When to Hire an Attorney for a Car Accident

Written By: The Champion Firm Team

Date Posted: 01.16.24

Category: Car Accident

A car accident is always stressful. As a victim, you have so many things to worry about – your health, mounting medical bills, financial security, and filing an insurance claim, to name a few – that you may put the thought of hiring a car accident attorney on the back burner.

However, certain situations may require the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney, and it helps to know if you are in one of those situations.

Benefits of Working with a Car Accident Attorney

After a car crash hire an attorney for: 

  • Stress relief. You will likely be uncertain about the right action following a car crash. By working with a car accident attorney, you do not have to worry about navigating the legal process on your own. Having an attorney on your side can reduce the stress of dealing with insurance companies, collecting medical and accident-related reports, and preparing legal documents. Your attorney will handle the legal aspects of your case for you, allowing you to focus on your treatment and well-being after the accident. Less stress equals a healthier recovery.
  • Knowledgeable guidance at every step. An experienced attorney knows the legal system, the requirements for filing legal claims, and what to expect in court. They can guide you through the legal avenues in your state, including the statute of limitations, and ensure that you file your paperwork correctly and meet all legal requirements.
  • Timely professional action. Working with a car accident attorney ensures you meet all deadlines. The attorney’s job is to deal with your claim promptly and file any necessary documentation within the applicable time limits.
  • The insurance company’s scare or other dishonest tactics. Insurance companies will try anything to reduce their payouts to claimants. Insurers are infamous for using tactics to intimidate victims into forgoing their claims or accepting significantly less than what they are entitled to. An experienced attorney understands these tactics and will be your advocate to prevent you from being taken advantage of, ensuring you receive what you deserve.
  • Skillful negotiations. A car accident attorney has the skills to negotiate payment terms and conditions with the involved parties and insurance companies. They will work towards obtaining the numbers that suit you best. Experienced attorneys know various negotiation strategies and have the skills to present compelling arguments when negotiating with the insurer.
  • An accurate determination of your damages and losses. As a car crash victim, you may seek compensation for many damages and losses. However, it is not always easy to calculate how much your claim is worth and assign a dollar value to all your losses. When working with an attorney, you can be confident that your attorney will pursue the appropriate amount of compensation to ensure that you do not settle for less than you deserve.
  • A better chance of winning your case. If your claim is denied or the settlement offer you receive from the insurer is lower than you wanted, your case may lead to litigation. If your case reaches this step, having an experienced attorney can make a substantial difference in winning or losing the case. Knowledgeable attorneys understand what’s happening during court proceedings and can present your case effectively to reach a favorable outcome.

Attorney in a meeting, offering counsel and reassurance to clients, demonstrating legal expertise and dedication amid serious legal matters.

Having an attorney on your side means always having a skilled advocate to fight for you and your legal rights. Working with an attorney can give you the peace of mind to move forward during this challenging time.

8 Situations When You Need to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

If you have been in an automobile accident, you may consider handling the matter yourself to save money. However, do not be surprised if the results of self-representation are not what you hoped for. Below, we will outline the eight situations in which you should retain the services of an attorney to work on your behalf.

You Are Seriously Injured

Every year, there are approximately 5.4 million medically-consulted injuries from car accidents, many of which are serious or even disabling. If you suffer serious or life-altering injuries, it is crucial to hire an attorney. Serious injuries can range from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries and usually lead to extensive medical bills, not to mention the long-term and potentially lifelong effects. A skilled attorney will determine the extent and value of your injuries by working with medical professionals to accurately estimate the associated costs and damages. Regardless of the severity of your injury, they will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries through negotiations or a court trial.

The Insurance Company Makes a Low Settlement Offer or Denies Your Claim

Insurance companies are always looking to make a profit, which often comes at accident victims’ expense. If your insurance company makes a low settlement offer or denies your claim altogether, you should not hesitate to seek help from an attorney. Insurance companies operate using their legal teams, making it difficult to argue your case without legal representation. An attorney will negotiate with your insurance company for fair and reasonable compensation.

Liability Is Not Clear

Determining liability in motor vehicle accidents can be complicated. If it is not immediately clear which party was responsible for the crash, you need the assistance of an experienced attorney. Your attorney will conduct an in-depth investigation to collect various pieces of evidence and determine who is at fault. They will then negotiate with the other party or their insurance company to ensure that you receive appropriate compensation.

You Are Unfamiliar With the Legal Process

The process can seem overwhelming if you have never filed an insurance claim. Sometimes, it may even feel like the whole world is against you. When you have been in a car accident, there are procedural requirements to meet, legal paperwork to fill out, and insurance companies to deal with. Hiring an attorney can help ease the burden of navigating through all the legal processes involved.

You Have Legal Deadlines to Meet, and the Clock Is Ticking

When it comes to car accidents, there are typically legal deadlines. For example, you may only have a certain amount of time to file a claim against an insurance company. If you miss these deadlines, you can lose your right to pursue compensation for your damages. There is also a time limit when filing a lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations. An attorney will know what deadlines you are facing and ensure that you meet them.

