Approximately 13 car accidents occur in the United States every minute. These incidents injure millions and, worse, kill thousands of people yearly. They also cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars.
If you’re a car crash victim, too, you may wonder if you need to hire an attorney. You may not have to, as long as the accident caused little to no property damage or minor injuries. If it’s worse than that, or you’re dealing with difficult parties, then yes, consider hiring one.
Below, we’ve explained signs and scenarios wherein it pays to have a car crash lawyer on your side, so please read on.
1. You Sustained Severe Injuries
Common car collision injuries are whiplash, burns, fractures, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Depending on the crash severity, they can range from mild to severe.
However, the worst injuries affect the internal organs, spinal cord, and limb use. Severe internal organ injuries can result in organ failure and death. Spinal cord injuries can lead to paralysis, while limb loss is a permanent disability.
The more severe the injury, the more expensive its treatment and rehabilitation. Likewise, it can lead to chronic, even life-long impairment and lower quality of life.
That’s terrible news for crash victims in the U.S., where healthcare costs are so exorbitant. Indeed, they’re about twice more than in Canada and three to four times more than in New Zealand or Japan.
That’s reason enough to consider hiring an attorney after a car accident. With professional legal help, you can recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages. A guide about hiring a car accident lawyer found here discusses these damages in more detail.
2. You’re a Hit-and-Run Victim
After a vehicle crash, one of the first things involved drivers must do is stop at the scene. Failure to do so is a traffic offense or criminal act commonly known as a “hit-and-run.”
A hit-and-run can be a misdemeanor offense if the crash only damaged property. However, it could be a felony crime if the incident caused injuries.
Some drivers commit hit-and-run offenses because they don’t have insurance. Others do so for more insidious reasons, such as:
- Being on the run (e.g., they committed another crime)
- Driving under the influence
- Not wanting their insurance premiums to skyrocket
- Scared of having their licenses suspended or revoked
So if the motorist who hit you “ran away,” it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have money to compensate you. Instead, they may just be selfishly protecting their finances.
File a legal case against them with the help of a lawyer. Your attorney can track them down and make them pay you what you deserve.
3. The Other Party Is Uncooperative
Suppose the driver you got into an accident with didn’t run away. The problem is they don’t want to cooperate, such as by not giving you their names and insurance details. They may act that way for the same reasons as those who commit hit-and-run crimes.
In many states, refusing to give insurance details after a road incident is illegal. So if you encounter such a driver, call the police immediately. Please do this even if there’s no obvious damage to your vehicle or you have no apparent injuries.
Also, consider hiring a lawyer, especially if the uncooperative driver becomes threatening. Do the same if they flee the crash scene before the police arrive. This often classifies as a hit-and-run, even if the other driver stopped at the site initially.
4. The Other Driver Blames You
Even though they caused the crash, some drivers play the blame game and insist the other party is at fault. This is also why you should watch what you say after an accident, as they can use what you say against you. Instead, hire a lawyer to help counter the other party’s allegations against you.
5. Multiple Vehicles Involved
Vehicle-to-vehicle collisions account for 71% of all road incidents in the United States. They’re also behind 63% of crash injuries.
Even worse, some of those collisions involve three or more motorists. Also called multi-car crashes or pile-ups, these incidents often cause significant property damage. They also usually result in severe and multiple injuries per person.
The fault in multi-car collisions usually falls on more than one party. This means you have several avenues of compensation as long as you didn’t play any part in the crash.
However, determining fault in a pile-up is even more difficult than in two-car crashes. You must also prove you didn’t play any part in the incident.
An attorney experienced in multi-car crashes can do all that for you. For instance, they can identify all at-fault parties on your behalf. They can then file a lawsuit or a claim to help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
6. Lowball Insurance Settlement Offer
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses aimed at making as much revenue as possible.
Unfortunately, some insurers may use a bad faith tactic to achieve that goal. For example, they may make a lowball offer to pay valid claims with as little money as possible.
Lowball offers are “low” because they’re less than the claimants’ total losses. Some can even be downright unjust; for example, paying only $10,000 for losses and damages worth $50,000.
If you receive a settlement offer you think isn’t fair, please don’t get swayed to accept it. Because if you take it, you get paid a final amount only once. After that, you can no longer pursue the insurer or the insured for future medical costs.
Instead of accepting an offer immediately, inform a lawyer of your situation first. They can tell you if the amount is too low and provide a more accurate valuation of your case.
Hire an Attorney in These Situations
And there you have it, your guide on the signs and situations that should prompt you to hire an attorney.
It’s also better to enlist a lawyer immediately after your accident. That way, you can let them handle the bulk of the claim or lawsuit filing process while you recover and rest.
For more accident-related resources, check out our blog’s personal injury category. You can find our recent post about different personal injury case types there.