Should I Call an Attorney After a Car Accident or Other Incident?
Calling an attorney isn’t an everyday occurrence for most people. In fact, with all the courtroom shows on television, it’s understandable if you think lawyers are mainly concerned with highly dramatic cases and hardened criminals.
In reality, attorneys work on lots of cases involving San Antonio car accidents, slips and falls, brain injuries, wrongful death, and other relatively common incidents. If you’ve been in a car accident, calling a lawyer and developing an attorney-client relationship may be one of the first things you should do.
In this post, we’ll discuss the kinds of cases that can benefit from the help of an experienced attorney. We’ll also dispel some myths to put your mind at ease about contacting a law firm during an uncertain time.
Do I Need an Attorney? It Depends on Your Case
People expect a lawyer to say that every case requires the guidance and representation of an attorney, but the truth is, not every case does.
This Car Accident Case May Not Need an Attorney
Let’s say you were waiting at a stop light when a distracted driver rear-ended you.
No one disputes who is at fault and the police report is very clear. The other driver provided all of their contact information. Your injuries include a few bruises and broken bones in one finger, all expected to heal completely. Your financial losses include medical treatment, property damage to your car bumper, and less than a month of missed work.
Fortunately, the at-fault driver has the legally required insurance policy that will cover your costs. While you are unhappy about the fender bender, you’re not in a great deal of pain or mental anguish.
Most likely, you’ll be able to settle that case without the legal advice and cost of a car accident lawyer. You may even have trouble finding an attorney who will take on such a straightforward personal injury claim.
Of course, not all cases are so straightforward.
This Case Definitely Needs a Car Accident Attorney
Often, car crash and other personal injury cases quickly become complicated.
Let’s say you were driving through a green light at an intersection when a car facing the opposite direction turned left, forcing you to T-bone them. The situation is more complex than it looks at first.
Your serious injuries include a concussion, a bone fracture in your leg, and severe cuts on your upper body. Your car might be totaled, and the price you’ll pay in ongoing treatment and pain and suffering is expected to be significant.
The driver who hit you was pushed into the intersection by a driver who rear-ended them. The T-boned driver is insured, but the driver who rear-ended them has no insurance.
The uninsured driver says the left-turning driver is partially to blame because their tires were turned left while they waited (which is not illegal, although best practice is to keep the wheels straight to avoid getting pushed into oncoming traffic). Further complicating questions of fault is a witness statement claiming you were speeding.
On top of all of this, you’re dealing with worsening mental and emotional challenges. Brain fog and depression make day-to-day life harder, but there’s no clear evidence linking them to the accident. We’ve seen this happen to clients like Joshua, who had trouble getting the help he needed for a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Obviously, you deserve compensation, but for what and from whom is less clear. The insurance companies of the other involved parties will investigate the incident with the help of resources you can’t possibly match on your own.
This is a life-altering case that definitely requires an attorney. Your lawyer will know where to look for sources of compensation, demanding the maximum possible amounts. They might work with medical experts and accident reconstructionists to investigate the incident.
What if the Insurance Company is Already Offering Me Money?
It’s typical for the at-fault party’s insurer to offer an injured person a quick settlement amount. This is tempting, as it might sound like a decent sum that you’ll get sooner than you would if you hired a lawyer and entered negotiations.
Generally, however, this first offer is only a percentage of what you’ll actually need for medical bills and other costs, especially if the insurance adjuster sees that you’re not working with an experienced attorney who knows how to fight back.
Understand that the insurance company, and the representative you speak with, want to settle insurance claims as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible. The rep might be friendly and make it sound like they’re on your side, but they’re not.
In the majority of cases, it’s best to talk to an attorney before the insurance companies get a hold of you. This is your best bet for getting the maximum compensation allowed.
Lawyers Know How to Investigate Your Case
Attorneys offer more than legal knowledge and negotiating skills. Because they often investigate cases with complex accident and medical details, they know what questions to ask and what experts to work with.
For example, imagine you’re dealing with a head injury after an accident. You have symptoms that you’re sure are related to the incident, but the insurance company says they’re related to the migraines you had before the accident.
On your own, it would be next to impossible to prove that your symptoms have nothing to do with your migraines. A lawyer may work with neurologists, psychologists, and other experts to show that your new symptoms are related to the accident.
Debunking Myths About Hiring a Lawyer
Still feeling hesitant about calling a lawyer? We get it; there are plenty of myths about the drawbacks of hiring a lawyer. Let’s debunk some of the big ones.
Attorneys are Too Expensive
Did you know that the vast majority of personal injury lawyers only get paid if they win your case? You’ll start with a free consultation and pay their fee as a percentage of your settlement or jury award.
This means that, even if you have no money for a lawyer, you have access to legal help and justice.
Lawyers Don’t Really Care About Injured People
While we can’t speak for all attorneys, we can promise that most of them care a great deal. Look for the following signs that a lawyer truly wants to help clients:
- Free consultations and case evaluations
- Charges only when they win (contingency fee)
- Will meet clients where they are, not just at the law office
- Serious efforts to settle out of court (which keeps costs down)
- Checks to be sure you’re getting the medical attention you need
- Invests in advanced investigation tactics and technology
- Positive reviews from other clients and a good reputation among other lawyers
My Insurance Agent is as Good as an Attorney
We mentioned earlier that the at-fault party’s insurance company is mainly concerned with their own bottom line. While your own insurance company has a bit more interest in helping you, they still want to take care of the case quickly and inexpensively.
