Being involved in an auto accident is a terrifying experience, even if you weren’t severely injured. In the days that follow, some people may become anxious and feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of pursuing an injury claim. If you are considering hiring a car accident attorney, know that it’s always ok to schedule an initial consultation before definitively making up your mind. Here are some tips to help you figure out when it’s time to contact a car accident attorney.
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The Accident Resulted in Serious Injuries or Fatalities
Whenever you or a passenger was seriously injured or someone died, it’s best to retain a car accident lawyer. Your attorney will fight for the maximum amount of compensation possible. Serious injury and wrongful death cases tend to be very complex. You need an experienced attorney who is able to protect your rights.
You Are Cannot Work Because of Your Injuries
When you are unable to return to work following an auto accident, hiring an attorney is also recommended. Your best chance at getting the most money to cover your time off work is through the expertise of an experienced negotiator like a car accident lawyer.
There Are More Than Two Vehicles Involved
Accidents involving three or more vehicles are complicated from a liability and insurance standpoint. You typically have everyone pointing the finger at each other, and that can lead to multiple lawsuits. Don’t try to handle accident claims involving numerous parties on your own. Your attorney will make sure the other parties are not conspiring to place the blame on you unfairly.
There Is Talk of Settlement
If you have been speaking directly with the other party’s insurance company, they may be pushing you to settle rather than take your case to trial. However, insurance companies will rarely offer you what your case is worth. Before you agree to any settlement amount and sign a release of all claims, you should speak with an attorney. There are some situations where settling before litigation makes financial sense, but in other cases, you risk losing out on a lot.
It’s typically a red flag when an insurance adjuster is pushing you to settle quickly. They know your claim is worth more. They hope by offering you some money early on, you’ll take it and sign a release. The problem with signing a release is you cannot come back and ask for more money if you find out you may need long-term care or are partially disabled now.
It’s Been a Long Time Since the Accident
Every type of claim is subject to a statute of limitations. What this means is the law allows you only a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit. If you don’t meet the deadline, your claim could be barred. Even if the insurance company extended you an offer days before, they are under no legal obligation to pay you anything once that date passes. In general, you have up to three years to file a claim for injuries related to a car accident in Colorado.
Contact an Attorney Sooner Rather Than Later
Some people worry that contacting an attorney right after an accident looks bad. However, it’s never too early to speak with an attorney. When you contact a car accident lawyer right away, they have time to start an independent investigation. This investigation helps preserve evidence, get witness statements while facts are fresh in their minds, schedule appointments for any necessary specialists, etc.
If you have been injured in a car accident, don’t second guess whether to hire an attorney. Since most car accident lawyers offer a free initial consultation, you have nothing to lose by meeting with several before deciding. Explain the facts of your accident to them. A good attorney will tell you if you have legal grounds to pursue and what the potential settlement value is. In many cases, the difference in getting the compensation you are owed is directly related to hiring an experienced lawyer.