Attorneys Answer: When Do You Need To Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Car accident victims often go through a traumatizing ordeal after a crash. They might be dealing with painful injuries. They may have to miss work. They might be worried about getting their vehicle back on the road and putting their lives back together.
Many accident victims don’t think of obtaining legal help. However, a car accident lawyer can help accident victims navigate the complex insurance claims process. They can also file a lawsuit and take legal steps to maximize your compensation.
Because our personal injury lawyers offer free consultations and work on a contingency-fee basis, there is no risk in contacting us to learn whether you might want to hire a lawyer. Until then, read on to learn more about when it may be in your best interest to do so.
How Car Accident Lawyers Help Accident Victims
Car accident lawyers help accident victims in many ways, including:
- Explaining their legal rights and options for recovering compensation after an accident
- Handling communication with insurance companies and other parties
- Protecting them from tricky tactics by insurance companies that are designed to deny or minimize their claim
- Gathering evidence to establish the victim’s right to fair compensation
- Answering any questions they have throughout the process
- Working with their doctors to determine the full extent of their injuries
- Handling case paperwork and managing claim deadlines
- Protecting them from making mistakes that might damage their claim
- Hiring experts to strengthen their claim as needed
- Advising them whether a settlement is in their best interest or whether they should go to trial
An experienced lawyer can be a valuable ally and advocate during this difficult time, providing emotional, as well as legal, support throughout the process.
Signs That You May Want To Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
While you can choose to hire a car accident lawyer for any car accident claim, it’s crucial to hire a lawyer in any of the following situations:
You Were Injured
If you suffered an injury in a car accident, you will probably want to hire a lawyer. Even if you think the injury is minor, complications could arise, and you’ll be thankful you hired a lawyer to help you navigate the claims process.
If you have suffered an injury, you will likely incur medical expenses related to treating that injury. There may be future medical expenses associated with that injury that you might not be aware of. You might have to miss work. You could experience pain and suffering. An experienced lawyer can ensure that all of these damages are documented and seek compensation for them.
You Were Rendered Permanently Disabled
If you were permanently disabled because of the accident, you will definitely need a lawyer. You may need to depend on any award you recover from the accident to provide you with financial support for the rest of your life. Accurately determining the full extent of your damages is crucial in these types of cases.
A lawyer can work with medical and economic experts to get a better idea about the potential value of your case. They can gather and compile your medical records to create a clear picture of your injuries. An attorney can also negotiate with insurance companies while you focus on your health and family.
The Other Driver Is Denying Fault
Since New Jersey is a “choice no-fault” state for car insurance, you might wonder why fault should even matter. In New Jersey, car accident victims (depending on their chosen insurance option) typically turn to their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance for coverage after an accident, regardless of fault.
However, New Jersey provides several medical exceptions for stepping outside this system and seeking the full extent of damages. If the accident victim suffered any of the following types of injuries, they (or their estate) might be able to seek the full amount of compensation from the at-fault party even if they have “limited” insurance coverage:
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
- Loss of pregnancy
- Significant disfigurement or scarring
- Displaced fractures
The other driver might try to deny responsibility for the accident, and their insurance company will likely back up these claims. This can make a thorough investigation into the factors that contributed to the accident necessary. An experienced lawyer can collect evidence to help establish fault, such as:
- The police report
- Photos of the accident scene
- Damaged vehicle parts
- Witness statements
- Electronic data recorder information
- Cell phone records
- Video footage of the crash
An attorney can then present this evidence to the insurance company or court to seek fair compensation for the victim.
Multiple Parties Might Be Responsible for the Accident
Any time an accident involves multiple parties whose combined negligence resulted in an accident, the case is usually more complicated. The various parties might try to blame the other parties in an attempt to escape liability.
A lawyer can hire accident reconstruction experts to create visual representations of how the accident occurred and demand full compensation from all at-fault parties.
The Statute of Limitations Is Approaching
In New Jersey, you have just two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. You might have already filed a PIP claim and tried to sort out the case yourself.
But going to medical appointments, trying to communicate with your employer about your status, and trying to keep up with everything involved in your everyday life can result in this time limit creeping up on you before you know it.
If the statute of limitations expires before you file a lawsuit (or finalize your insurance claim), you can lose the right to recover compensation through the courts. There are sometimes exceptions, but only in specific circumstances.
An experienced attorney can review your case and determine the statute of limitations that applies to your case. They can file a lawsuit, if necessary, before the statute of limitations applies.
Contact Us For a Free Case Consultation
If you were injured in a car accident and would like more information about how a lawyer can help, contact Clark & Noonan, LLC for a free, no-obligation consultation.