When to Consult an Attorney or Lawyer for a Car Accident
A motor vehicle collision is a distressing experience. Accident victims sometimes overlook or never consider engaging legal counsel because they have so many other concerns, including property damage, medical costs, dealing with the at-fault driver and insurance providers.
Consider contacting a car accident lawyer who will fight for your personal injury claim if you have been hurt in a vehicle accident or if you were engaged in a collision with a careless driver as soon as you have sought medical assistance. Insurance companies will start looking for any method to lessen or even reject your vehicle accident claim once you or a loved one has been in a collision.
After you or a loved one have been in a car crash, insurance companies will begin looking for any way to minimize or even dismiss your car accident claim. Hiring a law firm with a proven record of successfully litigating personal injuries is the best way to get you the compensation you deserve.
The insurance companies have massive resources and legal teams. You will need a personal injury attorney capable of taking them on and fighting for you.
You may be going through a complicated and trying moment right now. You could be anxious about how you’ll pay for medical expenses and car damage, or you might be dealing with terrible injuries or the wrongful loss of a loved one. Your inquiries concerning your possibilities in a vehicle accident lawsuit will be addressed in this article.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
Follow these steps after you have been in a car accident:
- Always contact the police. They will provide official documentation of the wreck and investigate at the scene in an attempt to determine who is at fault.
- Seek medical treatment for any injuries you incur. This will create an exact record of what injuries resulted from the accident.
- Do not leave the crime scene until you are told by the police that it is okay to leave. Leaving the scene in the accident without talking to the police could result in criminal charges against you.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver. This should include, name, insurance, license, and any other pertinent information.
- You should immediately notify your insurance company. If the other driver was at fault, your insurance company will contact their insurer.
- Make an accurate record of what you saw and remember about the wreck. Take notes, pictures, or even sketch the accident scene. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. It is important as early as possible to organize all of your receipts and records from your accident so they can be used in your case.
- You or your attorney should check the area for third party security cameras that may have recorded your accident.
- Make sure that you do not admit fault in any way. You also should never sign any documents that are not from the police or your insurance agent without consulting an attorney.
- Many attorneys will recommend that you not mention or discuss your accident or injuries in any social media posts such as on Facebook or Twitter.
- Contact a car accident lawyer. They can use the documents from the earlier steps to establish fault and the extent of your injuries and begin building a case for you.
If I’ve Been in an Accident, Is It Worth Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?
Accident victims may put themselves fully at the whims of insurance adjusters who may try to decrease the amount of money they would payout if they don’t have a skilled personal injury attorney assisting them with their automobile accident case. Your body might sustain catastrophic injuries in a car accident, such as burns, disfigurement, lifelong disability, brain injury, organ damage, and other wounds. Your car can require both repairs and a complete replacement.
You should receive compensation for these losses as the victim, and an auto accident lawyer knows how to explain the claims procedure to you. A personal injury lawyer you hire can ensure you receive all of the available remedies to settle your claim.
An attorney representing you can collect evidence such as:
- Photos of the accident scene
- Photos of the damaged vehicle
- Police crash reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Information from a vehicle’s event data recorder
- Medical and work records
- Electronic evidence including cell phone records
- Manufacturer records and recall information
An attorney can gather all of this information as well as consult with other experts to put together a strong case for you in order to negotiate a settlement with insurance companies both inside and outside the courtroom.
Additionally, accident victims may not be aware of their rights after a car crash and insurance companies will try to use this to their advantage. They will try to get you to admit fault or otherwise establish negligence to lower or dismiss your claim.
An attorney can help inform victims of their rights and advise you on the best way to deal with adjusters without admitting fault or saying anything which could be construed as incriminating.
Attorneys can also, among other things, call upon a network of experts to strengthen your claim, negotiate a better outcome for your claim in most cases, and level the playing field for you against insurance companies who may be acting in bad faith.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Mishap I Didn’t Cause?
As we discussed above, retaining legal counsel is essential to obtaining the settlement you are due. After an accident, a personal injury attorney can assist you in proving liability and can defend your claim against insurance companies. No matter who was at fault, your insurance provider will pay your personal injury protection (PIP) payment since Kentucky is a no-fault state. To determine the other driver’s carelessness, a skilled personal injury attorney can examine accident reports and witness accounts.
Do I Have to Have a Lawyer that Specializes in Accident Cases?
In theory, any attorney licensed to practice in your state can represent you in a car accident case, but they will not have the skills or experience necessary to adequately defend your claims!
You need a personal injury attorney who has experience dealing with cases like your own. Personal injury lawyers specialize in these claims and know the ins and outs of what you are going through. They know how to deal with your case, how to get you the medical treatment, and how to get you the compensation you deserve. Personal injury attorneys, through their experience and specialization, can provide you with the advice you need to navigate through this difficult time and get your life back on track.
