​When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident

Car accidents are stressful – and often frightening – events. Your mind is on getting medical treatment for your injuries, and you might wonder how you will afford the resulting medical bills. You have an idea that another driver caused the accident and should be liable, but is it difficult to get money from their insurance company? Where do you start?

You do not have to determine what is necessary alone. You can always hire a car accident lawyer to handle each step of the claim process. However, when should you start looking for an attorney? Do you need to start right away? Can you wait until the dust settles a little bit?

Calling a lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident is the best course of action.

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When It Comes to Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney, There Is No Better Time Than Right Now

It is in your interest to hire a car accident attorney as soon as possible. You may face various challenges after your crash, and an attorney may navigate many of those challenges for you. In the immediate wake of your accident, your lawyer can address the following and much more.

Assess your rights and options

You do not have to lose sleep wondering whether you deserve compensation for your injuries and losses. Instead, contact a car accident lawyer to evaluate your case. They will review all your information, including police reports or other evidence, and advise if you have the right to seek compensation – and how much.

But will you waste money if you meet with a lawyer who says you do not have a case? No, you will not. Car accident attorneys should offer free case evaluations with no obligation. They will assess your options at no cost to you, allowing you to learn about your rights without weighing the cost-benefit analysis of an initial consultation.

Once you know you have a case – or not – you can better plan for the coming weeks and months following your injuries. Knowing someone else should be liable will also give you peace of mind, so you can focus on keeping up with medical treatment without concerns about the cost.

Notify and communicate with insurance companies

The liable driver’s insurance company and your insurer will need to know that the accident happened. This might seem like an easy task to handle, but you should have a lawyer handle these communications.

The reality is that insurance companies begin the claim process immediately, even if you do not realize it. While you think you are simply talking to an adjuster, they are laying the foundation to limit the insurer’s liability.

An adjuster will ask questions that seem harmless, but they want you to say something they can use to minimize your settlement payout. It is too easy for someone to make a comment that unknowingly jeopardizes their claim during initial insurance communications.

Always have a car accident lawyer take this task off your hands. There is no need to speak with insurance adjusters or worry about saying something wrong when you have the right legal representation from the very start of the process.

Advise you on what to do or not to do

Most people have not suffered serious injuries in a car crash before, so why might they know what to do or avoid doing in the aftermath? A lawyer who handles these claims regularly can provide valuable advice on how to best protect your claim.

First, always keep up with all medical treatment and follow the doctor’s orders. If you have lapses in medical care, skip appointments, or give up on physical therapy, the insurance company might claim your injuries are not as serious as you state. The same might happen if you return to sports, work, or other activities your doctor advised you to avoid while healing.

Stay off social media and avoid speaking with insurance representatives, as well. Insurers use many resources to verify your injuries, and a seemingly harmless photo, video, or comment online can give them ammunition to use against your claim. Your attorney can provide detailed guidance regarding whether something can help or hurt your claim.

Perhaps most importantly, a lawyer will advise you to accept a settlement offer or not. Insurance companies know you are struggling with medical bills and other financial losses, and they know it is desirable to have a settlement check as soon as possible.

Adjusters might even make a quick offer right out of the gate, hoping you accept it and they can close your claim. Always know this first offer will be much lower than you need, and you should never accept an offer without first speaking with a car accident attorney.

Insurers know that unrepresented claimants often accept low offers, and once you accept a settlement, you sign away your rights to seek additional compensation. Never listen to an adjuster when they say an offer is the best you will receive. Instead, hire a car accident lawyer who can assess how much you can get and advise you when you receive a fair offer.

Increase your leverage with insurance companies

As mentioned, insurance companies take advantage of unrepresented claimants. Adjusters use many tactics to limit your payment, and most injured victims have little leverage against insurers that process such claims every day.

However, once you have a car accident attorney, the scales tip in your favor. If an insurance adjuster does not offer a favorable amount and you have a lawyer, they know your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Often, the insurer wants to avoid escalating the matter to court, so it might be more willing to settle for a fair amount.

Without a lawyer, there is no threat of a successful lawsuit, so the insurance company can push you around a little more.

Relieve your stress

Many people think that finding a car accident lawyer and having someone else to communicate with will only add to their stress. This cannot be further from the truth.

An attorney will provide clarity and allow you to focus fully on your physical recovery. You won’t have to worry about obtaining documentation or dealing with insurance companies—your lawyer can handle these duties and will inform you if they need your participation.

