Question: My wife was recently involved in an auto accident. The accident was the fault of the other party and even his insurance has taken responsibility. Thing is, we are probably not going to get what is owed on the vehicle from that portion of the settlement. I have never really messed with lawyers with regards to an accident before, so I don’t have any experience to draw from. I never really wanted to sue anyone and didn’t feel like I “lost” anything by not doing so. In this case though, I lost a 6 year old van with <50k miles, plus my (at that time) 37 week pregnant wife hurt her foot (though not too badly).
My question is: Are personal injury lawyers REALLY able to get enough that it is worth it to hire them considering that I would have to pay them 35% of the settlement?
Answer: This is a question that we get a lot and you are smart to consider whether to hire a lawyer. With respect to the car, unless you have gap coverage or new car replacement, you will likely only be able to get fair market value (which is based off an insurance data base that provided low numbers).
You can sometimes use Kelly Blue book to help get the numbers up a little but usually there is not much room to negotiate in this situation. However, if you didn’t get a rent car, remember to demand loss of use from the time of the accident until they paid you firm market value. As for the injuries, the answer I tell folks is that it depends.
If the injuries aren’t that bad, I would try to settle on your own. But don’t wait too long as all claims have statute of limitations, which is a time frame in which you can bring a claim. If you don’t file suit before the end of the statute of limitations then you claim will be time barred.
This question was originally asked here.