“Should I get an attorney after a car accident?”
That’s a common question – but there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Here’s what you need to know about hiring a lawyer after you’ve been in an accident.
Should I Get an Attorney After a Car Accident?
You may want to get an attorney after a car accident if one or more of the following applies to you:
- The car accident wasn’t your fault
- You were injured
- You had to miss work (or you continue to miss work)
- Your car was significantly damaged
- The other party’s insurance company is calling you
Let’s take a closer look at each so you know whether you should hire a lawyer.
#1. The Car Accident Wasn’t Your Fault
The aftermath of a car crash is typically hectic and confusing. Assuming you weren’t seriously injured, your adrenaline is running high – and you and the other party are likely trying to piece together the sequence of events that led to the accident. In many car accidents, the blame lies completely with one party, such as when someone runs a red light or pulls out in front of the victim. In others, though, the blame is shared; sometimes both parties make mistakes that lead to a crash. If you were involved in an accident due to someone else’s negligence (or even if you’re partly at-fault), you could be entitled to financial compensation. Getting an attorney may be a good idea in this situation.
#2. You Were Injured
If you were injured because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness behind the wheel, you may be entitled to damages. Medical bills can pile up quickly, so often, courts award money to car accident victims who received (or continue to receive) medical care as a result of the crash. Some people receive money to help pay for:
- Current medical bills
- Future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
#3. You Had to Miss Work (or You Continue to Miss Work)
When you have to miss work while recovering from your injuries, you most likely won’t be paid – but your living expenses won’t stop. In some car accident cases, judges order the at-fault party to compensate the victim for lost wages. If the injuries are so extensive that the victim has lost his or her ability to work – or his or her ability to work is less than it was before the crash – the court can order the at-fault party to make up for that, as well.
#4. Your Car Was Significantly Damaged
During an accident, a lot can happen to your vehicle. Damage can range from minor cosmetic issues to major structural issues; your vehicle may even be totaled, which means it would cost more to fix than it’s worth. If your car has been damaged, you may need to talk to an attorney to get the full compensation you’re entitled to receive.
#5. The Other Party’s Insurance Company is Calling You
You should never talk to an insurance adjuster without talking to an attorney first. In fact, if the other party’s insurance company is calling you, you shouldn’t talk to them at all – you can refer them to your lawyer. An insurance adjuster has one job, and that’s to save his or her company money. While the adjuster seems caring and concerned on the phone, what he or she is really trying to do is get you to make a statement that helps them reduce or eliminate the amount they have to pay you. Anything you say to an insurance adjuster can be used against you, so please, don’t talk to anyone about the accident… even if it was totally the other party’s fault.
Do You Need to Get an Attorney After a Car Accident?
If you’ve been in a car accident, you could benefit from talking to an attorney about your case. Call us at 818-230-8380 or fill out the form below to tell us what happened. We’ll be happy to visit you at home, in the hospital or in our office – and if you’re entitled to compensation, we can help you get what you deserve.