When you should consider hiring attorney
At least two calls are necessary in the aftermath of a car accident: One to 911 and another to your insurer. But if a crash also results in an injury – requiring emergency treatment – should another call be to a lawyer?
For many Americans, that’s a resounding yes. Indeed, according to a 2016 Insurance Research Council poll, nearly 50 percent of respondents who were injured in an auto accident hired an attorney for claim settlement purposes. And of these, almost 66 percent did so less than a week after the accident occurred.
How do you know when legal representation is necessary? The following should help to answer this question.
Your insurer denies your claim
Although no specific numbers detail just how often auto insurers deny claims, it can happen if, in their view, the circumstances of the crash preclude liability, according to the rules and regulations of the existing policy. Contract law is a complicated topic and one that an attorney is more well-versed in. Legal professionals can provide clarity on the issue and whether the insurer may be in breach of contract.
You lose wages
Depending on the gravity of the injury, a car accident may prevent you from working or doing anything physical. This situation can present a problem for the millions of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck. Indeed, 75 percent of respondents to a recent CareerBuilder survey acknowledged having experienced this type of situation before. If you’ve lost a significant amount of wages and the setback affects your cost of living, you may be entitled to compensation, which an attorney can help determine. Much of this depends on who is deemed at fault for the accident and other specifics that are unique to each case.
The statute of limitations on car accident claims is two years in most states.
You’re unfamiliar with state or federal laws
Most traffic and auto insurance laws are state-dependent; what’s true in one part of the country may be different in another. For instance, 12 states have no-fault insurance legislation in place, among them Florida, Michigan, New Jersey and New York, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This disallows policyholders from suing their insurers if they fail to meet certain criteria. But there are exceptions to this rule that a lawyer may know about. Legal counselors are experts on state and jurisdictional law, so consulting with can save you time and frustration.
Statute of limitations is running out
What also differs from state to state are statute of limitation laws, specifically as they relate to car accident claims. You have only so much time to sue and be sufficiently recompensed for medical expenses, pain and suffering or other damages resulting from the car accident in question. In most states, the statute of limitations last two years, but in others, it’s a bit longer or shorter, depending on the type of injury. Even if you don’t intend to sue, asking a lawyer about when the cutoff period ends helps increase your options.
You need help to establish liability
Even when you have all the ingredients for dinner, you still need a chef to put it all together. Similarly, you may have everything you need to establish who’s at fault in an accident, but putting all the pieces together is easier said than done. Hiring an attorney can help bring all the parts together to make a clear, verifiable case.
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