When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident
Car accidents kill 32,000 people per year in the United States. Over 2 million people suffer injuries in collisions annually Personal injuries, depending who is at fault for the accident, may require a car accident lawyer.
Even when you’re not suing another person, you may need a lawyer to help you receive money from your insurance company.
We’re going to discuss when to get an attorney for a car accident so that you know when an accident warrants the help of an attorney.
When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident
If you’re involved in an insignificant auto accident, chances are you won’t need a lawyer. An example of an accident that’s insignificant is when two vehicles back into each other, at very low speeds, in a parking lot.
The damage is very minimal in these cases. No one is injured. Sometimes, there’s no damage at all.
In this case, you can go through your insurance company and opt not to get a lawyer. But there are times when a motor vehicle accident warrants the help of a lawyer:
- Serious Injuries. If a serious injury occurred, you’ll want to retain the services of an attorney. These car crashes include hospitalization, broken bones or injuries that are likely to be permanent in nature.
- Death. Car accidents that result in death should be handled by an attorney. Whether you’re a surviving loved one or the opposing driver in the accident, seek an attorney’s advice immediately.
- Fault. Accidents can and do occur, but when fault becomes a clear issue, it’s time for legal guidance.
- Construction Zone. Accidents that occur in a construction zone can be deadly. These accidents may even involve hitting a worker or violations on part of the driver. Heavy fines and penalties are assessed for accidents in construction zones.
- Police Report. A police report that’s not accurate can have a lasting impact on your claim. If the report puts the blame on you and is not accurate, you’ll need an attorney to help and fight your case.
- Additional Parties. When additional parties are involved, you’ll need to contact an attorney. These parties can include other automobiles and even pedestrians.
- Attorneys are Involved. If anyone, including your insurer, hires an attorney, you’ll want to pick up the phone immediately and secure your own attorney.
- Insurance Issues. If any auto involved in the accident doesn’t have insurance, the insurer suggests you didn’t pay your premium or your insurance limits are too low, a law firm can help.
Other times when a lawyer should be considered
You can also seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer if you’re:
- Accident’s fault may be an issue
- Not sure of your rights
- Confused about your policy
- Stuck in negotiations with your insurer
- Not sure if your insurer is acting in good faith
A car accident claim must be filed, whether or not you choose to work with an injury lawyer. A car accident case involves several moving parts, including: lawyers, police reports, insurance companies and witnesses, to name a few.
If your circumstances are complex, such as trying to prove lost wages, you’ll want legal advice. It can be difficult to prove lost wages as a sales person, consultant or business owner who doesn’t have a normal 9-to-5 job.
Of course, if you’ve sustained serious injuries, hiring a lawyer is advised. The lawyer will ensure that you’ve properly accounted for lost wages, both current and future, and that your settlement is fair.
If another party involved in the accident hires a lawyer, it’s time to consult with your own attorney. An attorney, in most circumstances, should be consulted with prior to talking to an insurance adjuster.
Attorneys can help protect your rights following an accident.
What You Should Do When Making Car Insurance Claims
Pain and suffering, loss of work, medical bills and further damages can occur from a single automobile accident. Property damage can occur, death or life-long injuries. If you take the wrong approach following an accident, you can have a lasting impact on your claim.
There are a lot of things that you can do to protect yourself following an accident:
- Call your insurance agent as soon as possible.
- Review your current policy and understand what your coverages are.
- Consider other policies that may offer coverage, such as homeowner policies.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, damage and injuries.
- Remain honest the entire time. Your insurer needs to know all the facts pertaining to an accident.
- Document everything from your medical bills to expenses incurred as a result of your accident.
If you follow these six tips above, you’ll better prepare your auto accident lawyer to handle your case.
What You Should Not Do When Making a Claim
A car accident injury often leads people to make rash decisions, and this can lead to making big mistakes that have a major impact on any potential settlement. Here are some things not to do when filing an accident claim or discussing the incident afterwards include:
- Don’t provide a written or recorded statement to your insurer until you fully understand your policy.
- Don’t accept an estimate or appraisal that isn’t fair. Take your time to analyze the estimate and appraisal before moving forward.
- Don’t accept a payment marked as “final payment.” If you accept a “final payment” check, you may be agreeing to not pursue further action.
- Don’t sign a waiver or release. Legal advice should be sought if you’re an accident victim and have someone asking you to sign a waiver or release.
- Don’t accept anything you deem unfair. An insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, so they have the best interest of the insurer in mind – not your interests.
If you make the mistakes above, you can still contact an auto accident attorney and discuss your options. There are a lot of attorneys that will provide a free consultation for your case. The consultation is used to determine if you have a case.
And since these consultations are free, you have nothing to lose.
An attorney can help increase the value of any claim substantially. Insurance companies know that they will face much higher charges the moment one of their clients hire a lawyer, so they will remain persistent and try to secure a settlement.
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