What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?

After a car crash, the at-fault driver usually can be held financially responsible for injuries caused by the auto accident. Car accident attorneys help victims pursue reimbursement from the responsible driver for the damages caused by the accident. In this article, we’ve summarized some of the most important things you need to know about car accident lawyers.

What is a car accident lawyer?

Car accident lawyers are also called personal injury lawyers. Personal injury attorneys provide legal services to people who have been injured by the actions of another person, a company, or any other legal entity.

Car accidents are by far the most common type of personal injury claim handled by personal injury lawyers in the United States. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics found that car accident trials accounted for 57% of all personal injury trials and 35% of all civil trials in 2005.

What does a car accident lawyer do?

When you first hire a car accident lawyer, they will let the insurance companies involved know that you are represented by a lawyer now and that all communication regarding the claim should be directed to them. Then they will start gathering evidence to build your case.

Your attorney will handle negotiating with the insurance companies to ensure you receive adequate compensation for your injuries. If they cannot reach a reasonable settlement with the insurance companies, then your car accident lawyer can take them to court. They may be able to reach a settlement agreement after the case is filed, but if the insurance companies still refuse to compensate you fairly, then your lawyer will represent you in a trial.

What is the average cost of a car accident lawyer?

Many car accident lawyers work on what is called a “contingency fee“. This means you don’t have to pay them hourly for their time, but they will take a certain percentage of the money you receive from your car accident claim. A typical contingency fee in a car accident case is as follows:

  • 33% if an agreement is reached with the insurance companies before filing a lawsuit.
  • 40% if a lawsuit is filed but the case settles without a trial.

Can I get all my car repair costs paid?

After a car crash, you can receive compensation for the costs of repairing the damages to your vehicle. When the cost of the repairs would surpass the value of your car, your car is considered “totaled” or a “total loss”. If your vehicle is a total loss, you are entitled to receive the actual cash value of your car. In Texas, the actual cash value is defined as Fair Market Value, which is the cost of replacing your vehicle with a vehicle of a comparable condition in the geographic area where you live.

You can also receive payment for the “loss of use” of your vehicle, for the time it is being repaired, or for the time it takes to replace the vehicle.

Can I get all my medical bills paid?

In personal injury cases involving car accidents, you are entitled to reimbursement for your necessary and reasonable accident-related medical expenses. You can be paid for the cost of treating any injuries that were caused by the car crash, so long as the costs are not considered excessive or unnecessary. You can also recover the costs of your estimated future medical bills if it is reasonably certain that you will incur additional medical expenses after the settlement.

Can I get additional money?

You can get additional money to compensate for a variety of different harms caused by a car crash. A car accident lawyer can review your case and determine which categories of damages are applicable to your case, but we’ve explained a few of the most common types below.

Pain and Suffering & Mental Anguish

Car accident victims can receive damages to compensate for the physical and emotional agony caused by the crash. Money received for the physical pain caused by your injuries is referred to as pain and suffering, and mental anguish awards compensate for mental, emotional, and psychological damage caused by the accident, such as PTSD or depression.

Lost Wages  and Loss of Earning Capacity

You can be reimbursed for the earnings you lost if you are unable to work and therefore lose income as a direct result of an injury caused by the car crash. For example, if your job requires you to stand all day and lift heavy objects, and the accident breaks your legs, you would be entitled to receive the amount of money you would have earned at work for the period you cannot work due to your injury.

Additionally, you can also receive reimbursement for your loss of earning capacity if your injuries reduce your ability to earn wages in the future. 


If a car accident victim receives a disfiguring injury, such as visible scarring, broken facial bones, tooth damage, or severe burns, he or she can receive additional money. The compensation you can receive for disfigurement includes cosmetic surgery expenses, if applicable, as well as payment for the emotional injuries caused by the disfigurement, such as embarrassment, humiliation, and social rejection.

Punitive Damages

If the at-fault driver was drunk, high, excessively speeding, or otherwise “grossly negligent” in causing the car crash, you may be entitled to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are a type of compensation that can be awarded if your case goes to trial. They are awarded as a penalty or punishment for the defendant’s unacceptable behavior and go above and beyond the amount of money needed to reimburse you for your injuries.

Can I get additional money even if I didn’t suffer any bodily harm?

If you were not physically injured and did not suffer any bodily harm in the car accident, you generally will not be able to receive compensation for your mental anguish. Nevertheless, under certain circumstances, you may be entitled to receive mental anguish compensation if you saw a loved one be seriously injured or killed in the accident. 

You can also receive additional money if punitive damages are justified by the other driver’s actions. 

When should I contact a car accident lawyer?

You should contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. Insurance companies are in the business of paying as little as possible on claims, and one way they get away with this is by taking advantage of injured people who don’t have experienced personal injury attorneys on their side. 

Do I need a car accident lawyer near me?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s essential that you seek a car accident lawyer as soon as possible in order to obtain full compensation for your injuries. Experienced personal injury attorneys are masters at negotiating with the insurance companies and know how to play hardball with them. They will either get the money you deserve for your insurance claim or take the insurance companies to court.

Have questions? We protect victims like you every day.

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About Attorney911 
Legal Emergency Lawyers™ legal services

Attorney911 Legal Emergency Lawyers™ legal services is a Texas-based personal injury and criminal defense law firm with offices in Houston and Austin, though we are proud to serve Texans from all over the state and represent clients in federal court. We handle a wide variety of legal issues — from car accidents to worker’s compensation to DUI/DWI offenses. Our staff is bilingual, friendly, and genuinely passionate about helping our clients, whether it’s a million-dollar case or a thousand-dollar case. We also understand that cost can be a prohibitive factor in hiring a lawyer, and are willing to work with you on structuring payment in a way that is fair and feasible. We do accept credit cards for our hourly fees, and take some cases on contingency, which means you don’t pay us unless and until you get paid yourself. We know that you have a choice in your legal representation, and we believe that what makes us stand out from the competition is our real emotional investment in our clients. We see you as a person — not a paycheck. And we will fight hard for you, because we truly care.