When do you need to hire a car accident lawyer?
A car accident is a surprise that no one wants to be part of; unfortunately, accidents happen. A car accident can range from something as minor as a parking lot fender bender to something as traumatic as a multi-car pileup with injuries or even fatalities. Because car accidents occur in such varying types and degrees, it can be a challenge to know whether you need to contact a car accident lawyer after one of these incidents or not. We have put together a few guidelines to help you decide if you should call in an expert to help you through the process.
- Fatalities - If you are involved in an accident that involved a death—whether it was someone with you or in the other vehicle, it is always a good idea to connect with a car accident lawyer. These accidents often have additional red tape, both when dealing with insurance companies and potentially with the police or other government agencies.
- Serious Injuries - If you or someone in your vehicle obtained severe injuries, you will want to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident occurs. While one insurance company or another should be picking up medical bills in most cases, insurance firms have their own lawyers that work with them to keep payments as low as possible. If you don’t have a lawyer on your side, you could find it challenging to get the payouts that you deserve.
- Missing Work - Another instance where a lawyer can be especially helpful is if you will miss work due to ongoing medical problems or long-term disability. These cases require knowledge and expertise to handle appropriately, because if it is a not-at-fault accident, the other driver or their insurance company may be responsible for compensating you for lost wages.
- There are More Than Two Drivers Involved - When an accident involves multiple cars, multiple drivers, and numerous insurance companies, everything is much more complicated than it should otherwise be. In these cases, it is best to hire a lawyer to help you with your side of the case to make sure everything is handled correctly, and you are not lost in the shuffle of insurers and paperwork.
- An Uninsured Driver is Involved in the Accident - Most of us trust that the other drivers on the road are all insured legally and adequately. Unfortunately, there are some people on the road who do not follow the rules. If your accident involves one or more drivers, who are uninsured (or underinsured) working with a lawyer is a must. A good lawyer can help you with the additional steps that may be necessary to take care of yourself and your family when you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist.
- You need Evidence to Prove Your Case - While some accidents have a very clear-cut “who’s at fault” in others, that’s not the case. You may need to prove your case with technology from a vehicle, or perhaps you need someone to speak with witnesses to help put together evidence. These are difficult to do on your own, so having a car accident attorney on your side can be a good idea.
- You’re Unhappy with a Settlement Offer - With car accident cases, the vast majority are settled before they even have a chance to go to court. While this is good because it means you will not have to go to court and present your side of the case, not every settlement offer is going to be beneficial to you. If you receive a settlement offer and it is not what you expected or require, reach out to an automobile accident lawyer right away to decide on your next steps.
- The accident Happened in the Past - There are several reasons why you might not have pursued a car accident case right away. Most often, this occurs when medical issues don’t present themselves until some time after the accident. While waiting to file a claim does not mean that it will be denied or you won’t be compensated, it can make things more difficult. Additionally, there are statutes of limitations put in place that require you to file within a certain amount of time after an accident. If you’re concerned about an accent that happened more than a few days ago, it is always a good idea to let a professional take charge of the case.
While the above guidelines can be helpful, remember they are just that—guidelines. If you feel at all uncomfortable about an accident of feel like you might need a little extra guidance, it would not hurt to connect with an attorney and just run the details by him or her to get a bit of unbiased advice and guidance into what your next steps should be.