When should you hire a car accident lawyer? At first glance, this may seem like a simple question. However, if you are involved in a car mishap, then the answer to this question can have a huge impact on your life in the present and the future.
Car insurance policies include a personal injury component that covers the policyholder’s liability for personal injuries arising from car mishaps with another individual. So, when you are claiming compensation for personal injury and damages for other injuries you suffered in a car accident, you will be dealing with the auto insurance company.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer for Peace of Mind
If you feel unsure about negotiating with car insurance companies that may have multiple lawyers, adjusters, and other professionals who deal solely with accident claims, then you would do well to hire a car accident lawyer.
Even if the compensation you need is relatively small, you may choose to hire the lawyer if you don’t want the hassles of negotiating the claim, exchanging documents, providing replies to doubts and queries, and completing other formalities related to the claim. Lawyer fees may reduce your total compensation, but this will leave you free to get on with your life without worrying about the auto accident claim process.
The reason stated above may be suitable for those who value convenience over the financial cost of hiring a car crash lawyer. Consider the following additional reasons for hiring a car accident lawyer.
1) To Deal with Severe Injuries
You should consider hiring a car accident lawyer if you have suffered severe injuries in the mishap. Such injuries may lead to hospitalization, high medical bills, lost time at work, the need for post-treatment care, and an unavoidable degradation of your health and quality of living even after receiving treatment.
In such a scenario, you need a professional who is well-versed in the auto claim settlement process to represent your case to the car insurance company.
The compensation and damages you receive should be calculated after considering the physical, mental, and financial impact of your injuries. Your claim should attempt to put you in the same position that you would have been in had the accident not occurred.
2) To Determine the At-Fault Party
A car rams into your vehicle, the driver accepts his or her fault, you submit the claim, and it is processed and cleared as per schedule—real-life mishaps rarely follow this pattern.
For starters, you may have to establish that the other party was at fault in the accident. This can be troublesome enough even if the other party is just uncooperative. Things can get complicated and ugly if the other party or the insurance adjuster disputes the fault.
In such a scenario, the dispute may become adversarial, and your inability to prove that the other party was at fault may result in you being named the offending party in the accident. Of course, a person without any knowledge of the law may be uncertain about who should prove the fault in the first place.
If you are claiming that the other party is at fault, then does the burden of proof fall upon you? Or will it shift to the other party if there is enough immediate evidence that your claim is correct? These are technical points the insurance company can use to delay or complicate the claim process.
Unless it is very obvious that the other party is at fault, it will be advisable for you to hire a car accident lawyer to represent your case. But should you hire the lawyer at the beginning or after you face complications in your case?
There is no perfect answer to this question, but always remember that it is better to be conservative and prudent at the beginning of the process. Adopting a do-it-yourself approach to the claim may damage your case so badly that hiring a lawyer at a later stage may not yield real benefits.
3) To Negotiate with the Insurance Company
The fact that the other party accepts his or her fault does not mean the claim process will be a smooth and simple affair. The insurance company may accept your contentions but offer compensation of $1,000 against your claim of $100,000. Such an offer by the insurance company will make it impossible for you to avoid a protracted dispute.
Alternatively, the insurance company may accept your claim on the condition that you accept a structured and conditional payout as opposed to an unconditional lump sum settlement. At first thought, receiving $100,000 over ten years may not seem like a bad idea; especially if it helps you bring the claim process to an end without any delays.
But you cannot expect the auto insurance lawyers to focus on your welfare, right? Their job is to secure the best possible deal for their clients. To secure your rights, you will either have to be proactive from the very beginning or hire an accident lawyer at the earliest possible time.
4) To Avoid Complications in the Claim Process
Apart from an aggressive approach by the insurance company, the claim process may become complicated due to the nature of the mishap or other extenuating factors. How should the claim be assessed when a pre-existing shoulder sprain or a ligament tear is aggravated due to the mishap, for example?
Curing a sprain may not require intensive treatment. However, the damage caused by the accident may result in significantly higher medical expenses. To what extent should the claim discount the pre-existing condition? How should you quantify the cost of treating a major injury that erupted from a minor one after your accident?
These are very serious queries that can derail the negotiation and settlement process. If you aren’t careful, you may end up getting a pittance and have to bear the lion’s share of treatment costs out of your pocket.
The financial strain can aggravate the overall physical and mental strain the accident caused you. Instead of regretting your decision to go it alone later, you would do well to analyze when to hire a car accident lawyer as early as possible.
5) To Resolve Issues of Shared Liability
Only in a perfect world will one party be solely at fault in a car accident. In real life, fault and liability are likely to be shared by all those involved in the mishap. So, should the damages be apportioned equally between all offending parties? Should the one who has suffered more injuries get more damages?
The correlation between fault, sharing of liability, and apportionment of compensation is a tricky issue. These questions are best negotiated by a professional who is aware of the intricacies of car accident settlements.
6) To Tackle Legal Points
Hiring a car accident lawyer can help you avoid issues like the statute of limitation period, which is a general legal concept that applies to all legal disputes. The law does not protect those who aren’t active in protecting their rights.
A qualified car accident lawyer with Craig Swapp & Associates can help speed up the process and protect your rights.
Handling your case alone and reserving the entire compensation amount for you may seem like an attractive proposition in the beginning. However, without an attorney’s assistance, numerous pitfalls may crop up in your pursuit and limit your chances of being compensated at all.