When I got into a car accident in the start of 2020, one of the last things I thought about was if I should hire a lawyer. Everything happens in a flash and you either have to make decisions on the fly or try and figure out this enormous mess once you’re capable. It’s an uphill battle after a collision, so when should you hire a lawyer for a car accident?
Car accidents are never cut and dry. Vehicles and other property can be damaged, people can sustain injuries, and death can occur. If any of these apply to your accident and you were not at fault, it’s a good idea to seek out legal help to make things much easier in a difficult time.
No two cases are alike and sometimes everything can feel overwhelming. Adding on more stress of what you should or shouldn’t do isn’t something anyone wants to deal with, especially when there’s so many other things needing to be done. While it may seem simple enough to exchange insurance and other information with the other person then call it a day, many don’t take into account a lot more can be involved with a car accident such as an uninsured motorist, no party is willing to admit fault, legal rights, injuries, or death. With this quick guide I’ll give great pointers to the question of, “when should you hire a lawyer for a car accident?”
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- You Were Blamed When The Accident Wasn’t Your Fault
- Personal Injuries
- Emotional Distress
- Lowballing Insurance Company
- Loss of a Loved One
- Avoiding Financial Loss
- Timing Is Everything
- The Other Party in The Accident Has Served You With a Lawsuit
- Conclusion – When Should you Hire a Lawyer for a Car Accident
- Related Articles
You Were Blamed When The Accident Wasn’t Your Fault
This isn’t uncommon, especially when no one wants to take the blame for an accident, so be prepared with witnesses and any proof you may have. With the guidance from a lawyer, they will help find and question people who were witness to the accident, possibly access street footage from the city or surrounding businesses, and help thoroughly investigate the case to ensure you receive proper compensation for any of your losses. A lawyer is necessary when it comes to preserving much-needed evidence toward your case, especially so if you are currently undergoing medical treatment or are enduring the loss of a loved one.
It’s always good to at least speak with a lawyer soon after a car accident as some personal injuries may not show up immediately afterward. Some injuries such as whiplash may take a few days to a few months before a person becomes aware of it. Due to a car accident lawyer’s knowledge, they can help get you the medical attention needed and allow you to recuperate, meaning your settlement won’t take as long.
Compensation may be awarded to someone who has suffered injuries from a car accident. With the help of an experienced lawyer, they will be able to investigate the claim and document your ongoing treatment throughout by working closely with those in your medical stratosphere. This allows them to determine if the injuries are repairable or if there will possibly be permanent disfigurement, scarring, or disability, surgery, or physical therapy needed. Personal injuries detail a lot more than you being hurt; medical bills, loss of wages, and even a change of lifestyle are all things a lawyer will look into and help guide you through.
When it comes to a car accident there are usually two types of compensatory damages – economic damages and non-economic damages. When there’s an injury, medical bills, or lost wages, they all have a specific cost or value which makes them economic damages.
A lawyer is almost always necessary when non-economic damages are present such as emotional distress from PTSD, anxiety, or depression, pain and suffering, or marital issues resulting from the car accident. These are much more difficult to calculate and give a specific cost or value to as each and every case varies. Insurance companies will attempt to downplay your injuries, and in turn, try to compensate the injured at a low rate. With someone who is knowledgeable in car accident cases, you are more likely to be better compensated.
Lowballing Insurance Company
We often think that when we pay our car insurance that everything will be taken care of fairly in the case of an accident. Unfortunately, most insurance carriers want to pay you what they deem is a “fair” price just to get you out the door as they would prefer to keep their money. They are for-profit organizations, after all. This is especially difficult when the damages to your vehicle or personal injuries sustained aren’t immediately noticed. Once you sign on the dotted line to accept an offer, there’s no going back. A lawyer knows the laws and your rights, and will fight tirelessly for you to get what is fair.
Loss of a Loved One
It’s difficult losing someone you love. It’s even more difficult having to navigate legalities and wrongful death claims on your own after this type of loss occurs. With legal representation through a lawyer, the other driver may face charges, a bar or restaurant may be charged for over-serving alcoholic drinks, or a manufacturing company may be charged for faulty or defective automobile parts. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to dig through all the information from the cause of accident to the ripple effect the loss of the person will cause throughout their family to get a full scope on their needs and the amount of compensation the surviving family member(s) will receive.
Avoiding Financial Loss
Most lawyers work on a contingency – in other words, you pay nothing unless they win or settle your claim. While it’s legal to pursue your own claim and many are capable, it comes down to how knowledgeable one is in lawsuits. If you were to lose your case, money is spent gathering evidence, filing documents for court, as well as other court fees. Opposing insurance companies will have lawyers who are specifically versed in car accidents which means they have certain “tricks of the trade” to get out of paying a settlement or offering a low amount. This is important to know because you can lose money or be offered a structured settlement instead of a lump sum by attempting to go at this alone.
Hiring a car accident lawyer is the best way to avoid the loss of finances. It is also highly advisable to speak with a legal representative specializing in car accidents before speaking with any insurance companies about your claim to ensure you are compensated fairly for the damages or totaling of your vehicle.
Timing Is Everything
There are instances where people have been fighting insurance companies for months in regards to pursuing their own compensation without legal representation and they’ve yet to come to an agreement. Court dates, medical appointments, healing from injuries, car repair or the purchase of a new vehicle – before you know it, the statute of limitations is over and compensation can no longer be claimed.
If the other party has an auto insurance provider, they will certainly call to ask for details of the accident. Without legal representation, you may possibly give them information that can later be used against you, and thus, lowering the amount of compensation you receive. Having the assistance of a car accident lawyer, they will work hard and fight for what they feel you’re entitled to through evidence.
The Other Party in The Accident Has Served You With a Lawsuit
When a car accident occurs and the blame is contested, it’s possible the other party may have hired a lawyer to represent their claim. If this is the case, hiring your own car accident lawyer to gather evidence and present a case is imperative to making sure your innocence is proven and the damages to your vehicle or personal injury are fairly compensated for.
Conclusion – When Should you Hire a Lawyer for a Car Accident
Some car accidents are fairly clear with minimal damages and no injuries, and while you can always consult a lawyer for legal representation, it may not be the right fit for your claim. If you are not at fault, or believe you are not, have any reason to require compensation, and don’t have the time and resources to do it yourself, it is more than worthwhile to hire a lawyer for a car accident. They can help take a big weight off your shoulders and let you recuperate when other things need to be taken care of. Why add more stress to an already stressful situation by needing to remember dates or what documents need filed when an experienced professional can do it for you?
It’s also worth noting that hiring a lawyer for your car accident gives you the best chance at success and increases your chances of getting the deserved compensation as there are no do-overs when it comes to settlements. Still unsure if you should hire a lawyer for your car accident? A majority of experienced lawyers specializing in car accidents offer free consultations to answer all of your questions and provide helpful information toward your claim.
Debra Haynes is a content writer filled with imagination and endless creativity. She has been writing personally for 20+ years and has recently begun the journey of doing what she loves professionally. A lover of all things strange and weird, she also flourishes in niches about pets, mental health, body positivity, and writing in the first person.
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