Being in a car wreck is traumatic. It happens so suddenly out of nowhere and can ruin your day. Sometimes, it can ruin a lot more than that.
All you can think about at first is trying to make sure everyone is okay and getting anyone with injuries to the hospital as quickly as possible. You may not even think about when to contact an attorney after a car accident at first.
In those first moments after a wreck, you have a lot of people to call.
- The police
- Your insurance company
- Your loved ones
- Your friends
You may be worried about your loved ones’ health or wondering about if your insurance rates could go up. You need to figure out what vehicle you will drive the next day—if you are well enough to drive.
You probably aren’t thinking immediately about calling a lawyer—which is fine. But it’s wise to contact an attorney as soon as you can after you have received medical treatment for your injuries if you were in a car crash.
You have a specific window of time to hire a lawyer. So don’t wait too long.
Do I Need an Attorney After an Accident?
A tort claim means that someone did something wrong that caused an injury to another person. Whether the at-fault person was negligent or purposely caused harm, the injured party may need help.
When to Contact an Attorney After a Car Accident
Contact a lawyer after a traffic accident as soon as you can after an accident (once you have had medical treatment) if:
- It’s unclear who was at fault.
- Other people were involved.
- Multiple people were injured.
- The accident happened in a construction zone, school zone, etc…
- There is a significant injury or a fatality.
- Someone has serious medical bills, medical debt, or lost wages because of the accident.
- Medical expenses are more than a few thousand dollars.
- Something is unclear or confusing on the police report from the police department.
- Your accident involves workers’ compensation in certain cases.
- You don’t believe your health insurance, pip insurance, auto insurance, and/or the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover all of your expenses.
- There are non-financial damages (pain and suffering, PTSD, etc…).
- There is a lack of insurance or questions about liability limits or insurance status.
- Your insurance company doesn’t seem to be handling things straightforwardly.
- You are concerned about an insurance company tricking you into taking a lower settlement than you deserve.
- Your insurance company asks you to speak with their attorney.
Not every accident requires a personal injury attorney to be involved. Some minor accidents may be small enough you can handle it yourself through your insurance company.
You May Not Need a Lawyer If
- There was no damage or very minor damage to your car.
- If no one was injured at all and no one needed medical care.
- If no one involved in the accident had to miss work or other activities as a result of the accident.
Sometimes the settlement you will be able to get for a very minor collision doesn’t justify hiring an attorney.
Just a note, be sure that you don’t decide yourself on the day of the accident that you have no injuries. Some injuries show up later. Let a doctor decide if you have any injuries or not if you were in the car during an accident.
If there is any chance that something unexpected may arise later, keep in mind you will probably not be able to seek more compensation once you sign a settlement agreement.
If you aren’t sure when to contact an attorney after a car accident, please contact a personal injury lawyer for a consultation.
Who Pays for My Medical Bills After an Accident?
Often, the at-fault driver is responsible to cover the costs of your medical expenses and the cost of your property damage (although different states have different laws). You will need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and/or your insurance company.
Sometimes your own insurance policy (if you have personal injury protection, personal injury coverage, pip coverage) will also cover any medical costs for bodily injuries you sustain.
Your health insurance plan may also cover expenses, although you will want to keep track of your bills if you think you may be filing a claim.
Be careful when you speak to the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own insurance company. They can use what you say against you to settle for a lot less than you may deserve or to deny your claim.
Some Benefits of Having an Attorney
Wondering when to contact an attorney after a car accident? Definitely contact a lawyer to help you if you need any of these benefits to having an attorney on your side.
Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer for a Personal Injury Case:
- You can get help with dealing with the hassles and tricks of the insurance company.
- An attorney can often cut through the red tape faster than you could on your own.
- You are more likely to get more money if you deserve it.
- A lawyer can help to estimate future medical expenses, lost wages, a dollar amount for compensation for pain and suffering, or other damages.
- You can avoid costly mistakes with deadlines and legal decisions.
Looking for an Attorney for a Personal Injury Case in South Carolina?
We are personal injury attorneys in the Columbia, SC area who have experience in helping injured people recover compensation for their injuries.
If you have been seriously injured and it wasn’t your fault, we would love to set up a free consultation with you.
Let’s review your personal injury case to see if we can help recover money for you.
Contact us today to book a free consultation.
We’ll get you the answers and peace of mind you need.