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Is an Attorney Important after a Car Accident

20th April 2010
By Ronnie Tanner in Accident claims
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If you drive, it is likely that some day you will be involved in a car accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that there were close to six million police-reported traffic accidents in the United States in 2008. Almost two million of these accidents resulted in injuries.

Car accidents can involve multiple vehicles, a vehicle hitting a pedestrian, or a solo crash when a car hits a solid object. Numerous factors can contribute to the accident such as alcohol use, weather, road hazards, or loose animals.

These crashes are both traumatic and costly. Many accidents result in fatalities or serious injuries such as whiplash, spinal cord damage, or head trauma. The American Automobile Club reported that traffic accidents cost $164.2 billion annually, or $1,000 per person. This amount is nearly the same as the money spent annually to maintain the nation's roadways.

If you are injured in an automobile accident, it is important to hire an attorney who is familiar with your state's laws. You can find a personal injury attorney in the yellow pages or obtain a referral from the State Bar. In most cases, the first consultation is free. Generally, the attorney will charge a contingency fee which means that you pay a percentage of your recovery as legal fees. If you do not win the case, you are only responsible for the costs.

Your attorney will help you obtain a settlement from the responsible party or, if necessary, file a lawsuit on your behalf. He or she will also advise of any benefits that might be available through your own insurance policy in case the other driver is uninsured, or does not have enough insurance to cover the cost of your accident.

Usually, accident victims are entitled to recover the costs of medical care, lost wages, job retraining, and general pain and suffering. In some states, if the other driver was drunk or extremely reckless, the injured party can also demand punitive damages, which penalize the driver for his or her behavior.

Each state has its own laws concerning time limits for bringing a lawsuit, available damages, and whether your own fault may reduce or bar your recovery. Your attorney will discuss these issues during the first consultation and advise concerning the best approach for a favorable settlement. By hiring an attorney, you will ensure that you receive the settlement you deserve.

Ronnie Tanner is a contributing writer at Lawyers. He writes about Lawyers in Alabama and other industry specific topics.
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