Following a car accident, you may be unsure whether to hire a car accident attorney to help with a car accident claim. While many car accidents are minor and don’t result in severe damages or require the help of an attorney, there are some circumstances when hiring a car accident lawyer is the right decision. Having an experienced lawyer by your side may help you increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve for injuries and other related damages.
You might be worried about the cost of hiring a car accident attorney. Still, cases involving serious injuries and other types of damages could make hiring an attorney more affordable than filing a claim alone. Regardless of the circumstances of your accident, consider speaking with a car accident lawyer to discuss your case and the options available to you. Keep in mind that consulting with a lawyer won’t require hiring one, as your consultation should be free and come at no obligation.
You Don’t Know About Your Rights
You may be familiar with the process of filing a claim with insurance companies after an accident, but you might not be aware of all your rights. An attorney will be able to help you better understand your rights and the options you have when it comes to seeking compensation.
There are many concepts to consider when filing a claim or lawsuit that can impact your case.
These concepts may include:
- Respondeat superior
- Eggshell plaintiff rule
- Negligence per se
- Sovereign immunity
- Preponderance of the evidence
For instance, if you want to seek compensation from a defendant in a car accident case, you must be familiar with the idea of negligence and ensure you can prove it. You will need to collect sufficient evidence that shows how a driver or another party caused the car accident through negligence and that you suffered specific damages because of this negligence. In some cases, multiple parties may be liable, which can make proving negligence even more challenging.
An attorney with experience handling car accident cases will be able to help you prepare a more robust case and establish your rights.
You Aren’t Sure About Your Insurance Coverage
If you’re considering filing a claim after an accident, you may be uncertain about your coverage and policy. Many people don’t know exactly what their insurance policies cover because of confusing language and terminology that can make policies difficult to understand. Also, the minimum amount of coverage that people need varies from state to state.
Different states will also have different types of coverage. For instance, you may have no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) insurance or underinsured (UIM) or uninsured (UM) coverage. If you’re unsure what kind of insurance you have, it could be more difficult to file a claim with your insurer successfully. You may file a claim only for the insurer to deny it because the damages you sustained don’t fall under your coverage.
You may want to speak with a car accident lawyer to make sure you understand your insurance coverage and what your policy establishes.
The Insurer Is Difficult to Negotiate With When Filing a Claim
If you file a claim on your own after a car accident, you’ll need to connect with an adjuster who handles your claim. While the claims process might appear straightforward and clear, insurance adjusters and the companies behind them could make negotiations difficult.
It’s important to remember that insurance adjusters aren’t on the claimant’s side in car accident cases. They may seem friendly and eager to help you, but they’ll also look for any valid reason to deny your claim or reduce the amount of compensation you can receive.
Some of the tactics they may use to achieve this could include:
- Claiming that a policy had lapsed or that you didn’t pay premiums as needed.
- Questioning liability for the accident and subsequently reducing your settlement.
- Stating that the accident and damages don’t fall under your coverage.
- Questioning the severity of your injuries and the necessity of any medical care and missed work.
- Delaying the claim until you settle on the insurer’s last offer.
- Offering an amount far lower than what the claim is worth misleading you into thinking it’s your only option.
- Outright denying your claim without providing a reasonable explanation.
- Repeatedly requesting evidence and documentation to the point of excessiveness.
If your insurance company is making the claims process more challenging than it should be, you should consult with an attorney. A lawyer may help you determine what your claim is truly worth and be able to represent you when negotiating with insurers.
You Sustained Serious Injuries and Other Damages
Car accidents may not result in injuries or only minor ones, but they often cause more extensive injuries. If you suffer from serious injuries as a result of your car accident, consulting an attorney is likely the right option. When an accident causes serious injuries, victims often require more medical treatment and ongoing care that come with steep costs.
Depending on the nature of the injuries sustained, victims may also suffer a degree of disability and be unable to return to work. In some cases, disabilities are permanent and prevent accident victims from returning to work entirely. The potential costs and impact involved make it essential for victims to recover the compensation they deserve to recover as much as possible, both personally and financially.
