Car accidents are an unfortunately common occurrence. Common causes include violations of traffic laws, distracted driving, driving under the influence, and poor weather conditions.
Rear-end collisions are a type of car accident that occurs when a vehicle and the rear of another vehicle crash.
Injuries caused by a rear-end collision include broken bones, lacerations, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. You probably have many questions if you or a loved one is a victim of a rear-end collision. Bills are piling up, and you want to explore legal options.
Rear-end collision lawyers help hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions and get you the compensation you deserve. A lawyer helps you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. But how do you choose the best rear-end collision lawyer?
There are different factors to assess when choosing the best rear-end collision lawyer. This article explains what to look for and how to choose the best one.
Tips to Consider When Hiring a Rear-End Collision Lawyer
Don’t just hire the first rear-end collision lawyer you find. You should devote time to research and get in contact with different law firms. Not all attorneys are good ones. You must have a competent lawyer with sufficient resources and a good reputation.
Consider the following when choosing a rear-end accident attorney.
Evaluating the practice area of a law firm is important. When you first look at the law firm, see what types of law the firm practices. Do they practice just personal injury law? Or do they practice in various areas such as personal injury, criminal law, family law, and real estate? Choosing a law firm whose main niche is personal injury law is better. Having this one specialization means more resources are devoted to personal injury law.
Most personal injury claims settle. Very few go forward to trial. But if yours does, you want to make sure your lawyer is prepared to see your case through to the end. Thus, it’s important to ask whether the lawyer has any courtroom experience. Not all lawyers do. And some with experience might not be familiar or comfortable in the courtroom.
You also don’t want an attorney who wants to immediately settle with the other driver’s insurance company, regardless of what’s in your best interests. A lawyer with extensive positive courtroom experience means they have the will to go the distance for you.
See if the law firm has a good name in your community. You want a law firm that the insurance company will recognize. Ask around about the law firm. See if any friends or family have experience with the firm. Also, research independent review websites to see reviews about the law firm.
Ask to see the law firm’s case results and track record. Any awards in the community or from other organizations earned by the lawyer or law firm can demonstrate their skills.
Have an initial consultation with the lawyer. The first consultation or case evaluation of personal injury cases is often free. The first consultation is where you talk to the lawyer about what happened. Explain to them the events of the accident, your medical bills, your injuries, and how the accident affected your ability to work. With this information, the lawyer can assess how and if they can help you.
This meeting is also where you can get a sense of the lawyer’s personality and if they are someone you want to work with. Learn about their experience. How many cases have they worked on? Know that quantity is not quality. See if they have experience in rear-end collision cases. Just because they are a car accident attorney does not mean they have dealt with rear-end collisions.
You should also take this opportunity to learn how the lawsuit process works and how long it can take. This is important so you have no illusions going forward.
A law firm’s payment policy should be transparent. It should not be cryptic or confusing. When you are researching different law firms, ask about payment. Some law firms operate on an hourly basis. Others have a fee schedule.
However, many car accident attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee means the lawyer will receive a part of the settlement or verdict. It is usually an agreed-upon percentage of the awarded compensation. With this payment policy, the law firm receives compensation only if you do. If you do not win or settle your claim, they do not receive compensation for their services.
How Is Fault Determined in a Rear-End Collision?
The legal doctrine of negligence forms the basis of personal injury law in New Mexico. Negligence is defined as failure to take ordinary care. To prove a negligence claim in a rear-end collision case, you must prove the following four elements:
- Duty—every driver on the road has a duty to take ordinary care when on the road;
- Breach of duty—the driver breached this duty by failing to take care;
- Causation—the breach of duty caused the accident; and
- Damages—you suffered damages, or injuries, in the accident.
These elements can be difficult to prove, especially if there are multiple parties involved in the collision or if damages are hard to calculate. A personal injury attorney has experience in navigating this complex area of law to prove these elements.
How Long Do I Have to File a Rear-End Car Accident Claim?
You have three years to file a rear-end car accident claim in New Mexico. This three-year time limit is called the statute of limitations. Absent certain exceptions, once this time limit has expired, you will be barred from bringing your claim.
I Got Rear-Ended; How Much Money Will I Get?
It depends on the facts of each case. The total amount of compensation can be complicated to calculate. During your initial consultation with a lawyer, they should be able to give you an estimate of the amount of compensation to expect. Once you hire them, they can review all your documentation and evidence to determine the exact compensation amount to ask for when they prepare the claim.
Contact a Competent Rear-End Car Accident Attorney
At Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C., our kind and understanding personal injury attorneys work diligently to get you the compensation you deserve. We can help you hold the negligent driver accountable for their actions. We have extensive experience and resources for negotiating with ruthless insurance companies and fighting for your rights in the courtroom. Contact our New Mexico rear-end accident lawyers now for a free consultation.