After a car accident, you will have a lot of questions and concerns. You will likely have a lot of unexpected medical bills, vehicle damage, and lost wages to deal with. You might also wonder how you can get compensated for your costs if the accident wasn’t your fault—and when you should get a lawyer to help.
Having a car accident lawyer on your side can help you protect your legal rights and work towards a settlement that will cover your damages. This article will discuss the best times to reach out to an attorney and how they can assist you with your case.
Don’t Fight for Your Car Accident Claim Alone
There’s no hard requirement for a car accident victim to hire a lawyer when they file a claim. You’re more than free to represent yourself at trial or at negotiations. Despite this, trying to fight for a settlement on your own is extremely difficult, especially for those with little to no legal experience.
Many car accident victims that try to fight for a claim on their own end up settling for way less than the amount of compensation they could have received. To get the most out of your claim, it’s imperative that you hire an experienced lawyer to help you throughout the process.
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The Best Time to Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident
If you were hurt in a car accident that another driver caused, it’s best to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. You will need to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and an experienced lawyer can help you build a strong case from the very beginning.
Typically, the sooner you retain legal help for your car accident case, the better. However, you should also probably consider getting a lawyer even if your accident or injuries were relatively minor. Damages tend to be a lot more severe than they initially seem, and the insurance company is likely to be difficult no matter what.
Reasons You Should Get a Lawyer After Your Car Accident
A car accident lawyer can help you get the best outcome in your claim. There are several ways they do this. Here are some of the biggest reasons you should get a lawyer for a car accident.
They Have Expert Legal Knowledge of Car Accident Claims
Car accident lawyers specialize in helping car accident victims get the money they need and deserve to cover their costs. In addition, they will have years of training and experience in tort law and negligence theory, which means they can advise you on the best course of action for your situation.
If the at-fault driver or insurance company tries to reduce what they pay you or deny your claim, a lawyer can help you seek a fair settlement instead of feeling like you have no options. If negotiation isn’t successful, they can help you file a lawsuit for the damages you deserve. This is very hard to do without the help of a legal professional.
Getting a lawyer for a car accident also helps even the playing field. Insurance companies will have their own team of professionals ready to fight against your rights. An attorney is entirely on your side, and simply having legal help may encourage the insurance company to offer a better settlement.
Determining Your Damages
You’re probably very aware that the accident is costing you time, money, and emotional energy. However, do you know exactly how much your total damages are worth? Unfortunately, most injury victims don’t realize just how much their losses are after a car accident.
If you aren’t clear on your damages, you will be losing out on money you are legally entitled to and might end up having to pay for the costs of the car accident you didn’t cause. If there is a risk of this happening, you should get a lawyer right away. A car accident lawyer can help you account for damages like:
- Medical costs, currently and in the future
- Vehicle damage
- Lost wages from missed work time
- Reduced earning capacity if your injuries have affected your ability to work and make money as you did before
- Pain and suffering damages from emotional trauma and other ways the accident has affected your quality of life
- Punitive damages if the other driver was acting maliciously or recklessly, such as driving under the influence
A good lawyer can look at the details of your case and figure out the total of your damage to include in your insurance claim.
A Lawyer Will Take on the Work for You
To be successful in getting the compensation you need after a car accident, there’s a lot of work involved. You will need to gather evidence of:
- The other driver’s negligence in the accident
- The accident itself
- Your damages
- And the fact that your damages result from the other driver’s fault
This takes a lot of time, energy, and certain resources to do well. However, a lawyer with experience working in car accident cases will know exactly where to start and how to get the information you need to support your claim.
Most people who file an injury claim after an accident have never had to deal with this before, so it’s an excellent time to get a lawyer. They know the ins and outs of how an accident claim works, including how to compile crucial evidence, prepare the demand letter, and what to do if the insurance company tries to take advantage of you.
Negotiating a Settlement
Most of the time, the insurance company will try to offer you a lowball settlement that is way below what you need.
A lawyer will be ready to negotiate with the insurance adjuster for a settlement that is fair to you. You generally don’t want to try doing this alone, as it takes a professional perspective to prove your damages and why you need to get compensated for them.
You Will Have a Professional Advocate
You should also get a lawyer for a car accident simply to have an advocate on your side. Your lawyer will act on your behalf and make sure you take the best action possible throughout the car accident case process. After a stressful accident that leaves you feeling vulnerable and unsure of many things, that support can be priceless.
Be Mindful of the Statute of Limitations in Georgia
You don’t have all the time in the world to file your claim. If you wait too long, you run the risk of passing the statute of limitations in your state. For example, according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §9-3-33, Georgia car accident victims only have two years to file a claim.
While the statute of limitations usually gives you a decent amount of time, that doesn’t mean you should sit on your case. Instead, take action immediately and take advantage of the fresh evidence available to you. If you wait too long, you severely weaken your ability to fight against the insurance company.
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Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer for Free Today
If you’re wondering when to get a lawyer for a car accident, the answer is often “now.” At John Foy & Associates, we can begin helping you right away at no risk or obligation to you. We don’t charge anything upfront, and we only get paid if we win a settlement for you. To schedule your consultation for free today, call or contact us online.