How Much Time Do You Have to Call a Lawyer After a Crash?By Stewart J. Guss on January 5th, 2018
For auto accident victims, the days after the crash are spent attending to medical needs, informing family and loved ones about the extent of injuries, notifying employers about the need to take time off, and getting vehicles repaired. These exhausting tasks can consume a lot of time, leaving little energy and attention to consider questions regarding the legal side of the accident, such as how long you can wait before you call an attorney to discuss a possible case.
While you may want to put off calling a lawyer for as long as possible so you can focus on your other needs, “the sooner the better” is always the best adage. Waiting can put you under unnecessary financial stress and can even threaten your rights to recover the compensation you deserve under the law.
We Can Begin Helping You Right Away
After an accident, you may not realize all of the ways that an experienced car accident attorney can assist you. First, we can examine what happened in the accident and let you know your legal rights from the very start. This way, you do not spend weeks or months wondering whether the law entitles you to compensation or what type of insurance claim you should pursue. Too many accident victims believe they can’t do anything and face their medical bills with mounting stress.
Speaking of medical bills—they can add up quickly, even for a seemingly minor injury. Many people do not have adequate health coverage and are too afraid of the costs to seek the treatments they need. Even if you have health insurance, many policies will not cover claims arising from car crashes because they expect the liable auto insurance company to cover those often extensive bills. Obtaining payment from the auto insurer, however, takes time, and you can face many costly copays and deductibles in the meantime.
Our attorneys’ goal is to ensure you receive all of the medical care you need for your accident-related injuries. We have legal tools to enter into agreements with doctors to halt your bills until you resolve your case. With this help, you can receive medical treatment without the constant worry about unpaid bills.
In addition, our firm can initiate an auto insurance claim on your behalf as soon as possible after you contact us. Insurance companies make the claims process more complicated than you may imagine, and they deny many claims in part or in whole. We will handle every part of the process for you so that you can focus on getting back on your feet and back to work when possible. We can also determine when insurance claims are inadequate and when taking action in civil court is necessary.
The Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims
A statute of limitations is a law that serves as a deadline for taking legal action. Not only does the statute of limitations vary from state to state, but it may depend on the type of case at hand. The books contain statutes of limitations for filing criminal charges, for collecting credit card debts, and—you guessed it—for filing claims for personal injuries after car accidents.
Texas’s Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003 gives victims in car crashes two years after the date of the injury to initiate a lawsuit. Certain exceptions may apply—for example, the clock stops or is “tolled” for as long as one year under certain situations. You can never know with certainty that your case falls into an exception, however, and most cases must comply with the two-year deadline.
You must take many steps before you may file a case. You should never wait too close to the two-year statute of limitations to call an attorney, because that can weaken the quality and persuasiveness of your claim. Evidence may disappear and witnesses may lose detailed memories about the crash, making impossible a thorough investigation to identify and prove another party’s negligence. You also want to give your attorney enough time to prepare the highest-quality compliant possible to start your case off on the right foot.
Concerns About the Cost of a Car Accident Attorney
Some people put off calling an attorney after an accident because they do not think they can afford legal representation. While in other types of cases attorneys may charge high hourly rates, they generally handle personal injury cases in a different manner. Personal injury clients will often sign a contingent fee agreement that stipulates:
- You do not pay to meet with an attorney
- You do not pay to retain an attorney
- The law firm pays for all up-front costs of the investigation and litigation
- If you receive a settlement, your attorney will receive an agreed-upon percentage
- If you do not receive a settlement, you pay nothing
You do not have to worry about paying your attorney out of your pocket, so this concern should not prevent you from calling a lawyer in a timely manner.
Call a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
If you were in an accident, speak to a Houston personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. When you call our office, do not worry about adding stress to an already stressful time. In fact, our goal is to reduce your concerns and handle every step of your legal case so you can recover financially as soon as possible. You do not want to wait too long and jeopardize your claim in any way.