When Should You Get a Car Accident Attorney?

car key and gavel
When Should You Get a Car Accident Attorney?

If another driver caused a car accident that injured you or killed a close family member, you can hold the party accountable and obtain compensation for your losses.

You may pursue compensation in certain instances, but you need an attorney to explain your options and represent you throughout the process.

Following the accident, contact a car accident attorney as soon as you can. You need to know about any deadlines or statutes of limitations for filing your claim or lawsuit, and an attorney will need to collect a lot of evidence and documentation to support your claim. If you wait too long, you run the risk of losing evidence or eyewitnesses forgetting what happened, and you may severely jeopardize your chances of recovering any compensation at all.

A lawyer can benefit you in many ways as you seek compensation for your injuries, even if your injuries are minor. Since most car accident lawyers offer free consultations, you can speak with an attorney at no cost and determine whether you have a valid claim. Whether you are considering the process or have already begun seeking compensation for your injuries, you need to understand the benefits an attorney can offer and why you need to contact one as soon as possible.

Car Accident Statistics

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) published reports based on data from the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding fatal vehicle crashes. In 2021, 39,508 fatal car crashes occurred nationwide, with a total of 42,939 deaths. In that same year, the reports show that Minnesota experienced 451 fatal crashes in the state, with 488 total deaths. Wisconsin reported 572 fatal accidents and 620 total deaths in 2021, and North Dakota reported 85 fatal crashes resulting in 101 total fatalities.

How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help Me?

An experienced car accident attorney can protect your rights and advocate for you during settlement negotiations or at trial. They can collect necessary evidence and deal with the insurance company for you while ensuring you receive the proper medical treatment you need and accurately document and calculate your damages and losses.

Some circumstances where an attorney can greatly benefit you and increase your chances of getting the compensation you need include:

  • Severe injuries. If you or anyone involved in the accident sustained severe injuries requiring extensive medical treatment, hospitalization, rehabilitation, or resulting in long-term disability, seek legal representation. An attorney can recover fair compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and future care needs.
  • Liability dispute. If the insurance company disputes fault for the accident, or if the other party denies their responsibility, an attorney can investigate the case, gather evidence, and build a strong argument for you. A lawyer will fight to establish liability to maximize your chances of receiving compensation and defend you if the insurer tries to blame you for causing the accident and your injuries.
  • Insurance company challenges. If you encounter difficulties when dealing with insurance companies, such as delayed claim processing, denial of coverage, or unfair settlement offers, an attorney can handle negotiations for you. They have experience dealing with insurance companies and can advocate for you.
  • Complex legal issues. Some car accident cases involve complex legal issues, such as multiple parties, government entities, commercial vehicles, or product liability claims. In such cases, an experienced personal injury attorney can navigate the complexities, hold all responsible parties accountable, and seek compensation as expeditiously as possible.
  • Insufficient settlement offers. If you receive a settlement offer from the insurance company, consult an attorney. It may not adequately compensate you for your damages and losses. Your lawyer can assess your claim, negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement, or advise you whether you need to file a lawsuit.
  • Emotional distress or trauma. Car accidents can have a significant emotional impact, resulting in trauma, anxiety, or other psychological issues. If you experience emotional difficulties due to the accident, an attorney can pursue compensation for emotional distress as part of your claim.
  • Ultimately, a car accident attorney can explain your rights and options for pursuing compensation, and a lawyer can provide guidance and file all necessary paperwork promptly and properly. They can also handle negotiations and represent you throughout the entire legal process.

    What Damages Can I Seek?

    Depending on the accident and the severity of your injuries and other factors, you could obtain compensation with the help of an attorney.

    Most accident victims qualify to receive both economic and non-economic damages to compensate for:

    • Medical bills and treatment expenses, both current and future
    • Lost income and lost future earning capacity
    • Costs to repair or replace your vehicle
    • Pain and suffering
    • Emotional distress
    • Disfigurement
    • Loss of consortium or companionship

    You may qualify for other forms of compensation as well, and an attorney can calculate the amount you need.

    Additionally, if the accident killed a close family member, you may seek damages through a wrongful death claim. The compensation you receive can cover final medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and other related expenses.

    In certain cases, such as those involving egregious negligence, unlawfulness, or a wanton disregard for others’ safety, courts sometimes award punitive damages to victims to punish the wrongdoer and send a message to others. If a drunk driver caused the crash, for instance, consult an attorney to see whether they feel you should take your case to court and pursue exemplary damages.

    How Do I Hold the Other Driver Liable for My Injuries?

    An attorney can establish the other driver’s liability for your injuries, which you need to do in a valid injury claim.

    You will also need documentation and evidence that you suffered injuries, and a lawyer can gather all the evidence you will need to support your claim, such as:

    • Your medical records and treatment plan
    • Your medical bills and treatment costs
    • Police and accident reports
    • Eyewitness statements
    • Photos and videos of the accident scene
    • Pictures of your injuries and vehicle damage

    Your attorney will establish liability for those responsible and file your claim with the appropriate insurance companies within any required deadlines. Your lawyer can also deal with all communications with the insurer and negotiate for a higher settlement if they respond with a low offer that does not cover all your damages.

    Taking Your Case to Court

    If the insurer denies your claim unjustly and won’t budge or refuses to offer a fair settlement, your attorney may take them to court and sue for the money you deserve. You may require litigation if the insurer acts in bad faith regarding your claim or violates any terms of the settlement.

    Regardless, you need an attorney to take your case to court since a lawyer will have in-depth knowledge of state personal injury laws and civil courts and procedures. They will have the experience and resources to file your lawsuit properly and handle the legal processes. A seasoned trial lawyer can create a strong case for you and present a compelling argument at trial to sway the judge or jury’s decision in your favor.

    Also, every state has statutes of limitations on when you must file a personal injury lawsuit in court. Call an attorney immediately in your state if you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident to get advice regarding when you need to file your lawsuit and to obtain help with the process.

    Don’t Delay: Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today

    Russell Nicolet - Attorney for Side-by-Side ATVs in Wisconsin & Minnesota
    Russell Nicolet, Car Accident Lawyer

    You need to do all you can to improve your odds of obtaining compensation for the injuries another driver caused, and you need to get the process started as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficulty you will face in proving liability, and you may severely hurt your chances of getting any compensation.

    An experienced car accident attorney can get the full compensation you deserve for the injuries and losses you suffered because of another driver’s negligence. Contact a personal injury lawyer today for your free consultation.