If you were in a car accident and were not hurt, it’s unlikely you’ll need an attorney to resolve property damage claims. But if you did sustain injuries, you may wonder, “Should I get a lawyer for my car accident?” Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what you need to know to make the best decision about hiring an attorney after your car accident.
After a car accident, you should call a lawyer as soon as possible if you meet any (or all!) of the following criteria:
There are many reasons why deciding to call a lawyer after a car accident should happen promptly, including:
Recommended reading: How to document a vehicle damage report
Yes—even if you’re hesitant about hiring a lawyer, and you trust the insurance company to do their job and cover your bills. The fact of the matter is even your own insurance company may try to get out from covering accident-related expenses in different types of car accident claims. Your attorney is the only true advocate on your team.
If you do not contact a lawyer, the insurance company may contact you directly after your crash and try to discredit your claim.
Your words could be taken out of context and used against you. They may twist your words, coerce you into admitting fault, or they may offer you a lowball settlement. You might not know it was a low offer and end up losing out by not having a lawyer to pursue the full extent of the damages.
In an ‘at-fault’ state like Indiana, each driver is assigned a percentage of blame for an accident. During a settlement or lawsuit, your award is often adjusted depending on your portion of the responsibility. You are typically unable to receive compensation from the other party if you are found at fault by more than 50%.
Having a knowledgeable Evansville car accident lawyer present the evidence of your role in the crash, ensuring that you don’t get assigned more than your fair share of the blame, is critical. They will ensure you get the money you deserve from the other party’s insurance company or your own.
Your car accident attorney can protect you, advocate for you, and help you get the compensation you deserve while avoiding going to trial if that’s what you choose.
If there is a question about who is at fault and how much, your attorney can help you gather the information needed to prove liability. That might include finding security camera footage, arrest records, or the other party’s admission of drinking or fault.
Insurance claims can be tricky. A car accident attorney can handle all claims and communications with the insurance company and negotiate your settlement on your behalf. Your attorney will help you track every expense traceable to your car accident and ensure you receive adequate compensation. Your accident-related expenses might include the following:
Recommended reading: Here’s what to do if your car is totaled.
Without an attorney, you likely wouldn’t track expenses like transportation costs. Compensation options like ‘pain and suffering’ or punitive damages would be entirely off the table without a lawyer on your side. Your lawyer can also advise when it may be appropriate to take your case to trial if you’ve received a low settlement offer.
It’s important to reiterate the Indiana statute of limitations. Two years may appear like a long time to process a car accident claim, but time moves quickly, and insurance companies do not. If you want to keep your case open past the two-year mark, you must hire an attorney to file a lawsuit and begin preparing for a trial. Your settlement negotiations can still proceed between the lawsuit filing and your proposed trial. Still, your case will close at the two-year mark if you haven’t partnered with an attorney to file a lawsuit beforehand.
Simply because you hire an attorney does not mean your personal injury claim will go through to trial. Here’s how this works: the car insurance company proposes a fair settlement before the trial, and if you accept it, you won’t need to go to court.
However, there are times when we cannot reach a settlement. The case might go to court due to circumstances like a low settlement offer from the insurance company. This is also true if you don’t receive an agreement for the amount you seek from an insurance adjuster. In addition, if you have heard from the other person’s lawyer and if there has been a dispute about who is at fault, your case could go to trial.
The essential part to consider here is that hiring an attorney gives you options. If you don’t hire a lawyer, the insurance company will have the final say on how much you are at fault and how much compensation you should receive. Having an attorney support and advocate for you is the only way to ensure you get what you deserve.
Serious injuries and expensive property damages are hard enough to navigate on their own. Negotiating with an insurance company shouldn’t be at the top of your recovery to-do list. If you weren’t responsible for the accident or are less than 50% at fault, you can and should get compensated to cover the damages to your vehicle, your medical bills, and more.
Our Evansville car accident lawyers at Tuley Law Office can investigate the crash, prepare documentation, and negotiate with the insurance company. After exhausting all other options, we can represent you in court if necessary. Contact a member of our team to get started.