Get an attorney for a car accident as soon as possible. A lawyer’s help could prove invaluable if your case involves high stakes or uncertainty about whether you can handle it on your own. Even if you only face moderate injuries after a car accident, you could benefit from the help of an experienced car accident lawyer.
Not every accident demands that you call a law firm, but knowing when you should hire legal help can save you time and maximize your financial recovery. Keep reading to find out when to get an attorney for a car accident and why it may prove a good idea.
Why Should You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Your car accident may seem minor or simple, but successfully recovering compensation can often prove far more complicated than initially expected. You can mitigate many of the issues that come with pursuing compensation with the help of an attorney. A car accident lawyer can provide:
It’s a lawyer’s job to know how to read and interpret insurance policies, apply federal, state, and local laws to your case, and navigate a complicated legal system.
If you hire a car accident lawyer with years of experience, he or she can tell you how different car crash scenarios may play out in the claims process and court.
An attorney who deals with big insurance companies regularly can provide insight into how each company handles claims, including:
- How long they typically take to settle
- The evidence they usually require
- The amount of money they’re willing to pay out
- The attorneys or law firms they work with
- Their strengths and weaknesses
A Wealth of Resources
Insurance is a multi-billion dollar industry. Rest assured that the insurance companies you’re up against will have every necessary resource at their disposal, starting with financial resources.
When taking on insurers and large corporations, having the monetary and legal resources to match can prove useful. Law firms generally operate on a budget substantially higher than what many individuals have access to. They also have a network of experts, such as crash reconstructionists, medical specialists, and legal professionals they can tap into as they build your car accident case.
Dedicated Help Solving Your Problems
If you face injuries in a car accident, it’s very unlikely that you have the physical or emotional energy to take on the responsibilities of coordinating an insurance claim. Hiring a car accident lawyer can allow you to spend your time focused on recuperating physically and mentally.
Your injury lawyer’s job involves solving problems for clients. Therefore, they may prove more effective and efficient because of experience and legal knowledge. On the other hand, your attorney can worry about meeting deadlines, handling phone calls, obtaining records, and filling out paperwork, so you don’t have to.
When to Get a Car Accident Lawyer
Hiring a car accident attorney can serve your best interests in the following situations.
The Insurance Company Blames You
Insurance companies may try to mitigate their liability in any way they can. Sometimes that includes blaming you for the accident. If you provided a recorded statement, they may find a way to twist your words to make it seem as though you admitted fault. Alternatively, they may have evidence indicating you caused the crash. Without proper legal representation to refute these claims with facts and evidence, you may not have the ability to prove otherwise.
The Insurer Denied Your Claim
If the insurance company already denied your car accident claim, you may need legal help to recover the money you deserve. A car accident lawyer can review your claim paperwork and request an explanation from the insurer to determine the reason for your denial. For example, a clerical error or missing evidence could lead to this problem. A lawyer can help correct these issues.
Alternatively, if the insurance company denied your claim without valid justification, the attorney can hold the insurer accountable for its bad faith practices.
You Received a Low Settlement Offer
If you get a lower-than-expected settlement offer, you likely want to get legal help. Insurance companies often dangle low settlement offers in front of car accident claimants to see if they’ll bite. They know you need money fast, so you’re more likely to accept it. Of course, not all insurers do this, but any early offer they make could prove lower than you deserve.
If you accept it, you can sign a contract that absolves the insurer of further liability. But, as a result, you cannot seek additional compensation. That’s risky, especially if you have high medical bills or ongoing treatment.
Your car accident attorney can protect you from this costly mistake by considering your financial and emotional losses before demanding compensation—and rejecting offers that don’t adequately meet your needs. Your attorney can negotiate in your best interests.
You Were Involved in a Multi-Vehicle Accident
Multi-vehicle accidents tend to get complicated very quickly, primarily because of liability. With more drivers involved, it may prove harder to identify who’s at fault. On top of that, there’s the chance that more than one driver bears responsibility, making it even more difficult to sort out. And what if multiple people face injuries or property damage?
It all amounts to more people pointing fingers, more communication, a longer investigation, and more money. An auto accident lawyer can help you through an otherwise overwhelming situation and coordinate all the moving parts. In addition, they can work to protect your rights and interests during a potentially complex legal situation.
You Feel Overwhelmed
Never overlook your mental health. You may not have the strength to contend with the challenges of a car accident claim. If the thought of talking to insurance companies or filling out paperwork stresses you out or gives you anxiety, you may want to enlist the help of a car accident lawyer.
