​When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident

Car accident attorneys are standing by and ready to help you after you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a car accident. You must take the first step and contact a lawyer to schedule your free consultation. After the consultation, you will presumably hire the attorney to handle your case, assuming you believe they are the right attorney for you. The question is when you should get an attorney.

The best time to retain a lawyer is as soon as possible after the car accident. You do not necessarily need to file a claim immediately, but you need the assistance of someone familiar with the car accident compensation process right away. You will pay an attorney the same amount regardless of when they began working on your case, so it is better to get them on the job immediately when they can act to protect your legal rights.

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The Legal Process Takes Time to Complete

The Legal Process Takes Time to CompleteIt takes many months, or even more, to finally get a settlement check if you are legally entitled to it. In fact, if you get a settlement check too quickly, it may mean that you have settled your case for far too little.

First, your attorney must work to investigate your accident and put you in a position where you can file a claim or lawsuit. It may take time to gather the necessary evidence and quantify your damages.

Even when you file a claim, the insurance company may try to slow roll their response to it. Insurance companies understand the human psychology of a car accident claim, knowing that your financial difficulties can lead you to rush a settlement.

It is not uncommon for insurance companies to take months to respond to your initial claim. If you have sent them a demand letter, it can take them up to six months to respond. Then, you likely need to begin settlement negotiations because their initial settlement offer will be very low. These negotiations can take many more months. If you choose to file a lawsuit, it can take years for the case to make its way through the court system.

You do not need to file your claim immediately, but you should hire an attorney to begin the necessary work to put you in a position to begin your case. You should not rush to file a claim without putting your best foot forward.

Without an attorney, your legal case can remain dormant, and your position will worsen over time. It is much harder to begin the legal process months after your car accident.

You Need an Attorney to Help You Gather Critical Evidence Before You Run out of Time

To obtain financial compensation for your car accident injuries, you need to prove that the other driver failed to act reasonably under the circumstances. The legal term for this is negligence. The important thing is sufficiently showing what the other driver did to lead to the accident. In any legal matter, it is not as much about what happened as it is about what you can prove.

In the aftermath of every accident, each driver has their side of the story. Even if the other driver was at fault for the accident, they might not readily admit it because they know they will have to pay. Therefore, you will have your version of events, and the other driver will have their own story. The key is to have evidence that backs up your side of the story so that the insurance company accepts liability.

The numerous sources of car accident evidence include:

  • Witness testimony from people who saw what happened (this is usually the most effective form of car accident evidence)
  • Pictures from the scene of the accident (you may not always have the ability to take pictures yourself because you are dealing with your own car accident injuries)
  • The wreckage and damage to your car that can show who hit whom and where
  • The police report (you cannot use this if your case goes to trial because it is hearsay, but you can use it during an insurance claim)
  • Testimony from an accident reconstruction expert who gives their own qualified opinion about what caused the crash
  • Traffic and dashcam footage

These sources of evidence will not remain available to you forever. In fact, if you do not move quickly to obtain them, they can be lost forever. However, you are dealing with your own issues, including getting the medical care you need to get back on the road to health. In addition, you may not even know how to investigate a car accident.

Hiring an attorney right after the accident allows them to immediately get to work and gather the proof you need when you file an insurance claim or lawsuit.

You Likely Cannot Control the Car Accident Legal Process

You may think the legal process begins when you file a claim with the insurance company, but that is not always the case. The insurance company may come looking for you to rush you into the legal process. As explained above, that may take the form of pressuring you to give a statement that will get you on the record before you are ready.

Another thing that the insurance company will try to do is to pressure you to accept a very low settlement quickly, even before you have hired an attorney. The insurance company knows the severity of your accident and that it can be on the hook for a lot of money. They may want to get you to sign on the dotted line before you realize that your case is worth far more. The insurance company may try to get you to take a quick $50,000 when your case is worth many multiples more, banking on the fact that you may not want to turn away a quick check that seems high.

Once you take something from the insurance company, you will also have to sign a release. You have entered into a binding agreement to waive your rights to future compensation. Unless a few limited exceptions apply, you permanently sign away your legal rights. The insurance company knows this well and may go into overdrive to get you to accept a below-value settlement agreement.


Hiring an Attorney Right Away Will Keep You from Making Mistakes

You can damage your legal position if you wait too long to hire an attorney. There are many mistakes that you can unknowingly make to jeopardize your claim.