Your Medical Bills and Other Expenses Keep Piling Up

A serious car crash can result in expensive medical bills, lost income, and other expenses. If the accident was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.

However, insurance companies are often reluctant to pay out claims or may offer less than what you are entitled to. A skilled attorney can alleviate your financial burdens by negotiating with the insurance company and ensuring you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.

  • Note: Statistically speaking, the average economic cost of an evident injury suffered by victims of motor vehicle accidents is $40,000 or $155,000 if the injury is “disabling.”

Your Case Is Going to Trial

If your case does not resolve outside of court, it becomes even more essential to have an experienced attorney. You need someone who knows the ins and outs of the legal system and all the complex and stressful court proceedings involved.

Your attorney will build your case, prepare the necessary documentation, file motions, interview witnesses, cross-examine the other side’s witnesses, and present your case in court in the most convincing manner possible, among other things.

Qualities to Look for in a Car Accident Attorney

Now that you know when to hire an attorney, you might wonder, “How do I hire the right one?” Finding a good attorney is something that many people struggle to do.

Rendering legal services through the expertise of lawyers.

Fortunately, this process may become less daunting and challenging if you know what traits and qualities to look for in a prospective attorney:

Darl Champion

Car Accident Attorney, Darl Champion

  • Good judgment. An attorney with good judgment can take an unbiased approach to your case and provide sound advice. They can assess the situation from all angles and develop the best legal strategy for your unique case.
  • Strong character. Having good character means your attorney is honest, trustworthy, and has high integrity. These qualities are essential when dealing with a case that involves a large sum of money or has the potential to change your life in ways you never wanted.
  • Honesty. An honest attorney will not overpromise on what they can do for you, and they will be upfront about the strengths and weaknesses of your case. They will also be honest about the fees for their services, which can be a rarity these days.
  • Genuine compassion. While having an attorney who is highly skilled in their field is crucial, finding someone who shows empathy and compassion for your situation is also essential. An attorney who genuinely cares about their clients will go the extra mile to ensure they get justice and receive proper compensation.
  • Availability. When dealing with a car accident case, time is of the essence. You need an attorney who is available when you need them. An attorney who takes too long to return your calls or emails can be frustrating and potentially detrimental to your case.
  • Communication skills. An attorney with excellent communication skills can explain complicated legal terms and procedures in simple language that you can understand. They will also keep you regularly updated on the status of your case to ensure that you can make informed decisions about it.
  • Assertiveness. An assertive attorney will fight for your rights and never settle for less than what you are entitled to. They will be willing to take your case to trial if necessary in cases where attorneys who lack the tenacity to fight would rather settle at the expense of their client.
  • Ability to work under pressure. Perhaps one of the key qualities an attorney should possess is the ability to work under pressure. Car accident cases can have high stakes, and the attorney you choose needs to handle the pressure and stress of the situation effectively.

The more of these traits an attorney possesses, the better. However, do not try to find an attorney with all these qualities, as this may not be a realistic expectation in most cases.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) When Hiring an Attorney for a Car Accident

Retaining the services of an attorney is a big step that requires effort from you. After all, you do not want to end up hiring an attorney who is not right for you or whom you didn’t need in the first place. You likely have many questions, some of which may be addressed in this FAQ section.

How soon should you hire an attorney after a car accident?

Hire an attorney as soon as possible after an automobile accident. This is particularly important if you suffered serious injuries, need to deal with the insurance company, your medical bills, and other expenses are piling up, or you are in any other situation that calls for the immediate attention of an attorney. Ideally, you should hire an attorney within the first week or two.

What will a car accident attorney do for me?

Once you hire an attorney, they will investigate your case to get all the facts, interview witnesses, collect evidence, file a claim, and negotiate with the insurer on your behalf. The attorney will work tirelessly to get a fair and full settlement and represent you in court if the case results in litigation.

How do I choose the right attorney for my case?

Consider many factors before hiring an attorney for your case. Look into their credentials, specialty area, past successes, testimonials of past clients, and payment structure, among other things.

Many car accident attorneys offer a free initial consultation. This is your chance to get a feel of whether you like them. Choose a skilled personal injury lawyer you feel comfortable with and think can get you the best outcome possible.

Do I have to pay my attorney upfront?

Many attorneys who handle car accident cases typically work on a contingency fee basis. Contingency means that they will not charge you anything upfront. Instead, they will take a percentage of the amount awarded to you if your case successfully concludes.

What happens if my attorney doesn’t win?

If your attorney doesn’t win and they accept your case on a contingency fee basis, you don’t have to pay them, and you will not be charged anything. Attorneys typically do not take a case they don’t think they can win, so this shouldn’t be a considerable concern.

Can I change my attorney?

Yes, you have the right to change your attorney, and it’s a common step taken in cases where feelings of distrust or dissatisfaction with representation arise. You can fire your attorney at any time and for any reason. However, attorneys have a right to compensation for the services they provided during your case, so address this matter before changing counsel.

About the Author

The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. is a full-service personal injury law firm serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. Our award-winning team of attorneys specializes in car accidents, wrongful death, premises liability, and slip-and-fall cases. Learn more about our team here.