According to the Department of Transportation, there were 33,654 fatal car accidents in 2018.
In many cases, people are able to walk away from accidents no worse for wear. So much so that for many, the thought of hiring a lawyer after a car accident would feel like a total overreaction.
But then there are times when you have no choice but to call a car wreck lawyer in order to make sure that you’re getting the compensation that you deserve.
How do you know when a car accident has gone from “That was a bit concerning.” to “I need a lawyer now!”? What is and isn’t an accident worth calling a car accident attorney over?
Here are some factors that you may want to consider as you’re weighing your post-accident legal options.
Factor #1: The Presence of Injuries
According to Driver Knowledge, 27% of car accidents result in a non-fatal injury.
However, as you know, the severity of an injury can vary widely from accident to accident.
If your injuries are serious to the point where you may have a long-term disability or you could need ongoing care, you may be better off speaking with a lawyer just to make sure that you’re getting adequate compensation.
This is especially true in light of the fact that not every injury is as easy to see as a broken bone or a series of bruises.
Whiplash and other forms of soft tissue damage might take weeks or months to fully reveal themselves.
And if the person who has sustained serious injury is the other driver, you have all the more reason to make speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer a priority in the aftermath of your accident.
Factor #2: You’re Not Sure Who’s at Fault
In cases where the facts are beyond dispute, you may not have to work too hard to get a reasonable payout. After all, if you’re sitting at the traffic light and someone runs the red light while speeding and hits you, it’s a pretty open-and-shut case.
But in situations where there are doubts about who had the right of way or where the other driver is claiming that the accident was 100% your fault, there’s a very real chance that you may have to litigate the issue. In addition, being partially or totally at fault can have an impact on the amount of money that you get paid out by your insurer.
When you’ve got the other driver, on the one hand, looking out for their best interests and the insurance company on the other protecting its bottom line, it can help to go through your legal options with a lawyer who you’ve hired to look out for you.
Factor #3: Multiple Drivers Were Involved
Within the context of a car accident, drivers are like ketchup, mustard, and barbecue sauce combined.
The more you put on your plate, the messier your french fries become.
Forget about driving for a second and imagine witnessing a car accident. Two drivers is standard fare and three is a little harder but still doable.
But once you start talking about a multiple collision accident with five, six, or seven cars? Just remembering the sequence of events can be difficult. And by the time you start looking at disputes over fault, eyewitness disagreements, and the claims being made by those five or six drivers, you’re more than likely looking at a complex case that will require evidence, witness statements, and potentially even litigation.
As you can imagine, that type of complexity can impact both your settlement and your ability to quickly and easily find out which driver was at fault. A car wreck lawyer who understands the process will be able to help you navigate the difficulties of being an accident with multiple drivers.
Factor #4: Your Insurance Refuses to Make a Reasonable Offer
Sometimes it’s possible for you and your insurer to look at the same accident and come to dramatically different conclusions.
Maybe they don’t think that you have a claim or their position is that you’re partially at fault. Perhaps they aren’t convinced that you’re asking for reasonable compensation when looking at your injuries.
Whether you’re in the negotiation phase or you’re thinking more and more that your case is headed to court, it helps to have an experienced personal injury lawyer sitting on your side of the table. Insurance companies hire high-powered lawyers because they don’t want to pay out a penny more than they have to. It’s important to make sure that you have an equally experienced personal injury attorney fighting to defend your interests as well.
Factor #5: You’ve Suffered Losses
A car accident can impact you in big and small ways.
Sometimes these losses have a clear dollar value attached to them. Perhaps you missed work for several weeks while you were recovering from your injuries after a hospital stay.
In that type of situation, called an economic loss, it’s as simple as calculating how much you’ve lost.
If you make $200 a day and you’ve missed 20 working days, then you’ve lost $4,000. If the bill for your hospital stay came to $3,000, then you can prove that as well.
However, economic losses aren’t the only claims that you can make and get compensated for. You may also be entitled to claim for non-economic losses.
These are losses that aren’t necessarily calculated by cut-and-dry numbers, but where the loss is still very real. Maybe you can’t meaningfully participate in your previous hobbies or perhaps you’ve been traumatized as a result of your accident.
A car wreck attorney will be able to go over the details of your situation and find losses that you may not have realized you could claim compensation for.
Here’s How You Know If You Need to Hire a Car Wreck Attorney
Figuring out when to hire a car wreck attorney isn’t always easy. So much depends on the specifics of your case.
We’ve just put together a list of key factors that could tip your decision one way or another as you weigh the pros and cons of a car accident attorney.
If you’ve been in an accident and you’re in the Tampa Bay area, we can help you get the legal help and resources you need.
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