Personal Injury Lawyer vs Car Accident Attorney: The Subtle Differences You Should Know About Before Hiring

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If you have ever had a car accident, you will know that it is one of the most frightening events that you can experience. Everything seems to stop until you suddenly realise what has happened and after checking yourself and your passengers for injury, realising that everyone is fine, there is then the greatest sense of relief. If you are able, you may leave the car and check passengers in other cars and again, once everyone is confirmed safe and well, the police and other services may have to be called to the scene. If you are fortunate, there will be minimal damage but if you are unlucky, there could be a significant amount of damage to your vehicle, your possessions and to yourself and / or passengers.

Care has to be taken after the accident to assess the level of overall damage, take photographs if you can. If the damage is minimal and there have been no injuries or losses, it may be enough that both parties contact their insurers, pass on details of the accident and let them deal with the car repairs. If the losses are more significant and there has been damage to personal possessions, loss of wages as a result of a no fault accident for example or injury to the driver or passenger then it would be wise to appoint the services of a qualified legal person or team. A legal representative with experience in the field of car accidents should be able to advise you of the claim that you could potentially make. If the representative has experience, it should also be the case that they would be able to tell you of the outcome of similar cases with which they have been involved and the process that was gone through to achieve that outcome.

The terms ‘Lawyer’ and ‘Attorney’ are often used interchangeably and most people are unaware that they are not one in the same, there is a subtle difference. In the US, a lawyer, has qualified from university and can practice law but cannot represent his / her clients in court until they pass a Bar exam. Once the lawyer has passed the Bar exam, they can become known as an attorney and can represent a client in court in whichever state that they have passed the exam. An example of someone at this level is Law Office of Joel M. Vecchio, P.C.

It is therefore important to have an idea of where your case is likely to go and as such, who would be required to help you. A lawyer can do all of the legal work for you and the attorney can advocate on your behalf.

It is only appropriate to organise things on your own behalf in the simplest of cases but do not be tempted to do that in more complex cases. The legal process is not straightforward and the pitfalls are all too common for the inexperienced person. There is often a time limit applied to being able to file a lawsuit and after that time, you will no longer be able to make application, so don’t leave it too long. An attorney can save you the stress and anxiety, time and effort and can, more often than not, obtain a healthy settlement far in excess of what you could have achieved by yourself.

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Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post,, and Yahoo Small Business.