Being involved in a car accident is stressful. Between the potential medical bills, damage to your car, absence from work, and arranging alternate transportation, it’s enough to increase your blood pressure and cause you to lose sleep. To make matters worse, sometimes the other party involved in the accident hires an attorney. What does that mean? Should you hire your own attorney? What if it was only a minor accident?
These questions can be overwhelming. To gain some perspective, keep reading for an overview of what to expect in a minor car accident, especially when the other party in an auto accident hires a lawyer, and what you should do about it.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?
There is such a wide range of probabilities after a car accident. From a minor fender bender to a serious accident with significant injuries or death, or anything in between.
Reasons You Should Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
No matter the circumstances, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer to become fully informed about the possible legal consequences of the accident. This is crucial for several reasons:
- Some injuries appear well after an accident
- In order to be covered by insurance, there are strict time limits to filing a claim
- The longer you wait, the more likely an insurance company will deny the claim
- The other party’s attorney will look out for their client’s best interest, sometimes at your expense
- An attorney will know how to seek compensation for personal injury, property damage, lost wages, future lost wages, and all costs associated with the accident
- If the other party was uninsured or underinsured, you may still be able to receive coverage from your own insurance company, thanks to Florida’s No-Fault Laws
- Coverage may be available for you, relatives residing with you, anyone who was driving your car, passengers in your car, and anyone who was injured in the accident
What Can Happen When the Other Driver Files a Personal Injury Claim After a Minor Accident
You may figure that the accident was a minor incident and try to put it behind you… only to later receive notification that the other party has hired an attorney. While it’s possible to deal with the lawsuit on your own, what you don’t know can certainly hurt you; and unless you’ve practiced law yourself, chances are, there’s a lot you don’t know about these types of cases.
For example, the other party may try to obtain information from you through a process called “Discovery”. This can include anything from medical records, pay stubs, tax records, your sworn testimony, the sworn testimony of witnesses, insurance information and other documentation. If you hire your own attorney, he or she will know what to object to, and which information to keep confidential when producing records.
In addition, the other party’s attorney or claims adjustor may contact you in attempts to settle the claim. They may sometimes sound friendly and likable. This doesn’t mean that it’s ok to proceed with a conversation. At the end of the day, their job is to safeguard their client’s interest. Anything you say can later be used against you. On the other hand, if you have your own attorney, all communications must be conducted through them, so there would be no chance of you unwittingly saying something that could affect your case negatively.
Finally, even if you believe that the accident was your fault, you should still avoid talking to the other party’s attorney and consult with your own. This is because Florida is a Comparative Negligence jurisdiction. This means that even if you’re at fault, if the other party contributed in some way to the accident, their ability to recover damages from you will be reduced by their own percentage of negligence.
Reality is that even though you were the one in the accident, there’s a chance you don’t have the full story. Accidents happen so fast that it’s easy to forget the seemingly insignificant details. An attorney can help you gather all of the specifics by obtaining witness testimony, surveillance footage (if available), expert testimony, and any additional records that may be necessary to get the full picture. Once you have all of the information, your attorney can explain your options and which would benefit you the most.
Call Clark Law for a Free Consultation
If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. The longer you wait, the higher the chance that you’ll miss your opportunity to file for certain types of damages, or obtain evidence for your case.