A lawyer can handle all the duties of your car accident claim, such as:
- Communicating with all parties involved in your case
- Handling paperwork
- Investigating the cause of the crash
- Determining who bears liability for damages
- Gathering medical records, bills, receipts, income documentation, etc.
- Retrieving evidence like photos, videos of the crash, accident report, and witness testimony
- Negotiating a just settlement offer
- Filing a lawsuit, if you cannot reach a settlement
- Standing up for your rights in court
- Keeping you updated on the progression of your case
Getting Legal Help After a Car Accident Won’t Cost You a Dime Out-of-Pocket
Hiring a car accident attorney often proves easier than you may think. However, many people don’t realize that most personal injury lawyers can take your case free of charge. Instead, they operate on something called a contingency fee agreement. Under this type of contract, your lawyer does not charge you any money upfront or throughout your case for legal fees. Instead, you only pay for the law firm’s service if the firm successfully recovers compensation for you.
After successfully concluding your case, your attorney can receive a percentage of the final payout, covering the attorney’s fees. Many personal injury lawyers work based on a contingency-fee agreement, and it benefits injury victims who may not have the money to pay for legal help out-of-pocket.
Find out When to Get a Car Accident Lawyer During a Free Consultation
Most car accident lawyers offer free consultations where you can provide information about your crash, ask questions, and receive insight into your case. An honest law firm can tell you whether or not they think you could see results through a claim or lawsuit and whether or not they can help.
It’s important to remember that consultation also allows a law firm to evaluate the merits of your case and if they believe they can best help. If so, they can outline your next best steps and explain what an attorney can do to get started investigating your case. If you feel like you want to have a professional opinion on whether or not you need a car accident lawyer, taking advantage of a free consultation can prove useful.
Choosing the Right Car Accident Lawyer for Your Case
If you think you might benefit from the help of an attorney after a car crash, you should spend some time finding the right one. The attorney-client relationship can significantly affect your mental well-being throughout your case. You want to find an attorney you can trust. The right attorney is someone who cares about your situation and can get results.
Consider some questions you can ask during a free case review to determine if a lawyer could make a good fit for you:
Have You Handled a Car Accident Case Like Mine Before?
Be specific when asking this. Sure, the attorney has handled hundreds of car accident claims, but have they handled claims with your specific injuries or the number of people involved in your accident?
What’s the Strategy for a Car Accident Case Like Mine?
You want to determine the attorney’s overall plan for handling cases like yours. Then, ask them to explain how these claims play out in their experience and how they respond to insurance company tactics.
What’s the Most Money You’ve Ever Recovered for a Similar Case?
It may prove helpful for you to know the maximum compensation your attorney has obtained for clients like you. In addition, it can help you determine how seriously a lawyer takes injuries like yours and how much they are willing to fight for clients.
Do You Tend to Settle Cases or Go to Trial?
You must know what type of lawyer you’re hiring. Some lawyers have substantial experience in pre-trial litigation and can settle any case without hinting at trial. Others thrive in a courtroom and don’t mince words with the opposing party. Knowing your lawyer’s style can help you know where your case could likely wind up and how quickly you might get there.
How Does Your Fee Arrangement Work?
While many personal injury lawyers use a contingency fee agreement, they do not execute them the same way. You should get clear on what percentage of your compensation the law firm takes. You also need to know exactly what the agreement entails.
A clear understanding of how payment works in your case can eliminate any surprises, disappointment, or misunderstandings later on.
How Does Terminating the Attorney-Client Relationship Work?
Just to cover all your bases, ask how severing the relationship with your lawyer would work. If you need to move on to different counsel, you’ll need to know the current law firm’s procedures. Are there any fees or expenses attached to ending the relationship? How will you receive your case documents?
Don’t Wait to Seek Legal Help After Your Car Accident
Knowing when to get an attorney after a car accident can reduce your stress as you begin to recover and put your life back in order. When hiring an attorney, just ensure you don’t wait too long. State law generally limits injury victims’ time to pursue their claim in court. Depending on your state, you could have between one and four years to file suit. In South Carolina, for example, claimants have three years to file.
Therefore, if a lawsuit proves necessary in your car accident case, you and your attorney may need time to adequately build a case for trial. Consult with a lawyer promptly to ensure you build the strongest case possible.