Do I need legal help after an accident?

Getting into an accident typically sets off a series of events that turn your life upside down. You could have a damaged car and find yourself unable to get to work or participate in other regular activities. Or, someone could have suffered serious injuries. When you’re trying to sort through the situation, the last thing you might think about is getting a criminal defense attorney. However, getting a lawyer’s assistance should possibly be high on your list of priorities. Professional legal counsel can ensure that your rights under the law are protected. And, that you’re compensated for the loss of property.

Hiring the Service of a Lawyer is Always Advisable

Regardless of whether the accident was minor with no one getting injured, or a major issue, it is preferable to get legal representation. An experienced attorney is well-versed in the laws relevant to your situation and can provide advice on the procedural regulations that influence the outcomes of the case. You’ll need an expert acting on your behalf with the sole objective of winning a fair claim. Rely on the car accident lawyer to present your perspective before a judge or jury. You may also need counsel when negotiating compensation from the automobile insurance company. Here are some of the possible scenarios and how to deal with the situation.

If You’re Not Injured, You May Not Need Legal Counsel

Thankfully, many accidents are minor and result in minimal injuries. If the car was traveling at a low speed, there might only be a few minor dents. You might experience a scare, but next to no damage to the vehicle or any personal assets. If you feel better in a day or two, getting in touch with a lawyer is not as imperative.

At the same time, it is advisable to visit your doctor and get a complete physical exam. Many victims walk away feeling alright at the time and realize the full extent of their injuries much later. Do keep in mind that the law awards you compensation only if you file a claim within a particular time frame after the accident. Once the statute of limitations expires, you might not be able to get damages. 

If You Have Minor Injuries, You Could Get Personal Injury Claims

In case you do have minor injuries, and the accident is the other person’s fault, you can get personal injury claims. Having a lawyer helps if you wish to get reimbursed for the costs of getting your vehicle repaired. The law in certain states requires your insurance provider to award you damages regardless of whose fault it is. You might need legal representation to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Of course, you always have the option of walking away if the entire incident involved a minor scrape and there was no harm done to either party.

If You’re Also Responsible, the Court May Determine Contributory Negligence

In some states, compensation depends on whose fault the accident was. If both drivers were responsible, the claims will depend on contributory negligence. The court will award damages according to the extent of responsibility for the accident. Since the situation can get complicated, it helps to have legal counsel assisting you. This factor is especially important if you suffered more extensive injuries that may require long-term treatment, hospital stays, surgery, rehabilitation, loss of wages, and emotional pain and suffering. 

If You Caused the Accident, the Insurer Will Provide an Attorney

If the accident occurred because of your fault, and you have insurance, the insurer is expected to provide you with an attorney. Typically, the defense lawyer is an employee of the insurance company or has a close working relationship with them. Lowering the damages you might have to pay works in the interest of the coverage provider, so you can expect an aggressive defense. The only downside is that moving forward, you might end up paying higher premiums for coverage since you’re considered a high-risk driver. 

Your Attorney Provides More than Just Expert Legal Advice

Retaining a lawyer provides tools to improve a deteriorating situation. A professional can collect all of the relevant information about your case and put together a strong defense based on their experience in similar matters. In case you need to file a lawsuit, you’ll need advice on how to defend the case and answer questions raised by the opposition. Preparing the case for trial, going to trial, or arriving at a fair settlement are always best handled by knowledgeable legal counsel. Oftentimes, you don’t need to file a suit. Just the threat of legal action is enough to negotiate a viable settlement. 

Getting Damages from the Insurance Company Can be a Complex Process

Most people make it a point to buy adequate auto insurance, but neglect to understand the terms and conditions until after an accident. An attorney will take the time to go through the paperwork and help you determine the maximum damages entitled by the policy. You’ll also get assistance in collecting the evidence that can support your claim. For instance, meeting with police officers and obtaining copies of their reports, statements from witnesses on the site, and medical records and bills. If you intend to sue for lost wages, the lawyer will help evaluate the total loss.

Negotiating Car Repair Costs

You may need to get the vehicle inspected for damages by taking it to a drive-through station certified by the insurer. If the car cannot be driven, your lawyer will get an inspector to examine the car onsite to assess repair costs. Rely on the attorney to negotiate a fair claim. Do keep in mind that the auto insurance provider may not compensate you for the cost of the car, but only the maximum amount outlined in your policy. 

Auto insurance and getting damages after an accident can be a complicated procedure. It is always advisable to rely on the expertise of an experienced attorney to gather the necessary paperwork and help you file a claim. Expert counsel can be invaluable when you’re dealing with injuries and incapable of making the efforts to get fair compensation for the accident.