History says that, sooner or later, you will be involved in a car accident. Let’s hope that damages and injuries are few and small.
But, personal injuries to you, to passengers, and to those in other vehicles all have costs, sometimes huge. To handle the accident consequences correctly and fairly, you must have an experienced legal counsel.
5 unexpected consequences of not calling a lawyer after an accident:
- Time is not your friend. You only have so much time to file a claim following an accident. If your state, like most states, has a statute of limitations, you only have one or two years to bring a lawsuit or surrender your right to sue.
Liability laws also differ from state to state: Each jurisdiction decides rules on auto insurance and auto accident. If, for instance, you live in a “no-fault” state, you cannot sue except in specific circumstances. In states favoring “comparative negligence” or “contributory negligence,” only a lawyer can explain your rights.
- Insurance companies can complicate things. Your insurance company should represent your interests after you have had an accident or been injured in one.
But, insurance companies are also in the business of keeping losses low. While they may represent your interests, they are also motivated to expedite the process. So, you may need an experienced attorney to intervene on your behalf between competing agendas.
- Paperwork is intimidating. When an accident occurs, you must file forms and claims. There are police reports, notice of claims, and more. Completing forms can be challenging. Getting the paperwork to the offices where they belong takes advice,
With a simple call, you can experience professional legal help to navigate the paperwork and processes to secure the compensation you need and deserve for your injuries and damages. With an experienced accident lawyer, you have go-to expert and personal guide through the legal process.
- Injuries and damages add up. Injuries and damages may not show up immediately. They are not always apparent at the moment, and many don’t appear for some time.
Identifying the injuries, estimating their cost, and putting a value on the problem and pain. At the time of the accident, you may not fully understand what is going on. But, the injuries may include lost wages, medical treatment and care, pain and emotional suffering, and more. As Laiza King warned in Huffington Post, “You should only have this discussion with the police and your attorney. They will use evidence gathered from all parties to give final conclusions on the cause of the accident.”
- It’s tough to make a case. The accident may be clear in your mind. But, if this goes to court, it can be difficult to prove liability. In litigation, proving liability takes more than just identifying who is at fault. To optimize your settlement, you must prove the other party was negligent in breaching a common duty of care.
If your litigation goes to court, there are issues of discovery, witnesses, and evidence. Courthouses have different rules on format and filing. And, you need legal experience to find your way.
If you are willing to settle (as most people do), you need help to determine what settlement option serves your interests best. You need explanation and clarification of the terms and conditions. And, you need expert advice on the pros and cons of each offer.
You still need a lawyer
According to Joe Palazzolo writing for The Wall Street Journal, personal injury lawsuits have been steadily declining. However, that means that fault, liability, and compensation are determined and settled outside of court.
That also means you still need the support of an experienced legal professional to educate you, determine liability, estimate costs, and show you how to manage the situation.