One of the most devastating life disasters is getting involved in a tragic vehicle accident, leading to permanent disability and financial hardship. Vehicle accidents come in different types, including motorcycle accidents, car accidents, and truck accidents. In all these vehicular accidents, it’s crucial to have a legal advocate at your side to keep you guided. Whether you’re seriously injured or not, hiring a lawyer makes a big difference in the outcome of your personal injury claim or case.
But, when do you need to call a lawyer after a vehicle accident? Find out the answer to this commonly asked personal injury question by reading below.
What Is A Personal Injury Lawyer?
A personal injury lawyer has in-depth legal knowledge in tort law, involving legal cases that caused harm, such as negligence, professional malpractice, products liability, and vehicle accidents. Personal injury lawyers deal with these things daily, so they know the ins and outs of local, state, and federal personal injury and tort laws.
Personal injury lawyers, such as Hopkins Roden Lawyers, take pride in maximizing recovery for damages caused by other people’s wrongful actions, such as reckless driving. They also know medicine, insurance claims processes, general litigation, and other related fields.
When To Call A Lawyer After A Vehicle Accident
It’s never too early to talk to a car accident lawyer after a car accident. This step should be one of your priorities, second to ensuring your health and safety. Different situations would entail hiring an experienced lawyer after a vehicle accident, such as the following:
1. The Vehicle Accident Caused A Serious Injury
Vehicle accidents can cause serious physical injuries because of extreme vehicle impacts, such as head-on collision and rollover. It’s important to call a lawyer after a vehicle accident, especially if you sustained obvious serious injuries.
Sometimes, people may not notice serious injuries until it’s too late, such as internal bleeding or hemorrhage. For this reason, it’s advisable to seek legal advice even if the injuries seem minor. Untreated injuries could result in the loss of the victim’s capacity to earn money, inability to sustain a relationship, and financial hardship.
Remember, vehicle injuries can be fatal, so prompt medical treatment and legal action must be carried out. Some examples of serious injuries after a vehicular accident include:
- Fractures: Many vehicle accident victims sustain fractures, such as broken arms, ribs, wrists, legs, and ankles. Treatment of fractures ranges from casting, to surgery, to repair of broken bones.
- Neck Injuries: Whiplash refers to injuries of the muscle, ligament, tendon, and soft tissue in the neck, causing intense neck pain. Slow speeds or non-fatal car crashes can also cause whiplash, especially if you’re not wearing any seatbelt.
- Back Injuries: A common injury in motor-vehicular accidents are back injuries. It may take some time for back injury signs and symptoms to show up, and the pain associated with serious back injuries can be debilitating and long-lasting.
- Burns: A vehicle caught on fire after a vehicle accident may cause skin burns because of steam, chemicals, hot surfaces, and hot fluids. Burns may need skin grafting to reduce the unpleasant appearance of burn marks and scars, affecting the victim’s self-esteem.
- Amputation: Limb loss or amputation, including the finger, arm, toe, or leg, may result from a severe crash.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Traumatic brain injuries could lead to long-term disability. They’re usually caused by a piercing or blow injury to the head, ranging from mild concussions to irreversible brain damage.
- Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI): Because of the torque and crash, spinal cord damage may come about. This serious medical condition can cause temporary or permanent, or partial or total paralysis.
- Other Injuries: The other serious injuries caused by vehicle accidents are bruises, lacerations, wrist and hand injuries, shoulder injuries (bracing the hands against the dashboard or steering wheel), knee injuries (tear in the knee meniscus or cartilage), and foot and ankle injuries (ankle sprain and strain).
Note: Victims of vehicle crashes may also suffer from emotional and mental injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A lawyer can help recover compensation to cover expenses for psychiatric treatment and emotional suffering. Be sure to check out options like braininjurylawofseattle.
2. Couldn’t Identify Who’s At Fault
Legal liability or fault for the underlying vehicle accident is a common issue in personal injury claims. Many factors determine who’s liable or at fault for a vehicle accident, such as road marks, traffic signs, images, CCTV videos, and road conditions. Whatever the case is, a lawyer should represent you.
Your lawyer will investigate to prove your innocence, finding out all potential at-fault parties. At-fault parties often carry liability insurance, such as truck companies, car rental companies, and even private drivers, leaving their insurance providers giving compensation to victims. Insurance companies investigate and decide as to how much settlement will be given to the victim.
Your personal injury attorney will use negligence to prove fault. Negligence constitutes acting recklessly or below the expected standards, thereby causing harm. The legal elements of negligence to hold a party liable include the following:
- Duty: It is important to prove a legal duty is owed by the at-fault party to the victim. For instance, all automobile drivers have a duty of care to drive safely to protect other motorists.
- Breach: The victim must prove that the liable party breached a legal duty. A breach occurs if a motorist looks down at his smartphone to check a text message, email, or GPA app while driving.
- Causation: The negligence caused injuries to the plaintiff. For instance, if the at-fault party’s car rear-ends the victim’s car, then the causation of injuries is obvious.
- Damages: The victim must incur actual damages due to the vehicle crash incident, such as medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering.
