When to Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident

Usually, car accidents involving serious or long-term injuries require an attorney to get the most desirable outcome.

An experienced injury attorney can be extremely helpful in navigating the often chaotic and confusing world of insurance claims and injury settlements after a car accident. Here's what you need to know:

  • Most injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning your lawyer only gets paid if there is a successful resolution to your claim.
  • An attorney brings to the table in-depth knowledge of the law, the ability to put your best case together, and comfort in the negotiation trenches when it's time to fight for your best result.
  • It can be a risk to handle a car accident claim on your own, unless your injuries are very minor and the other side is conceding fault.

A Car Accident Attorney Knows the Law

Hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you after a car accident means you will have a professional working for you—one who is extremely knowledgeable about the relevant laws and procedural rules that may affect your case.

An attorney can advise you of the shared fault rules in your state and how they might affect your case if your own negligence might have played a part in causing the accident. (Get the basics on fault for a car accident.)

An attorney will also be familiar with time limits (called statutes of limitations) that can bar you from filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. For instance, in many states you must file your lawsuit within two years of your car accident, or you'll lose the right to take the matter to court. An attorney will also be able to inform you about any special exceptions to the statute of limitations—for minors, for example.

Your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf and will know how best to mitigate any possible defenses raised by the other side. In addition, once your case gets under way, your lawyer will play an invaluable role in preparing your case for trial—and even going to trial if your case doesn't settle.

Even though a lawsuit is rarely necessary, the threat of legal action offers strong leverage when negotiating a fair settlement.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, having an attorney who is knowledgeable about the law evens the playing field, especially when you are going up against the experience and vast resources of a large insurance company.

A Lawyer Does the Legwork In Your Car Accident Claim

A lot of work goes into negotiating an insurance settlement, not to mention trying a personal injury lawsuit. After you've been in a car accident, taking on this time-consuming work might be the last thing you want to do, assuming you're able. Handing things over to an experienced lawyer can take a lot of worry away.

Whereas this may be your first time dealing with the ins and outs of an accident claim, injury attorneys have dealt with all manner of claims and have faced the gamut of insurance company tactics. They have experience obtaining the necessary evidence to support your claim, including gathering police reports, witness statements, medical records and bills, and employment and lost wage information.

Your attorney will also be able to organize the evidence and prepare a settlement demand letter for the insurance company. If you are unable to settle your accident case, your attorney can take care of filing the necessary paperwork to start a court case and can deal with the defense attorneys on your behalf. Having a seasoned professional navigate the day to day work of your case eases the burden on you so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

A Car Accident Attorney Advocates for Your Best Result

Perhaps the most important role a car accident attorney plays is that of advocate. This means acting on your behalf and with your best interests in mind at every stage of the claim process. Whether it's dealing with a car insurance company or presenting your case to a judge or jury, your attorney will be your champion, making sure your side of the story is heard and that you are compensated for all of your losses.

When you're ready to find the right car accident attorney for you and your case, you can use the chat and information submission tools right on this page to connect with a legal professional near you. You can also learn more about hiring the right injury lawyer.

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