Whether you need an attorney after being injured in a car accident depends on a number of factors, including the severity of your injuries, the complexity of your case, whether there is dispute as to liability, and whether the insurance company is willing to offer you a fair settlement. It never hurts to at least speak with a local injury attorney to have your questions answered and find out what options you have.
Some general guidelines to help you decide whether you need to retain a personal injury attorney:
- Your injuries are severe. If you have suffered serious injuries, such as a broken bone, spinal cord injury, any injury resulting in surgery (or the possibility of future surgical intervention), or traumatic brain injury, you should definitely hire a personal injury attorney. These types of injuries typically involve some level of permanency and can result in significant medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial damages. An experienced injury attorney can help make sure you are fully compensated.
- Your case is complex. If your case involves multiple parties, disputed liability, multiple insurance coverages, insufficient insurance coverage, or complex legal issues, you should hire an attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate both the claims process and the legal system, as well as make certain you are aware of your rights and that those rights are protected.
- The insurance company is not offering you a fair settlement. While it’s better to consult with an attorney before attempting to negotiate your claim, if you’ve already entered into discussions with the insurance company and the carrier is offering you a lowball settlement or refusing to negotiate at all, you should speak with a local injury attorney.
Even if at first you think your injuries are minor and your case seems straightforward, you may still want to consider consulting an attorney to make sure you are aware of all options, as well as any potential pitfalls. Often injuries end up being more significant than originally thought. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with, and they often try to settle claims immediately after a crash before the injured party is aware of the full nature and extent of their injuries. An attorney can help you level the playing field and get the settlement you deserve.