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"I had a Car Accident" - Do I Need a Lawyer? And if so, What Type of Lawyer Do I Need?

So, you had a car accident. That's the obvious fact in the equation. The harder question is whether you need an attorney. And, if so, what kind of lawyer do you need? I think these are the very basic questions most people have but they don't even realize it.

What type of lawyers handle car accident cases? In New York, lawyers are trained to handle all types of cases. As such, any attorney is technically allowed to handle any type of case. Indeed, for this reason, the New York State ethical rules forbid attorneys to say they specialize or are experts in one type of field or practice. But, the truth is that attorneys do specialize in certain fields, the reason being that after time, attorneys develop experience and thus a certain expertise in particular fields of law. They just can't broadcast that they are experts.

In the motor vehicle context, there are attorneys that handle just car accident cases. These attorneys are called different things. For the most part, these attorneys are called personal injury attorneys. This is because typically car accidents cause persons to sustain personal injuries. These attorneys are also called accident attorneys for the same reasons.

Sometimes, in the media, these attorneys are referred to as trial attorneys. This is because personal injury attorneys often go to Court and have trials where they prove that their clients sustained personal injuries. Sometimes, these verdicts can be very substantial. For instance, think of that McDonald's case (Liebeck v. McDonalds) a few years back where the plaintiff (or person injured) sustained a very bad burn when she spilled her coffee on herself and she won millions of dollars in a Court award. Because of this perception, people often have a negative view of "trial attorneys."

In any event, if you have had a car accident and you are injured, you need to do your research and find a local, and reputable car accident attorney or personal injury attorney or trial attorney that can help you with your case. Make sure the attorney has substantial experience dealing with car accident cases. Just like you wouldn't want to seek help from a foot doctor for a heart problem, your best bet would be to get help from a personal injury attorney and not a lawyer that does 99 percent real estate closings. You may want to search the attorney's website and see what type of cases he or she has handled in the past. Maybe ask the attorney how many car accident cases he or she has handled in the past.

Maybe you like the fact that the firm has a ton of lawyers like Cellino and Barnes, but maybe you are concerned that there is no way a huge firm like that will take your personal injury case personally. Maybe you like the idea of being represented by a small or boutique firm where you know you will be guaranteed to have intimate and direct access to your attorney.

Once you retain an attorney, the attorney will help you with all the issues that come with having a car accident. For instance, the attorney will ensure that the other driver pays for the damage to your car. Your attorney should be able to get you a rental car while you wait for your car to get fixed. Your attorney, if experienced, should help you get the medical treatment you need by ensuring that your medical bills are paid for. Your attorney will help you recover any time you miss from work. And your attorney should help you recover compensation (dollar and cents) from the other party that caused you harm. In other words, your lawyer should help you recover for pain and suffering.

If you have been in a car accident, and you are hurt and have some questions about what to do next. Email me right now at and I will respond as fast as I can with answers to any questions you may have. If you want, I can send you my book (Car Accident Victims: What to Expect Next) about the common issues that arise when you are injured in a car accident. And, as always, please feel free to call us anytime.

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