How Soon Should You Get A Lawyer After A Car Accident?
Car crashes are very common in America today. Over 3 million people end up in a hospital for car crash wounds every year. Besides physical and mental wounds, these crashes also cause financial wounds as well. After all, car crash injuries tend to call for medical help – which means medical bills.
Luckily, if you have been in a car crash, you have the right to seek a fair settlement. However, a legal clock begins to tick as soon as a crash takes place. Therefore, your settlement claim may be wrecked if not made on time.
However, it’s hard to file a personal injury lawsuit without a lawyer. This article will help you understand the best time to find one. We will also discuss why you need a lawyer and some common mistakes you could make that could derail your case.
How Soon Should You Get a Lawyer?
There exist statutes of limitation in different states in America that limit how much time can pass between an incident and the filing of a lawsuit. The time limit can be anytime from within a year to five years, depending on the state.
Now, while this means you would have that long to lawyer up and file your injury claim, it is still best to file your claim immediately after the incident. As we will soon explain, the longer you wait, the more diluted your case becomes.
So, it is ideal to contact a lawyer and file personal injury claims as soon as you can.
Can You File A Personal Injury Lawsuit Without A Lawyer?
Short answer: Yes. You can technically handle personal injury claims without a lawyer. In fact, in some cases, it may be safe or even ideal to speak for yourself. You may do this when:
- You have prior experience in speaking for yourself in court.
- Your wounds are minor.
- The other party’s clearly at fault, especially when they admit such.
- You’re going for an out-of-court settlement.
- Your claim is being filed in a small claims court.
In addition to these cases, sometimes, handling personal injury lawsuits without a lawyer may be the less costly choice. Yet, there may also be times when you have no other choice. It may be the best or only recourse to handle your case yourself in such cases.
When Is a Lawyer Necessary?
It is not always ideal for handling things yourself. It is in your best interest to lawyer up most of the time. To begin with, most cases may involve serious wounds. Sometimes, the other party may not be willing to pay a settlement or admit guilt.
Further, insurance groups usually don’t come quietly. Since such corporate groups only care about profit, the insurance groups may not be willing to offer any settlement. Sometimes, they may try to trick you into getting an out-of-court settlement for a lot less than you should get.
In addition to these, a settlement suit may involve intense inquest, evidence gathering, and detailed damage costing. In such cases, you need to find a firm with the best personal injury lawyers you can afford. They will be able to help you navigate these circumstances and get the best results.
Finally, most law firms have nice offers you can take advantage of. For instance, law firms such as Capital Injury Law offer free case evaluations to their clients. In these free evaluations, lawyers listen to your plight and help you know:
- Your full legal rights to the case
- How much settlement you are entitled to.
- Your odds of getting a settlement and how much you are likely to get.
These are vital bits of precise information for which you may need expert assessment.
Post-Accident Mistakes That Will Harm Your Case
Dealing with guilty parties after a car crash is crucial for your case. This is especially true when the party in question is an insurance group. As people often find, such parties will do anything to pay less than they should. They may even try to avoid paying downright. To this end, they may try to exploit some wrong moves the claimant may make after the crash.
These wrong moves, which you should avoid, are:
Failing To Seek Medical Help Pronto
Upon accepting liability for your injuries, the next move an insurance group will make is to try to slash the costs they must pay. A common way of arguing that your injuries are not as severe as you may claim.
They will try to prove this by looking at your actions right after the crash. Any failure on your part to seek prompt medical help will be taken as a sign that your injuries were, and still are, not serious.
Further, they will also try to judge the graveness of your injuries by how well you followed recommended treatments.
If too much time passes before you go for treatment, insurance groups think you’re faking it for their benefit. Of course, some injuries may not show symptoms until sometime after the fact, but this does not matter to them.
However, a medical doctor will be able to document the progression of your injury and link them to the crash. This is why you need to seek medical help as soon as the crash happens.
Failing to Contact the Police and Record Evidence at the Scene
Where possible, it is always a smart move to gather as much evidence from the scene as possible. This may include taking pictures of damaged vehicles and documenting injury and loss of life.
The identities and contacts of the parties involved and that of any witnesses are also valuable evidence to document. Sadly, not all car crash victims will be able to do any of that because of severe injury. In addition, they may fail to call the police to do these things.
That presents a loophole for insurance groups to exploit. For example, they may argue that there is insufficient evidence from the scene to ground specific claims.
However, all hope is not lost. Different states in the U.S. currently have laws that can help you there. For instance, Washington state has a law about calling the police for a car accident. That can be done if it involves criminal activity, at least $700 in property damage, or injuries. If you end up unconscious, you can almost be sure the police will still know about the crash.
Obliging to Give Information “On the Record”
To build a case for reduced or no liability, insurance adjusters will often call car crash victims after the crash. They may ask for information on the event’s details, and they may eventually ask to keep some of what has been stated on the record. They may even approach them to sign some documents concerning the event. This is a clever trap.
It is well within your rights to politely decline to make any statements on the record or sign any documents for the insurer. That, of course, is another reason you should not handle personal injury lawsuits without a lawyer. Should it become necessary to speak with your insurer, you can demand to do so only in the presence of your lawyer.
How Soon Can One Personal Injury Lawsuit Be Settled?
Of course, you might wonder how long it will take to settle your lawsuit. To that question, there is no cut-and-dry answer. It may take anything from a few weeks to years, depending on how complex your case is and how severe your injuries were. It may take even longer if you’re handling your personal injury lawsuit without a lawyer.
Filing and prosecuting a personal injury lawsuit is a delicate affair. However, you may not get your due compensation or get less than you deserve without proper information and guidance. We have explained the vital things you need to know about filing a personal injury lawsuit and the mistakes you should avoid.
You can indeed file your lawsuit at any time within limits set by the statutes of limitation. It is also true you can handle the necessary lawsuit yourself. However, to get the best results you can, we strongly recommend that you seek professional representation and file your lawsuit as soon as possible, preferably immediately after the accident.
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