For minor fender benders, hiring a lawyer may be unnecessary. However, for more serious cases where a lawsuit is imminent, you may need a car accident attorney.
Attorneys can help you recover money for damaged property, medical expenses, or collect evidence that could mitigate your liability.
Here are five signs you may need a car accident lawyer.
- If there's serious injury or death. Car accidents in which serious bodily injuries or deaths occur are not only traumatic for all parties, but they usually result in complex litigation. Not only are there multiple legal issues to consider, but the requested injury damages amounts will likely be very high. You'll need an attorney to help you calculate the potential damages and guide you through the various legal claims.
- There are multiple parties involved. In many car accidents scenarios, there are more than two parties involved. For example, unsecured cargo may fly off of one car and cause another car to swerve and hit a third vehicle or pedestrian. In jurisdictions that have comparative negligence laws that divvy up the liability, you may need a car accident lawyer to make sure you're only responsible for your share of the damages.
- One or more parties are uninsured. Most insurance plans have uninsured motorist coverage, but if it's not enough to cover the damages, a lawyer can file a civil suit against the uninsured party.
- You need to collect evidence. You may need a court order to obtain some car crash evidence and a lawyer can help you obtain it during the discovery phase of litigation. For example, most new vehicles come equipped with a "black box" that records a few seconds of information during a crash. The information may be able to tell you how fast the car was going or if the driver was wearing a seatbelt. But you might not get this data without a court order.
- You have upcoming settlement talks. Settlement agreements can be reached before trial and can save you a bundle in litigation costs. However, settlement talks are all about legal negotiation, which is something an experienced car accident lawyer can probably do better than you.
Bottom line: If at any time after a car accident you're unclear about the law or how to proceed with a personal injury case, it never hurts to contact a car accident attorney near you.
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