Home > Should I Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
Should I Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
Car accident claims allow victims to get the funds they need to get back on their feet. However, the insurance company can make the process frustrating. You can avoid a headache by consulting a car accident lawyer.
Attorneys have experience in handling insurers and claims. The potential for favorable results increases if you hire an attorney.
Below we’ll outline the benefits of working with a car accident lawyer, plus answer some other common questions we hear from people curious about hiring a car accident lawyer.
How Can A Car Accident Lawyer Help?
After a car accident, a personal injury lawyer can be your greatest resource. In addition to knowing the laws that apply to your accident, they know how to apply them and how to advocate for you. That’s right: a car accident lawyer knows your rights and protects them! They can guide you through the injury claim process and get you the money you need.
When you partner with us, our legal team will immediately get to work collecting evidence to support your case.
But first, let’s talk about the help you need right now. A car accident attorney can:
Schedule appointments with medical providers
Help with vehicle repairs
Provide transportation and/or set you up with a rental car
All this at no cost to you! Sound good? We’re just getting started.
Handling a personal injury case is a full-time job. You probably don't have enough extra hours in your week to deal with everything involved, but a car accident lawyer can streamline the stressful process of filing an insurance claim.
How exactly can a car accident injury lawyer help? Let’s spell it out for you.
People know for sure who is responsible for a collision in some cases. Liability is only sometimes clear in other situations. Insurance companies might argue whether you or the other party was negligent.
A car accident lawyer can help you avoid a headache. When an attorney accepts a claim, they investigate the accident. They find evidence and review the police report. They can determine if the other party owes you money. They can then place pressure on the insurance company.
Negotiate With the Insurer
The insurance company may provide you with an initial offer. However, the settlement may be less than what you need. You can negotiate with the adjuster, but they may use deceptive strategies. The insurer relies on you not knowing the value of your claim, but you can reject the deal.
Instead, let a lawyer handle the negotiations for you. With years of experience, they know what tactics to watch for while discussing a fair settlement. Car accident attorneys are not afraid to stand up to insurance companies and argue for higher compensation.
File a Lawsuit on Your Behalf
Many claims resolve before either party needs to resort to litigation. However, your attorney may determine a lawsuit is necessary to get the other side to pay. They deal with all the paperwork for you if they need to file a lawsuit. You can stay within the deadline.
In addition, you can save plenty of time. You do have to spend hours finding out what documents to complete or researching legal terms. A car accident lawyer knows what to do, and you can focus on your personal life.
You sustained injuries. A lawyer may seem unnecessary if you only had a minor fender bender. Serious injuries result in numerous losses and mean a high settlement. An attorney helps you navigate the legal system to get compensation.
The insurer uses unfair tactics. Adjusters want to work with claimants, but the insurer’s interests are a priority. The adjuster may ask you to release medical records or give a recorded statement. Limit contact with the insurer and reach out to a lawyer.
The car accident is your first one. The claim process can seem confusing if someone is unfamiliar with it. A person will likely make a mistake or settle for less than the claim’s value. Find a lawyer quickly to increase the odds of a good outcome.
Multiple defendants caused the crash. A few car accident cases happen because of more than one negligent driver. You would have to prove how each one was liable for your injuries. The process can feel like an uphill battle unless you have a lawyer available.
You can benefit from an attorney’s advice. While you can hire a car accident attorney whenever you feel comfortable reaching out to one, the best time is as soon as possible. Your lawyer can have enough time to build a strong case early in the process.
When to Get a Car Accident Lawyer
Get a car accident lawyer as quickly as possible. They can submit the proper paperwork before the statute of limitations expires. The statute of limitations prevents people from seeking compensation after a specific number of years.
The time limit depends on where you live. Many places offer two or three years to file a claim. A person could have as little as a year to begin their legal case. Car accident lawyers are familiar with the statute of limitations. An injured individual should not have to worry about the court dismissing their case.
Order of Protection
You should get the help of an attorney after an accident if medical bills become a concern. Many people hesitate to seek treatment due to the high healthcare costs. Even with insurance, someone could need to spend thousands of dollars.
Doctors expect payment soon after they provide care. However, you might need more time to pay. Your car accident attorney can help with an order of protection. An order of protection is a document your lawyer writes to your healthcare provider, promising they will get their payment later. You can get the treatment you need if the doctor agrees. Additionally, the order of protection applies to the emergency care you received immediately after the collision.
While you recover, your lawyer keeps copies of the bills until the claim resolves. A portion of the settlement funds goes toward unpaid healthcare costs.
Can You File a Claim Against the City?
A government vehicle, poorly-designed street, or dangerous road conditions can be responsible for an accident. Victims of motor vehicle collisions can hold the local government liable. Of course, a person must prove how the government acted negligently and how the negligence led to damages.
