You can avoid many pitfalls of personal injury claims by working with a qualified car accident attorney from the start. A lawyer can protect your rights and your best interests as you pursue compensation from the at-fault party, especially when you face lowball settlement offers or uncooperative insurance companies.
Whether minor or catastrophic, car accidents can prove stressful and overwhelming ordeals. Of course, you never have to go through that alone. No law requires you to hire a lawyer after a car accident. However, doing so can add significant value to your case and help alleviate some of the stress you feel as you navigate your physical and financial recovery process. To make the best decision for your situation, read on to find out more about when to hire an attorney after a car accident. For more information, reach out to a car accident lawyer.
When to Seek Legal Help From a Car Accident Lawyer
You can choose to tackle a car accident claim by yourself. Some cases appear relatively straightforward, leading you to believe you can handle them independently. However, you may want a lawyer to smooth things out when the going gets rough, and it often does. In such situations, consider contacting a law firm as early on as possible.
Consider these situations in which you may want to hire a car accident lawyer:
Your Car Accident Claim Includes Extensive Damages
Generally, the more extensive the damages you claim, the more resistance you’ll experience from the insurance company. The insurer will likely do whatever it can to save as much money as possible.
The claims adjuster may try to:
- Allege that your injuries were pre-existing
- Argue against the severity of your injuries
- Claim they owed you no duty of care
- Shift the blame to you partially or completely
Your auto accident attorney can combat these tactics by investigating the cause of your accident, gathering evidence that proves the at-fault driver’s negligence, and retrieving documented medical proof of your injuries.
Your Claim Involves Injuries
You should know that a significant portion of your settlement will hinge on your physical injuries. Injuries can challenge your daily life and pose long-term problems. While you may not know how to claim damages for these injuries to maximize your compensation, your attorney does.
Additionally, without an attorney, you may end up accepting a settlement that doesn’t pay you for your future medical needs or ongoing care. For example, if you discover that you later require pain management for an issue you thought would go away, you cannot return to the insurance company to pay for it.
If the car accident left you with injuries, even seemingly minor ones, you may want to consider hiring legal counsel. Accepting a settlement means signing away your rights to seek further compensation, which means you’ll have to pay for your pain management out-of-pocket. An attorney can not only ensure you receive the proper medical treatment but that you’ve reached maximum improvement before filing an insurance claim. In addition, they can accounted for all your medical costs—including future expenses—before making a claim and accepting an offer.
Also, never assume you have minor injuries or simply try to shake them off. Only a medical professional can tell you the extent of your injuries. Sometimes trauma may not become apparent until hours, days, or weeks later. A doctor can detect injuries you didn’t know you had and tell you the extent of them. Then, you can get documentation that the crash led to your injuries—and your lawyer can help you seek damages accordingly.
Your Car Accident Involves Property Damage
Property damage claims can prove more complicated than you might realize. While you may only think about the cost of your repairs
, your car accident lawyer can look at the whole picture. They can consider the car’s value, the cost of repairs, the diminished value of the
vehicle after repairs, and the loss of use when calculating the damages you can claim.
You Face a Denial for a Car Insurance Claim
A personal injury lawyer can intervene if you face a denial from the insurance company. With a denial, it’s possible that you or the adjuster made some mistakes. A lawyer could easily correct these issues and ensure your claim remains on track. Alternatively, you may lack evidence to support your losses or prove the opposing party’s fault. An attorney’s job involves gathering evidence. If it’s missing, they can help you fill in the blanks
If there’s a more serious denial issue, your lawyer can handle that, too. Unfortunately, many insurance companies operate through intimidation. They relish claimants unrepresented by legal counsel because they can deny or devalue your claim with little opposition.
With an injury lawyer, you’ll have someone familiar with insurance practices, knowledgeable about the laws that apply to your case, and practiced in interpreting insurance policies. This can level the playing field and force the insurer to adjust your car accident claim more fairly.
The Accident Involved Multiple Parties
Accidents involving multiple vehicles are rarely simple. The presence of more than two cars increases the complexity as you’re left to sort out which vehicle caused the accident and who could bear liability for damages. The same holds true of accidents that involve rideshare drivers, truck drivers, or employees driving for work in their cars or company-owned vehicles.
These types of cases involve several potentially liable parties. More parties generally equate to more attorneys, insurance companies, and disagreements. You may not want to handle it alone. An accident lawyer can help you disentangle the web of liability, engage with all parties on your behalf, and identify the best way to recover compensation.
The Insurance Company Offered You a Low Settlement
A settlement may look like a victory, but if you’re not careful, you could end up losing in the end. The liable insurance company may make a low offer to settle your case at the beginning. Then, knowing you need the money, they may hope you’ll take it and sign away your rights to anything more.