Hiring a car accident lawyer right away can only improve your claim and overall well-being. The sooner you hire an experienced attorney after a car crash, the better.

A statute of limitations determines how long you have to file an injury lawsuit after a serious car crash. Each state has this statute, and the time limits vary. Once the deadline passes, a judge will likely dismiss your lawsuit without reviewing the facts.

In some cases, you can still file an insurance claim to seek compensation beyond the statute of limitations. However, once the insurer knows there is no possibility of a lawsuit, it has a better chance of prevailing with a lowball settlement.

Car accident attorneys accept cases they believe they can win, and a lawyer may accept your case so long as you’re still eligible to file a claim. If you wait too long to hire a lawyer, or you take other actions that materially affect your case’s strength, then certain law firms may refuse to accept your case. It is the law firm’s decision as to whether to accept your case or not.

The longer you wait, the less chance you have of obtaining the quality of representation you need.

There Are Significant Risks in Waiting to Hire an Attorney

There are no clear reasons to wait to hire an attorney. There are, however, possible risks in waiting to hire a personal injury lawyer.

If you wait any significant period to hire a lawyer, you may:

  • Face pressure from the insurance companies: Insurance companies serve their interests, not yours. If you don’t have a lawyer, you have to handle all interactions with insurance companies. These companies will try to have you admit fault, accept a low settlement offer, and challenge your case in other ways.
  • Risk missing the deadline to file your case: As previously mentioned, there are often rigid deadlines for filing personal injury cases. If your loved one passed away from a car accident, then your wrongful death claim may also face deadlines. You must be mindful of these deadlines and allow your lawyer as much time as possible to file your case.
  • Endure unnecessary stress and hardship: Insurance claims and lawsuits impose stress. This stress may be detrimental to your physical recovery and mental well-being. The sooner you hire a lawyer to take over your case, the sooner you can focus on your recovery.

There are no risks in simply calling a law firm you’re considering hiring. If you have any questions, ask them. Consultations should be free and come with no obligations to hire the firm.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help with My Car Accident Case?

If you hire a lawyer to lead your car accident case, the firm will have a singular objective: to win the compensation you deserve.

Your lawyer should handle every aspect of your car accident case, including:

  • Determination of liability: Your lawyer will identify the party or parties who owe you compensation for your damages. The circumstances of your crash will lead your lawyer to liable parties, which can include a motorist, employer, vehicle manufacturer, municipality, or other parties.
  • Collection of evidence and documentation: Your lawyer will seek any evidence that supports your case. Such evidence may include video footage, expert testimony, witness accounts, photographs, and reconstructions of your accident. Your lawyer will also document your damages through medical bills, proof of lost income, and other proof of your losses.
  • Day-to-day aspects of your case: A car accident claim requires much work, from filing paperwork to making phone calls, fact-checking, and sending emails. Your lawyer and their support staff will handle these minor but crucial details for you.
  • Engaging settlement negotiations: Settlements allow victims to receive fair compensation without enduring the hassles of court. Your attorney will determine whether a settlement is a possible resolution to your case.
  • Going to trial, if they must: Your lawyer will work hard to secure a fair settlement. In some cases, whether because settlement negotiations stall or for other reasons, attorneys take car accident cases to court.

A lawyer will also provide something invaluable: peace of mind. You should feel free to engage in rest and recovery, knowing that your lawyer is handling your legal case.

What Compensation Will a Lawyer Seek for Me?

Traffic accidents often cause severe injuries.

With such injuries can come extensive damages, possibly including:

  • Expensive medical care
  • Lost income, productivity, promotions, bonuses, and retirement benefits
  • Damage to your vehicle and other personal property
  • The cost of temporary transportation
  • Pain and suffering
  • The cost of treatment for emotional and psychological trauma

In addition, thousands of people tragically pass away from accidents each year.

If your loved one passed away from a car accident injury, you might receive financial coverage for:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost companionship
  • Lost parental guidance
  • The decedent’s medical expenses
  • Lost financial support
  • Pain and suffering, both of the decedent and surviving loved ones

Your lawyer should account for every damage when valuing your case. You likely have only one opportunity to seek compensation for your damages. You want an attorney accounting for both present and possible future damages when negotiating a settlement.

Call a Car Accident Attorney Today for a Free Consultation

Handling a car accident case without a lawyer can compromise your health and finances. Let an experienced attorney take their best shot at getting the compensation you deserve.

Contact a lawyer today for a free consultation about your case. It can only benefit you today and in the long run.

July 19, 2022
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