There are no laws that state you need to get an attorney after a car accident. When people are the victim of a car accident, they frequently wonder if they should seek out a lawyer to handle their claim. Some do so because they fear being taken advantage of by the insurance companies. When people have serious injuries, they may opt to have an attorney handle all the heavy lifting so they can recover in peace. Whatever reason you may have for looking for an attorney, you should know that it's your right to have a lawyer looking out for your interests. You can hire a lawyer at any point during the negotiation process.
If you're wondering when to get an attorney for a car accident, you're not alone. Sometimes, it's only after starting the negotiation process that people realize the need for legal counsel. It may be that negotiations have stalled, or you're not being offered a reasonable settlement. Perhaps, your claim is being denied, and you're not sure why or what to do next. Here are some of the most common reasons you should get an attorney for a car accident.
You've sustained serious injuries - Serious injuries complicate claims because there are high stakes on both sides. The nature of severe injuries causes medical expenses to skyrocket. It may be that you will need ongoing treatment and long-term rehabilitation. You may need costly modifications to your home and may require home care as well as paying for services such as cleaning, shopping, and cooking. All of these add up, and the insurance company will try to keep the payout as low as possible. They may not factor in long-term expenses into their settlement; that's why it's crucial to have a lawyer represent you. Our car accident attorneys know how insurance companies think and their tricks to underpay legitimate claims.
The fault is not clearly established - When a car insurance company comes back and says you are partly or totally at fault for a car accident, you're going to have to fight to prove otherwise. Our attorneys can help by conducting our own thorough investigation and hopefully uncover some new evidence that shows your side of the story. We have the resources to hire investigators and accident reconstruction specialists to reframe the accident proving the other driver is to blame.
The crash was in a school zone - Every state has specific laws about driving in school zones like speed limits, fully yielding at a school crosswalk, and no passing other drivers. Suppose the other party disregarded these laws and caused your accident. In that case, we can help clearly assign fault to the other driver.
The crash was in a construction zone - Construction zone collisions can be complex because you may have other factors at play, such as construction company or government worker errors. They could have some liability in the accident if they failed to alert drivers with warning or detour signs; or if construction equipment was left in the road, temporary lanes weren't properly marked, or they failed to guide traffic when necessary. Construction sites can be difficult to navigate, and these areas often result in chain-reaction collisions involving multiple drivers. When you have all of these factors at play, this is the time when getting an attorney is critical.
You disagree with the police report - A police report is a vital document that insurance adjusters will use to determine liability. When a police report is inaccurate, it can be highly detrimental to your ability to get compensation. Our lawyers can advise you on how to get the police report amended to accurately reflect the facts of the accident. Fixing a police report error should be done as quickly as possible.
The insurance company is stalling - The goal of any insurance company is to make profits. Settling a claim means they make less money, and this is an incentive to delay the process. When they drag out making a settlement offer, they're hoping that you become frustrated and give up, then they win. They also know the longer they wait, the harder it is for you to prove they owe for the accident. They may say there is insufficient evidence, or your injuries are pre-existing. Our personal injury lawyers will help you gather evidence and prove your injuries are new, not pre-existing. Perhaps most important, our law firm has a reputation in the industry for fighting, and insurance companies are aware of our track record for success. Sometimes, all it takes is a heavyweight in your corner, ready to fight.
The insurance company offers a lowball settlement - Again, insurance companies are all about gains, not losses. When they have to pay out a significant settlement, it hurts their bottom line, so the first offer is typically going to be as little as possible. The only option you have is to keep negotiating, and you may wind up in court. Now is not the time to give in and take their puny offer. Once you accept it, they'll have you sign away your right to seek any further compensation down the road. Our car accident lawyers can help through negotiations and will represent you at trial if necessary.
The other driver is underinsured or uninsured - If the other driver has no insurance or is underinsured, you may be able to make a claim with your own insurance company if you have coverage on your policy. You also have the option of filing a lawsuit against the other driver. However, our car accident attorneys will need to investigate to determine if it's worth pursuing. If the other driver has no assets and a low-paying job, winning a lawsuit could be a hollow victory because it would be unlikely you'd ever get paid.
The other driver was a city, state, or government employee - Getting into an accident with a city sanitation truck or a fire truck can make getting compensation difficult. As a rule, the higher up the food chain the employee is, the more challenging claims can be. Plus, the statute of limitations for suing the government, state, or city entities is dramatically less than a regular civil lawsuit. You may have as little as 180 days, so time is of the essence. For this type of accident, you will most certainly need a lawyer to guide you through the process.