Get an attorney for a car accident immediately after the collision. Car accidents are often disorienting and can create a lot of confusion. Who’s at fault? How much money do I get? How long should my claim take to process? You might have several questions regarding your car accident—many of which you might not have answers to.
A car accident lawyer can help you answer these questions and guide your case to a fair resolution. Because of the state’s statute of limitations, it’s in your best interest to consider legal help sooner rather than later.
You Don’t Know Who Caused the Collision
Here’s an unfortunate hypothetical to illustrate the complexities of determining fault. A careless driver cuts you off. You swerve to avoid getting hit and end up colliding with another vehicle. The other driver says you’re at fault, and meanwhile, the driver who cut you off is long gone. What happens now?
Faults can get complicated, even in seemingly simple cases. Here, you should consider getting a lawyer for a car accident. They can investigate the collision and determine the at-fault and liable parties.
Without legal counsel, you could face expensive medical bills, higher insurance premiums, and other consequences. A lawyer aims to reveal the truth behind an accident. Partnering with one could make a huge difference in how your case progresses.
You Don’t Fully Understand the State’s, Civil Laws
You may have a rough understanding of what the law says about car accidents. Yet, if you don’t understand the law’s many nuances, you could lose your opportunity to seek the compensation you need. Your lawyer will fully understand the many laws that allow you to secure a financial recovery.
They can use this knowledge to demonstrate negligence, which comprises four elements:
- Duty of care. Everyone has a duty of care to avoid causing harm to others. For instance, all motorists have a duty of care to drive with caution.
- Breach of duty. The other party in your case acted carelessly or recklessly, putting others at risk of serious injuries.
- Causation. Another party caused your accident and injuries.
- Damages. You suffered financial losses from the collision.
Your lawyer can apply the standards of negligence (along with other state laws) to advance your injury case.
More Than Two Parties Are Involved
If your collision involves more than two parties (like in a pileup accident), you could have problems with your case’s details, including having to:
- Juggle communications with multiple parties
- Handle more than one insurer
- Prove negligence on the part of multiple parties
- Evaluate your losses
- Face high-powered lawyers and claims adjusters
If you were involved in a multi-vehicle pileup, hiring a car accident lawyer may be the most efficient and least stressful choice. They can handle all of the obligations listed above, so you can focus on healing.
You Suffered Serious Injuries in the Car Accident
Almost all car accident injuries are serious injuries. Even those that don’t immediately present symptoms could transform your life in the days and weeks to come.
You may consider passing off your case to a lawyer if you suffered:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Multiple broken bones
- Spinal cord trauma
- Torn ligaments
- Vision or hearing loss
- The loss of one or more limbs
- Blood loss
While you focus on undergoing treatment and rebuilding your life, your lawyer will fight for a car settlement that includes all of your current and future medical expenses. Trying to handle the obligations of a legal case alone could halt your recovery period, further increasing the challenges you face.
You’re Anticipating a Lawsuit
Civil cases aren’t like the cut-and-dry situations on daytime TV. They can take weeks to resolve, sometimes involving dozens of witnesses and legal professionals. You don’t want to go through this arduous process alone especially while undergoing treatment. You want someone who can manage these obligations on your behalf.
A lawyer does more than present your case in court. They cross-examine witnesses, poke holes in the other side’s story, and adhere to all filing deadlines. They could further your lawsuit without asking you to spend a day in court.
The Insurer Isn’t Treating You Fairly
Perhaps you didn’t think you needed an attorney. The case seemed straightforward, and you filed a claim for what you felt you deserved. Now, the insurer has denied your claim. What should you do next? It may be time to consider getting a lawyer for your car accident claim.
To combat a denial, your lawyer can:
- Present additional forms of evidence
- Interview eyewitnesses and third-party field consultants
- Re-evaluate the cost of your damages
- Negotiate for a favorable settlement (if possible)
- Review the liable insurance policy’s limits
You should have received a letter that included the reason for your claim’s denial. A lawyer can review the letter, communicate with the insurance company, and attempt to rectify the situation.
The Insurer Is Employing Bad Faith Insurance Tactics
Some insurance companies employ unethical practices (known as bad faith insurance practices) to discourage injured claimants from seeking compensation. An insurer may do this even if there’s satisfactory documentation to validate the claim.
Examples of bad faith practices include:
- Denying your claim without a written reason why
- Lying to you about a policy’s details
- Pressuring or bullying you into accepting a fair offer
- Failing to respond to your messages in a timely manner
- Pausing the claims process without a valid reason
- Misrepresenting an aspect of the claims process
Your car accident lawyer can combat any challenges that impede your right to compensation.
