Should I get an attorney after a car accident?
This question comes up frequently when dealing with motorists across Mississippi: when exactly should I contact an attorney if I’ve had a car accident?
The answer, like many legal answers, is this: it depends.
Several elements may factor into your decision as to whether or not to contact an attorney, including:
- What happened?
- What injuries occurred as a result?
- Who was at fault?
At the most basic level, you typically do not need to contact an attorney if there were no injuries in the accident. The people involved can usually handle minor fender benders on their own.
That said, if at any point you feel uncomfortable dealing with the aftermath of a crash, it is wise to speak with someone. An attorney may be helpful with sorting out paperwork or other legalities.
When you should contact an attorney
Contacting an attorney is highly recommended if any injuries resulted from the accident. If you or anyone you know was involved, an attorney can help you with the next steps in filing a claim.
Here’s a handy, 3-step process to follow anytime there is an accident resulting in an injury:
- Get medical attention immediately.
- Contact your attorney.
- Never speak to an adjuster or insurance agent without counsel.
If the injury was significant enough that you anticipate long-term disability or time off of work, then it’s wise to contact an attorney immediately after the incident. They may be able to help you in filing a claim against anyone responsible for your injuries.
Other instances where an attorney would be helpful
Here are a few instances in which the aid of an attorney would help you recover from the accident:
- driver error or negligence
- distracted driving or cell phone use
- death as a result of the crash
- issues in dealing with your insurance company
- inaccuracies in the police report that result in you being at fault
If these situations (or anything similar) arise, it’s essential to reach out to an attorney quickly so that your case doesn’t become more complicated.
Dealing with insurance companies
An experienced attorney will be helpful if there are ever problems with your insurance company. Insurance companies typically look out for themselves by saving as much money as possible when it’s time to pay. This approach doesn’t always benefit you, the injured party.
If your insurance company does any of these things, run, don’t walk, to an attorney:
- They ask you to make a recorded statement. It’s never wise to allow someone to record a statement, however innocent it may be, without an attorney present or the advice of counsel.
- They cut you a check fairly quickly before any medical treatment is completed. Once you settle a claim, that’s it. You can’t go back for more money. To get what your accident is worth, it’s best to work with an attorney who understands how long it typically takes to settle these types of claims.
- They delay communications or settlements for any reason. Insurance companies, on the flip side, may move so slowly in the hopes that someone simply gives up on a claim. This allows them to settle for much less than the case is worth in the long run.
Our attorneys will work with you in the aftermath of a car accident. You’ve been through enough. Let us help you rebuild and sort through the complicated paperwork so that you can recover quickly.