Should I Call an Attorney After a Car Accident or Other Incident?
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.
RELATED: Why the Insurance Company Denied Your Car Accident Claim (and What to Do Next)
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.
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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.