3. Multiple Parties Involved
If the vehicle accident involved other motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians, there’s an increased probability of facing a more complicated case. In this case, you’ll need a lawyer to check all your legal options and carefully investigate the incident.
It could be that a pedestrian was drunk and suddenly showed up in the middle of the road of a pedestrian-restricted area, like the expressway. Also, a bicyclist might have been hit by the other vehicle first before it came in contact with yours, resulting in the bicyclist’s death due to serious traumatic brain injury and internal injuries. Your car accident lawyer will gather the necessary evidence to prove that you were driving safely and could not control the external circumstances that led to the incident.
4. Incident Occurred In A Protected Area
You’ll need a personal injury lawyer to fight for your rights and best interest, especially if the collision happened in a school zone, construction zone, or other protected areas. For instance, if your child was hit by a car in a school zone, then the driver should’ve been more careful driving to avoid the incident.
A lawyer can help you recover damages from your child’s hospitalization to rehabilitation expenses, including your child’s trauma, pain, and suffering after experiencing such a tragic accident.
5. Inaccurate Police Report
Police reports are considered the justice system’s bedrock. The notes police officers take at incident scenes compiled into reports help establish a legal case’s basic facts. However, officers usually write notes by hand in the incident scene, and then type reports hours later, posing potentially serious downsides. Police officers are usually under pressure to write the most condensed and quickest notes to save time. As a result, the key details are often left out.
Sometimes, police reports don’t describe the details of the incident accurately. If you’re in doubt of the incident or police report, it will help if you seek legal advice to ensure that you’re not being pointed out as the liable party if you’re not the one who’s at fault.
Here are some examples of the warning signs of an inaccurate police report:
- Lack of key details captured by your taken photos and videos of the incident area after the vehicle crash
- Inaccurate time and date
- Misspelled names of parties involved
- Lack of plate numbers
- Testimonies you haven’t mentioned at all according to your knowledge
6. Insurance Concerns
If you have concerns regarding liability limits, your insurance status, or lack of insurance, speak with a lawyer right away to check your next actionable steps. If the insurance company attempts to bring up issues or lets you talk to their lawyer, it’s a sign that you also need to hire one.
Lawyers know that insurance companies have their own legal team, and they will do their best to invalidate a claim because it’s considered a liability. While your insurance agent probably explained your insurance’s benefits amazingly, the insurance provider still has to follow strict rules before giving out compensation. They would require foolproof evidence to ensure nobody is trying to commit insurance fraud or abuse their services.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer eliminates the stress and hassle of explaining yourself before the insurance company. Your lawyer can also deal with your creditors to request suspension of your payments until you have fully recovered or received your compensation.
Benefits Of Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer
You’ve probably asked yourself, “Why should I hire a lawyer after a car accident if I can represent myself?” It may seem more practical to handle the aftermath of a vehicular accident by yourself. However, hiring a lawyer can make the recovery process a lot easier, preventing insurance adjusters from offering less settlement amount than you deserve.
Some of the important benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney include:
- Dealing With the Insurance Company: More often than not, insurance companies don’t play fair. Hiring a lawyer who specializes in handling vehicle accident cases is a sound decision. Your lawyer can deal with the insurance company, ensuring that they’re acting in good faith.
- Filing The Necessary Legal Paperwork: When filing a vehicular accident claim and a lawsuit, these involve many forms and paperwork. These forms should be filed on-time and correctly to ensure the smooth proceeding of your case. Improperly filed forms can add lengthy delays in getting the compensation you need.
- Meeting Deadlines: Your car accident lawyer will make certain you won’t miss critical deadlines, including the statute of limitations or the time window to file a valid claim. It’s your attorney’s responsibility to act quickly to protect your rights to compensation by meeting deadlines.
- Increased Compensation: Working with a lawyer increases your likelihood of receiving more compensation than not having an attorney. It’s because lawyers know how much compensation you need to aid in your full recovery. Personal injury lawyers consider their clients’ medical expenses, earning capacity after the injury, and other losses.
- Working In Contingency Basis: Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, so their clients owe them nothing until they settle or win their cases. Injured accident victims can also seek justice after a vehicle accident, not only people who can afford it.
- In-Depth Investigation: Lawyers specializing in handling personal injury cases, specifically vehicle accidents, have extensive investigative experience. A law firm specializing in car accidents, for instance, has a team of forensic specialists, medical experts, and other professionals to unleash all liable parties, including those not listed in the police report. Some of these examples include the car manufacturer, the bar that served drinks to the intoxicated driver, and the city responsible for road maintenance.
Now, you know when to call a lawyer after a vehicle accident. If you sustained serious injuries that would require long-term hospitalization and treatment, your lawyer will help seek the maximum amount of settlement for your benefit. If it’s hard to tell the liable party, you also need to hire a lawyer to prove your innocence.
Consult a lawyer if the insurance company is trying to deceive you in any way by telling you to indirectly admit you’re at-fault or offering a lower compensation. Situations wherein multiple parties are involved, insurance concerns, and incidents that occurred in protected areas, like school zones, must also warrant contacting a personal injury lawyer because these cases are usually complicated, requiring legal expertise.