You, like most people, have probably never imagined yourself having the need to hire an attorney. However, with millions of car accidents happening across the country, the odds of you possibly needing a lawyer’s guidance or representation might be higher than expected. Does getting into a car accident automatically mean you need a car accident lawyer, though?
For a car accident that doesn’t cause any injuries and makes only minimal damage to the vehicles involved, hiring an attorney probably is not necessary. With luck and patience, you and the other driver should be able to navigate the situation on your own while also communicating with your respective insurance companies. In fact, for car accidents with comparatively insignificant damages, you might not even be able to find a car accident lawyer who is willing to accept your case. Attorneys typically reserve their time for clients who really need them.
When Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?
You should speak with a car accident lawyer soon after your crash if it involved:
- Serious injuries: If anyone in your accident is seriously injured and requires emergency medical care or hospitalization, then you should get an attorney. The costs of care – either your own or that of other parties – will be steep. You do not want to get stuck paying those costs yourself just because you did not know how to handle your claim as it progressed.
- Multiple drivers: Car accidents with three or more vehicles are practically guaranteed to get convoluted as people start looking for damages. Matters will get all the more muddled if each driver has a unique insurance company, so multiple companies start fighting among themselves. Hiring a lawyer to represent you can ensure that your best interests are protected and upheld while everyone else points fingers.
- Denied liability: Sometimes you can get “lucky” after a car accident and the other driver plainly admits fault for what happened to everyone, including their own insurance company. In the average car crash, though, you can bet that the other driver will deny liability, even if they know in their heart that they caused the crash. Once you get pushback from the other driver, you should go talk to an attorney about what to do next.
- Government or private entities: Did your car accident involve a city bus, company vehicle, construction site, or another entity that wasn’t just another motorist on the road? It could be time to talk to an attorney, even if no one was seriously injured. Government and private entities tend to answer any car accident claim with hired or in-house defense counsel, hurting your chances of getting a fair amount of compensation.
- Other attorneys: Speaking of defense counsel, you should hire your own attorney if you learn that the other driver is planning on hiring one. You do not want to go head-to-head with a lawyer who is hired to prove that you were liable for the accident. Counter their actions by getting an attorney of your own who can guide your claim and work to prove beyond a doubt that liability mostly or entirely rests on the other driver. The less liable you are for an accident, the more compensation you can collect from their insurer.
It is also a good idea to involve a car accident attorney if you end up in a stalemate with an insurance company. They might stop working with you if you do not accept their first few settlement offers, or they might not offer you anything at all. When this happens, bringing in an attorney for professional counsel and representation can get the gears moving again.