If you have recently experienced a car accident, you might be wondering if an accident attorney is something you should consider to help you recover. For those who are not familiar with the car accident process, you may be unsure what a car accident attorney does, what situations they could help with, and what steps to take after an accident. To help you determine if an accident attorney can help you, we put together a guide to answer some of the most common questions we get asked regarding accident litigation.
What Does an Accident Attorney Do?
If you have been injured in an accident, an attorney essentially serves as your liaison throughout the entire process of seeking compensation. They will handle the negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf, work with accident reconstruction experts to establish fault, and discuss any ongoing expenses with medical personnel to ensure you receive full compensation for the lifetime of your injuries. After an accident, insurance companies will generally try to take the least expensive route possible, even if that means putting the victim at a disadvantage—but with a qualified attorney on your side, they will take your claim seriously and be pressured to give you the compensation you deserve.
When Do I Need to Hire an Accident Attorney?
If an Injury or Death Occurred
If you were injured or had a loved one die due to a car accident, seeking a qualified attorney is a must. This will help you receive your deserved compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, property damage, and any other accrued expenses due to the accident and ensure you can receive care throughout the entirety of the recovery process. This is generally the main reason why people seek out an attorney, and for good reason—even relatively mild car accidents can cause lifelong injuries and complications in certain scenarios and should always be taken seriously.
If Damages Were Significant
In the event of a significant, severe car accident, the damages and subsequent costs can be excessive. Even if you were able to escape the accident without physical injury, the cost of repairs or purchasing a new car can become extensive if the other person’s insurance company does not want to cooperate. If you were in an accident that led to significant damages, it might be wise to consider hiring an attorney.
If the Other Person’s Liability is Disputed
In an ideal situation, the person who caused the accident will be clearly at-fault, take responsibility and handle all of the subsequent damages. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In many accidents, the at-fault party will downplay whatever led to the accident, such as distracted driving or speeding, and if there are no witnesses to contradict their claims, it can be difficult to prove fault on your own—which is where hiring a car accident attorney can come in handy. Lawyers can work with law enforcement, accident reconstruction experts, and other personnel to prove fault in these disputed scenarios so it is not a situation of contradicting stories.
If Your Accident Was With a Commercial Vehicle
Though many people think of general car accidents when researching an attorney, having legal expertise on your side is extremely helpful when your accident was with a commercial vehicle such as a semi-truck, city bus, or company vehicle. These companies typically have large legal teams and insurance policies to represent them, and will often attempt to pay out minuscule settlements to victims to cut costs and downplay fault. If you are injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle, hiring an attorney is a wise choice to make sure you are able to receive the compensation you deserve in the aftermath.
What Steps Should I Take After I’ve Been in a Car Accident?
1. Ensure the safety of everyone around. If it is safe to do so, clear the cars from the roadway and move them to the median or shoulder to assess the damage and wait for authorities to arrive. If you are able to exit your vehicle, check on the other driver and passengers to see if anyone is in need of assistance.
2. Contact the police and first responders. Call 911 as quickly as possible, and if you or anyone on the scene is in need of medical attention, be sure to make that clear to the operator so an ambulance will arrive as well. Once the police arrive, they will begin collecting evidence, writing a police report, and taking witness statements if there are any around.
3. Get the other driver’s information. The other driver should provide you with their contact information and insurance cards, but also be sure to take down any other relevant information in addition to this, such as their license plate and anything else pertinent. It is also wise to take extensive photographs of the road conditions, the collision itself and anything else that may be relevant.
4. Get medical attention as quickly as possible. Even if you did not require to be taken away from the scene in an ambulance, it is smart after any car accident to schedule a check-up with your doctor to check for any signs of trauma. Many injuries take time to surface and waiting to seek medical attention can be extremely detrimental for your health.
5. Contact us. After you have received medical care, contact us as quickly as you can following a car accident. We will be able to schedule you for a free consultation and evaluate the details to determine if you have a case.