Even if you negotiate and receive a better offer, it’s likely nowhere near the amount you deserve. Insurance adjusters always work to reduce payouts and often undervalue claims to do so. An attorney can calculate your total damages, vet every offer you receive, and demand what you deserve.
Hiring an Attorney From the Start
Some cases do not prove quite so complex. Perhaps you did not suffer any injuries or your car was only slightly damaged. Those affairs could prove simple to handle. Maybe the car accident seems clear-cut to you and you’re confident you can obtain compensation easily, but be careful. A clear-cut case can quickly become complicated.
For example, imagine a rear-end collision where the trailing driver struck you, damaging your car. He’s at fault, clearly—or so it seems. However, you later discover that witnesses say you were on your cell phone at the time, still sitting at the traffic light after it turned green. As a result, you receive blame for the accident, and the insurance company will not pay your damages.
Even simple facts can prove tricky in the legal world. Therefore, you may want to hire an attorney at the beginning. Your attorney can learn the details of your case from the start and anticipate the tactics that the insurance company could use against you.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident
Personal injury attorneys fight for victims harmed by the intentional or negligent acts of others. In addition to all the scenarios above, having a lawyer can also provide other benefits as you seek compensation for your losses. These benefits include:
Reducing the Stress and Alleviating Pressure While You Heal
No one battling physical injuries should also have to deal with the stress of filing an insurance claim and fighting for the money they should rightly have. Your car accident lawyer can act as your advocate. They’ll stand for you when you don’t have the physical or emotional capacity to stand for yourself.
An attorney can handle all the aspects of your case from beginning to end so you can focus on what matters— your recovery. You’ll never have to deal directly with the situation, which can alleviate a lot of the stress you feel after your accident.
A lawyer can help you navigate the process of:
- Investigating the cause of your car crash
- Determining liability
- Communicating with insurance companies
- Assessing property damage
- Obtaining medical treatment
- Retrieving medical records and doctors’ reports on your prognosis to support your claim
- Preserving and gathering evidence
- Evaluating your case
- Maximizing your settlement recovery
- Reviewing correspondence, legal documents, and insurance policies
- Filling out and drafting paperwork
- Negotiating with the insurance company for a fair settlement
- Fighting for you in court, if you need to file a lawsuit
Filing a Lawsuit for the Compensation You Deserve
An attorney can step in if the insurance company doesn’t play fair. When insurance companies refuse to accurately value your claim or delay the process unduly, you can file a lawsuit. With a compelling case built for trial from the start, your attorney can seek your just compensation in court.
In many cases, going to trial may not prove necessary. Filing the lawsuit alone may be enough to produce favorable results. However, suing the at-fault driver forces the insurer to defend them in court, spending more money than they might in a settlement. Insurance companies usually want to avoid these additional expenses.
Further, if the insurer acts dishonestly or unethically, your attorney can file a bad faith lawsuit against the company, which could result in a larger payout for you.
Meeting Legal Deadlines
While you’re recovering from your injuries, time may feel like it’s standing still. However, the clock started ticking on your car accident claim the moment the collision happened. Georgia law allows injury victims two years to file a lawsuit. This matters to your insurance claim because every day spent seeking compensation through negotiations runs down the clock on the time you have to file a lawsuit.
You’ll need enough time to prepare your case for trial if negotiations fail. A car accident attorney can keep all deadlines about your case in perspective and file your case in court before the statute of limitations expires.
Working on Contingency Fees
Many people mistakenly believe that they cannot hire a lawyer because they can’t afford it. They don’t realize that many lawyers—especially those who handle personal injury cases—won’t charge them any money upfront to take their case. Car accident lawyers often work for a contingency fee. They only require payment if they recover compensation in your case. After obtaining a settlement or court verdict, they receive a percentage of the monetary award.
You face no financial barrier to retaining legal counsel under a contingency fee arrangement. Clients have low risk with the possibility of significant rewards. You can get the benefit of legal knowledge, experience, and resources at no out-of-pocket expense.
Hiring a Lawyer After a Car Accident Can Help Your Case
Seeking compensation from the at-fault party in a car accident claim is no small feat. The amount of time, energy, and information required to succeed may prove more than what you can take on while recovering. Knowing when to hire an attorney after a car accident gives you an advantage. Having a lawyer by your side can make the entire process smoother.
If you’re still unsure about whether to hire an attorney after your car accident, contact an injury lawyer’s team and ask. Most lawyers offer a free case evaluation and can answer any questions you may have. A lawyer who values transparency can tell you honestly whether it’s worth it to use a lawyer or settle the claim on your own. For more information, reach out to a car accident lawyer.