Most people are unsure when it is appropriate to get an attorney after a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Do you need an attorney after any car accident or just after certain car accidents? What conditions call for an attorney’s assistance? If you hire a car accident lawyer, what will they do? Will they help or make matters more complicated?
A car accident lawyer can answer these important questions for you.
This blog describes some instances that call for hiring an attorney after a car accident. Lawyers represent victims of car accidents of all types, and most offer free initial consultations. Therefore, you have nothing to lose by considering a car accident attorney’s assistance. Read on to learn more about when to get an attorney for a car accident.
When You Suffer an Injury
If you suffered an injury in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you need to hire a personal injury lawyer. The entity responsible for your injuries might owe you compensation. A personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages for the financial losses associated with your injuries.
It doesn’t matter if your injury is minor or severe. You have likely already incurred costs from seeking medical attention. If your injuries are severe, these costs could be staggering.
A car accident lawyer can help you recover compensation for:
- Hospital bills
- Doctor bills
- Ambulance costs
- Emergency room costs
- Medical equipment
- Medical devices
- Physical therapy
When You Cannot Work Due to Your Injuries
Car accidents may inflict injuries that prevent you from working. If you find yourself out of work because of your injuries, you should hire a personal injury lawyer. With a lawyer’s assistance, you can seek compensation for your lost income and benefits from the at-fault party.
If you’re out of work for a week, a month, a few months, or even a year, you will face significant challenges paying your bills and providing for your family. Few people have enough savings to miss even one paycheck, never mind several. Furthermore, some employers might terminate your employment if you cannot attend work, increasing your worries exponentially.
You might feel angry in this situation if your injuries resulted from another person’s negligent actions. Why should you suffer financially because of their poor choices or wrongdoing?
A car accident lawyer can help you recover much-needed compensation if you miss one or many paychecks during your recovery. They can also help you seek money for other money you’ve lost, such as retirement benefits.
When You Face Life-Long Consequences From Your Injuries
Some car accidents inflict injuries so severe that victims face life-long consequences. For example, injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputated limbs can forever change a car accident victim’s life. They may need to find a new line of work, accommodate their living conditions, and learn new ways of doing things. They may also need life-long medical care and support services to get through each day.
If you experienced such an injury, you need a personal injury lawyer to help you quantify your future financial needs and seek maximum compensation from the at-fault entity. The full extent of your injuries may take time to be evident.
Still, an experienced car accident attorney can consult medical experts to account for all your future medical and financial needs, including:
- Future medical treatment, including surgery, doctor’s appointments, and physical and occupational therapy
- Rehabilitative care
- Lost income and benefits
- Future diminished earning capacity
- At-home medical and support services
- Home and vehicle accommodations
When You Experience Pain and Suffering
Car accidents often inflict severe pain and suffering on victims, and the resultant losses can be challenging to quantify. While no amount of money can make up for the painful experience of a car accident, you deserve compensation when someone else’s negligent actions injure you and cause you to experience other losses unfairly. However, you may find it difficult to seek compensation for your pain and suffering on your own.
A personal injury lawyer can guide you through the process of properly documenting your pain and suffering and seeking compensation from the at-fault entity. They may advise you to keep a pain journal where you record your physical, mental, and emotional condition daily. This journal serves as evidence of your accident-related losses.
When the Accident Affects Your Family
Car accidents affect more than just the victims inside the vehicle. They can also affect their families and those they love and care for.
For example, if you suffered an injury in an accident that prevents you from working, your spouse, children, and other dependents might also suffer because of the loss of income. Your family could experience significant hardship if you provide the sole income for your household.
Some of the most devastating consequences for your family may not be financial. If your injuries prevent you from helping around the house, your family experiences a loss of household support, and if you cannot physically enjoy your usual family pastimes due to your injuries, the whole family suffers from a diminished quality of life. If you cannot fully love and show affection to your spouse, both of you may experience a loss of consortium.
You might not immediately consider these effects on your family as accident-related losses you could pursue compensation for, but a personal injury lawyer does. They understand how devastating these intangible injuries can be and how much their true cost to you and your family. An attorney can help you hold the at-fault party accountable for the full extent of the accident’s detrimental effects on you and the people you love.
When You Must Deal With Insurance Companies
After a car accident, you might assume an insurance company will do its job and fulfill its obligations as promised under its policies. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Insurance companies are for-profit entities that reap trillions of dollars in annual global revenue, according to a report from McKinsey & Company. They maximize profits by limiting payouts to injured car accident victims through various seemingly sneaky or aggressive tactics.
