Car accidents can happen quite literally out of nowhere. One second you’re on your way to work, and the next thing you know, you’re spending your morning trying to swap car insurance information with another driver.
A single accident can be incredibly troublesome for any driver to navigate. There can be a lot of ins and outs to it depending on the type of car accident, especially when it comes to dealing with car insurance companies. Car insurance companies help as much as they feel they should, but sometimes it is not enough.
How do you go about getting the compensation you deserve? A lawyer may be able to help.
Car accident lawyers help collision victims make their case for car insurance claims. They also can assist with lawsuits, should a car insurance claim turn into a case. But not every situation calls for legal representation.
The guide below outlines how to go about handling car accident claims and the benefits of hiring an attorney to assist you.
What You Should Do Right After a Car Accident?
Getting in a car accident can be incredibly overwhelming. You’re just driving along, trying to get to your destination, but fate has another idea, and now here you are, trying to figure out where went wrong and what to do next.
It may be helpful to consider the following after getting into a car accident:
Immediately report the car accident
After getting into a collision, you should report it right away, preferably before even speaking to the other driver. This will help get the police report started as soon as possible and get emergency services on the scene of the car accident to aid anyone injured.
Both the police report and your medical report will be very valuable when it comes to deciding who was liable for the car accident. Without this formal documentation, it is very hard to establish who was at fault in the auto accident.
Gather all evidence available
It is important that you collect evidence at the scene of the auto accident. Take photos of the damaged vehicles and try to get both close-up shots and long shots. The long shots will help you to show where the car accident specifically took place. Record all the street signs and any addresses/businesses in the area. You should also note traffic patterns on the street or at the intersection. Do not forget to find anyone who witnessed the car accident. You should collect their contact information and record their story as part of your evidence. They should also speak with the police to strengthen the case.
Consult a car accident lawyer
When it comes time to collect your compensation from the other driver’s insurance company, their car insurer will do everything in their power to reduce how much you receive. They tend to offer a low-ball settlement in order to save them from paying more than what is deemed sufficient.
In order to battle car insurance carriers effectively and efficiently, you will need to contact a car accident lawyer. More on how this works and why you need a lawyer will be explored in the next sections.
Why You May Need a Lawyer After A Car Accident?
Following an accident, you probably have spoken to a whole list of people. From police officers to witnesses, the last thing you really want to do is consult with another person about your car accident. But a car accident lawyer may actually prove to be one of the most important people you talk to after a collision. Car accident lawyers can bring a lot to the table in the fight for your car insurance claim payout.
Here are some main reasons you should consider reaching out to a lawyer if you are at a standstill in your car insurance claim process:
Your Lawyer Knows The Law About Car Accidents
One very valuable key thing about lawyers is that car accident lawyers simply know the law about car accidents. Car accident attorneys are professionals who are knowledgeable about relevant laws and regulations that may be affecting your auto accident claim.
Car crash lawyers can advise you thanks to their education and expertise. With this, they also understand the statute of limitations regarding car accident claims. Once you hit a certain point after your car accident, you cannot take action. Lawyers understand this and can help file lawsuits within the appropriate timeline should you need to after an accident.
To help build your case to car insurance companies and a possible lawsuit, car accident lawyers or personal injury lawyers also have countless resources available to assist you. They are professionals in their field, which grants you great leverage, especially when going against a car insurance company.
Missteps Will Affect Car Insurance Compensation
While car accident claims are settled out of court, the law can come into play in a variety of ways, like knowing the statute of limitations for your specific type of accident. There are other laws that you will need to know, but by hiring a car accident lawyer, you have a stronger legal defense. They have good negotiating skills and understand how each party should act within the extent of the law.
State laws are especially important as different states have their own car insurance claims processes and compensation payouts. You may want to especially seek legal advice if you live in one state but got into an automobile accident in another one. Failing to understand the law can lead to you missing out on key compensation and even losing your car insurance claim.