“Insurance companies have people working on the claim as soon as it is reported, but their interests don’t usually match an injured person’s interests. If you have a car accident lawyer, your lawyer can speak for you and your interests so that YOU ARE PROTECTED.” From Kevin Shannon, Bryant Law Center personal injury attorney.
How Long Do You Have to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer after an Auto Accident?
It is in your best interest to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident.
There are three primary reasons for this:
Soon after an accident, the evidence starts to fade. The vehicles involved are moved and eyewitnesses move on and forget details. You need someone who can build your case for you by gathering as much evidence as possible to put together your case.
The longer you delay in retaining a law firm to proactively defend you, the harder it becomes to gather the evidence necessary to build a strong case.
Payment for Services and Damages
Paying for medical care out of pocket is challenging and frustrating. Your livelihood and capacity to survive can be affected. If you wait to speak with an auto accident lawyer about your case, you risk missing the chance to obtain the funds required to cover your medical expenses as well as the cost of repairing or replacing your automobile. If you do not contact a lawyer, you might not be able to obtain an adequate settlement because a strong case necessitates enough evidence, and that evidence is time-sensitive.
Statute of Limitations
If you wait too long after an accident, you may not be eligible to bring legal action against the other driver in your car accident case. In Kentucky, the statute of limitations is 2 years after the accident or 2 years after the last no-fault medical payment.
Many personal injuries resulting from a car accident do not present themselves until days or weeks after the fact. After a wreck, you may be receiving treatment for years which could become very costly if you miss out on the chance at legal help while it is still available to you. If there is a wrongful death claim involved in your case, time may be even shorter. There is a statute of limitations of 1 year after death to bring a wrongful death claim before the court.
How Much is a Car Accident Settlement?
Settlements vary depending on how severe the damages are and upon the case built for your claim. An insurance company may offer you a quick settlement amount based upon data and formulas which allow them to determine how much they are willing to give you.
A personal injury attorney will be able to level the playing field and gather the evidence for you based upon the cost of your medical treatment (both past and future) stemming from the accident, the extent of your injuries and those of your passengers, the damage to your vehicle, witness testimony, police reports, lost income or lost wages, and other items to argue for a fair resolution.
“Determining the value of a claim or settlement is more art than science,” says Kevin Shannon, a personal injury attorney at the Bryant Law Center in Paducah. “There are no magic formulas and the internet is not a good source of information. In the end analysis, each claim is unique and its value depends on many different factors that can be evaluated by a car accident lawyer experienced in handling personal injury cases.”
What Can I Recover After an Accident?
After you hire an attorney to pursue your claim you may be eligible for some or all of the following:
What can I recover ….
- Money to repair your vehicle.
- Money for the loss of your vehicle.
- Money for the diminution in value of your vehicle.
- Money for medical expenses reasonably incurred.
- Money for medical expenses reasonably expected to be incurred in the future
- Money for wage loss
- Money for wage loss reasonably expected to be incurred in the future.
- Money for mental, emotional, and physical pain and suffering.
In addition, depending on your facts and circumstances, you might have a claim for punitive damages. Likewise, your spouse and / or your children might also have derivative claims for loss of consortium.
Vehicle Replacement or Repair
If your automobile was deemed a total loss by insurance, you can be compensated for the whole fair market value of your vehicle. If not, you might be qualified to have your car’s damage repaired.
Payment for Medical Bills for Car Accident Injuries
Past and future medical bills associated with your car accident may be compensated for you.
Lost Income Compensation
If injuries you sustained have prevented you from working and earning a living, you may be able to be compensated for lost wages.
Pain and Suffering for Injury Compensation
In addition to medical bills, your attorney may be able to successfully argue that the accident has caused you undue pain and suffering. You may be able to recover the damages incurred by the accident.
Compensation for Emotional Distress
After a wreck, you may experience significant emotional trauma including PTSD, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. You may be entitled to compensation for these and other emotional issues.
You may be entitled to seek further compensation if the other driver was engaged in dangerous activities such as drunk driving at the time of the accident.
Compensation in the Case of a Death
If you lost someone in a car accident you may be entitled to compensation for their medical treatment after the wreck, for pain and suffering endured prior to death, for funeral costs, burial costs, and other damages including loss of companionship, loss of consortium, or loss of financial support.
How long does a lawsuit for a car accident last?
An vehicle accident case can take anything from a few months to one or two years to complete, depending on a variety of variables. The insurance companies involved, the development of the case, the cost of past, present, and future medical treatments, and lost income are just a few examples of the factors that determine whether or not fault has been admitted or established.