A Quick Guide to Know When to Contact a Personal Injury Attorney After an Accident
Some accidents are minor enough that you can practically brush them off while others are serious enough that you should involve an attorney. The question is, when do you need to bring an attorney into the situation? Know that while you might be reluctant to broach the subject of a lawsuit, you, your health and your finances might be better off if you do. Understand that there is nothing wrong in contacting an attorney if only to ask questions regarding your situation. You’re not committed to anything just by making a phone call, and it does help to get several opinions. Most of the time an attorney is more than willing to listen to your case and provide at least their opinion of what your options are. As such, there are several occasions when you should at least strongly consider reaching out to legal counsel specializing in personal injury cases.
Reasons to Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
One of the main reasons to consult with a personal injury attorney is so you’re aware of your rights and know which steps to take to protect those rights. You shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistakes or negligence, and paying such a price could financially ruin you. Even if you have insurance, there’s a chance your provider will refuse your claim, leaving you to take care of the damages and medical costs on your own, which is another situation in which a personal injury attorney can help.
When You Definitely Need to Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Some circumstances require the immediate attention of an attorney, such as:
- The accident involves broken bones, a trip to the hospital or injuries that might be permanent
- The accident resulted in death
- There was a construction site involved in the accident
- It’s difficult to determine who is at fault
- You don’t have insurance, your insurance provider brings in its own legal counsel, or your provider refuses to honor your claim
Bear in mind that time is of the essence when it comes to bringing legal action. There’s also the statute of limitations to think about, which sets a time limit on when you can file suit. For that reason, it’s best that you act quickly if any of the above scenarios applies to you. A simple initial consultation can provide you with a great deal of relief and clarity. Also, most often these initial talks with an attorney are free so you don’t have to worry about spending your money to see if you have a case.
When You Might Need to Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
There are also situations that toe the line when it comes to needing an attorney. While these circumstances might not be as dire or apparent as the ones mentioned above, they do deserve the consideration of a legal professional:
- You feel your insurance provider isn’t acting in your best interests
- You’re curious as to how much your claim might actually be worth
- You’d like advice on how to negotiate with your insurance provider
- You aren’t sure of your legal rights regarding the situation in question
- You’d like to have someone look over any paperwork or forms you’ve received specific to the accident
How to Get an Attorney Involved in Your Case
While attorneys can do a lot to build and help your case, they can’t do it without a bit of help from you. For instance, you’ll want to gather as much information about the accident as possible, such as where, when and how it happened. If there were witnesses, get their statements and contact information. You should also do what you can to get pictures of the accident site. Depending on your accident, there might be a police report, which you need to have in your possession before going to an attorney.
Any medical bills, reports or estimates you receive as a result of your accident should be put in the hands of your attorney as well. If you aren’t sure whether you were injured enough in the accident to seek medical help, it’s a good idea to at least get a checkup. Some injuries aren’t readily apparent, and waiting too long to have them looked at could seriously compromise your case. If you don’t have health insurance, you can and should go to the emergency room to have your injuries examined.
Finding the Right Attorney to Handle Your Case
Now that you have a better idea of when you need to get an attorney involved in your personal injury case, it’s a good idea to know the type of attorney who will be the best fit for your unique circumstances. First, the attorney you choose should specialize in personal injury cases. Just like you don’t go to a heart surgeon for a problem with your spine, you don’t want to consult with a lawyer who only focuses on elder law when you have a personal injury case. Taking this tip one step further, it’s even better to work with a personal injury attorney who’s familiar with your specific case, such as slip-and-fall, product liability or auto accident.
It’s also a good idea to check out the attorney’s professional reputation before reaching out to him or her. The attorney’s site might have client testimonials and reviews, but you can do some additional research on your own to uncover additional information that provides you with a more balanced opinion. Finally, go with your gut instinct when you first sit down and meet with your lawyer to discuss your case.
There’s much at stake when it comes to personal injury cases. The right attorney can help protect your rights and see that you get the compensation and care you deserve.