This can be a problem if the at-fault party doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your medical expenses and other losses and you need to use your own uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
A lawyer is truly on your side and has nothing to gain by rushing you through the system for less money.
Working With a Lawyer Takes Too Long
It’s true that working with an attorney will take longer than accepting the first offer from the insurance company. Still, the added time will pay off when you end up with more compensation.
Most personal injury cases are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. This means that any related lawsuits must be filed within two years of the date of the incident, whether you work with a lawyer or not.
An Attorney Will Want to Complicate My Case
Do you expect your lawyer to push for things that aren’t necessary to raise charges or boost their reputation?
Never hesitate to ask your attorney what they’re doing and why. Most of the time, you’ll learn they’re doing what’s necessary to get you the most money possible.
Contact Crosley Law After Your Car Accident or Other Injury
If you or a loved one have been hurt in a car accident or other incident, it’s very likely that you need the help of an experienced attorney. The legal team at Crosley Law will take your call 24/7 and work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.
Please call us at (210) LAW-3000|(210) 529-3000 or use the contact form on our website to set up your free case evaluation. It will be our honor to represent you!
Goguen, D. (n.d.). How the insurance adjuster determines a settlement offer. AllLaw.com. Retrieved from https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/how-insurance-adjuster-determines-settlement-offer.html?routing=pi5
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
Related ArticlesView All Blog Articles
What Happens if You Get in an Accident With a Delivery Truck Driver?Nov 01, 2022
If your neighborhood is anything like ours, chances are you see a steady stream of delivery trucks, vans, and other vehicles pass by your house or apartment on a daily basis. The trend really took off at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it certainly shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Nowadays, […]
How to Prepare for a Deposition in a Texas Personal Injury CaseOct 24, 2022
If you’ve suffered a personal injury that wasn’t your fault and you need to file a civil lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve, sooner or later you will likely have to provide your personal testimony in a deposition. Although depositions are not given before a judge, the things that you say will be considered […]
The Dangers of 15-Passenger Vans (and What to Do After a Passenger Van Accident)Oct 10, 2022
Traffic safety experts and auto manufacturers have known for decades that large passenger vans are especially likely to be involved in certain kinds of serious crashes. While these vans are a convenient way to transport groups of people, larger vehicles require a greater degree of driving skill to operate safely—particularly when fully loaded with passengers […]
U-Turn Laws in Texas: Who’s at Fault After a Crash?Aug 24, 2022
There’s a lot of confusion about Texas’ U-turn laws. While U-turns are generally legal in Texas and a convenient way to quickly change direction, they’re also known for leading to numerous car accidents. If you’ve been involved in a U-turn accident, it might not be immediately clear who is at fault. First, although the driver […]
Considering a New Braunfels Car Accident Lawyer? Here’s What You Need to KnowJul 07, 2022
New Braunfels, TX has come a long way in just a few decades. Comal County remains one of the fastest growing in the country, and new developments continue to be built throughout the region. One negative consequence of all this growth? An increase in car accidents. There were 2,715 recorded crashes in the county in […]
How Much Is a Good Settlement for Nerve Damage After a Car Accident?May 27, 2022
Nerve damage is common after auto accidents. Nerves are sensitive, fragile tissues that can easily be pinched, compressed, crushed, or even severed in a serious accident—potentially leading to serious and lifelong physical and emotional distress. Unfortunately, pinched nerves and other injuries are not always immediately apparent following a crash, which can prevent car accident victims […]
Car vs. Pedestrian: Who Is at Fault for the Accident?May 10, 2022
No amount of money will erase the emotional trauma of being in a car crash as a pedestrian. However, fair compensation for your suffering and financial costs is one way you can begin to rebuild your life and find some closure. Securing that fair compensation might be more complicated than you’d expect, however—especially when you’re […]
Texas Personal Injury Law Changes: Texas Tort ReformApr 19, 2022
Unexpected accidents happen more frequently than most of us like to admit. Car wrecks, workplace injuries, even major trucking crashes occur every day. Often, these unexpected tragedies were preventable, if only someone had put down their phone while driving, promptly addressed a workplace safety issue, or performed their required duties. In the eyes of the […]
Can You Tear a Meniscus in a Car Accident?Feb 28, 2022
The knee is a fragile and complex part of the body that is prone to many different forms of injury during the sudden and powerful impact of a car accident. One of the many fragile parts of the knee is the meniscus, which commonly tears when suddenly twisted. Meniscus tears during car accidents are common […]
What Does a San Antonio Car Accident Lawyer Do?Feb 23, 2022
We have thousands of car accident lawyers across the country, yet many car accident victims, unfortunately, do not know what these lawyers actually do. As a result, victims go without help too often and end up cheated out of compensation by insurance companies. Hiring an attorney after an accident could make a huge difference between […]
Do you or a family member
need legal advice?
Crosley Law Firm, PC is a professional corporation of trial lawyers focused on representing individuals and families who have suffered serious personal injuries or wrongful death. If you’ve been injured, fill out the form for a free consultation, or call 210-LAW-3000.