What Can a Lawyer Do for You After a Car Accident?

Published On: March 20, 2024
Categories: Car Accidents

You have been in a car crash. Now what? You might have been told to contact a lawyer to navigate the aftermath. However, you might not know whether or not you really need a lawyer after your accident.

This uncertainty is perfectly normal and is quite common among people who do not understand what a Spring Hill car accident lawyer can do for them and what situations require getting legal counsel.

Situations When You Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident

Car Accident Attorney

Everyone knows how to Google laws these days.

However, your ability to research laws may not be enough to represent yourself and handle all legal aspects of your case after a car accident, especially if any of the below-listed situations apply to you:

  • You suffered long-term or permanent injuries. Each year, approximately 5.4 million motor vehicle accident victims suffer medically consulted injuries, but not all of these injuries are serious. If the car crash resulted in severe or life-changing injuries that require long-term care or have left you with permanent disabilities, an attorney can obtain the resources needed for your recovery and adjusted living expenses.
  • Your injury caused you to miss work or diminished your earning capacity. If your injuries forced you to miss work or have negatively affected your earning capacity, a lawyer can seek coverage of your loss of income, both past and future, and secure adequate compensation for your diminished earning potential.
  • You cannot make any progress with your insurance claim. If your insurance company suddenly becomes uncooperative or the claims process stalls for any other reason, you need legal help to get your claim moving in the right direction. A lawyer will use all available legal tools to push the process forward to prevent any unnecessary delays in your case because every day without compensation is tough.
  • You do not understand how to calculate the value of your claim. Calculating the value of your claim involves factoring in medical expenses, lost income, diminished earning potential, property damages, emotional distress, and many more. If you are not confident in understanding all the nuances, a lawyer can ensure you demand a fair and full settlement.
  • There are disputes regarding fault. Disputes over who was at fault in the accident can complicate the claims process. When you work with a lawyer, they will defend your interests, gather evidence that substantiates your claim, and help resolve conflicts in your favor.
  • Too much time has passed since the date of the accident. If a significant amount of time (e.g., more than a year) has passed since the accident and you haven’t settled your claim, a lawyer can help expedite the process before the statute of limitations expires because, when it does, you might be left with no compensation whatsoever.
  • The insurance company wants a recorded statement from you. When you file a claim for compensation, your insurance companies may ask for a recorded statement. While providing a recorded statement may not seem like a big deal, your words can inadvertently jeopardize your claim because the insurer may use your words against you. A lawyer can advise you on handling these requests to protect your claim.

This is a non-exhaustive list of situations where hiring a lawyer is essential. That doesn’t mean, however, that it does not make sense to seek legal counsel if neither situation applies to you.

An attorney may still help even if your case seems relatively easy or straightforward, as you never know which challenges you may encounter down the line.

What a Lawyer Can Do For You After a Car Accident

If you hire a lawyer after a car accident, you probably want to know how they can benefit you. Some of the ways a lawyer can support you once you reach out to their office include:

Provide a Free Case Consultation

Personal injury lawyers often offer a free consultation. This initial conversation with a lawyer is an opportunity for you to explain the details of your accident and discuss the potential for compensation. The attorney will assess the viability of your case and advise on the best legal strategy moving forward.

Clarify Your Legal Rights and Options for Compensation

An attorney can explain your legal rights in the aftermath of an accident. They can clarify what you are entitled to under the law and explain the various forms of compensation that may be available to you.

Investigate Your Accident

Lawyers can promptly and thoroughly investigate your accident’s circumstances to determine what caused the collision, who is at fault, and what compensation options are available. They can obtain and review police reports, speak to witnesses, and work with accident reconstruction experts to strengthen your claim.

Collect and Preserve Evidence to Support Your Claim

The availability of evidence in your case can be crucial to the success of your claim.

Lawyers know how to collect and preserve this evidence – from photographs collected at the accident scene to medical records and expert testimony – which you need when negotiating with insurance companies or presenting your case in court.

Deal With the Insurance Company on Your Behalf

Dealing with insurance companies can be daunting for individuals who do not have a law degree and, more importantly, who have never handled serious communications with insurers.

A lawyer will communicate with the insurers on your behalf. This, among other things, includes negotiating settlements. Your lawyer will strive to ensure that insurance companies do not take advantage of you and that you receive the full compensation you are entitled to.

Calculate Your Damages

Car Accident Claim

Calculating the value of your claim after a car accident, measured in what is known as “damages,” is a nuanced part of the claims process. The term damages means the amount of money the victim deserves in a civil action.

Your attorney will calculate not just immediate expenses but also long-term costs associated with your injuries. This might include future therapy, loss of earning capacity, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and compensation for any permanent disability or disfigurement.

Prepare Your Case for a Possible Trial

While most legal claims from car accidents settle out of court, some go to trial. When this happens, having a lawyer who is ready to take your case to trial is invaluable.

Your attorney has the necessary experience to develop a legal strategy for your case, handle the filing of motions, and advocate on your behalf before the judge or jury.

