As attorneys who represent victims of auto accidents, nearly every day we’re asked the question:
How do I know whether I need a lawyer after my car accident?
For most fender benders and minor car accidents, you probably won’t need to hire a lawyer. Typically, the damage from minor car accidents can be resolved through insurance companies, and most traffic tickets do not warrant hiring a lawyer. But when you’ve been involved in a more serious car accident, you may need to hire an experienced car accident lawyer.
After a car accident, an attorney can help you recover money for damage to your car, secure funds for costly medical treatment, and collect evidence to show that you were not at fault in the accident. An attorney can also communicate directly with insurance company representatives on your behalf.
5 Signs You May Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident
Below are five indicators that you may need a lawyer after your car accident. Hiring a lawyer is an important decision, and you should find a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable working and communicating.
1. The car accident caused serious injury or death
If the automobile accident caused serious injury or death, you should consider hiring a lawyer. Car accidents in which serious bodily injuries or deaths occur are highly traumatic for all parties involved. They usually result in a complicated lawsuit or lawsuits. A court will have to consider multiple legal issues, and the amount of damages will likely be very high.
You will need an attorney to help calculate the amount of damages you deserve, guide you through the legal process, and represent you against possible counterclaims. You should look for a reputable car accident lawyer who has experience handling personal injury or wrongful death cases.
2. There were multiple parties involved in the accident
If you were in an accident involving multiple drivers and vehicles, you may need to hire a lawyer. Many car accidents involve multiple vehicles or other parties such as pedestrians. For example, the driver of a commercial delivery truck may fail to stop at a red light and enter an intersection illegally. A driver of a passenger vehicle may swerve to avoid the delivery truck in the intersection and hit a motorcycle in the adjoining lane. This type of multi-vehicle accident would likely result in a complicated lawsuit or even multiple lawsuits.
A car accident lawyer will fight to keep your share of liability for the damages incurred by the other parties involved in the accident as low as possible. An attorney can also help communicate with the lawyers for the other parties and their insurance companies.
3. One or more parties involved in the car accident are uninsured
If one or more of the parties involved in your car accident do not have insurance, you should begin to search for a car accident attorney right away. Most auto insurance companies offer uninsured motorist coverage, but it might not be enough to cover the damages. A lawyer can help you file a civil lawsuit for money damages against the uninsured party.
4. You need to collect evidence about the car accident
If you need to collect evidence about your car accident, you may need to hire a lawyer. For example, most newer vehicles are equipped with a piece of recording technology known as a “black box” that records critical information during a car accident. This information may be able to establish how fast the car was going at the time the car accident occurred, or whether the driver was wearing a seatbelt. You will need to get a court order for this data, and a lawyer can help you request one.
5. You have upcoming settlement talks
Many car accident lawsuits settle before going to trial. Settling a lawsuit before trial can save you a lot of money in litigation costs. But you need to understand that settlement talks often involve complicated legal negotiation. A car accident lawyer can probably negotiate a much higher settlement than you.
You should hire a lawyer who has experience negotiating favorable settlement agreements for clients who have been involved in a car accident. Don’t be afraid to ask your client to see past results.
Contact Sutliff & Stout
Sutliff & Stout are experienced car accident attorneys who represent clients who have been involved in auto, motorcycle, and truck accidents in Houston and the surrounding areas. For a free and confidential consultation about your case, call (713) 987-7111.