If you are involved in a car accident, especially one that involves injury or property damage, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll be wondering whether you should hire an attorney. This may not always be an obvious decision, but there are certain instances where it’s best to seek legal counsel for advice on how to proceed. Here are a few situations where it is definitely advisable to hire a car accident lawyer.
5 Situations To Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
1. You’re Not Sure Who Was at Fault
While sometimes it may be very clear who caused a car accident, it is not always so obvious. Further, determining legal responsibility for a car accident is typically far more complex than what we may think at first glance. Determining which driver is legally at fault is critical when the accident causes bodily injuries or property damage that will generate potentially expensive costs, such as hospital bills and car repairs.
It is highly advisable to consult a top car accident attorney in Houston to properly investigate who was responsible. This will protect you against unscrupulous insurance companies, as they often employ their own legal experts to skew evidence against you to avoid having to make large payouts. One important tip is to avoid settling a car accident privately with another driver at the time of the incident, as injuries or car damage may not reveal themselves until days later.
2. You Were Injured in the Accident
The first concern in any car accident is addressing any personal injuries that require medical attention. If you or anyone else was injured, having an attorney on your side will be of tremendous value. First, an experienced car accident attorney will handle all the necessary paperwork and communications with insurance companies so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. He or she will also get to work on investigating who was legally at fault.
The Texas Department of Insurance states that anyone who causes a car accident while driving must pay for any damages. Your attorney will advocate on your behalf to ensure that the appropriate party is held responsible, in addition to engaging medical professionals to determine the exact nature of your injuries. This will include things like how long recovery should take, whether you should take time off work, and the appropriate treatment you should receive.
3. You Need To Identify All Types of Compensation
Simple things like medical bills and auto repairs are fairly easy to calculate, but a car accident often carries other hidden costs that may not be so straightforward. An attorney will help you identify and put a number on things like lost wages, chronic pain, and mental or emotional stress if these apply. Something else to consider is that certain conditions may require additional types of treatment over time, and your attorney will help plan for this.
Beyond identifying these hidden costs, there are other sources of compensation that your lawyer will pursue such as when more than one party may be responsible for the accident. An example of this is if you were involved in an accident with a company van. The van’s driver, the company, and the vehicle manufacturer may all be held at least partially responsible. Your attorney will investigate and make this determination.
4. You Need Documents and Evidence
As part of the claims process, you will need to submit documents such as doctor reports or medical bills, car repair quotes, and police officer crash reports. While some of these may be easily available to you, others can be a real hassle to obtain. A car accident attorney is experienced in dealing with various entities to secure all the documents you need in a timely fashion.
Depending on the complexity of your case, you may also need things like witness reports and any video footage from traffic cameras posted at the scene of the accident. They will coordinate the investigation and, if needed, engage accident reconstruction experts who compile all available evidence to make a professional determination as to how the accident occurred.
5. You Need To Prepare a Court Case
Depending on how your case proceeds, there’s a chance it may end up going to trial. In this situation, you definitely want a car accident attorney to help with the preparation and represent you in court. The first part of this is compiling all evidence and presenting it in a way that best supports your claim and protects your financial interests. Your attorney will also help prepare you in the event that you need to testify.
These are just a few situations in which you’ll want to hire a car accident attorney. While it’s nearly impossible to cover every single scenario, it’s always better to be safe than sorry by simply asking an experienced lawyer how they might assist in your situation.