You’re Taking on Car Insurance Companies
It is important to remember that when it comes to car insurance claims, you are taking on the car insurance company, not the other driver. These car insurance companies tend to be large with numerous resources. Insurance carriers understand car insurance claims and know how to navigate them probably better than you do. But hiring the right legal team can help level the playing field.
Car crash lawyers know the methods and strategies car insurance companies use when it comes to deciding car insurance claims payouts. They can help you advocate for yourself when it comes to settling deals with larger-than-life companies.
Your Lawyer Does The Legwork
There’s a lot that goes into negotiating car insurance claims after an auto accident that you may not even realize. Car insurance companies need proof that what you are asking for is actually reasonable. They are on guard for insurance fraud, which is completely understandable.
Lawyers hand a lot of this legal legwork. They have the experience and resources necessary for obtaining evidence to support your car crash claim. This includes collecting police reports, taking witness statements, gathering medical bills and records, and any other relevant bills. They can organize and present it to the car insurance provider.
If you are unable to reach a settlement for the automobile accident claim, your lawyer will then be responsible for filing the paperwork necessary to begin a court case. At the same time, they can also be used as your legal defense and start on everything that goes into that.
A Lawyer Works For You During a Car Accident Case
Arguably one of the biggest benefits to hiring a lawyer is that they work for you; they have your best interest at heart. Car crash attorneys are meant to advocate for you and your case when it comes to speaking with a car insurance provider. Lawyers want a result that makes you happy and adequately covers your expenses.
When trying to work something out with such a large company, it can be overwhelming and even a bit isolating. You are going up against a lot. It’s hard for anyone to advocate for themselves. But that is where an attorney comes in handy. As has been outlined in this piece so far, lawyers can play a pivotal role in getting your automobile accident claim settled.
When to Get An Attorney For a Car Accident?
It is true that not everyone involved in a car accident will need a lawyer. Sometimes simple fender-benders do not require either party to seek out legal advice. Some minor crashes, like a collision that results in significant property damage, will most likely need a lawyer involved. However, legal representation should be saved for major incidents.
Some examples of when you should call your lawyer include:
- Car accidents that cause serious personal injury to any party involved
- Car crashes involving another driver or pedestrian
- Car collisions in school, work, or construction zones
- Car accidents involving underinsured or uninsured drivers
- You are having trouble working with the car insurance company
- Car accidents lacking a clear liable party
- You notice an error on the police report
What Information You Should Provide to Your Car Crash Lawyer?
When it comes time to meet with your car crash lawyer and discuss the circumstances of your car accident claim, you will want to have all the information laid out. Keeping something from your auto accident lawyer will only be damaging to your case.
Always provide your car crash lawyer with the following:
- Facts about your car accident claim
- Contact information (yours, other drivers, witnesses, etc.)
- Police report
- Medical records
- Financial documents
- Photographic evidence
What Are Mistakes to Avoid After Car Accidents?
There are certainly some missteps you can unwillingly make following a car accident. You can especially make some mistakes if you have never gotten into a car collision before. If you don’t know how to navigate it, you could be paying for it later down the line.
Some things to avoid doing following a car accident include:
Failing to report the car accident
Paperwork can be quite overwhelming following a car collision. You may not think it is worth the hassle but assuming such a thing can be dangerous and costly to you. You never want to just exchange information and then go about your day. This can be tempting, especially if you or the other party is not at all injured.
However, injuries and damage can take days to become apparent. By the time you realize you need compensation, you may have a hard time successfully filing your car accident claim.
Always report your car accident and file the police report.
Immediately accepting a settlement
You want your car accident insurance claim to be settled as fast as possible and so do car insurance companies, but their reasoning for settling quickly is different from yours.
Car insurance companies may try to offer you a settlement that is way below what you actually need in order to recover and repair your vehicle. If you agree to the first settlement, you may not really receive enough to fully cover all expenses. It is best to consult a car accident lawyer so they can analyze your situation after the car crash.
Apologizing to the other driver
We’re humans, and what do humans do when something goes wrong? They apologize. However, this attitude can be a bit harmful in the case of a car collision.
