It is never too soon to hire an attorney after a car accident. There may be a significant risk in waiting to hire a lawyer. Once you have ensured your safety and received medical care for any injuries you’ve suffered, you can hire a car accident attorney.
Threats You May Face After a Car Accident
Car accident victims often do not recognize the threats they face after a collision. A single word or phrase including “sorry” or “I shouldn’t have done that” can compromise any financial recovery you hope to get. Often, injured victims do not even realize they said something that jeopardized their case until the damage is already done. You cannot take back statements that might threaten your case, especially if the insurance company recorded them.
Threats to your case may come from:
- Insurance companies: You will have contact with insurance companies after your car accident. Both your insurer and the other motorist’s insurance company will want to speak with you. Insurers typically protect their own financial interests and may try to paint you as liable for your accident. Therefore, insurance companies represent a potential threat to your case.
- A liable motorist: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that motorists cause most accidents. If another motorist caused your accident, they might attempt to pin the blame on you. If you say the wrong thing to a liable motorist, they may try to use your words against you.
- Other liable parties: If another party besides a motorist has liability for your accident, they may approach you about the collision. This should raise a red flag, as anyone with liability may try to paint you as the liable party. If they are successful, it can affect the compensation you receive (or don’t receive) for your car accident.
- Law enforcement officials: While police officers generally paint an accurate picture of any car accident they respond to, a police report can carry significant weight in a car accident case. If you err in recounting your accident, imply that you were at fault for your accident, or make any other mistake when speaking with a law enforcement official, the error can have severe ramifications for your case.
- Yourself: In some respects, car accident victims are their own worst enemies. Your instinct to be polite or compassionate can get you into trouble. Furthermore, refusing medical help because you don’t want to be a bother or because you feel like you can tough it out can negatively affect your case. Hire a car accident lawyer and prevent yourself from harming your own case.
Motor vehicle accidents are unfamiliar territory for many victims. Most do not think about how they’ll respond if an accident happens, and car accident victims receive no manual to follow.
For these reasons, hiring an attorney is the right move for many car accident victims. A lawyer will advise you, provide a strong layer of protection between you and anyone who can compromise your case, and allow you to focus on your recovery.
How a Lawyer Can Protect You from These Threats?
An attorney will handle your lawsuit or insurance claim, but their priority will be to protect you after your accident.
In light of the threats that can affect a potential financial recovery, your lawyer will:
- Advise you: An attorney can provide clear instructions for what to do after your accident. They’ll likely advise that you get medical attention, refrain from giving statements without their assistance, and rest up.
- Deal with insurance companies: Your lawyer will deal directly with insurance companies. If you need to give a recorded statement to one or more insurers, your lawyer can prepare and accompany you during the statement.
- Ensure that liable parties do not contact you: There is no reason for liable parties to contact you after your car accident nothing positive can come of it. Therefore, your attorney may advise that you rebuff any attempts by liable parties to speak with you. If a liable party has any reason to contact you, they should go through your lawyer.
- Help you deal with law enforcement officials: If you have yet to give a statement to law enforcement officials or need to interact with local law enforcement for any reason, your lawyer will assist you. Car accident victims sometimes need to clarify or correct a statement they gave to a police officer, and your lawyer can help you do so if necessary.
This is just the beginning of a lawyer’s service to a car accident victim. Once your attorney is sure that your rights are safe and you’ve received all necessary medical care, they will focus on getting the compensation you deserve.
What Happens if I Wait to Hire a Lawyer Following a Car Accident?
If you wait to hire a lawyer, you may increase the risk of compromising your car accident case. You may deal directly with insurance companies, give statements without a lawyer’s support, and face every other aspect of your case on your own until you hire a lawyer.
Evidence that may disappear if you wait, such as traffic camera footage, may go unclaimed if you don’t hire a lawyer to collect such evidence.
Much can go wrong when you’re leading your claim or lawsuit on your own. To protect yourself and any financial recovery you are entitled to, hire an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Related to a Car Accident?
There are typically deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits in California. This is yet another reason not to delay before hiring an attorney. CCP § 335.1 generally requires that you or your attorney file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of your accident.
This deadline is vitally important because:
- If you do not file a car accident lawsuit before this statute of limitations expires, you generally forfeit your ability to file a lawsuit at all.
- Even if your lawyer decides not to file a lawsuit, the ability to file a lawsuit can be an important leverage point in negotiations with insurance companies.
Insurance claims are helpful for many car accident victims. However, a lawsuit may allow you to seek compensation beyond insurance coverage limits. Therefore, you must get legal help as soon as possible, as a lawyer will prepare and file your case before any statutory deadlines expire.
