Car accidents are a regular occurrence in the U.S. According to Owen, Patterson & Owen, a Santa Clarita accident lawyer, there are an average of over a thousand every week across the States, and the immediate aftermath of a car crash can be a testing time for all parties involved.
Automobile accidents are time-consuming and expensive to deal with, and come along with a host of questions such as: Who was at fault? Who pays my medical bills? Will insurance cover the damages? These are just a few of the many questions one will likely face after a crash, and hiring a legal practitioner may be the best way of protecting your interests.
When You Might Not Require an Attorney
While it is advisable to seek legal (and medical) advice after every accident, sometimes it is not always mandatory due to the nature of the crash, and hiring a lawyer won’t make a significant impact on the situation. For example:
If physical injury was minor, such as bruises or slight pain.
Your injury didn’t require extensive treatment and expensive bills.
The other party in the crash didn’t suffer severe physical damage.
There was no significant damage to the vehicle(s) involved.
In these cases, you might not need legal assistance, as there is no expensive medical bill or insurance claim. Even with such a minor accident, it is still advisable to seek legal advice to ensure the entire situation is handled appropriately.
When to Get an Attorney for an Auto Accident
In direct contrast to the examples above, any road user in a severe auto accident should contact a lawyer immediately. Victims of serious car accidents should not hesitate to seek medical and legal attention as soon as they can. Situations that require attorneys include:
Serious injuries: The more severe the injuries sustained by both parties, the more money is at stake. Severe injuries may require lengthy medical treatment, which may keep you out of work for a long time and coupled with medical bills, represents a significant financial outlay. An attorney will ensure you get a full settlement for economic and physical damages.
There is a “blame game”: Finger pointing can quickly put your settlement amount at risk. If a driver were at fault for an accident in which you sustained injuries and damage to your property, you would be entitled to compensation. If you are partially at fault for the accident, it means your share of blame will reduce your compensation. Insurance adjusters often assign fault to victims to pay them as little as possible, and a lawyer is your best way of ensuring you are treated fairly.
Expensive bills: Accidents are often costly, and an attorney is your best way of ensuring your bills are adequately covered. Most auto insurance companies include medical payments coverage, which pays for physical injuries sustained by you and passengers in your car, as well as pedestrians and anyone else who was injured in the accident.
Death: If there is a fatality in an auto accident you are involved in, you should hire a lawyer immediately. Whether you’re a surviving loved one or one of the drivers in the accident, seek an attorney’s advice immediately.
You’re being sued: Often, a second or even third party can sue you for damages in the most minor of accidents. Some people see accidents as a means of obtaining undeserved compensation and if anyone, including insurance companies, hires an attorney to dispute your case, hiring a lawyer of your own is your best chance of fair treatment.
What Does the Attorney Do?
Your attorney will be responsible for negotiating compensation with your insurance company to guarantee you get a fair settlement. Insurance adjusters will try everything they can to give you as little money as possible, and an attorney is your best chance of negotiating a suitable deal.
Insurance companies are all about financial profit. The insurance adjuster will be adept at negotiations and will do everything in his power to limit your claim, even to the point of denying its credibility altogether. If you do not have experience with negotiations, it’s nearly impossible to achieve a fair settlement without an attorney.
The attorney also takes over all legal concerns, leaving you to focus on your health. The lawyer collects all the evidence and organizes your case to ensure you are well prepared to defend yourself against any false claims. Your attorney does all the leg work of interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence relevant to your case, making sure your claims and defense are in order.
Auto accidents are a common occurrence in the United States and worldwide. Failure to hire an attorney after an accident is a common mistake people make. and while not all accidents require a lawyer, an attorney should oversee more serious accidents involving physical damage to you or your property.
Insurance companies will often try to dispute your claim to financial compensation, meaning a lawyer is a must-have, as he knows the relevant laws surrounding insurance claims. Once you are involved in a serious accident, do not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney, as they are your best chance of obtaining a fair resolution to your case.