One of the most common questions we get is, ” Do I need a lawyer after a car accident if I have auto insurance?” And the truth is that it really depends on the accident and your injuries (if any). In fact, there are five things you should consider after an accident: 1. Whose fault was it? 2. How badly am I injured? 3. How bad was the damage to my car? 4. What will my insurance cover versus what the other parties’ insurance will cover? 5. Are you unsure about how to answer the previous questions? This last one is especially critical but let’s go over each of them in detail. At the end, we have a PDF you can download for personal use as well.
Do I need a lawyer if the car accident was my fault?
Obviously, who caused the accident (or whose fault it was) is extremely important to determine who will be responsible.
If the accident was the other driver’s fault, you are legally entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and similar damages. Determining who was at fault can sometimes be simple, like in a rear end accident. But in other circumstances, disputes arise regarding who is at fault. Disputes also arise over the extent of your injuries following the accident. Most people don’t know how to correctly document, express, or advocate for the appropriate compensation they deserve following an accident. That is why insurance companies will often contact people before they hire an attorney to quickly try and settle the case for as little as possible, hoping the person never hires an attorney. If you want full and just compensation your injuries, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is key.
Needing an attorney can get a little more complicated if you were at fault. Think of a car accident like tripping at a place of business. If you fall because of a dangerous condition caused by the business, then they are at fault and you can pursue compensation for your damages, injuries, etc. But if you tripped over your own shoelaces or the business is your own, then you yourself are responsible for the injury. Can you sue yourself if you are the cause of your injuries? Well, if you could – we’d likely be in court every week for both physical, mental and emotional injuries. So, short answer: no. However, if you were injured in a car accident and it was your fault, you still might be entitled to compensation based on the type of insurance you have. If you have “collision coverage,” your insurance company is required to repair your vehicle, even if you were at fault. Similarly, some policies also provide for medical expenses even when you were at fault. If you’re not sure if you have this coverage, contact your insurance agent or an attorney immediately.
So, when in doubt, it’s never a bad idea to talk to an attorney.
How bad are your injuries after the car accident?
This is a tricky question to answer because injuries are not necessarily present immediately after an accident. in fact, many injuries don’t really surface until sometime later. Therefore, if the accident is severe enough and you feel that there may be injuries, or the idea of possible injuries is present, then you should seek professional medical advice before determining whether or not you are injured. If you go to a lawyer who specializes in personal injury like we do, you will be referred to a doctor who specializes in these types of personal injuries.
Car accidents are immediate, but the physical consequences coming from them are not. This is why you likely need a lawyer after a car accident even if you already have insurance. This is especially true if you are unsure as to the strength or quality of both your insurance plan and your insurance carrier. You should keep in mind that auto insurance policies and auto insurance carriers are there in the event of a car accident and/or injury caused by car accidents. However, they are a business, and although they will honor what they are obligated to honor by way of their agreements with you, it isn’t uncommon that they try to avoid paying out wherever possible, even when some of those payouts are legally binding. This is not to say that an insurance carrier will go beyond the letter of the law to free themselves from their obligation to you, but it is a consideration to have especially when realizing that paying out to everyone who submits a car accident claim is not a sound business plan. So ,when in doubt concerning an insurance policy or carrier, contact an attorney. We can help you where they may fail to do so.