Jill Kolodner | November 1, 2020 | Car Accidents
Deciding when you need to hire a car accident lawyer can be difficult. Can you handle the claim yourself, or will you get more money if you hire a car accident attorney? Below are seven factors that indicate you need to talk with a car accident attorney about your case as soon as possible to avoid losing any of your legal rights.
Seven Factors to Consider if You Think You Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
1. Fault for the Accident Is Disputed
Insurance companies may dispute fault for an accident, even though the company knows its insured caused the crash. Why would an insurance company dispute fault? Because it wants to save money.
Insurance companies often dispute fault in cases to try to make the matter go away. They believe if the person has a smaller claim and has not hired a personal injury lawyer that the person might just give up. If the victim accepts whatever the insurance company tells them about fault, the company can get out of paying an injury claim.
If the insurance company, the other driver, or a third party involved in the claim denies responsibility for causing the accident, it is a strong indication that you need to hire a car accident lawyer immediately. The lawyer analyzes how the accident occurred and gathers evidence to prove that the other party caused the crash.
2. You are Being Blamed – Even in Part – for Causing the Crash
If the insurance company cannot find a plausible way to dispute fault, it might try to blame the victim for contributing to the cause of the crash. Under Maryland’s pure contributory negligence laws, if the insurance company can convince a jury that you contributed to the cause of the crash by even one percent, you cannot receive any compensation for your claim.
3. The Car Accident Caused Traumatic or Catastrophic Injuries
Car accident claims involving traumatic or catastrophic injuries can be extremely complicated.
Catastrophic injuries can result in permanent impairments and disabilities. In addition to the high cost of treatment for traumatic injuries, a person with permanent disabilities also may receive compensation for future damages. Future damages might include ongoing medical care, future lost income, decreases in earning potential, long-term personal care, and other expenses related to the disabling condition.
Examples of catastrophic injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Severe burns
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of body functions
- Damage to internal organs
- Spinal cord injuries
In these types of cases, experts must establish the extent of the damages and the value of the damages. It is common to retain medical, economic, psychological, and financial experts to assist with the case.
4. The Accident Involves a Government Vehicle or Government Employee
Car accidents involving government employees and government agencies are different from other car accident claims. Government entities are protected from lawsuits by sovereign immunity. To sue the government, you must first overcome this hurdle.
Also, there are numerous rules and requirements involved in car accidents involving government vehicles. For example, you are required to provide a notice of claim to the government entity within months of your accident. You may not be able to file a lawsuit or pursue a claim if you fail to file the notice of the claim correctly.
If a government vehicle or employee is involved in your accident, it is wise to contact a car accident lawyer immediately for help.
5. The Insurance Company Is Not Responding
Another common tactic used by insurance companies to avoid paying a car accident client is failing to respond. The company has a duty to investigate a claim promptly and thoroughly. It also has a duty to pay valid claims promptly.
If the insurance company does not respond, it could also be trying to allow the statutes of limitations to expire. Once the statute of limitations expires, you lose your right to file a lawsuit seeking damages for the car crash.
Hiring an attorney can help. Your lawyer will analyze the case to determine if the insurance company acted in bad faith. If so, you could recover compensation for a bad faith insurance claim in addition to your car accident claim.
6. You Do Not Know the Value of Your Damages
Many people believe that their personal injury claim is worth less than the actual value. One reason for this mistake is that the insurance adjuster told them that the claim was worth less.
Before accepting a personal injury settlement, consult an accident lawyer. The lawyer can tell you whether you are receiving a fair settlement amount for your injury claim. If not, you can hire an attorney to fight for the compensation you deserve.
7. Multiple Parties are Involved in the Accident Claim
Some car crashes involve multiple vehicles and multiple parties. More parties equal more insurance companies and more lawyers. In most cases, it also means more trouble.
It can be frustrating, confusing, and overwhelming to deal with one party. When you have multiple parties denying liability and arguing over damages, you could lose money.
Truck accidents are an example of motor vehicle accidents that typically involve more than one party. The truck driver, trucking company, insurance provider, mechanic, truck manufacturer, and many other parties could share liability for your claim.
A truck accident lawyer can sort out the various legal responsibilities of each party. Your lawyer develops a strategy for recovering maximum compensation from each liable party. He also protects your best interests as the other parties argue over who is responsible for your damages.