Risks of Not Having a Lawyer After a Car Accident

When you get into a car crash, feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what happens next is perfectly normal. One of the crucial decisions you will make is whether or not to hire a lawyer after your car accident.

Before you make up your mind about the need for legal representation, consider the potential risks of not having a lawyer on your side after a car accident:

  • Losing out on compensation. Without a lawyer, car accident victims may struggle to receive full compensation for their losses. An attorney understands the nuances of the claims process and can negotiate a higher settlement that adequately covers your medical expenses, lost income, and other damages and losses.
  • Difficulty valuing your case’s worth. There is hardly anything more confusing than determining how much your claim is worth to ensure you do not settle for less than you deserve. Lawyers have the experience to accurately value your claim, considering both the immediate and future implications of your injuries.
  • Missing deadlines. Personal injury claims are subject to statutes of limitations, which restrict the time frame in which you can bring a lawsuit and vary by jurisdiction. For example, victims of car accidents in Florida typically have two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit (Fla. Stat. § 95.11). Lawyers ensure that all necessary documents and claims get filed on time, as failing to meet these deadlines can forfeit your right to compensation.
  • Struggling with the legal process. The legal procedures after being involved in a car accident can be intricate and overwhelming for those with no legal background. Lawyers guide victims through the process, handling everything from filing claims to representing them in court. They simplify what can otherwise be a complex and daunting journey.
  • Difficulty dealing with the insurance company. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not handing it out with no questions asked. They may employ tactics to minimize payouts on your claim, delay the claims process, or even outright deny your claim. An experienced lawyer can counter these strategies, advocating for your best interests to ensure your claim is treated with the urgency and respect it deserves.
  • Facing unnecessary stress and frustration. The additional – and avoidable (with legal representation) – stress and frustration of handling legal proceedings can negatively affect your health and recovery, even though you might not notice the adverse effects immediately. A lawyer can alleviate this burden, allowing you to focus on getting better while they handle the complexities of your case.

By seeking legal counsel, you can mitigate these risks and improve your chances of securing adequate compensation.

With a lawyer, you can regain a sense of normalcy in life and focus on things like your physical or mental healing and spending quality time with your loved ones.

What to Look for in a Car Accident Attorney

Now that you understand what a lawyer can do for you after a car accident and realize the potential consequences of not seeking legal representation, you might wonder, “How do I hire the right lawyer?” As you might have noticed, many lawyers offer personal injury law services in your area. Such an abundance may make it difficult to choose the one that is right for you.

For this reason, we decided to compile a list of criteria to look for when hiring a car accident lawyer:

  • Extensive experience in handling car accident cases. A lawyer with a long track record of handling car accident cases understands the nuances of the law that may impact your case and will likely be better equipped to maneuver through the legal system to your benefit. Tip: Check a prospective lawyer’s past case results and ask for references or reviews from past clients.
  • Good reputation. A lawyer’s reputation can provide insight into what you can expect in terms of service and outcomes. Tip: Look for online reviews and testimonials before hiring a lawyer, and consider asking for recommendations from friends or family. Research professional networks like LinkedIn to learn more about a prospective lawyer.
  • Open communication and transparency. Communication will be one of the most critical aspects of your relationship with your lawyer. You want someone open, honest, and transparent about your case. Tip: During consultations, pay attention to how the lawyer communicates and whether they can provide straightforward information about their fees, processes, and expectations.
  • Listening skills and empathy. Having a lawyer who listens to you and understands what you are going through can make your legal experience more manageable. Tip: Look for a lawyer who takes the time to understand the details of your case and pays attention to your concerns and needs.
  • Ability to work under pressure. The legal field can be high-stress, so a good car accident attorney should remain calm and focused when working under pressure. Tip: Observe how the lawyer handles unexpected issues or questions. They should maintain composure and think quickly and strategically when giving answers.
  • Excellent negotiation skills. A significant part of a car accident lawyer’s role is negotiating with insurance companies to get their clients the compensation they deserve. Tip: Inquire about the lawyer’s approach to negotiations and what strategies they employ to achieve your goals.
  • Availability. Your case is very important, which is why you want a lawyer who is available to address your concerns as soon as they arise, not just when it is convenient for them. Tip: Ask the lawyer about their availability, including response times for calls or emails, and whether they have a team to answer your questions when they are not directly available.
Hali Marsocci, Car Accident lawyer
Spring Hill Car Accident lawyer, Hali Marsocci

If you can find a car accident attorney who meets all these criteria, great. Do not think twice about hiring them. However, do not try to find the ideal lawyer, as your search may quickly become daunting.

And remember: every lawyer has a unique set of skills and qualities. Another question you may have after a car accident is, “How soon after the accident should I contact a lawyer?”

While you may want a definite answer such as “24 hours” or “the first week,” the real answer is: as soon as possible. The sooner you start working with a car accident lawyer, the better the odds of a favorable outcome.