Any time you suffer injuries in a car accident, you need a car accident lawyer to help you understand your rights and to guide you through the claim process. Without a lawyer, you may flounder as you determine your next steps and how to navigate them best.
Furthermore, an attorney can help ensure that you have the resources you need to fight the insurance company when you find yourself dealing with a company that does not seem to take you seriously or will not offer reasonable compensation for your injuries and losses.
When to Get In Touch with a Car Accident Lawyer
Contact an attorney immediately after your accident.
Having an attorney on your side before you ever contact the insurance company can have a lot of advantages.
- A car accident lawyer can help ensure you understand the compensation you deserve. Often, the insurance company will pressure you to accept a settlement offer that completely misses the mark on the damages you suffered. A lawyer will ensure you know what those long-term damages will likely look like and how you can pursue compensation for them.
- A car accident lawyer can help guide your interactions with the insurance company. You do not want to risk accepting any liability for the accident, which could reduce the compensation you can recover for your injuries.
- Having a lawyer soon after the accident can make it much easier for the lawyer to collect evidence related to your accident. Witnesses’ memories may fade faster than you think after an accident. Witnesses who observed the accident directly may have trouble recalling the information that was so clear in their minds at the time of the accident when just weeks have passed since that event. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner a lawyer can collect that key information.
- A lawyer can help take over dealing with the insurance company for you. Right after your accident, you have more than enough stress to deal with. By turning those interactions over to a lawyer, you can keep your focus where it belongs: on your recovery.
You still have time to contact a car accident lawyer. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible to get help with your claim.
Signs You Need a Car Accident Lawyer Now
Ideally, you should call a car accident lawyer as soon as you can after an accident. However, time can slip away from you, and you may find yourself dealing with the insurance company or navigating the claim process independently. However, if you notice these key signs, you may need to contact an attorney immediately.
You get a settlement offer from the insurance company shortly after the accident.
At first, a settlement offer from the insurance company may sound like a good thing. After all, getting your settlement money means you can start to cover many of the high expenses that often accompany the aftermath of a car accident. However, that settlement offer may not contain all the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
If you get a fast settlement offer from the insurance company right after a car accident, it could mean that the insurance company wants to limit the compensation it has to pay out for your injuries.
A fast settlement often means that the injured party will accept that fast offer just as quickly, without taking the time to consider what damages, including long-term medical costs and wage losses, will look like after the accident. Accepting that offer will let the insurance company off the hook for further compensation and may ultimately mean that you do not get the compensation you deserve after your accident.
On the other hand, having a lawyer look over your first car accident settlement offer can give you a better idea of whether it accurately reflects the damages you sustained because of the accident and how much you should ask for compensation.
The insurance company denies liability for the accident.
Finding out that an insurance company has denied liability for an accident can feel devastating. Insurance companies can deny liability for any number of reasons, including a coverage gap for the insured party or an accident that the policy does not cover: someone without permission to drive the vehicle, for example.
However, in most car accident cases, the insurance company that covers the liable party will deny liability because the insurance agent believes that another party, often the injured victim, bears liability for the accident instead.
If the insurance company refuses to accept liability for the accident or tries to push any portion of it onto you, you may end up having to fight to have your right to compensation recognized. However, working with a lawyer can make it much easier to establish who caused the accident.
A lawyer can:
- Talk to witnesses
- Review any video footage from the accident
- Put together inconsistencies in the other driver’s statements about the accident
If necessary, a lawyer can also bring in an expert witness to help recreate what likely led to the accident, providing you with deeper insight that makes it easier for you to establish what caused your accident.
Furthermore, a lawyer can help review the liable driver’s insurance policy and better understand what that policy covers and, therefore, what compensation you should receive for any damages associated with the accident.
The insurance company does not respond promptly to your communications.
Sometimes, you may find yourself dealing with an insurance company that will not get back to you when you have questions about your claim and the compensation you deserve. You may often talk to an answering machine more often than a live person. For many auto accident victims, that can feel incredibly frustrating. You know that the other driver caused your accident and that you should receive compensation for it, but you can only recover once the insurance company gets back to you.