The Insurance Company Makes a Low Settlement Offer
Saving money is the name of the game for insurance adjusters. Many care more about their bottom lines than paying for injured people’s losses. To keep turning a profit, they have to pay out less than they make. If every claimant got paid fairly, insurance companies would lose a lot of money. For this reason, the insurer may offer less than you need and hope you’ll accept.
You should consider getting a lawyer if the insurer has offered a low settlement and:
- You’re unsure of how to proceed.
- The settlement doesn’t account for each of your losses, including pain and suffering.
- The insurer says you only have a limited time to accept this unfair deal.
- You have reason to believe that the insurer is withholding the compensation you need.
Your attorney can calculate the total value of your auto accident case, gather proof of your losses, and demand a fair settlement. Even the toughest insurance companies sometimes respond better when confronted with a legal professional.
If the insurer won’t relent, your lawyer can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Lawsuits are sometimes great motivators for insurance companies, meaning that after filing your lawsuit, the insurer may offer the compensation you deserve.
The Insurer Delays Your Claim’s Progression
You should expect your car insurance claim to take some time to process, especially if you were involved in a particularly complex crash. However, you shouldn’t expect it to take months with no update. If you are receiving updates, but they are riddled with excuses about why your claim is taking so long, you may want to get an auto accident attorney.
Sometimes insurance adjusters try to run down the clock on your statute of limitations. This is the legal time limit you have to file a lawsuit for your crash. If you miss the deadline, you have no legal right to recover compensation from the negligent party, which means the insurer doesn’t have to pay you.
Your car accident lawyer can ensure your case progresses as expected, so you can rest easy knowing your case is on track. Your attorney can evaluate whether the insurance firm is dragging its feet and take action accordingly.
The Insurer Blames You for the Collision
Claims adjusters want to seem like they are on your side. Yet, they have one goal: to protect their employer’s interest. So, they may ask seemingly innocuous questions, hoping that you’ll admit that you caused the accident (or at least a good part of it). They may even ask for a recorded statement, aiming to get such an admission on tape.
You should avoid answering any questions from the insurer without seeking legal help. The claims adjuster may use what you say about the accident and your injuries against you. In the end, this can significantly affect how much you can recover. Yet, with a lawyer on your side, you can have a layer of protection between yourself and the liable insurer.
Tips to Protect Your Right to Compensation After a Car Accident
Getting a lawyer for a car accident is just one way to protect your legal rights. Some post-accident considerations that could make the claims process more straightforward include:
Limiting Your Social Media Use
Anything you share on social media is a public record. So, if you share something about your case, the claims adjuster could use that information to discredit it. While your claim unfolds, think twice about posting online. You don’t want to give the other party any ammo when it comes to downplaying your damages.
Speaking With Witnesses
If it’s possible, speak with some of the witnesses to your accident. Ask them what they saw and who they believed caused the crash. Get their names and contact information. Your lawyer could use these details to bolster your claim later.
Refusing to Give a Recorded Statement
When speaking to the liable insurer, don’t volunteer specifics or share anything beyond basic details. Refer the claims adjuster to your lawyer at every opportunity. Refuse to give a recorded statement as well giving one does not benefit you.
Not Admitting Fault for the Accident
If you admit fault or say something that indicates guilt, the insurance company can use it against you. If you bear some of the blame, the adjuster may reduce your compensation, or you may get nothing at all, depending on the laws of your state.
Refusing Low Offers
Never accept the first offer from the insurer, and if any subsequent offer seems low, do not agree to it. Your lawyer can help you recover what you deserve, but if you sign an agreement for a low offer, you will lose your right to recover any more money in the future. All your bills will be left up to you.
Not Signing Any Documents Without Your Lawyer
If you haven’t gotten an attorney, do not sign any documents from the claims adjuster. For instance, they may say they need you to sign a medical authorization form to get your medical records. They do not need this. They could see your entire medical history and may use it against you later. If you’re unsure about what you’re signing, hold off and consult a lawyer.
Keeping Your Records in Order
You should keep all documentation from the accident in a safe place.
These items include:
- Your medical bills
- Any relevant receipts or invoices
- A copy of the accident report
- Any journal entries after the accident
- The names of any witnesses or insurance representatives
These documents support your claim, and your lawyer may need them to start your case. You should bring any relevant documents when meeting your attorney for the first time. These items can help them understand what your case involves.
Protect Your Rights With a Qualified Car Accident Lawyer
There are numerous reasons why you may need to get a lawyer for a car accident. When in doubt, seek one out. A lawyer can provide the necessary support and help you fight insurance companies that don’t want to play fair. A personal injury lawyer in Atlanta usually offers their services for a contingent fee, so you never have to pay upfront or out-of-pocket. Hiring a lawyer could help you recover fair compensation.