You or a loved one have just been in a car accident caused by another driver. Amidst the pain and stress about treatment and paying your bills, you need to tackle the insurance claim process. You might wonder, “is hiring a car accident lawyer truly worth it?” That’s a question we’ll dive into today.
In most situations, yes, having a car accident lawyer is beneficial for you if you suffered injuries from the collision. But the details matter. There are situations when a lawyer may be helpful, and other times you’ll be left at a huge disadvantage if you try to take on your case alone.
What a Car Accident Lawyer Can Do for You
Insurance companies have entire teams of adjusters at-the-ready when you file your personal injury claim after an accident. They are skilled at evaluating a claim and looking for ways to pay out less. Even if they appear to have your best interests in mind, their bottom line is always about money.
Having a car accident lawyer on your side during a car accident case helps level the playing field. They can begin an investigation immediately, gathering evidence of the other driver’s fault and your damages. That includes:
- Getting a copy of the police report from your accident
- Investigating the accident scene
- Talking to witnesses who saw what happened
- Calculating your total damages, including pain and suffering damages that are hard to define
- Communicating with the insurance company on your behalf
If the insurance company tries to use information against you or offer you a lowball settlement, your lawyer will be there to step in. They can also help negotiate with the insurance adjuster for compensation that is actually fair to you.
Large insurance companies have a full team of experienced lawyers ready to handle claims against them. In most cases, it’s unwise to try facing them without your own legal professional. Without an attorney, it will be hard to know your full legal rights, what you’re truly owed to cover your losses, and all of the options available to you.
Four Signs Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer Is Worth It
While a car accident lawyer can be helpful in many situations, you should especially consider finding one in the following situations.
1. You Don’t Have a Good Understanding of Personal Injury Law
Understandably, most people do not know much about the legal process after they get into a car accident. Plus, the insurance claim process can vary depending on where you live. If you are not familiar with local laws, it can be hard to know where to turn first.
In Georgia, for example, the at-fault driver is responsible for covering costs from the accident they caused. That means if you are the victim of an accident, you have the legal right to file a claim for your damages (Georgia Code section 51-1-6). However, the burden is on you to actually file that claim, prove the accident happened, the other driver was at fault, and that your injuries and other damages were caused by the other driver.
This is exactly why lawyers exist. They have the education and hands-on experience to handle legal claims when a car accident disrupts your life. The goal is to get you the fullest compensation possible so you can cover your expenses and begin to move on. There’s no need to spend time and energy on doing your own research.
2. You Have a Lot of Damages
After a car accident, you may be owed damages like:
- Medical costs
- Vehicle repairs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
There are several types of damages you can have after a car accident. The two most common are special (economic) damages and general (non-economic) damages.
Special damages are easier to calculate because they have a set dollar amount. However, general damages are very difficult to figure without professional knowledge. If you have pain and suffering damages or other emotional losses—and/or if you have a lot of special damages—working with a lawyer is highly recommended. Otherwise, you may miss out on the full compensation you need and deserve.
3. Your Claim is Denied or You Get a Small Offer
After you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, there are a number of reasons it may be denied. An attorney can help increase your chances of approval from the beginning. However, if your claim is denied after filing or you get a small settlement offer, hiring a car accident lawyer is especially imperative.
An experienced lawyer will know how to appeal a denial and fight for what you deserve.
4. The Insurance Company Won’t Negotiate
In some situations, an insurance company may refuse to negotiate for fair compensation. If this happens and you want to continue fighting for your rights, you will need a lawyer who can represent you in court.
Situations Where You DON’T Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident
You may not need the help of a car accident lawyer if:
You Did Not Have Any Injuries
If there were definitely no injuries in your car accident, you may not need to pursue a personal injury claim or need help from a car accident lawyer. Although this is rare, it does sometimes happen.
However, you’ll want to be absolutely sure you were not hurt by the accident. Keep in mind that some injuries can take time to develop. Get checked out by a doctor if you’re unsure.
You Get a Fair Offer
If the insurance company offers you a settlement that is fair and will cover your expenses, you may not need to hire a car accident lawyer. But you’ll want to be absolutely sure you are receiving a sum that is actually going to cover your costs.
Think carefully about all of your damages before proceeding. If you have many costs, you will probably need more money than you think. It’s best to schedule a consultation with a car accident lawyer who can give you an opinion on what’s fair. Most injury lawyers offer this for free, so there is no expense in talking to them.
Contingency Fees Mean No Risk to You
There is another factor that matters when hiring a car accident lawyer: contingency fees. Many personal injury lawyers—like John Foy & Associates—work on a contingency basis. This means there are no upfront costs, and the lawyer only gets paid if they win you money. Their fee is then taken out of your settlement, making the process easy.
This is a risk-free situation that makes hiring a car accident lawyer worth it from the beginning. When you schedule a consultation with a law firm, ask about their fee structure and whether or not they work on contingency.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we are here to walk you through every step of the legal process after your car accident. Contact us today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation where we can answer any of your questions about hiring a car accident lawyer. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started.