You do not have to hire a car accident attorney after a wreck, but in many cases doing so can help you get the compensation you deserve and eliminate some of the stress associated with a collision. Learning more about the tasks handled by a car accident attorney can help you determine if you need legal assistance. We’ve also included a few scenarios where you will most certainly benefit from a car accident attorney, if one of these applies to you, make an appointment for a free consultation today.
An Attorney Can Help File a Claim
Insurance claims are not automatic, you need to file with the at-fault party’s insurance company or your own to be compensated. If the other driver is not insured and you have uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage, you’ll need to file with your own insurer.
While claims that are clearly the fault of one driver are supposed to be handled swiftly and efficiency, a claim delay can occur. If you have a lawyer on your side, your claim is far more likely to be taken seriously from day one.
Protect your Status as the Injured Party
The other driver’s insurance company will want to interview – and may use anything you say to weaken your claim or even deny entirely. Working with an attorney ensures you are properly represented and that you don’t risk being blamed for part of or all the accident.
Determine your Damages
You’re injured, unsettled and still in a little shock after the car accident. This is not the time to try to figure out your total damages – and the insurance company knows it. Your total amount of fair compensation is not just the estimate you are provided with to repair your vehicle and a few medical bills. An attorney can walk you through each facet of your damages and ensure you were offered the correct amount. Any settlement should consider:
Current and future medical costs:
You know what the hospital is charging you today, but what if your injury requires rehabilitation or surgery later?
Lost time at work:
You could be missing out on a paycheck through no fault of your own; payment for missing wages should be considered after an accident.
Reduced ability to earn an income:
If the injuries from your accident left you unable to perform your job duties, either immediately or long term, you should be compensated.
Pain and suffering:
An accident, particularly one with injuries or fatalities can have a lasting impression on your physical and mental health. Compensation for what you must deal with as a result of someone else's actions should be considered.
If the accident was caused by road rage or reckless behavior by the other party, you could be eligible for punitive damages as well.
You won’t know if an offered settlement is fair or if you are going to be stuck without compensation for some of your care and needs unless you speak with an attorney. A settlement that includes thousands of dollars may sound great until the medical bills start pouring in, or you discover you can no longer do your job. Working with an attorney from the start prevents this unfortunate and all too common scenario.
The claims process after a car accident can be drawn out and frustrating; most people only have to go through this once, so they often don’t even know where to begin. There are some instances that absolutely require the help of a car accident lawyer; if any of the below scenarios applies to you, it is time to call for help.
5 Times you Might Need an Attorney After an Accident
You didn’t cause the collision, but you still may need legal assistance to protect yourself and your financial future. These are the most common reasons you might need an attorney after an accident:
You or a loved one was injured:
If you have injuries, you may not know the full extent of the damage for a while. An attorney can help ensure you are treated fairly and that you don’t end up being held responsible for high medical bills. Injuries to the head, back and neck may not be readily apparent but could mean long term medical care is needed.
You’ve been offered a settlement:
A fast settlement may sound like you are getting everything resolved quickly, but it may be a low offer that does not cover the full extent of your injuries and damages. Never agree to a settlement, particularly one offered in a hurry, without speaking to an attorney first.
You don’t know what to do next:
If you are not to blame, you’ll need to file a claim with the other party’s insurer – or your own. If you are not sure of your next steps or don’t know what to do about your injuries and damages, a free consultation with a car accident attorney can help clarify things.
The other driver is claiming the accident was your fault:
Once the initial shock wears off and the other party realizes what they’ve done and how their own insurance will be impacted, they may try to make you look like the one to blame. If there is any question at all, or the other party claims you did something wrong, you need a car accident lawyer to protect your interests.
Your claim was delayed or denied:
Everyone agrees you were not to blame – so why was your claim denied? Insurers deny claims for a wide range of reasons, and if you have received a claim denial or are experiencing a claim delay, an attorney can help.
Feeling unsettled, upset and unsure of what to do is common after an accident; working with a personal injury attorney can take some of the burden off you and allow you to recover and focus on what matters most, moving forward. If you've been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, don't delay, get in touch right away to protect yourself and your loved ones.