It is possible in some cases to resolve a car accident claim without hiring an attorney. Such situations may include accidents involving only property damage, where liability is not disputed.
But don’t assume that your claim is straightforward. Some injuries that seem simple at first may turn out to be much more complex, and questions of liability can quickly become complicated.
For these reasons, it is generally in your best interest to contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash. An experienced attorney can advise you of your legal rights and discuss your options for receiving fair compensation for your injuries.
Some of the specific situations where it is beneficial to contact a car accident attorney include:
1. You Are Seriously Injured
Car accidents can result in a host of serious injuries, from whiplash and bone fractures to brain injuries and spinal cord trauma. Although thankfully not every accident will result in severe injuries like these, it is always best to seek medical attention as soon as possible when you have been hurt in an accident.
Once a doctor diagnoses your injuries, you will have an understanding of how serious your condition is. Even soft tissue injuries may require lengthy rehabilitation. Diagnosis and treatment of traumatic injuries is time-consuming and can be expensive.
If the accident was not your fault, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, the other driver’s insurance company may be resistant to paying you what your injuries are really worth. In this situation, it is helpful to have an attorney who can gather evidence to support your claim and advocate on your behalf.
2. When the Insurance Company Makes a Low Offer You Are Denied the Compensation You Deserve
“Lowball” offers are not uncommon in car accident claims involving serious injuries. Insurance companies may try to pay you less than the true value of your claim.
For some seriously injured people, the prospect of any settlement that helps them with the seemingly endless flood of medical bills and other expenses may seem attractive. However, many car accident victims do not account for the future medical costs of their injuries or the compensation that may be available for pain and suffering and mental anguish.
Once you accept a settlement from the insurance company, you will be blocked from pursuing a claim in the future even if your injuries become much worse over time. Therefore, it is worth speaking to an attorney before you agree to settle to ensure that you are being fairly compensated.
3. Fault Is Contested
In some cases, the driver who is at fault for the accident may claim that you are partially or fully at fault. As a consequence, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may offer you far less compensation than you deserve – or they make no settlement offer at all.
When liability is disputed, it is important to contact a car accident attorney to protect your right to compensation.
Your attorney will investigate the accident to determine who is at fault. Remember, even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you may still be entitled to compensation. If the claim that you are at fault is baseless, your lawyer will pursue full recovery for the damages you have sustained.
4. Complex Liability
Many car accident claims revolve around a collision between two vehicles. In these cases, liability generally rests with one or both parties.
However, some accidents may involve fault by more than one party. Examples include:
- Accidents involving employer negligence, as in truck accidents and other claims where a vehicle is used for commercial purposes
- Accidents involving vehicles that are owned and operated by the government
- Car accidents caused by defective parts
- Accidents caused by dangerous or poorly maintained roads
- Drunk driving accidents arising from a bar, restaurant, or other business that serves alcohol to an apparently intoxicated person
Each of these cases may involve one or more parties beyond the driver who caused the accident. Each of these additional parties will likely be represented by its own insurance company and, in some situations, its own legal team.
When multiple parties may be at fault for your car accident, it is in your best interest to have your own legal counsel to act on your behalf.
5. What Happens When a Claim Doesn’t Settle
The vast majority of car accident claims are settled out of court. However, if the insurance company won’t agree to a fair settlement, your case may need to be resolved by filing a lawsuit.
Court proceedings are subject to specialized rules and procedures that your attorney will know how to navigate. If you haven’t hired an attorney before this point, it is certainly in your best interest to have legal counsel before you enter the legal proceedings where the insurance company will have the advantage if you are unrepresented.
Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys Today
Fuller & Fuller has been serving Olympia, Tacoma, Puyallup, and nearby areas of Washington for over 45 years. Our family of attorneys has extensive experience with car accident claims, and we can help you in your time of need. Let our family help your family.
Please call (800) 570-4878 today for an initial review of your case.