Should I Hire an Attorney for My Car Accident Claim?
In the wake of a car accident, it can be difficult to determine what subsequent steps to take. While there is no law mandating you to hire an attorney when seeking compensation after a car accident, many victims choose to seek legal counsel and representation. An experienced attorney can be extremely helpful in navigating the potential personal injury, property damages, and insurance claims that often come as a result of accidents. To determine whether your case might benefit from a lawyer’s assistance, review the guide below, prepared by the Baltimore personal injury attorneys at Peter Angelos Law.
What Do Attorneys Do In Car Accident Claims?
Attorneys are able to guide you through the legal processes and assist with every step of a car accident claim. Depending on the specifics of your case, there are two types of claims that are typically filed after a car accident: personal injury and property damage claims. Personal injury claims are pursued when you’ve suffered physically as a result of an accident. Property damage claims are for any damage done to your vehicle. After reviewing the elements of your case, an attorney will advise you on which type of claim to pursue, or may even determine that you could file both types.
After filing the claim(s), your lawyer will then begin working on your case. Hiring an attorney will allow them to take on several tasks on your behalf, including:
- Communicating with the other driver’s insurance
- Handling settlement negotiations with insurers
- Helping you find doctors to treat any resulting injuries
- Collecting evidence
- Filing a claim against negligent parties who are responsible for the crash
- Proving fault
- Organizing your medical bills and records
- Seeking damages
Most importantly, a car accident attorney will advocate in your favor, keeping your best interests in mind. This advocacy is irreplaceable and invaluable in a car accident claim and is perhaps the most important part of what attorneys do in these cases. Without an attorney providing counsel, you may not receive maximum compensation.
How Long After An Accident Should I Hire A Lawyer?
Simply put, the sooner the better. The statute of limitations in many states can bar you from filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if you wait too long. An attorney will be able to not only speed up the process of the suit, but also ensure that it is submitted before your state’s statute of limitations expires.
Moreover, an attorney will be able to take the necessary steps early in your case to bolster the potential of a favorable outcome. In addition to offering assistance and guidance, they can preserve and gather evidence, investigate the crash, communicate with insurance companies, and handle the claim filing process on your behalf. In fact, it is a good idea, especially in the case of physical injuries, to have your attorney make the first calls to the insurance companies on your behalf.
While you can hire a lawyer later in your case, if you have suffered any injuries or property damage, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to thoroughly explore your options. They will be able to put you on the best path and guide you to a favorable outcome.
What Are The Benefits Of Speaking With Or Hiring An Attorney For A Car Accident Claim?
There are also no drawbacks to speaking with a lawyer. Most lawyers will offer consultations to discuss your case, where they will listen to your situation and advise whether your case would benefit from the help of an attorney. This is a great opportunity for you and the attorney to gauge which claims you should pursue and will allow you better insight into what compensation is feasible.
Should you choose to hire an attorney, you will reap countless benefits. An experienced attorney can be crucial to the success of your case, and the benefits they can offer you are extensive. When you hire a personal injury attorney for your car accident claim, you are adding a knowledgeable, experienced professional to your team who knows about the relevant laws and procedural rules that might have bearing on your case. Because of their education and job responsibilities, they will be familiar with the details and stipulations that are involved with such cases, including shared fault rules, statutes of limitations, negotiating insurance settlements, gathering evidence, and more. They are able to dedicate time, resources, and expertise to the claims that the average individual cannot.
Hiring a lawyer can also increase your compensation. Car accident victims with legal representation typically obtain significantly higher compensation amounts than those who are unrepresented. A study by the Insurance Research Council shows that victims with representation receive compensation up to 3 times as much as victims without. Because attorneys are familiar with insurance companies’ strategies, they are able to avoid common mistakes or pitfalls. Further, attorneys will have a better sense of future expenses or losses the victims might experience and can plan for better settlements to cover potential future costs.
What Can I Recover After An Accident?
Just as you can pursue personal injury claims, property damage claims, or both, the damages you can recover will be determined by the types of claims you elect to file.
For personal injury claims, most damages are compensatory, which means they are intended to compensate the injured plaintiff for what was lost as a result of the accident. These types of damages include:
- Medical treatment- Personal injury damages almost always include the costs for the medical care you’ve already received and estimated costs of future care for injuries associated with the accident.
- Income: If the accident has had an impact on your wages, you may be entitled to compensation for what you’ve already lost, and money you would have been able to make in the future were it not for the accident.
- Pain and suffering: You can be compensated for pain and discomfort experienced during the accident and in the aftermath, or any ongoing pain attributed to the accident.
- Emotional distress: In more serious accidents, these damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for negative psychological effects after the accident, including fear, anxiety, or sleep loss.
- Property damage: If your vehicle or any other items were damaged in the accident, you could receive compensation for the reimbursement, repairs, or replacement of such items or the vehicles.
Personal injury claims might also include punitive damages, which are awarded to the plaintiff, but are meant to punish the defendant for their conduct. These damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct is particularly egregious or careless and stem from a rationale that is quite different from that for compensatory damages.
Contact Peter Angelos Law
It can be a risk to pursue a car accident claim without an attorney to represent you and handle your case. Seeking legal counsel is especially prudent if you have sustained serious injuries, are communicating with insurance companies, or looking to prove fault.
At Peter Angelos Law, our skilled team is ready to put their time, knowledge, and resources into handling your case and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve. Call our office today for a free consultation and to begin filing your claim.