Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Car Accident Case?
If you're involved in a car accident, do you need the help of a car accident attorney?
For very minor accidents, filing an insurance claim with your or the other drivers' insurance is often the easiest way to repair damage to your vehicle or to cover medical expenses related to minor injuries. Drivers also have the option of taking a claim for a relatively minor amount to small claims court. But there are other situations in which the assistance of an attorney may be necessary.
When should you consider hiring an attorney to handle your car accident case? Here are a few common scenarios:
- There's a dispute about who's at fault. In a car accident, the party at fault for causing the accident is generally liable for the other person's damages or injuries. When fault in an accident is in dispute, a lawyer can help you prove that the other party was entirely or at least mostly at fault.
- There's a dispute over how much you have to pay or how much you'll receive. The majority of personal injury claims arising from car crashes are settled before ever reaching trial. But you may need a lawyer to successfully negotiate your settlement to ensure that you don't get stuck receiving less or paying more than you should.
- Serious injuries resulted, especially injuries that require ongoing medical care. When injuries arising from a car accident require long-term medical attention, calculating damages may be more difficult and the amount of damages involved may be dramatically increased. A lawyer will know how to properly prove or dispute these damages in court.
- You're being taken to court. If you are being sued as a result of your car accident, trying to defend yourself in court may be more difficult than it seems. An experienced lawyer will know the court system inside and out; he or she will be able to gather the evidence needed to defend you in court or negotiate a fair settlement with the other side.
- You just don't want to have to handle your own claim. Bringing or defending a car accident claim may take years to resolve and in any event may require a significant amount of time and effort. Having a lawyer handle your case can take the pressure off, preventing you from agreeing to an unfair settlement or missing an important deadline in your case.
If you have more questions about your case, keep in mind that many car accident attorneys offer free consultations. You can also learn more about car accident lawsuits at FindLaw's section on Car Accident Liability.