Attorneys Answer: When do you need to hire a car accident lawyer?

SOURCE: DOLMAN Law Group

John K. Lawlor – Lawlor, White, and Murphy

After enduring a traumatic car crash, many accident victims are too shaken to even think about hiring an attorney. But hiring a car accident lawyer is essential after sustaining even a seemingly minor injury in an auto accident if you want to protect your right to fair compensation. Navigating the no-fault insurance system and accident laws can be complex, and a seasoned attorney can help you understand your options, pursue your claim, and defend you against unfair settlement offers from insurance companies. It’s important to remember that insurance companies are first and foremost a business, so insurers will often try to pay the minimum amount of compensation possible to secure maximum profit for their company. Frequently, their settlement will not be enough to cover the cost of medical treatment and basic repairs.

An auto accident attorney can fight vigorously on your behalf, ensuring that you receive adequate compensation not only for medical and repair costs, but also for lost wages and overall pain and suffering.

Andrew Winston – The Law Office of Andrew Winston

The aftermath of a car accident is so stressful that hiring a lawyer may take a backseat to immediate concerns like addressing your injuries, dealing with your insurance company and repairing your vehicle.

Many accident victims don’t realize that retaining a lawyer in the days or hours after an accident means gaining an advocate to help you make critical decisions. It’s never too soon to consult an attorney after a crash. I’ve had clients call my 24-7 hotline from the scene of a crash to get advice on how to proceed. Those clients benefit from receiving professional advice about how to navigate the complicated post accident labyrinth of medical bills, physical therapy and vehicle repairs.

Many people don’t realize they have options in the aftermath of an accident. Most importantly, sharing information with insurance companies can be tricky. It’s critical to contact your insurance company immediately after an accident. However, it is generally never a good idea to speak to the insurance adjuster representing the other driver.

Typically, the other party’s insurer will ask you to give a recorded account of the accident as soon as possible. You have no obligation to give an official statement to the other driver’s insurance company. In fact, locking yourself into a version of events recalled while still under duress from the accident often hurts your damage claims down the line. Soft tissue injuries of the head may not be apparent immediately. As a result, you could make it difficult to recover physical therapy costs down the line if you initially report feeling fine.

Some clients don’t initially consult a lawyer because they trust that insurance companies will fairly cover their medical bills, vehicle repairs and lost time at work. Unfortunately, this is the exception to the rule.

Often clients consult me when they are at their wits end, feeling frustrated with delays or denials of liability from insurers. They are surprised to learn that insurance companies aren’t actually on your side; they are looking out for their bottom line and their shareholders.

If auto insurers can find a reason to deny your claim, they will. Hire a lawyer, so you can recover the compensation you deserve for the injuries, vehicle repairs and time lost to dealing with your accident.

Let your lawyer wade through the paperwork and hours of negotiating that accrues after a crash. Finally, make sure you put your case in the hands of a professional who is adept at dealing with the insurance companies. Only experienced personal injury lawyers understand how to handle the intricacies of a case to ensure adequate compensation.

Randolph Rice – Law Offices of Randolph Rice

You need to consult with an auto accident attorney immediately. The only thing that takes priority is visiting your doctor or hospital because prompt medical treatment is also essential.The good news is that you are never obligated to hire an accident attorney. But you can still benefit from hearing a thorough explanation regarding how a personal injury attorney might help you recover more money.

There are numerous critical problems with waiting to call a lawyer, including the destruction or disappearance of needed evidence or witnesses. Also, accident victims without lawyers usually do not deal with medical providers in the best way, nor visit all medical providers that they need quickly enough. Good lawyers will spend the time to educate their clients regarding how to navigate their medical situation, which is essential because medical records are probably the most important evidence presented during any accident lawsuit.

Additionally, accident victims without lawyers often make big mistakes when talking with insurance adjusters. Insurance adjusters pretend that they want to help, while trying to convince the injured victims to take often far less than they deserve after any car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, or bicycle accident. Make no mistake: the insurance company only cares about paying you as little as they can. So adjusters often do not mention legally available damages when an injured victim contacts them without an attorney. For example, the adjuster may not explain that you are entitled to future medical expenses, pain and suffering damages, as well as any lost wages.

Potential clients should also make sure they are not dealing with a settlement mill law firm, where case managers or paralegals dealing with hundreds of cases each have little incentive to help individual clients maximize their recovery.

