When Do You Need To Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
You probably have a lot on your plate after a car accident.
If you were injured in the crash, you might be out of work with substantial medical bills and other expenses – not to mention your pain and suffering. The situation can become even more overwhelming if your accident was caused by someone else.
One of the top questions on your mind is likely how you will get compensation from the responsible party that makes you whole again. Hiring an attorney after a car accident can make all the difference toward that end, but it’s not always the case that hiring an attorney is necessary. This article will fill you in on when you need to hire a car accident lawyer.
Signs That You Should Hire a Car Accident Attorney
In a “no-fault” state like Florida, you can generally file a claim against your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy after a small crash like that – and you can do so regardless of who is responsible for the crash.
Other states, such as California, are considered “at fault” instead. In these locations, you can usually file a claim against the insurance policy of the driver who caused the accident without much trouble.
However, in other circumstances, hiring a lawyer is likely in your best interest. Here are some of the major signs that indicate you should hire a car accident attorney.
You’ve Sustained a Serious Injury
If you were seriously injured in the accident, the chances are you will benefit greatly from hiring a lawyer. These crashes tend to result in substantial financial expenses as well as severe mental, physical, and emotional impacts.
Through a claim against the at-fault driver, you can get compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. However, the responsible party or their insurance company will try to minimize their liability as much as possible.
If you aren’t represented by an experienced car accident lawyer, you run the risk of resolving your claim for less than what it’s worth. In serious injury cases, this could mean missing out on millions of dollars, potentially. Your attorney can fight for your rights and interests while you focus on your medical recovery.
The Insurance Company Declines or Limits Your Claim
Almost all car accident cases involve an insurance company in one form or another. These corporations exist to make a profit; the more money they have to pay you for your claim, the more money they lose out on. This is true whether it is your own insurance company or the other driver’s.
Insurers utilize various tactics to minimize or escape liability. For instance, they might claim that your accident was your fault. Depending on the state you live in, this could bar you from recovering any compensation at all. As another example, the insurance company might assert that the accident didn’t cause your injuries.
If an insurance company tries to deny your claim or offers a “lowball” settlement amount, it’s probably time to hire an attorney. A car accident lawyer can respond to these kinds of developments effectively and help you obtain the full compensation you are entitled to under the law.
Your Crash Was Caused by Mechanical Failure
Some car accidents aren’t necessarily due to the negligence (carelessness) of anyone involved but rather are due to a defective part or machinery. These cases are often complex and aren’t as simple as filing an insurance claim against the responsible driver.
Instead, you may need to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, retailer, or distributor to get adequately compensated for your injuries. These lawsuits usually entail hiring expert assistance – such as an accident reconstructionist – to provide sufficient evidence to win the case.
Car accident lawyers have established relationships with these professionals and also understand the potentially complicated laws that product liability claims can involve.
You’re Up Against a Governmental Entity
In some car accident cases, your best course of action is to file a claim against the government. For example, this might be true if your crash is caused by poor roadway conditions or upkeep. With these kinds of crashes, there may not be another liable party to pursue legal recourse against.
Filing a lawsuit against the government is rarely simple. These cases generally have different filing requirements, for instance, as well as shorter deadlines. From there, the legal proceedings may also develop differently compared to a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver.
You’ll almost certainly need to hire a car accident lawyer to go up against the government. Because of the unique aspects of these cases, you should also hire an attorney with prior experience suing a governmental entity.
The Other Driver Is Underinsured or Uninsured
After getting into a car accident, you might discover that the at-fault driver either doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages or doesn’t have insurance at all. In these circumstances, you have a few options:
● If you have UM/UIM insurance coverage, you may file a claim against your insurance policy to recover compensation.
● You may bring a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
Depending on the facts of your situation and your insurance, the second option could be your best bet. However, this is assuming that the at-fault party has the funds to pay your claim if you win.
A car accident lawyer can investigate your crash to determine your best course of action and, from there, work to ensure you receive compensation that reflects every consequence you’ve had to endure.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Car Accident Lawyer To Discuss Your Options
The above scenarios are only a few examples of when hiring an attorney after a car accident is a wise decision. However, what’s important to note is that most car accident lawyers offer free initial consultations. It’s almost always at least worth the time to reach out to an attorney and find out whether you need legal assistance for your case.
Further, most car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. That means that they only get paid for their legal representation if they obtain compensation for you. As a result, if they agree to take on your case, you can be confident that your claim has significant value and that they can win.