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When to Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident

An experienced personal injury attorney can be extremely helpful in navigating the often chaotic and confusing world of insurance claims and injury settlements. Here's what you need to know:

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that your attorney does not get paid unless there is a successful resolution of your claim.

An attorney brings to the table an in-depth knowledge of the law, the ability to put together the best cases, and the skills to negotiate the best possible outcome in your case.

Handling a car accident claim on your own can be risky unless your injuries are very minor and the other party admits fault.

A car accident attorney knows the law

Hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you after a car accident means you'll have a professional working for you—someone who is very familiar with the relevant laws and procedural rules that may affect your case.

An attorney can advise you about your state's common-fault rules and how they might affect your case if your negligence (negligence) played a role in causing the accident. (Get the basics of what's wrong with a car accident.)

An attorney will also be aware of time limitations (called statutes of limitations) that may prevent you from filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. For example, in many states, you must file a lawsuit within two years of your car accident, or you lose the right to take the case to court. The attorney will also be able to tell you about any special exceptions to the statute of limitations—for example, a minor often has more time to file a lawsuit than an adult.

Your attorney can make a case on your behalf and will know how to respond to defenses raised by the other side. Plus, once your case starts, your attorney will play an invaluable role in preparing your case for trial—and even going to trial if your case doesn't settle.

Although a lawsuit is rarely necessary, the threat of legal action provides powerful leverage when negotiating a fair settlement.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, having an attorney familiar with the law levels the playing field, especially when you're faced with the vast experience and resources of a large insurance company.

A lawyer handles the legal procedures in your car accident claim

A lot of work goes into negotiating an insurance settlement, not to mention filing a personal injury lawsuit. After you've been in a car accident, doing this time-consuming task may be the last thing you want to do, even if you're able to do it. Leaving matters to an experienced attorney can reduce your stress and increase your chances of a good outcome.

Even though this is your first time dealing with the twists and turns of an accident claim, car accident lawyers have handled all types of claims and faced the full range of insurance company tactics. They are experienced in gathering the evidence needed to support your claim, including police reports, witness statements, medical and billing records, and information about lost jobs and wages.

Your attorney will also be able to organize the evidence and write a settlement demand letter to send to the insurance company. If you are unable to settle your accident case, your attorney can make sure to file the necessary paperwork to file a lawsuit and deal with counsel on your behalf. Having an experienced professional navigate the day-to-day work of your case takes the burden off you so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

A car accident attorney advocates for your best outcome

Perhaps the most important role a car accident attorney plays is that of your attorney. Your lawyer is ethically required to act in your best interests at every stage of the claim process. Whether it's an auto insurance company or taking your case to a judge or jury, your attorney will be your hero, making sure your side of the story is heard and you're compensated for all of your losses.

Learn more about hiring the right personal injury attorney. You can also contact a lawyer directly from this page for free.