When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident
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Your primary concern after a car accident should be addressing your injuries. Focus on seeing a doctor and treating your trauma. But it’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed by how you will pay for the costs of your care and your return to normal life.

You should hire an experienced attorney immediately after your car accident to give yourself the strongest possible chance of securing the money you need to support your recovery. Car accident lawyers exist to help injured car accident victims like you. Their job is to handle every aspect of the process of obtaining compensation for the harm you’ve suffered.

Top Five Reasons to Hire a Lawyer Immediately

When hiring a lawyer after a car accident, you have no time to waste. Here are the top five reasons to hire a lawyer immediately after you get hurt in a crash.

1. You Have Legal Deadlines to Meet and the Clock is Ticking

In every state, a law known as the statute of limitations sets an expiration date on your right to receive compensation for your injuries. In most cases, a failure to take legal action before that deadline results in the permanent loss of your rights to pursue a claim for damages against an at-fault party and that party’s insurance company.

The statute of limitations for a car accident claim varies state to state, ranging from as little as one year or less in some locales to four years or more in others. Every state’s laws also contain numerous exceptions and conditions affecting the length of the statute of limitations period. Those legal quirks can drastically expand or shrink your window of opportunity to pursue a claim.

In addition to the statute of limitations, other deadlines may also affect your rights. In some states, for example, you must notify your auto insurer or seek medical care within weeks or days to preserve your right to receive payments under your or someone else’s insurance policy. In others, you must give notice to certain parties—such as government entities—within weeks or months if you want to hold them accountable for causing your car accident.

Hiring a car accident lawyer immediately after you get hurt in a crash protects you against missing one of these all-important deadlines. Lawyers for car accident victims possess a detailed understanding of the potential time limitations you may face and know the actions to take to protect your rights and get you paid.

2. Your Medical Debts and Other Expenses Will Keep Piling Up

Life can get expensive after you suffer injuries in a car accident. Most significantly, the costs of trauma-related medical care can crush your finances, even if you carry health insurance. Medical debt is the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States.

Other unexpected expenses also accumulate in the wake of a car accident injury. Crash victims frequently need to spend extra to continue going about their everyday lives. Transportation and household expenses tend to rise after an accident because victims often need help getting around, running errands, keeping house, or caring for children.

Your injuries in a car accident can also keep you out of work, which only compounds your financial strain. Not only do accident victims like you struggle to pay for unexpected medical costs, they also frequently fail to make ends meet. According to CNBC, more than half of Americans do not have enough savings to cover even $1,000 in expenses once their limited sick leave and vacation days run out.

If you recently suffered injuries in a car accident, none of this is likely news to you. Our point in mentioning it is to emphasize that your financial situation probably won’t improve unless and until you hire a lawyer to pursue the money you need to cover those new expenses, lost wages, and other unplanned costs.

Waiting until you heal and get back to work won’t do the trick because you will still have a large financial hole to fill, and many new expenses can linger long after you feel physically fit again.

3. Car Accident Cases Rarely Age Well if You Don’t Pursue Them Immediately

Even if you meet applicable deadlines, the passage of time can still undermine the value of your car accident case. That’s because receiving compensation for your car accident injuries usually requires collecting and presenting evidence to prove what happened, who was to blame, and why you deserve payment for your injuries. As time passes, much of that evidence becomes increasingly difficult to obtain.

Skilled lawyers often build a car accident case based on accident reports, photographs, videos, and witness testimony. But documents and visual evidence tend to go missing as days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, after your accident. And witnesses tend to begin to forget important details the further they get from the events in question.

The evidence to support your car accident claim, in other words, will almost always lose some of its strength as time wears on. Consequently, holes and gaps can start to appear in your case. It can become increasingly difficult to prove, and defense lawyers and insurance companies will assign it a lower value than it would have had if you had pursued it straight away.

By hiring an attorney immediately, you can end the corrosive effect of time on your car accident claim. A seasoned car accident lawyer can quickly begin collecting and assembling the evidence in your case, preventing the loss of critical facts and potentially boosting the value of your case by tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of dollars.

4. Dealing Directly With Insurance Representatives Puts You at Risk

Insurance coverage plays a role in the aftermath of most car accidents. For example, you might carry insurance that pays some of your immediate expenses—your health plan or personal injury protection (PIP) auto coverage. The party at fault for causing your car accident likely also carries liability insurance that could pay for your damages.

