In the United States, traffic crashes are more common than they seem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are nearly 7 million traffic accidents each year, that begs the question: Should I hire a lawyer for a car accident?
If you have been injured or your vehicle has been damaged in a car accident, you should hire an attorney to be your legal guide and become your representative in negotiations with the insurance companies or the responsible driver or person.
While individuals can make a car accident claim on their own, it is important to know that the assistance of an attorney can substantially increase the likelihood of fairer compensation for the costs of your injuries, accident expenses, and property damage or loss.
Why should I hire a lawyer for a car accident?
Some of the reasons why it is worth hiring a car accident attorney are that they can assist you with their legal expertise, can represent you and help you protect your rights, can conduct an investigation and gather evidence of the accident, and at the same time can offer you the peace of mind of knowing that you have the support of a specialist in this type of situation.
It is normal that after an accident, people may feel stressed and worried about the expenses that may arise after a car accident. This stress is usually associated with the different types of medical attention that must be received due to injuries that may not heal immediately, the substantial damages to a vehicle or property, transportation expenses due to not having a car, lost wages or income, payments for psychological damages, or mental or welfare treatments when looking for peace of mind.
Sometimes insurance companies may approach the victim immediately or just a few days after the accident has occurred to offer them compensation. It is usually not nearly enough to cover the different expenses and material damages, such as well as injuries suffered. Nonetheless, a great deal of people accepts the nominal offer due to the economic urgency they have at that moment to try to get ahead and repair the damages as soon as possible.
It is because of these types of circumstances that it is important to have the assistance of a car accident attorney to help obtain fairer and more adequate compensation.
Should I hire a lawyer for a car accident, even though I was not at fault?
Even if you believe that an accident you were involved in was not your fault, you must protect your rights and should enlist the help of an attorney who specializes in accidents of this nature.
If you hire an attorney for this, they will help ensure that you receive the fair compensation which you are entitled to as an accident victim.
In determining who is at fault in a crash, there are cases where even though another person is responsible, insurance companies will seek to avoid paying large settlements and may seek to hold you responsible for part or even the entire accident.
By investigating and securing evidence from the accident, the attorney can build a case to help you prove that you are not at fault, and you are entitled to a settlement.
Even though you were not responsible for the accident, insurance companies look for ways to minimize the payment of compensation to an accident victim. That is why it is vital to hire a lawyer who specializes in these cases and knows the laws, traffic regulations, and coverage of insurance policies. This can lead to a negotiation with the insurer to obtain the compensation you are entitled to that will cover your expenses for injuries and property damage.
A car accident lawyer can also help you calculate the financial compensation you should receive based on medical bills, lost wages if you have had to miss work, and relocation expenses or other financial losses.
Also, stress and worry about getting back to your routine and daily life can cause you to miss important deadlines when making an accident-related claim, and missing them could mean that you are not entitled to compensation. An attorney can help you avoid missing these deadlines and ensure that your claim is filed timely and correctly.
In what situations is it essential to call a car accident lawyer?
When you are involved in an accident, some situations warrant seeking the help of an attorney as soon as possible.
Situations where it is highly advisable to hire a car accident lawyer immediately are:
When there are serious injuries
When the driver or a passenger were injured in the accident, an attorney can help protect their rights and seek adequate compensation for the injuries sustained by those involved in the crash.
When guilt is in dispute
In some cases, none of the parties involved in the accident can agree to accept responsibility. A lawyer can help his client conduct a thorough investigation, gather evidence, and prosecute or defend his client with different types of evidence.
When the insurance company does not act fairly
Sometimes, when the sum of the material or physical damages of those involved in the accident are severe, insurance companies try to defend their interests. The insurance company becomes complicated to deal with, offers insufficient indemnity or compensation, or even tries minimizing the liability of their clients.
A specialist lawyer knows how to engage in a dialogue with the insurance agent, how to gather necessary documents and evidence for their client, and takes the necessary steps to force the insurance company to grant fair compensation.
When severe damage was recorded in the crash
Depending on the severity of the car accident, individuals may have suffered a total loss of their vehicle. An attorney can help your client obtain fair compensation for the value of the property damaged in the accident.
What to do if you have just had a car accident?
Car accidents can be complicated experiences for those involved in them. However, some safety measures can be a great help to cope in the best way and to reach the best outcome.
The Insurance Information Institute has shared recommendations for people to know what to do in case of an accident, including measures to be prepared before a car accident. This includes things such as keeping relevant documents inside the car (driver’s license, records, insurance policies, etc.), having emergency equipment in your car (such as orange cones and signs to alert other drivers about the mishap), and having insurance coverage according to the needs of the driver.
Actions you can take in case of an automobile accident include:
- Looking for a safe place to protect yourself from injury. One idea is to stop your vehicle on the side of the road and activate your emergency lights.
- Evaluate possible injuries and make sure that your companions are well.
- Call the police or 911 to alert road authorities and emergency services.
- Inspect the damage to your vehicle and gather evidence such as notes and photographs of both vehicles, if possible, including taking 360-degree video.
- Collect as much information as possible and exchange your information with the other driver.
- Seek to make contact with possible witnesses.
- Notify your insurance company about the accident so they can send an adjuster to inspect your vehicle.
- Call a car accident attorney to provide you with the necessary legal assistance and to guide you through the process of filing an accident report and the claim.
Some actions you should not take after being involved in an automobile accident are:
- Do not leave the scene of the accident before the police arrive – this could be considered a crime and lead to serious legal consequences.
- Do not ignore or minimize the injuries of the driver or passengers. Some symptoms or injuries may go unnoticed in the first moments after an accident.
- Do not admit fault or argue about responsibility for the accident with other drivers.
- Avoid talking to the other driver’s insurance company without the help of an attorney.
- Do not sign any documents without reading them carefully and understanding the legal implications of signing the document.
- Do not share information about the accident on social media – what you post on these platforms can become evidence that can be used against you.