Tina Willis – Tina Willis Law

There is no exact science as to when you should and when you should not hire a lawyer to represent you in your car accident case. As a general rule, if at any time you do not feel comfortable handling your claim on your own, for any reason, you should consult with and hire a car accident lawyer. Beyond that there are no hard and fast rules. We have come up with a few of our own that we advise potential clients on to help them make a decision whether to hire us or not. Below are a few of those.If you were not injured in the accident and therefore only have a property damage claim, you likely do not need to hire a lawyer. This is because insurance companies typically do not play games with the value of the property damage.

If you were injured in the accident then it is more likely that you will want to hire a car accident lawyer. Still there may be instances where you can handle the claim on your own. For example, if you have relatively minor injuries that do not require or did not require more than a few weeks of conservative treatment (i.e. no surgery etc.), then you may be able to handle that claim on your own. Much like the property damage claim, insurance companies tend not to play games with the value of minor injury claims. We typically tell potential clients that if your medical expenses are less than $10,000.00 then it is something you may be able to settle on your own without the need for a lawyer’s help.

If you were severely injured and/or your treatment has lasted well beyond just a couple of weeks, it is probably time to hire a lawyer. As your claim increases in value, so does the chances that the insurance company is going to dig in and fight to minimize your claim as much as possible. So if you have bills over $10,000.00 or found out you have a major injury like a herniated disc or broken bone, it is probably time to hire a lawyer.

In conclusion, remember the first rule that if at any point in the claims process, regardless of your injuries or the amount of your medical expenses, you feel uncomfortable handling your claim on your own, it is time to seek legal representation.

Ted Spaulding – Boling Rice, LLC

The world we live in has evolved into a technology based creature with evidence which may be favorable to both the prosecution and defense of your claim being collected all around you. Likewise the answer to question has also evolved over the past decades. We live in a world of street cameras, cell phones and event recorders located within our vehicles. If you are involved in a car accident it is likely that the electronic evidence contained on one or more of these devices may become a factor in your claim.Immediately following the car accident it is likely that police will be called to scene to investigate. You will likely be asked questions regarding what occurred or asked to complete a written statement. The officer may ask you if you were speeding. Talking on a cell phone? Texting? How you answer these questions could aversely impact your situation. You will have to make a decision on the spot whether you choose to answer these questions or complete a written statement.

It is always good sound advice to seek out an experienced car accident attorney. Regardless of the extent of your damages and the value of your claim you can learn a wealth of information about how to move forward and protect yourself from exposure in a disputed case. Most firms will offer a FREE consultation to individuals injured in a car accident regardless of situation. Therefore, you should strongly consider seeking out an experienced car accident attorney.

Clay Burgess – The Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess

When you’ve been in a car accident, you suddenly have a lot to deal with that you hadn’t planned for. You are now injured, your vehicle is damaged and you have to navigate a claims process that is unfamiliar to you. Lawyers can reduce your stress of going through this process. Hiring an auto accident attorney to represent you means you will have a professional working for you. Often after a car accident, an insurance adjuster representing the other driver will contact you and offer money to settle your claim. But are they offering you fair value for your claim? Chances are they are not. You need an attorney who understands how much your case is really worth. An attorney who knows how and when to negotiate with the insurance company in order to get the full value of your claim.

Many attorneys will give you a free consultation, so contact an experienced one and see what they can do for you and your case.

Anthony Bruning Jr. – Bruning Legal

When you are involved in an automobile crash the first thing that comes to mind is what do I do now?You must do the following:

1) If you are injured get treatment at the scene or go to the hospital;
2) Obtain the other driver’s personal and insurance information;
3) Take pictures of the property damage and accident scene;
5) Give a statement to the police;
6) Do not talk to anyone other than the police.

Our firm believes the most important part of a personal injury claim is your health. If you are injured you need to seek medical attention immediately.

Hiring a personal injury attorney is important when you are injured. I know most people believe the insurance companies will take care of them in an automobile crash. However, most insurance companies are more concerned about the bottom line than the injured party. This is not in your best interest. Your attorney will help you get a recovery that is equal to your damages.

Robert Clements – Clements & Clements

If you or your passengers have been injured in a car accident, or if you have sustained significant property damage, it is always a good idea to consider hiring a car accident lawyer. A good car accident attorney can help make sure that you get the medical care for your injuries, often without the co-payments or deductibles you face when using your health insurance. Often times, people don’t realize they are injured until the day after a car accident. By then, they may have spoken to an insurance adjuster and already said something to jeopardize their right to a full recovery. This is why we recommend anyone who may have sustained an injury or major damage to their vehicle consult a lawyer before calling the insurance company. Even if you are unsure if you need representation, most reputable car accident attorneys will offer a free, no obligation consultation in order to help assess your rights.

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