There is no law mandating that you must hire an attorney when seeking compensation after a car accident. Some victims of car accidents choose to seek legal counsel and representation so that they can focus on their health and recovery while also pursuing legal action. You have the right to hire legal representation at any time throughout the process of making an insurance claim or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.

While obtaining a lawyer does not guarantee you a specific outcome for your case, they can help investigate the crash, gather evidence to demonstrate the other driver’s negligence, and take care of negotiations with insurers on your behalf. This can go a long way in handling the legal process while you spend time with your family and prioritize your physical recovery.

Ultimately, determining when you should hire an attorney after a car accident depends on your own level of comfort with navigating the claims process alone. You have the right to seek legal counsel at any point, though.

Filing an Insurance Claim

When you experience a motor vehicle accident, the first step in seeking compensation is to file a claim with either your own insurance provider or the other driver’s insurance company. In some states, comparative negligence laws apply, which means that if you share any percentage of fault for the accident, you would see your compensation deducted by your own degree of fault.

In the worst of situations, the other motorist lacks insurance coverage or carries a policy that does not fairly cover your losses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hundreds of thousands of car accident injuries require immediate hospitalization. The severity of your physical injuries will ultimately determine if you have a case for compensation.

Keep in mind that some car accident injuries may only display symptoms days or even weeks after an accident. For example, whiplash may take several days to manifest, according to theNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

If the other driver’s policy cannot cover the costs of your losses, you may be able to seek them through your own policy if you carry uninsured motorist coverage. You can hire an attorney immediately after a car accident to help you assess your losses and explore the options available to you through your own insurance policy.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In the case of an uninsured motorist, for example, even your own policy may not cover your losses. This is when you may have the ability to seek the remainder through a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.

If you believe an insurance company is offering you a settlement that does not fairly cover your losses, you can file a personal injury lawsuit as long as you are within your state’s statute of limitations. A lawyer can also help you determine the time you have to file a lawsuit and take action to meet a deadline.

When pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, many factors must fall into place. Your injuries must have caused real economic or noneconomic losses that you can demonstrate through documentation, such as medical diagnoses and treatments. You must also be able to establish fault on behalf of the other driver.

The Fault for the Accident

For example, if a driver was operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or over the legal blood-alcohol content level, this would classify as negligence. If the driver engaged in distracted driving while answering a phone or navigating on a GPS, this breach in their duty of care they owed you while on the road may have contributed to the accident.

A lawyer can help investigate the cause of the accident and use evidence to demonstrate the fault of the other driver.


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