What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need to Defend a Car Accident Case?
Most personal injury lawyers represent accident victims on contingency. But those who are named as defendants in lawsuits also need legal help. Fortunately, their insurance company should be able to find an attorney and pay the fee for legal representation.
Difference between Personal Injury and Criminal Law
Many people assume they need a criminal lawyer when they have been named as a defendant in a car accident lawsuit. This isn’t the case. Instead, they need a lawyer experienced in personal injury, but one who represents those sued. These people are generally called “defense counsel.”
Of course, there is some overlap between personal injury and criminal defense. Both types of lawyers focus on what happened during the accident. Fault, or who is to blame, is the key question. Lawyers will find evidence to show their client is not to blame in the form of physical evidence and eyewitness testimony.
However, criminal cases involve different legal protections for the accused, who faces time in jail if they lose the case. In a personal injury lawsuit, the defendant will only pay money to the person who brought the lawsuit. For these reasons, look for a lawyer who has handled personal injury defense cases, since he or she will be more attuned to this area of law.
Check with Your Insurer
Most bodily injury liability insurance policies include paying for an attorney to defend you if you are named as the defendant in a lawsuit. Take out your policy and check. If the insurer is paying, they probably want the power to select the lawyer. You can call your insurer and discuss whether they will cover legal help.
Why Defense Lawyers Don’t Work on Contingency
If a person was injured in an accident, they typically hire a lawyer on contingency. With this type of arrangement, the client pays no upfront legal fees. Instead, they agree that their attorney can take a percentage of any settlement or court award in their favor.
Contingency fee agreements aren’t available for defendants in car accident cases because the defendant does not receive any compensation if they win the case. Instead, they simply avoid having to pay money to the injured party who brought the suit.
In some situations, you might have been named as a defendant but also countersue. This often happens when each side points the finger at the other side and blames them for the crash. For example, in a sideswipe accident, each side might believe they had the right of way. If you find yourself in this situation, contact an attorney to discuss whether you should retain your own counsel.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with Brooklyn Car Accident Lawyer
If you believe you have been victimized in a car accident, our firm would like to hear from you. Our New York City car accident lawyers have helped many motorists get the money they need when someone else’s negligence causes a crash. For help with your case, please call 212-285-3300 or fill out our contact form.