately value their clients’ medical costs. If you are still receiving any treatment for injuries, your attorney will monitor your recovery and include future expenses in your claim or lawsuit.

Disabling injuries tend to be far more costly than non-disabling ailments. In addition to medical expenses, a disability may require:

  • Long-term (and possibility lifelong) rehabilitation
  • In-home caregiver services
  • Equipment to assist with mobility (such as a motorized wheelchair)
  • Replacement of income for the remainder of your life
  • Intensive mental health treatment

Experienced car accident lawyers understand the toll of disabling injuries. Whether or not your ailment is disabling, you deserve fair compensation for your damages.

The Death of a Loved One

When accident victims succumb to fatal injuries, their loved ones deserve justice. A civil lawsuit is one way of holding liable parties accountable. A wrongful death lawsuit warrants a large financial recovery for:

  • Grief and other types of pain and suffering
  • Grief counseling
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of a spouse’s companionship
  • Loss of a parent’s guidance
  • Loss of the decedent’s income
  • Loss of the decedent’s household contributions (like bookkeeping, security, handiwork, and help with chores)

Attorneys exercise the utmost compassion when representing victims of fatal car accidents.

How Car Accident Lawyers Build Cases and Get Clients Paid

Though attorneys do not guarantee results, your attorney will genuinely intend to get you the money you deserve. Car accident lawyers often build claims and lawsuits by:

Investigating the Accident

How Car Accident Lawyers Build Cases and Get Clients Paid

Your lawyer will visit your accident scene if circumstances permit. They will:

  • Get a copy of the police report
  • Seek video footage of the accident
  • Photograph vehicular damage
  • Interview eyewitnesses
  • Secure any other evidence that helps your case

Even if your lawyer cannot be at the accident scene, they will obtain any relevant evidence and build the strongest case possible.

Contacting Insurance Companies

Insurance companies will likely be involved in your case and may be responsible for paying the money you deserve. Your attorney will ensure the filing of your claim, provide any statements or information the insurance companies require, and arrange settlement negotiations.

Detailing the Victim’s Damages

A car accident lawyer will prove the cost of your accident with documentation of your damages. Useful documentation may include:

  • Images of your injuries
  • Medical bills
  • Doctors’ records
  • Employment records showing your pre-accident income
  • Expert testimony about your injuries, pain and suffering, and other damages

The ability to secure expert testimony is one of the perks of hiring a car accident attorney. Such expert services will be built into the law firm’s fee, so you’ll face no out-of-pocket cost for this potentially immense benefit.

Calculating and Negotiating a Financial Settlement

A lawyer’s first goal is negotiating a fair settlement in a car accident case. Rather than face the expense and uncertainty of a trial and the time it takes to complete it, your lawyer will first negotiate with insurers.

Insurance companies have the power to pay you fairly or refuse to do so. Your attorney will present their most persuasive, evidence-based case. The trial may be next if liable parties don’t meet your lawyer’s settlement demands.

Going to Trial (Only When Necessary)

Though a minority of car accident cases require a trial, an attorney should never rule a trial out. If settlement negotiations don’t produce an acceptable result, your attorney will discuss going to trial with you.

How Much Should I Get Paid for a Car Accident?

The value of your accident-related damages may depend on:

  • The injuries you suffer
  • Whether injuries are disabling
  • The severity of damage to your vehicle
  • The details (including severity) of your pain and suffering

Each case is a unique story of economic damages, pain, and suffering. Some cases even involve someone passing away. Your attorney will consider every detail of your story and calculate the exact cost of your accident.

When Is the Right Time to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

Now is the right time to hire a car accident lawyer. Your attorney may face several time-sensitive priorities, including:

  • Protecting you from insurers: Accident victims do not always realize they are in financial jeopardy. It is a mistake to assume that an insurance company is your ally or personal representative. Insurers are businesses looking out for their own interests. An attorney will protect your best interests from the moment you hire them.
  • Securing evidence: Your lawyer needs to gather evidence as soon as possible. Video footage, eyewitness accounts, and other types of evidence are not permanent. The sooner you hire an attorney, the more evidence they can secure.
  • Filing a lawsuit: If your attorney needs to file a lawsuit, they may face a deadline for doing so. If you hire your lawyer shortly after the accident, they will have all the time necessary to file a lawsuit on your behalf.

When you hire a lawyer, you can focus on recovery and ease your mind about your case. The sooner you can place your case in a capable lawyer’s hands, the calmer you may be.

Find Your Car Accident Lawyer Today—Don’t Wait

Steven A. Bagen, Attorney for Car Accidnet
Steven A. Bagen, Car Accident Lawyer

You can find personal injury lawyers through word of mouth, online research, and other channels. Searching for car accident attorneys in your area is a strong starting point. You can then research reviews, case results, and other criteria to consider when finding a lawyer. In a free consultation, you can learn about your rights and options, which helps you know what to expect and stop wondering how you might get paid for your losses.