Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?

There are a lot of things that one needs to consider following getting into a car accident, especially if the car accident is more severe. Insurance, car repairs, medical bills, and more are going to be spinning around your head. One of the most important questions, however, is whether you need a lawyer after a car accident.

The benefits of consulting a lawyer after a car accident

Not all car accidents will necessitate a lawyer. For example, getting a lawyer involved because someone dinged your car may be going too far. This kind of thing can usually be settled fairly easily. Even if the other driver is not being cooperative, a small claims court for the damages would probably not necessitate getting legal representation. The benefit from taking this to court is usually not going to be worth the cost of an attorney.

However, in the event that things are more severe than a dinged car, that is when you need to consider the pros and cons of hiring a lawyer to represent you. Once the costs start to rise, the risk of not getting those costs covered because you decided to go it alone increases as well. Not only can a car accident see you suffering from injury and financial loss, but you could even be sued for the car accident, regardless of whether you were the one at fault for it. Both are obvious serious issues, and if you do not have an attorney retained, you run the risk of losing a case that may have otherwise been a slam dunk. If the other side does hire a lawyer, and you go without, a situation where you were completely in the right could be turned completely on its head to make you seem like you were at fault instead.

Now, granted, not every case that goes to court without a lawyer retained is going to end negatively, much like how a case with a lawyer retained is not going to end positively. However, just because it is not a guaranteed win to go with an attorney does not mean that you should snub your nose at the idea. It is all about risk mitigation, and if you think there is a risk to representing yourself, it is of the utmost importance that you at least consult with an attorney on your case.

One common claim made following a car accident is a personal injury claim, assuming that injuries occurred. If you intend to file a personal injury claim, there are certain things that an attorney will have to see before they take it on. For instance, the attorney should have a good idea of who was at fault in the accident. If you can show the attorney that you did everything correctly, or that the other driver was acting negligently, that is a boon for your case. It is important too that your prospective lawyer has evidence of the damages you incurred, ranging from repair costs to lost wages to medical expenses. A big cherry on top for the lawyer is having police reports and witness testimony to demonstrate that you were not liable for the incident. Unless there are other factors that may ward the attorney off from taking your case, having solid evidence and a good likelihood of success at trial or settlement will likely make them go ahead.

One of the best things an attorney does for their client is building the case. Once they have decided to work on your case, they will start gathering evidence and fighting for your rights. For all the skill you may have had in evidence gathering, a good lawyer can find every last bit of relevant evidence to turn your case into a sure victory. The attorney will gather all the necessary documents if they do intend to take it to court, and at this point, will serve the would-be defendant with the claim against them.

Having a lawyer is also extremely valuable when it comes to the settlement process. Not only can a lawyer do a good job of getting a successful settlement offer — one that actually covers all of your losses and more — they can also project confidence and competence. If you went into the settlement process on your own, the other side may regard you as being an easy mark, and either offer a low settlement, or decide to take it to court. The latter is not as likely, as most personal injury cases tend to settle out of court, but either way, a lawyer helps prevent both of these outcomes. A lawyer is also more likely to tell when the other side is taking you for a ride with a low settlement offer and will not buckle under the pressure to take it. They also, to some degree, have the ability to tell how things will go if it goes to court. If you have a strong case and the other side is not willing to play ball, your attorney will not likely concede.

If the case does actually go to court, the attorney will be able to conduct themselves better than most people would in these situations. This is because they have a lot of experience in this area, and as such, they know what to do and what not to do. Not only does it create a good impression for the judge and jury alike, but it also means that they will know how best to present their case. No matter how strong a case might be, if the other side is able to get momentum or present a stronger argument, your case may fall apart.