Once you dial 911, the next thing to do after a car accident is to hire an attorney — or is it? You have so many questions. You're confused, and we understand this all too well. It's hard to keep calm just moments after a car accident. You don't think immediately to hire an attorney, but maybe you should.
You'd feel frightened and disoriented and would be unable to make sense out of anything. But amid the confusion, you'd also need to brace up, pull yourself together and get help any way you can.
But do you need to hire a car accident attorney? If yes, do you have to place the call right away? What would be the attorney's responsibilities in a car accident? Is calling your car accident attorney worth the effort, or can you afford to do without one? This article would answer these questions and more.
Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
The simple answer is “yes.” You need to hire an attorney after a car crash, especially if you've been injured and would love some compensation for it. As a victim in a car accident, the law allows you to be compensated by a negligent driver for the injuries he caused you.
But it isn't an automatic process. Depending on the state you're in, you would either file a personal injury claim with the negligent driver's insurance company or go through your insurance company first. States like Alabama are fault states; this means that you can directly file a claim with the at-fault driver.
Filing a personal injury claim all by yourself and without a lawyer is a dangerous thing to do. Insurance companies don't like to pay compensation, and they'll do everything in their power not to. They hire big-shot lawyers to help them escape or reduce their liability to the barest minimum. Without legal representation, you're putting yourself in a disadvantaged position.
That's why you need to hire an attorney – to help you face the insurance companies and ensure that you get the best possible settlement as soon as possible. Your attorney would help you prove the driver's negligence within the limitation period for your claim. And if you're not satisfied with the negotiation outcome, he will advocate for you in front of the judge and jury.
The Best Time to Call Your Attorney Is Right Away!
It would help if you didn't wait until push came to shove before contacting your car accident attorney. Your lawyer isn't only helpful in saving you from challenging situations; he is also there to ensure you don't get in a mess in the first place.
The earlier you hire an attorney after a car accident, the more prepared the attorney is to represent your interests to the fullest. Thus, once you're safe out of harm's way, contact a lawyer.
Here's what happens when you hire an attorney too late:
1. You Make Decisions in a Hurry
A car accident will send you into a frenzy, and for a long time, you will be confused about what to say or what action to take. It's easy to become emotional in that state, say the wrong things, and make the wrong decisions that you'd regret when you're calmer. Having a car accident attorney will prevent this.
The lawyer will ensure that you're relaxed, offer advice when needed, and direct you on the best actions to take in every phase. An attorney understands the insurance process very well and would help you make the right decisions early on to avoid later regrets. This should be your number one thought when looking to hire an attorney.
2. You May Exceed the Limitation Period
There is a statutory limitation period for claimants to commence an action in court. Your attorney knows about this and would ensure that he works within the time frame to bring you the desired settlement sum. But he's not a magician, so, if you call on him at the 11th hour, you may as well bid goodbye to your settlement.
3. You Settle for Way Less Than You deserve
Insurance companies are notorious for offering settlements that are far less than they should be. Without a lawyer by your side to evaluate the situation, you may not know what you deserve and would end up accepting the meager sum. Your car accident attorney wouldn't let this happen, and when the insurance company sees that you have a great attorney by your side, they will make better offers.
Contact Us at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers Now!
At Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers, we have the most experienced car accident attorneys in Birmingham, Alabama, and we'll make sure that what you deserve comes to you and not a dime less. Schedule a free consultation with us today.
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