For example, an insurance adjuster may contact a victim immediately following an accident and pressure them to accept a measly settlement offer before the victim knows precisely how much money they will need to recover their losses. That’s just one way that insurance companies take advantage of car accident victims when they are at their most vulnerable. An insurance agent may also call you purportedly to check on your condition when they’re really hoping to catch you in a statement that undercuts your claim.
Therefore, when an insurance company contacts you, do not speak with them before consulting a personal injury lawyer. A car accident lawyer can handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance company so that you can focus on your recovery. These lawyers know all the insurance industry tricks and how to hold the insurance companies accountable for making you whole.
When You Don’t Know Who You Can Hold Responsible
After many car accidents, the at-fault entity is apparent. However, identifying the party that caused the accident and your injuries is not straightforward in some cases. Hire a car accident lawyer if you face such a conundrum. Car accident attorneys have extensive experience investigating car accidents and determining who is at fault for them.
With their assistance, you may find one of the following entities liable for your injuries:
- Another driver. Another driver might have hit you and caused your injuries. A personal injury lawyer can help you investigate the accident and gather the evidence necessary to prove the driver’s negligence. Examples of negligence include speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, disobeying traffic lights or signs, failing to yield the right-of-way, and following too closely.
- A government agency. Sometimes, no drivers are responsible for a car accident. Instead, it could be a government agency at fault for your injuries. For example, if a malfunctioning stop light caused the accident, you may seek compensation from the government agency responsible for maintaining that light.
- A driver’s employer. If the at-fault driver was an employee who was working at the time of the accident, the accident victim could pursue their employer for compensation. That’s because employers are responsible for the negligent actions of their employees while the worker is on the clock. A personal injury lawyer can help you hold the employer accountable for employee misconduct.
- More than one driver. In some cases, multiple drivers may share liability for a car accident. For example, if one driver is driving under the influence of alcohol while a second driver is texting, and they crash into each other and then you, both may be partially responsible for causing an accident. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine each entity’s share of a fault and file multiple claims if necessary.
When You Need Help Gathering Evidence
Evidence is essential to proving fault after a car accident. However, gathering evidence is a time-intensive and challenging process if you are not used to doing it. First, you need to know what, where, and when to look for the most compelling evidence after a car accident. Second, the process can become adversarial if the at-fault party seeks to block your access to incriminating evidence. Lastly, and most importantly, how can you gather evidence when recovering from your injuries?
Seasoned car accident lawyers know how investigate a car accident.
A car accident lawyer can help you gather critical evidence in your case, such as:
- Photos of the accident scene, vehicles involved, and resulting injuries
- Surveillance video of the accident as it occurred or the scene thereafter
- The responding police officer’s crash report
- Eyewitness testimony
- Expert testimony
- Crash scene reconstruction
- Medical records
- Driving records
- Phone records
When You Need to File a Lawsuit
If you need to file a lawsuit, you almost certainly realize you need a personal injury attorney. However, most car accident victims do not know in advance whether they will need to file a lawsuit. That realization usually comes months after the accident when rounds and rounds of negotiations have failed to produce a fair settlement. At that point, you can no longer file a lawsuit.
Indiana law establishes a two-year deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you file a lawsuit after that two-year deadline, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case.
Therefore, immediately after a car accident, you should consider consulting a personal injury attorney who can provide legal advice on your options and advocate for your interests. That way, you are ready when and if you need to file a lawsuit.
When Car Accident Injuries Make You Concerned, Confused, or Stressed Out
Lastly, if your injuries cause you concern, confusion, or stress, you need to get an attorney. Attempting to handle a car accident case on your own will only exacerbate your overwhelmed emotions. Furthermore, your emotional state will impair your ability to make critical decisions, such as whether to accept a settlement offer.
A car accident lawyer can help lessen your burden by:
- Gathering evidence
- Determining the at-fault party or parties
- Handling communications with insurance companies
- Evaluating your legal options
- Quantifying your accident-related losses
- Negotiating for a fair settlement offer
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit in the appropriate court
- Representing you at trial if necessary
With a car accident lawyer on your side, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands and focus on your recovery.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help After a Car Accident
This page sought to provide examples of car accident scenarios that would benefit from the assistance of a car accident lawyer. However, endless other scenarios may require a lawyer’s help. An Indianapolis accident attorney can advise you on your legal rights, evaluate your options for legal action, and pursue compensation for you from the at-fault party after a car accident.