DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY TO REPRESENT ME AFTER A CAR CRASH?
One of the most common questions I get from potential clients is:
“I was in a car crash and it wasn’t my fault; do I need an attorney to represent me?”
While the law does not require you to have an attorney represent you after a car crash, I always HIGHLY recommend hiring an attorney to make sure your rights are protected and you receive the fairest compensation possible. Insurance companies and adjusters are NOT looking out for your best interests. Their main goal is to settle your claim for as cheaply as possible so that the insurance company can continue to make huge profits off of their policyholders. Navigating the legal system can be extremely complex, and just one simple misstep can lead to the demise of your potential claim, sometimes putting you at risk legally and financially.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
You may not need a lawyer if:
- You were not injured in the crash;
- You did not seek medical attention; or
- You did not need treatment beyond the Emergency Room.
In other cases, you should hire a lawyer if:
- You were hit by an intoxicated driver, which may entitle you to a claim for punitive damages. These damage awards can be large but require an attorney to effectively present the claim.
- Your injuries were serious, such as a fractured or broken bone, head injury, back injury, or other injury which will require extensive or continuing medical care.
- The driver who hit you doesn’t have insurance, or their policy limit won’t fully compensate you for your injury. This could bring about an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim against your own insurance.
- The at-fault driver’s insurance company denies liability, or your own uninsured or underinsured coverage is denied.
- There are medical liens filed on your case.
- You are in a serious accident involving a tractor trailer or other large vehicle.
- The at-fault driver was working at the time and has a commercial policy.
These are just a few instances where an attorney would be helpful in settling or litigating your case. In the end, the decision to hire an attorney is yours, but keep in mind that going it alone exposes you to the dangers of the legal world, where insurance companies (sometimes even your own) may try to take advantage of you and your lack of experience.
WHY DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
In order to ensure your rights are protected, below are a few reasons why you should consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for you:
- Statute of Limitations – In Georgia, you only have two years from the date of your crash to file a lawsuit, with certain exceptions. If a lawsuit is not timely filed in the two year window, your right to sue for recovery will be forever lost. This two year window is what is known as the Statute of Limitations.
- Your insurance company may deny your claim – Most insurance companies are not on your side when it comes to paying for claims made on their policies. If you have to make an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim on your own insurance policy, they may deny your claim and refuse to pay you anything under the policy. An experienced attorney will know how to handle this issue and can fight to ensure fair compensation.
- You may be unaware of your potential damages – When you get into a wreck, some injuries aren’t immediately apparent and often times set in days, weeks, or even months later. If you are unaware of what damages you may seek against the at-fault driver and their insurance, you may end up paying for your own medical bills. Calculating potential damages is tough because of the unknown nature of many injuries.
- Lawsuits are complex – When filing a lawsuit, different courts have different rules regarding where you can file, how you can file, what you can file, and when you can file. Things like jurisdiction, venue, discovery deadlines, pre-trial conferences, and other legal rules make lawsuits very difficult to handle on your own. An experienced attorney will know these rules and will ensure your bases are covered in the settlement and litigation process.
- Proving liability isn’t always easy – The very general basis of a personal injury lawsuit is that someone else did something that caused you to be injured. In order to be entitled to damages, you must first prove that the other party is liable for your injuries. In some cases, this can be as simple as a police report or a paid citation, while in others it may require extensive discovery requests, depositions, and careful oral argument skills to prove that the other party caused your injuries.
These are just a few reasons you may consider contacting an attorney regarding your injury claim. Even if you aren’t sure if you have a claim, it never hurts to have an attorney evaluate your case for free.
WHAT SCHNEIDER INJURY LAW CAN DO FOR YOU
If you have been injured in an accident and think you may need legal assistance in handling your claim, Schneider Injury Law is here to help. From start to finish we will be by your side guiding you through the intricate process of settlement negotiations and, if necessary, through the litigation process. Bethany Schneider of Schneider Injury Law is an experienced litigator and knows what it takes to win.
For a free case consultation, please call Schneider Injury Law at (404) 800-3060 or email Bethany directly at email@example.com. Schneider Injury Law has the experience and success in personal injury cases to ensure you’re in good hands.