In addition, a claim has to follow specific procedures. For example, you must submit a notice of claim before beginning one. The document alerts the government of your intention to sue a department. Additionally, you may need to list when and where the accident happened.
The amount of time you have to send the notice is less than the statute of limitations for car accidents. The deadline depends on where you live. You may have 30 days or more to begin your pursuit of compensation. The length of time seems short, especially since you likely are busy with medical treatment.
Therefore, a car accident lawyer can be beneficial for your case. They ensure your claim adheres to the special rules. In addition, they know what it takes to prove the government was liable and how to negotiate a settlement.
Should You Tell the Insurer About Your Injury?
Victims of car accidents need to report the incident to insurers, especially if they plan to seek compensation. When you call, the adjuster will want to know specific details about the collision. They may ask you about the location, date, and details of the at-fault driver.
Furthermore, you likely will get the question about your injuries. If you do, avoid providing details about your injuries. The adjuster could use what you say as an argument you have downplayed your condition.
Additionally, you might still need to receive a medical evaluation or notice symptoms of a heady injury. When you inform the adjuster of the changes, they may question the validity of your statement. Therefore, you should give general details about your injuries.
How Does Your Accident Qualify for Compensation?
Annually, around 6,756,000 motor vehicle accidents occur. They can happen for a variety of reasons. Negligent driving behavior plays a role in many of them. If a driver is careless, the law may allow the victim to sue for economic and non-economic losses.
A person would file a claim, but their case must meet specific requirements to qualify for compensation. Your accident claim should establish the other driver or entity is liable for your injuries.
Liability has four elements.
The driver has a duty of care. The defendant must owe the injured party a duty of care. All drivers must follow traffic laws to ensure the safety of themselves and others. They must protect drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
The driver failed their duty of care. The driver behaved carelessly or recklessly. The victim needs to show what the person did or did not do before the accident.
The driver’s actions led to the accident. An individual may have broken a traffic law. However, another factor may have resulted in the crash. The injured party should have proof the accident would not have happened if the driver had behaved properly.
The accident directly resulted in damages. The collision should have caused the victim to suffer from losses. Losses include medical bills, mental anguish, and physical discomfort.
Find a car collision law firm to determine if your accident qualifies for reimbursement. An attorney reviews the available information during a case evaluation. They can inform you if you have a valid claim and if they will accept your case.
What Evidence Does a Lawyer Collect?
An estimated 95 percent of car accident cases settle before either party has to appear in court. Both sides usually prefer to resolve the matter quickly to avoid unpredictable results. Still, litigation may be necessary in several cases.
To improve the chances of a pre-trial settlement, make sure to have a sufficient amount of evidence to prove liability. For example, visual evidence can strengthen your argument that the other driver was negligent.
Your or another person’s dash camera might have captured the events leading up to the crash. Alternatively, a nearby street camera is available. Your lawyer can request a copy of the surveillance footage.
Besides video evidence, pictures also show how the driver’s negligence led to substantial damages. Images should include multiple angles of your vehicle and any visible injuries.
The police usually arrive at the scene if considerable property damage or bodily injury is present. The responding officer talks to the involved parties and any eyewitnesses. They assess the damage and produce a police report. If the authorities do not show up, you can report the crash to the local police department.
You should obtain a copy of the police report and give it to your attorney. The document contains various details your lawyer can use to build your case. For instance, the report may include the officer’s thoughts on what caused the crash.
Phone usage while behind the wheel leads to over 1.6 million crashes yearly. The other motorist may have been one of many who text while driving. Therefore, you can request the phone records of the other party.
When your lawyer has the records, they look at the timestamps. The timing may match the timeline of the collision and prove a distracted driver crashed into you.
Witnesses are another crucial part of proving negligence. A third party saw what happened and can provide a statement to back up your claim. Your lawyer reaches out to them as well as expert witnesses.
An expert witness is someone who has years of experience in their field. Your attorney may decide an economist or accident reconstruction specialist is necessary. The witness explains how the accident happened or how the other driver caused damages.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Claim?
The amount of time a person has to wait for a claim to settle varies from case to case. One individual may have to wait a couple of months. However, another spends a year on their case. Multiple negligent parties, wrongful death of a victim, and unclear liability can affect the wait time.
However, a car accident lawyer with experience can make the process more efficient. Additionally, they work to get the check to you as quickly as possible when both sides settle. The settlement process can take four to six weeks to complete.
First, the insurance company only issues payment once you sign the release form. Of course, a delay can happen while the insurer writes the check. Your attorney may contact the adjuster if enough time has passed without payment. When the money arrives, it usually goes to the lawyer’s office.
The attorney deducts their fee and handles any liens your claim has. Then, they send you the remaining money to use as you see fit.
