It’s never too early to speak with an attorney after a car wreck, and contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer should be a high priority if any of the following apply to your situation.
- The crash caused a significant injury—anything from broken bones to paralysis—or a fatality
- It’s unclear who is at fault
- The crash involved other motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists
- The collision occurred in a construction zone, school zone, or other protected area
- The police or accident report does not accurately describe what happened
- There are concerns regarding your insurance status, liability limits, or lack of insurance
- Your insurance company sends mixed messages, brings up issues you weren’t aware of, or connects you with their attorney
Small collisions, such as “fender-benders,” may not require the assistance of an attorney. In these cases, you might be able to settle the matter directly with the insurance company. If the following examples reflect your situation, you may not need help from a lawyer.
- Your vehicle has no damage, or the damage can be fixed with the money the insurance company offers you
- You and your passengers did not sustain any serious injuries and did not need to see a doctor
- You and your passengers did not need to miss work or significantly alter your lifestyle and activities after the accident
Even if your scenario fits this description, though, it doesn’t hurt to seek a consultation with an attorney. Most personal injury attorneys — including those at Crosley Law Firm — offer free initial consultations with no strings attached. During the consultation, the attorney will listen to your story and then give you a straight-forward and honest assessment of your case. From there, you can decide if your unique situation would benefit from hiring an attorney.
The Benefits of Hiring an Attorney
It may seem like a hassle to involve an attorney if you don’t think you need one. However, hiring a car accident attorney has many benefits, and if you choose not to hire one, you’ll quickly find out just how much hassle it can be to handle your own car accident case without help from a lawyer. Two of the most important benefits of working with an attorney after a car accident are detailed below.
Benefit #1: Dealing with the Insurance Company
Insurance companies have lots of money and legal resources at their disposal. They have specific goals in a car accident case: to deny you the compensation you deserve or get you to settle quickly and for as little money as possible.
Once the at-fault party notifies their insurance company of a collision, an insurance agent will call you shortly after. They may also pay visits to your home, hospital room, or workplace.
Because they want you to act hastily and sign an agreement, the insurance company will go out of their way to convince you they have your best interest in mind. Don’t be fooled. Insurance companies are looking out for their own best interests only, and they want you to accept the lowest settlement possible and sign a waiver that will remove any legal liability issues for them.
The insurance company will also discourage you from hiring an attorney. They’ll tell you that hiring a lawyer will only make things more complicated, and that you can settle directly with them. Remember that they have their own benefit in mind, not yours. Once an attorney gets involved, the insurance agent’s job — which is to make your case go away while paying you as little money as possible —becomes a lot more difficult.
Benefit #2: Gaining Confidence and Reducing Uncertainty
Hiring a lawyer can help you get your time back and let you focus on your health and recovery, especially if you contact the attorney right away and begin working with them as soon as possible after your crash. When you hire an attorney, all interactions and communications regarding your case will go through your attorney, who will know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it.
A personal injury case can often become a he-said/she-said situation. Even with a detailed accident report or eyewitness accounts of what happened, it can be difficult to prove negligence and absolute fault. An attorney will understand the many nuances of the law and how it applies to your case, and they’ll help you navigate these difficult aspects of a personal injury case with confidence.
A personal injury attorney can also estimate the potential damages you could recover and assess the value of the insurance policies you can file claims against. The attorney will take current and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future income earning potential, and emotional pain and suffering into consideration when figuring the potential value of your case. This will give you a more concrete idea about what your case might be worth and help you decide whether to accept a potential settlement from the insurance company.
If you start to pursue legal action on your own but discover that it’s more complicated than you originally thought, don’t worry — you can still get help from a lawyer. Although it’s best to start working with your attorney as soon as possible after your crash, an attorney can enter the process at any point to help organize your case and formulate a strategy to improve your odds of getting the best result possible.
Remember that insurance companies have the best lawyers working on their behalf, which means that if you decide to represent yourself, you could be at a significant disadvantage. If you’ve been hurt, don’t sell your case short, and know that you deserve to have an experienced car accident attorney fighting for you.