If your injuries are minor and require minimal treatment, you may be able to file a claim easily. However, insurers will likely be more disagreeable if your injuries are more serious and come with higher costs. They may fight harder to minimize your settlement or deny it altogether.
Many potential damages may result from serious injuries. These could include a combination of economic and non-economic damages.
Examples of economic damages include:
- Medical expenses for treatment and medication
- The costs of surgery, rehabilitation, and other additional medical services
- Future medical expenses resulting from ongoing care
- Lost income due to time off from work
- Lost earning capacity because of a disability
- Modifications to the home to accommodate a disability
Non-economic damages may involve the pain and suffering that you experience because of your injuries and losses. You may experience serious physical pain along with psychological anguish, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma. These damages could also include disfigurement and loss of a relationship resulting from injuries.
Some cases may also warrant punitive damages if they go to trial. The court might award these if the defendants practiced gross negligence or maliciousness that caused the accident. The objective behind these damages is to prevent the defendant and others from engaging in similar behavior in the future. Without the help of a lawyer, you may not even be aware that you’re eligible to recover these damages.
Ultimately, if your injuries are severe and come with high stakes, you may struggle to get a fair settlement from insurers. In these instances, it’s typically best to hire a car accident lawyer. In addition to helping you navigate the claims process, a knowledgeable attorney may be able to help you file a lawsuit and take your case to court if needed.
The Accident Took a Loved One’s Life
A serious accident can cause significant injuries, but it can also result in a person’s death. In one recent year, traffic fatalities in the U.S. reached a 16-year high, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
If you lost a loved one because of a car accident and another party’s negligence, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit to hold the liable party responsible. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the laws around wrongful death vary depending on the state where the accident occurred. The person who can file the claim, the types of damages you can seek, and the amount of time you have to file a claim will vary in different states.
If you plan on filing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, it’s in your best interest to speak with a car accident attorney who has handled wrongful death cases. The right attorney will be able to help you recover damages resulting from the loss of a loved one.
Damages in these cases can include the decedent’s medical expenses if they received treatment before passing, the financial losses resulting from the loved one’s passing, and any subsequent pain and suffering you and your family experienced.
The Accident Involved Multiple Parties
Car accidents involve multiple parties, including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. They can also involve other parties that aren’t directly involved in the accident, including employers and manufacturers.
Here are some examples of accidents with multiple liable parties:
- A driver gets into an accident while working, in which case the employer may be partially liable
- A rideshare driver causes an accident, making them and potentially their company liable
- Multiple drivers may be liable in a collision involving a chain reaction
- Manufacturers may cause accidents due to faulty tires or other parts
- Mechanics could be liable for performing inadequate maintenance, repairs, or replacement parts
Determining and proving liability will likely be more challenging if your car accident involves multiple parties. You may need to negotiate with the liable parties’ insurance companies and ensure you receive full compensation from each.
You may also want to file a lawsuit against liable parties, which can further complicate your case. Consider hiring a car accident attorney with experience handling cases involving multiple parties in these instances. This can help increase your chances of reaching a favorable outcome.
The Other Parties Involved Have Legal Representation
If the other parties involved in an accident case have their own attorneys, you’ll likely benefit from having legal representation. The other parties’ attorneys will probably have more experience handling the claims process than the defendants and be able to argue in their favor more effectively. Having an attorney by your side may give you the solid defense you need against the opposing parties in these cases.
Even if your case seems easy enough to navigate, you may struggle to get full compensation if the liable party has an attorney and you go it alone.
Consult a Reliable Attorney for a Car Accident Claim
If you find yourself in any of the above situations, you may benefit from hiring a car accident lawyer to help handle a claim or lawsuit. The right personal injury lawyer can help gather and organize evidence to support a claim, negotiate with insurers, and take a case to trial if necessary. The key is to find the right lawyer based on your specific needs, which is why it’s important to consult with an attorney to decide if they are the right fit for you and your case.
Considering hiring a car accident lawyer for a car accident claim? Consult with a dependable car accident attorney to discuss your case, learn about your rights, and find out your legal options.
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.