When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

Aug 2, 2023

If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you can significantly improve your chances of recovering maximum compensation for your medical bills and other losses by retaining the services of a car accident lawyer to handle your car accident claim. While there is no hard-and-fast rule for when to hire an attorney after a car accident, it’s in your best interest under certain circumstances.

The Accident Involved Serious Injuries

If you or anyone else involved in the accident sustained serious injuries that require medical treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, or long-term care, it’s wise to consult a lawyer as soon as you’re able. They can help you navigate potential personal injury claims and ensure you receive proper compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages. Knowing that a professional is handling your case, you can prioritize your recovery.

Your Injuries are Long-Term or Permanent

If the accident has resulted in long-term or permanent injuries, disabilities, or impact on your ability to work, an attorney can assess the potential long-term costs and help you pursue compensation for ongoing medical expenses and lost income or wages. For example, if your injuries are debilitating, you may need modifications to your home or vehicle, special equipment to assist with mobility, or attendants to assist with housekeeping or personal care. If your injuries prevent you from returning to work in the same capacity, your lawyer may be able to help you obtain compensation for lost income earnings.

The Accident Involved Fatalities

If you lost a family member in a fatal car accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may not think too much about compensation when no money will bring your loved one back. However, family members of those killed in car accidents may be able to recover compensation for funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages on their behalf. Recovering compensation may not bring your family member back, but you may find some peace in seeking justice against the person who harmed your loved one.

There is a Dispute Over Liability

When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

If there’s a disagreement about who is at fault for the accident, it might be a good idea to consult an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Sometimes more than one person, including an injured party, can be at fault in an accident. Both Louisiana and Tennessee allow accident victims to recover compensation for their injuries and other damages, even if they were partially at fault. However, their compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault.

Tennessee’s “modified comparative negligence rule allows a person to be up to 50% liable and still receive partial damages from the other party. However, if they’re found more than 50% responsible, they are not entitled to recovery. Louisiana’s “pure comparative negligence rule” is far more lenient. A person can be up to 99% at fault and still recover compensation. However, in this case, their percentage of blame will reduce their recovery, resulting in just a 1% recovery.

The earlier you hire a car accident lawyer, the sooner they can investigate your accident, gather evidence, and help establish liability.

If Multiple Parties are Involved

The legal complexities can increase if the accident involves multiple vehicles or parties. A lawyer can help you navigate the intricate legal issues arising from multiple liability claims. Often, an accident victim may not be aware of the other parties that may have played a role in the accident.

For example, if a road hazard contributed to the accident, the government entity responsible for maintaining the road may be held liable. Or if one of the vehicles involved had a manufacturing defect that caused the accident, the manufacturer could be held liable.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will consider the liability of all possible parties and will seek compensation from all who may be held responsible, which can further maximize your compensation.

Lawyers spend at least three years in law school to understand the rule of law and sharpen their skills under the guidance of seasoned attorneys. When you hire an experienced lawyer, you can trust that they will know how to guide you through the claims process.

Car accident cases can involve complex legal procedures and insurance policies. If you’re unfamiliar with the legal process or dealing with uncooperative insurance companies, an attorney can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process.

You Have to Deal with Insurance Companies

If you’ve suffered injuries in an accident, you may be contacted by and offered compensation from an insurance company to cover your medical bills. You should never accept an offer from an insurance company without first talking with a lawyer. Insurers are notorious for making offers to accident victims that don’t fully compensate them for all their losses.

If you accept the offer without talking with a lawyer about what your claim is really worth, you could be leaving money on the table. Plus, if your injuries require more treatment than expected or you are out of working longer than you planned, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more compensation.

If an insurance company has yet to make you an offer or they denied your claim, don’t think you don’t qualify for compensation. A lawyer can review your case, calculate the true value of your damages, demand compensation that accurately reflects your losses, handle all negotiations with the insurance company, and fight for full and fair compensation on your behalf.

How Soon Should I Contact a Lawyer for My Car Accident Claim?

Each state has its own deadline for filing personal injury claims in civil court, which usually begins on the date the injury occurred. For most states, this statute of limitations is between two and four years, though some allow claims to be filed up to six years after an accident. Louisiana and Tennessee have the shortest deadlines for filing personal injury claims—just one year from the date of the accident.

While twelve months may seem like plenty of time to file a lawsuit, gathering evidence and preparing all the necessary paperwork takes a lot of time. When considering when to hire an attorney after a car accident, remember that the sooner you retain a lawyer to handle your car accident claim, the more prepared they can be should you need to file a car accident lawsuit in civil court.

What Compensation Could I Get for a Car Accident?

In a car accident claim, you may be eligible to seek both economic and non-economic damages, which are meant to compensate you for the financial and non-financial impacts of the accident. The types of damages available can vary depending on your jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of your case. Here are some common examples of economic and non-economic damages:

Examples of Economic Damages

  • Medical expenses: This includes costs related to hospitalization, surgery, medical treatments, rehabilitation, prescription medications, medical equipment, and ongoing medical care.
  • Property damage: Compensation for the repair or replacement of your vehicle and any personal property that was damaged in the accident.
  • Lost income: If the accident caused you to miss work due to injuries, you can seek compensation for the income you would have earned during that time.
  • Lost earning capacity: If your injuries result in a long-term reduction in your ability to earn income, you may be eligible to receive compensation for the diminished earning capacity.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses: This can include costs like transportation to medical appointments, home modifications, and other necessary expenses incurred as a direct result of the accident.

Examples of Non-economic Damages

  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for the physical and emotional pain, distress, and suffering caused by the accident and resulting injuries. This includes both the immediate impact and any ongoing pain.
  • Emotional distress: Compensation for psychological distress, anxiety, depression, and other emotional impacts resulting from the accident.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: If the accident has resulted in a reduced ability to participate in activities and enjoy life as you did before, you may be able to seek compensation for this loss.
  • Loss of consortium: If the accident has adversely affected your relationship with your spouse or partner, they may be able to seek compensation for the loss of companionship, support, and intimacy.
  • Disfigurement and scarring: Compensation for any visible scars or disfigurement resulting from the accident and its subsequent treatments.

Contact a Lawyer to Help with Your Car Accident Claim

Car Accident Lawyer, Daryl A. Gray

If you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident, it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help assess the specific damages applicable to your situation and ensure you pursue the appropriate compensation. Keep in mind that laws and regulations regarding damages vary by jurisdiction, so consulting with a legal professional familiar with the laws in your area is important.

Wright Gray Law Firm has offices in Memphis, Tennessee, and throughout Louisiana. Contact our car accident lawyers today at 888.912.4944 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.

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