How Much Does A Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Absolutely nothing! It’s a common misconception that lawyers are expensive, but in reality, most personal injury lawyers charge nothing upfront. Instead, they operate under a contingent fee arrangement. This means they take a percentage of your final settlement money. If they do not win your case, they do not receive payment.
When Should I Hire A Car Accident Lawyer?
If you're wondering when you should get an attorney after a car accident, the answer is simple: ASAP.
The statute of limitations for car accidents is anywhere from 1 to 6 years, depending on which state you are in. However, in any case, it’s best to act now. If you wait too long to file your claim, valuable evidence may be lost and injuries may worsen. The sooner you reach out to our team of car crash attorneys after your accident, the sooner we’ll be able to get you on the road to recovery.
What Should I Bring to My Consultation with A Car Accident Lawyer?
Good news: Many car accident lawyers provide free consultations. Once you reach out, a personal injury lawyer will meet with you — either virtually or in person — and provide a free case evaluation. You will answer questions about the accident, your injuries, your expenses, and more. During this first discussion, you can tell your story and share information to help the lawyer get a better idea of your case’s potential. Be ready to provide the following:
Date of the accident
Location of the accident
Case number from police officers who responded
Your information (name, vehicle, license number, insurance provider, etc)
The other driver’s information (name, vehicle, license number, insurance provider, etc)
Photos of the scene, the vehicles, and your injuries
Date and location of any medical treatments you received after the crash
Summary of your injuries and medical diagnoses, if applicable
Any correspondence you’ve had with insurance adjusters
If you both want to move forward with a claim, you will be asked to review and sign a retainer agreement. (Since we work on a contingency fee basis, you will pay us nothing upfront. The retainer agreement will specify the fee amount that your attorney will take from the final settlement. We only get paid if you get paid!)
Do I Really Need A Lawyer for A Car Accident?
It’s always beneficial to seek legal advice. However, you especially need a car accident attorney in these scenarios:
This is your first car accident
You were hurt in the car accident
You have been asked to provide medical records
You have been asked to give a recorded statement
The insurance company refused to pay, or approached you with a low offer that doesn’t cover your expenses
The fine print of an insurance policy is enough to make your head spin. There are bound to be loopholes — some helpful, some harmful — but you'll never know unless you consult a car accident attorney. We’re equipped with a thorough knowledge of the law, as well as the tactics and strategies each individual insurance company employs.
Our complimentary case evaluations are risk-free. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Does My Accident Qualify for A Car Accident Attorney?
Every car accident is different, so there’s only one way to find out: get a free case evaluation right now. Our car accident lawyers handle many different types of cases. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, don’t suffer any longer. Link up with the legal representation you need.
Treating Injuries After A Car Accident: What is A Letter of Protection?
A car accident can cause serious injuries. Unfortunately, many people avoid seeing a doctor because they are afraid they cannot afford treatment.
By the time they learn about their legal rights, it’s too little too late, and their bodies have suffered irreparable damage.
Don’t let this happen to you. Seek medical treatment ASAP.
If you’ve been badly hurt in a car accident, the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance won’t pay for your surgery when you need it. Instead, they expect you to pay for your surgery out of pocket, then submit all of the bills to them afterward. Even then, they may try to dispute your claim!
Doctors and surgeons expect payment when they render services. However, if you’re low on funds or you have inadequate health insurance coverage (or none at all), your car accident injury lawyer will understand if you cannot afford these expenses. They can help you by providing your doctors with a letter of protection.
A letter of protection, also known as an LOP, is a letter submitted to a medical professional by a personal injury lawyer representing an injured client. A letter of protection guarantees a medical provider will receive their payment from a pending claim settlement or future lawsuit award. This means medical providers agree to treat you now and postpone payment collection until your case is finalized - whenever that may be.
While you recover, future medical bills for the duration of your treatment and claim will go to your attorney for proper record keeping. You can request your own copies as well.
If your attorney settles your case or wins your lawsuit, they are then obligated to follow up and confirm that the medical provider’s bills get settled out of a portion of the funds awarded to you.
A letter of protection can also delay debt collection on previous medical bills. For example, if you were in a car crash and received urgent emergency medical care, the facility might’ve billed your health insurance carrier. If your insurance refuses to pay for this bill for whatever reason, your car accident attorney may get a letter of protection to keep the facility off of your back - and keep them from damaging your credit.
Know Your Options After A Car Accident
The majority of personal injury claims are settled without a trial, but even if you never end up in a courtroom, a lawyer is still an indispensable ally when it comes to settling your claim.
Still unsure? Luckily we offer 100% FREE virtual case evaluations from live legal experts available 24/7.
Reach out now for your free consultation. You owe it to yourself to speak with an experienced car accident injury lawyer.