A lawyer, however, can help streamline those interactions with the insurance company, which may lead to faster response times. Furthermore, a lawyer can help take the frustration out of that process by taking on communications with the insurance company on your behalf.
The insurance company tries to deny the extent of your injuries.
Car accidents can lead to substantial injuries: traumatic brain injury, back and neck injuries, broken bones, or internal bleeding, which can mean a long road to recovery. Sometimes, a car accident can cause injuries with implications, including medical needs, that may follow you for the rest of your life.
The insurance company may not want to acknowledge the extent of those injuries.
For example, suppose that you suffered severe whiplash in an accident. It can prove difficult to fully establish the limitations often caused by whiplash on scans and tests.
You need a lawyer to clearly show what pain you have experienced or justify your medical bills. The insurance company may try to claim that, while you suffered whiplash, the degree of whiplash you suffered does not entitle you to the compensation you requested. The company may also insist that you did not need all the treatments you claim for your injuries, including the extensive physical therapy often necessary to help whiplash victims recover.
By working with a lawyer, you can more clearly establish the full extent of your injuries. Not only can a lawyer help pull together the medical records from your recovery, but a lawyer can also bring in expert witnesses to testify about the extent of your injuries and their likely long-term impact on you. By working with a lawyer, you can more clearly lay out those losses in a way that the insurance company will prove more likely to take seriously.
The insurance company tries to claim that you suffered your injuries at a time other than your car accident.
Many other types of injuries can mimic car accident injuries. Furthermore, while some people may walk away from what looks like a devastating car accident with relatively few injuries, others in even minor car accidents can suffer severe injuries, including whiplash, back and neck injuries, or multiple broken bones.
If the insurance company does not believe that your injuries occurred as a direct result of your car accident, they may try to deny coverage for your accident and your injuries.
If you failed to seek medical attention right after your car accident but later discovered that you had sustained serious injuries in the accident, it may increase the likelihood that the insurance company will deny you when your injuries occurred. By working with a lawyer, however, you can put together evidence that shows when your injuries likely occurred, including the apparent age of the injuries when you sought treatment.
The insurance company claims that you worsened your injuries or limited your recovery.
As you recover from your injuries, you may need to follow your care provider’s instructions carefully to maximize your odds of fully recovering. Your care provider may, for example, recommend that you avoid certain activities that risk worsening your injuries.
Suppose that you suffered a traumatic brain injury in your car accident. If you went back to practicing your favorite sport within a few days, from football to martial arts, the insurance company might claim that you worsened your injuries due to further head trauma.
Likewise, if you attempt to walk on a broken leg before the bone can heal, it could worsen the injury, increasing the odds that you will not recover fully or require further treatment. In those cases, the insurance company might claim that you worsened your injuries due to your negligent actions and that you do not deserve further compensation.
You may also need to follow your care provider’s instructions regarding therapy and exercises you may need to perform after the accident. For example, your care provider may tell you that you need to attend physical therapy and perform exercises between sessions to help strengthen an injured limb.
If you do not engage in those exercises or do not attend your therapy sessions, it could slow your recovery. The insurance company might then claim that your actions, rather than the injuries themselves, led to any complications after that point.
Do you have any questions about your claim or your right to compensation?
Filing a car accident claim can quickly turn more complicated than you anticipated. You may have several questions about managing the claim process, including your next steps or why the insurance company has not provided you with a fair compensation offer.
A lawyer can start with a free consultation that will give you more information about your next steps and how to establish the compensation you deserve after a claim. You can also contact a lawyer whenever you need additional support or insight into the claim process.
Contact a Lawyer After Your Car Accident
If you suffered injuries in a car accident, a lawyer could help you take the necessary steps to file your claim and maximize the compensation you can recover.
Do not try to handle your car accident claim alone, which could increase your frustration and reduce your compensation. Instead, contact a personal injury attorney in Myrtle Beach to learn more about your rights.