How Do I Choose a Lawyer to Represent Me After a Car Accident?
You can use several criteria to choose a lawyer for your car accident case.
Seek an attorney who:
- Is part of a reputable law firm: An attorney’s law firm is an important consideration. The firm’s case results, reputation among former clients, willingness to take a case to trial, and practice areas are all important considerations.
- Has extensive experience with car accident cases: Each personal injury law firm has practice areas. Each practice area is a case type that the firm regularly handles for clients. Car accident cases should be an important practice area of the firm you hire.
- Has the support of their former clients: You should review former clients’ testimonials to see what they say about a law firm. Independent review sources, including Google Reviews, will exhibit positive and negative impressions that a law firm has left on its former clients.
- Makes you feel comfortable during initial meetings about your case: Personal injury firms offer free consultations. You can use this cost-free meeting to gauge your comfort level with a firm.
If you hire a law firm for your car accident case but change your mind about their fitness for your case, you can hire a new law firm. The new firm will help you transfer your case from one law firm to the next.
What a Lawyer Does for Car Accident Victims?
An attorney will lead your car accident claim or lawsuit from the moment you hire them to the resolution of the case.
A car accident attorney’s responsibilities typically include:
- Identifying liable parties: Your attorney will determine who is liable for your car accident. These parties will be responsible for covering your accident-related damages. While motorists are often liable for car accidents, vehicle manufacturers, municipalities, and others can also be liable.
- Gathering evidence of liability: Footage of your accident, witness accounts, and other evidence may help prove that liable parties caused your accident and therefore owe you compensation.
- Documenting your accident-related damages: Proof of time you’ve missed from work, medical bills, invoices for temporary transportation, and other documentation will help prove how your car accident has negatively affected you.
- Calculating the cost of your damages: Your lawyer will calculate the cost of both economic and non-economic damages. If you are still experiencing damage from your accident, your lawyer will project the cost of future damages.
- Representing you in settlement negotiations: Your attorney will prepare all evidence and documentation for negotiations with liable parties. A competent attorney will demand the compensation you deserve and never back down, no matter how hard liable parties may work to refute the calculation of damages.
- Completing any necessary trial: Trial is not usually necessary in car accident cases. However, if an attorney decides that going to trial is necessary to seek the compensation you deserve, that attorney will lead legal proceedings for you.
Car accident cases also require paperwork, phone calls, emails, court dealings, and other responsibilities. The law firm you hire for your case will manage each of these duties.
What Types of Evidence Will a Lawyer Pursue for Me?
Several types of evidence can help a lawyer win their client’s car accident case.
Your attorney will seek:
- Any video footage that shows your car accident, including traffic camera footage, dash camera footage, security camera footage, and cellphone footage
- Testimony from witnesses who saw the accident or circumstances relevant to the accident (such as a motorist driving recklessly before your collision occurred)
- The police report documenting your accident
- Professional testimony that supports your case for compensation
A law firm should also consider hiring a professional to reconstruct your car accident. A professional may use digital software or physical exhibits to show how the car accident happened. This may be especially useful during a trial, where your lawyer will try to convince a jury that someone else caused your accident.
How Does a Lawyer Prove that Their Client Deserves Compensation?
Your attorney will likely try to prove negligence. Someone who is negligent has a responsibility to others but fails in that responsibility by acting unreasonably.
A car accident attorney can prove negligence by:
- Establishing that the liable party owed you a duty of care
- Showing that the liable party breached their duty of care by acting unreasonably
- Proving that the breach of duty of care caused your car accident
- Showing the damages that resulted from the liable party’s negligence
Your attorney will rely on the unique details of your case in making this case.
What Damages Can a Car Accident Victim Get Compensation For?
Each car accident victim suffers different damages.
However, the nature of car accidents and resulting litigation means that those like you have similar types of damages, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical costs
- Lost income
- Lost earning power
- Vehicle damage
- Damage to personal property
You may need treatment for psychological trauma, reimbursement for temporary transportation, and compensation for any other damages you have suffered.
How Much Compensation Do Car Accident Victims Receive for Their Damages?
Every car accident victim suffers different damages. The cost of those damages also varies from one victim to the next. Your lawyer will determine the precise cost of your damages, which will be the basis for any settlement or judgment your attorney seeks.
Hire a Car Accident Attorney Today to Fight for the Compensation You Deserve
Take advantage of free consultations. You can ask our personal injury law firm any question, gauge its client service, and decide which firm suits you best.
Don’t wait to do your research. There are several reasons to start the legal process as soon as possible, and law firms are simply waiting for you to call.