If you immediately apologize to the other driver, you are indirectly admitting the car crash fault. This has the potential to be used against you. Following a car accident, even if you believe you were at fault, do not apologize or take responsibility. Let the investigation play out to accurately determine who is liable.
Why Is Timing Crucial For Your Car Accident Insurance Claim?
Throughout this piece, we have mentioned the statute of limitations for car accidents. A statute of limitations is a deadline set by states that says drivers have a certain period of time after a car accident to take action regarding an accident. The time starts on the date of the car accident.
On average, states give drivers about two years after a car accident to file their auto accident insurance claims. But you should never wait even a year after a car accident to consider filing a car crash claim. The sooner, the better when it comes to insurance claims. Once this deadline has passed, your right to being bout a legal claim for the car accident vanishes.
If you need any medical expenses for personal injury and/or auto repairs covered, contact a car accident or a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Auto accident claims can be a time-sensitive thing, and you want to get the ball rolling the minute you know you will need reimbursement or a payout from a car insurance company after an auto accident.
When you have a good attorney right from the start, they can advise you on the steps and obstacles.
Car accident Claim vs. Auto Accident Lawsuit: Which One Should Your Go For?
There are actually a couple of routes you can take when you hire a car accident lawyer.
Typically, you will want to start with your car insurance claim. Car insurance claims are filed with a car insurance company and are meant to cover your expenses following a collision. These are handled outside of court and are more just like a negotiation with a car insurance company.
However, if your car insurance company is giving you a lot of trouble, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. Lawsuits are generally formal court proceedings and work to seek payment for your damages. It is more serious than a car accident insurance claim.
Lawsuits are typically only filed if negotiations are stalled, and a settlement cannot be agreed upon. A lot more preparation is needed with lawsuits but can have monumental outcomes.
Your lawyer should advise you on which route would work best for your situation.
What Are The Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer?
Getting what you deserve from a car insurance company following an auto accident can seem time-consuming, especially if you need a lawyer.
You may be very tempted to handle it all yourself, but this may only land you in more trouble than what you started with. Hiring an attorney can make the whole process run smoothly and assure you that you are getting the compensation you seriously need.
Here are some benefits that come along with hiring a personal injury lawyer include:
It probably comes as almost no surprise that those with legal representation tend to receive higher compensation from car insurance companies than those who go at it alone.
Car accident lawyers are skilled in building air-tight cases that car insurers have a hard time fighting against. They are knowledgeable and fight for their clients appropriately, making sure all expenses following a car accident are covered.
Handles paperwork for you
Filing a car accident insurance claim comes with a stack of paperwork and forms. You can easily get caught up in them, but, thankfully, car accident lawyers can navigate it pretty easily thanks to their years in the business.
Having someone file your paperwork will help you stay on top of deadlines. If the statute of limitations runs out, you will not receive any assistance. Improperly filing paperwork can also delay the process,
Speaks to the car insurance company
Car accident claims can get messy even if you are dealing with a highly-rated car insurance company.
Sometimes, you just don’t know what the best way is to go about approaching car insurance carriers regarding your car accident claim. It’s understandable; car insurance companies of any kind can be intimidating. That is why it helps to have a car accident lawyer in your corner. Personal injury lawyers will speak with and take on the car insurance company for you, making sure everything is in line with your car accident claim.
Usually paid on a contingency basis
One handy thing about car accident lawyers is that they are paid on a contingency basis. What this simply means is that if you don’t win, you don’t need to pay for their services. If they do win your case, the personal injury lawyers' fees will then be paid out of the compensation or settlement that you receive.
Make sure the lawyer you hire operates like this. It can then be considered a risk-free venture.
As previously discussed, car accident lawyers do much of the heavy lifting for you. They are skilled investigators, especially if they have dealt with countless other car accident cases before yours.
Car accident lawyers tend to rely on recreation teams, experts, and forensic specialists to fully determine liability. Sometimes their results do not declare any driver at fault. The car accident may have been caused by the car manufacturer or city roads. This is something that the average person would not be able to investigate on their own.
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