The critical importance of insurance in car accident cases makes you, the injured victim, someone insurance companies will probably want to interview. But make no mistake, those companies do not have your best interests at heart. They want to talk to you and find reasons not to pay you what they owe for your injuries and losses.

Now, you probably can’t avoid all contact with your own insurance company. You might even need to notify your carrier of the accident to preserve your right to receive the coverage you paid for. Just stick to the facts of what happened—the who, where, and when of the crash. (Better yet, have your car accident lawyer do this for you.)

But you can, and in most cases should, avoid contact with other people’s insurance companies, especially if their policyholders might have caused the car accident that left you injured. These insurers may have a legal obligation to pay your damages. If they try to contact you, take that as a signal they recognize their financial exposure and hope to find some reason to deny you your due.

You may want to give in to aggressive insurance adjusters’ attempts to contact you. But remember: Any direct conversation with someone else’s insurance company risks your rights. And adjusters are experts at asking loaded questions and twisting your answers into reasons to refuse to pay for the harm you suffered.

Immediately hiring an experienced car accident lawyer after your accident is the easiest and most foolproof way to avoid the pitfalls of dealing directly with insurance companies. An attorney can take over all communications with any insurance carriers who have an interest in your case. By doing so, the attorney protects your rights, advocates for your interests, and relieves you of the stress and burden of worrying about what to say or not say when insurance adjusters start calling.

5. You Need Help Making Decisions Affecting Your Future

Many car accident victims feel paralyzed by the prospect of making the wrong decisions about their care, insurance, finances, job, schooling, and other subjects that affect their wellbeing and future. Poor choices or misguided assumptions can only deepen their physical, emotional, and financial struggles. And it doesn’t help that those decisions involve complex topics that it often feels like you need a graduate degree to understand.

A skilled lawyer can help. In addition to working hard to get you paid, an attorney also serves as a trusted advisor during a difficult time of your life. Having represented many individuals in situations like yours, an attorney understands your challenges and can guide you in making the right choices to meet your needs and priorities.

In other words, hiring an attorney after a car accident ensures you’re not alone. You have someone on your side who acts only in your best interests and gives you confidence in your recovery.

Hiring a Lawyer Won’t Cost You a Penny Unless You Win

When to Hire an Attorney After a Car AccidentIt’s easy to start working with a lawyer on your car accident injury case. All car accident injury lawyers offer a free consultation at which they can explore legal rights and options with the crash victim and the victim’s loved ones. This meeting is free even if the victim decides not to hire the lawyer.

But if you hire a lawyer after that initial consultation, you will not need to worry about how to afford their services. Virtually all lawyers who handle cases like yours work on a contingent fee basis. That means they only get paid for their work if they get results for you.

A car accident lawyer will not charge you upfront fees or bill you hundreds of dollars per hour. Instead, at the beginning of your case, they will agree to work for you if they get to keep a percentage of any money they secure. That agreement gives car accident attorneys an incentive to win for you since their fee is contingent on the outcome of your case

Car accident attorneys and their clients often agree to a contingent fee, a percentage of the amount recovered. Whatever the portion the lawyer you choose proposes, you can expect them to explain it in writing at the very beginning of your case.

The same goes for how you and the lawyer will handle the running costs of your case, such as expert witness fees and travel expenses. An attorney may agree to pay those costs and obtain reimbursement from any winnings in your case. Or, if you have the financial resources, you can decide to pay those costs yourself.

The bottom line is that hiring a lawyer does not cost you anything unless the lawyer secures compensation for your injuries and losses. You have nothing to lose in hiring a lawyer and potentially lots to gain.

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Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today

Scott R. Melton is a Car Accident Lawyer near Grand Rapids, MI area
Scott R. Melton, Car Accident Lawyer in Grand Rapids, MI

In this blog, we explained why you should hire a skilled, experienced lawyer immediately after getting hurt in a car accident. Your rights, health, finances, and future may depend on a lawyer taking quick action on your behalf, and the value of your case is at its highest right now. That’s why it is never too early to have a lawyer on your side.

So do not delay a minute longer. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a car accident, contact a knowledgeable attorney today for your free case evaluation. Without spending a penny, you can secure the services of an attorney who will fight to get you the money you need to pay for your care, replace your lost income, and rebuild your life.