If you have been injured in a car accident, a number of questions are probably racing through your mind: How much will I have to pay in medical bills? How long will I be out of work? When will I start to feel normal again?
Another important question you should ask yourself: Who is going to look out for me?
Unfortunately, it’s not going to be the insurance company. Adjusters often try to find any reason to pay as little as possible on your claim.
When you hire a lawyer, however, you will have someone in your corner. An experienced car accident lawyer can represent your best interests and pursue full compensation for your injuries.
Keep reading for more information on what a car accident lawyer can do for you, or contact Fuller & Fuller for immediate assistance in the Olympia area.
When Should You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Although it is usually in your best interest to contact an attorney following an accident, there are instances where it may be possible to handle a claim through insurance alone, such as when damage to the vehicles is minimal and there are no or only minor injuries.
However, even what you initially thought was a “minor” injury can affect you for months or even years. If you decide to handle the claim yourself and settle with the insurance company, you forfeit the ability to pursue additional compensation if your injuries turn out to be more serious or debilitating than you initially thought.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to consult a lawyer sooner rather than later. Here are ways an attorney can help you after a car accident:
1. Understand Your Legal Options
Car accident victims often have no choice but to take things day by day. Considering the extent of the injuries they suffer and the trauma of the crash, this is understandable. However, when you are caught up in the routine of doctor appointments and filing an insurance claim, it is easy to overlook the choices available to you.
When you meet with a lawyer, he or she can explain all of the options you have after a car accident. This may include going through insurance, or it might mean filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Ultimately, it is your decision how to proceed after a car accident. Consulting a lawyer will provide you with information and help you make an educated decision about the next steps in your claim.
2. Investigate Your Case
The immediate aftermath of a car accident is often chaotic. It is easy to miss crucial details, especially if you have been seriously injured.
When you hire a lawyer, they will investigate the accident and take steps to preserve all crucial evidence in a timely fashion. This can include:
- Securing a copy of the police report
- Documenting the scene of the accident
- Tracking down and interviewing witnesses
- Examining the vehicles involved
- Reviewing your medical records and other documents that demonstrate the damages you have suffered
3. Calculate Damages
The amount you pursue in compensation during settlement negotiations or at trial must be supported by the evidence. Your lawyer will review the full extent of damages and advise you how much your case may be worth.
You may be entitled to compensation for the following after a car accident:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement
- Mental and emotional anguish
You may be aware of some of these damages, particularly monetary ones such as your medical expenses and the earnings you miss from being unable to work. Others, however – such as pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages – are less obvious and more difficult to calculate.
Experienced personal injury lawyers know what damages are available in car accident cases. The attorney you choose will be able to calculate your overall losses based on the facts of your case.
4. Protect Your Interests Throughout Your Case
Most car accident claims are resolved in settlement negotiations with the insurance company. Although some people try to handle this process on their own, the decision to proceed without an attorney is a perilous one.
Insurance adjusters and lawyers for the insurance company have the skills and resources to undermine your claim. They will scrutinize each detail in an effort to find a mistake or discrepancy. They may ask you to make a recorded statement that they will try to use against you.
If the insurance company is successful in these efforts, you may get far less in compensation than you deserve, or you may get nothing at all. A car accident lawyer, however, has the experience and knowledge of insurance company tactics to advocate for you effectively.
Your lawyer will inform you of the progress of settlement negotiations and any offers the insurance company makes. Ultimately, it is your decision whether to settle the case for the amount offered or go to trial, although your lawyer can provide helpful insights based on their experience.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers in Olympia Today
If you have been injured in a car accident in Olympia or another community in Washington, Fuller & Fuller is here to help. Our family of attorneys has been serving clients in injury and accident cases for over 45 years.
Find out how our family can help your family. Please call (800) 570-4878 for an initial consultation.