For example, you may:

  • Say something off-the-cuff in dealing with the insurance company that they will use against you when you file your claim or a lawsuit
  • Give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company, which is a clear error to do
  • Say something about your case in public, where the insurance company has access to it
  • Miss a key piece of evidence that you can use to prove your claim

You can make several unforced errors without the guidance of an experienced attorney. You will not get the benefit of the doubt because the mistakes happened when you did not have an attorney. The insurance company is waiting for you to make a mistake, so they can pounce when they have the opportunity. Their ultimate goal is to pay as little as possible on your claim, if they even pay you anything at all.

You enter the danger zone as soon as your car accident happens. The insurance company may try contacting you very shortly after the car accident to try to get you on record by making a statement. Usually, you have no obligation whatsoever to give a recorded statement. A car accident lawyer will tell you that nothing good will come from you speaking to the insurance company. Adjusters will certainly not be persuaded by your words and will cherry-pick and take things out of context.

However, you might not even know that you should avoid speaking with insurance adjusters. They are standing in the stead of their driver who injured you and are an adversary, not a friend. You may think you need to do whatever the insurance company tells you to get a settlement check, but that is not the case. When you hire an attorney, they will be the ones dealing with the insurance company, keeping you from being manipulated by professionals.

You Can Improve Your Legal Situation

Not only are there things you should not do after a car accident, but there are steps you can take that will put you in a stronger legal position. Your attorney will tell you everything you can do to protect your legal rights and help you build a stronger legal case.

For example, your lawyer can assist you by instructing how to best document your claim for damages. Not only do you need proof to show that someone else was liable, but you also need documentation of your damages to persuade the insurance company to pay them.

In addition, your attorney will advise you to diligently pursue medical care and follow all your doctor’s treatment recommendations. Otherwise, the insurance company will accuse you of not mitigating your damages and doing what you can to improve your health.

Although you can leave most of the details of a car accident claim to an attorney, there are things that you must do to give your attorney more to work with when they file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf. Without hiring an attorney immediately, you may end up wasting your time and effort on things that may not add value to your case.

Hiring a Lawyer Gives You Peace of Mind

When you have suffered an injury in a car accident, you have more than your share of stress to handle. The last thing you want and need is to be in a position where you try to handle your legal process. It is stressful to be in a position where someone else has superior knowledge, with your financial future on the line.

You will worry about your financial situation and not want the responsible driver to get away with their careless actions. Financial compensation both helps your bottom line and gives you the feeling of justice. Hiring an attorney is the first significant step to putting yourself on the road to a settlement check or jury award.

There are no certainties in the legal process other than the fact that you are in a stronger legal position when you hire an attorney as soon as possible. There are many things you have to deal with, and your focus should be on your own medical situation. You already have enough to worry about without having to stress about whether you will get financial compensation for your accident injuries.

Although retaining a lawyer does not guarantee you will get a settlement check, you can rest easier knowing that you have someone on your side who knows the process and how to deal with the insurance company. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner you can stop worrying as much about the legal process.

Dealing with an insurance company is stressful enough, and it is even more difficult when you have to do it yourself. You feel as if they are pushing you around, but there is little that you can do about it. The good news is that you do not have to do it on your own, and you do not need to pay out of pocket to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you.

Consult a Car Accident Attorney Right Now

Car Accident Attorney in Seattle, WA
Tatiana Boohoff, Car Accident Attorney

There is no reason to wait to consult with a lawyer about a possible car accident claim. Doing so costs you nothing and you stand to gain much from the right legal representation. Your lawyer steps in to handle the process, so you do not have to worry about making mistakes or what might happen. Reach out to a law firm in your area today.

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Boohoff Law

Phone: (877) 659-2417
2200 6th Avenue, Suite 768
Seattle, WA 98121

December 23, 2022
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“Boohoff Law definitely stands behind integrity. Tatiana is not only a fantastic attorney in her expertise, she’s also down-to-earth – truly a people person.”
– Elissa M.

“Really pleased with Boohoff Law! Received immediate responses when I had any questions. Treated amazingly by all staff … made this process a true breeze!”

– Caitlyn M.
“Everyone here is so helpful. They jumped through every hoop necessary to get me the settlement I rightfully deserved. They made me feel right at home.”
– Brandy K.

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“Boohoff Law definitely stands behind integrity. Tatiana is not only a fantastic attorney in her expertise, she’s also down-to-earth – truly a people person.”
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“Really pleased with Boohoff Law! Received immediate responses when I had any questions. Treated amazingly by all staff … made this process a true breeze!”
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