Most people want to avoid consulting a lawyer regarding a car accident unless it is strictly necessary. However, attorneys are there to help when you need legal counsel and someone to fight for you. When to consult an attorney does not have to be a difficult question. Just follow these general guidelines.
Is the Accident a Simple Case Where No Lawyer is Needed?
Some car accidents are just straightforward cases where it is very clear what happened, fault is easy to establish, and insurance payments are forthcoming. A simple car accident claim looks like the following:
- Fault is very clearly with one of the drivers
- There are little to no medical bills
- There is no previous damage to either vehicle
- None of the involved parties have prior medical conditions that could complicate the claims process
- All parties have adequate insurance to cover any necessary payments
- Insurance companies are willing to pay reasonable money to cover all claims
Are There Complicating Factors Where a Lawyer Should be Consulted?
Many claims turn out to be not so simple. Often, answers to all of the questions are not known at the time that a person first starts handling the results of the accident. Simple answers can become more complex. If any of the below complications become apparent, then you should consider discussing with a lawyer:
- Fault is not clear in the accident or appears to be shared amongst multiple parties
- The insurance adjuster is asking for additional information, such as medical conditions prior to the accident
- You are making an additional claim for compensatory damages, such as for lost wages – this would apply most if you are the primary provider, own your own business, or are in sales
- The insurance company is offering to pay less than you think is justified by your claim or has refused your claim
- You are being sued by the other party or parties involved in the accident
- You are faced with significant medical bills as a result of the accident
- The accident is part of an ongoing investigation
As a general rule, if you feel the claim has become too complex for you to effectively manage, then it is time to hire an attorney to help you work through the details of the car accident and insurance claim. The last thing you want is for the statute of limitations to close before you can file a justified lawsuit. For more information, contact Wolter, Beeman & Lynch or a similar firm.