It’s safe to say nobody ever plans to be in a car accident. That’s why when one does happen, it can bring many surprises, anxieties, and questions. You might hope that in a minor fender bender, or even a more serious collision, you can call the police, file your insurance claim, get your compensation, and move on with your life.
But more often than not, car accidents bring a set of financial, medical, and legal difficulties that can be extremely difficult to navigate. If you’re wondering when to seek legal help — and what a car accident lawyer can do after you speak to one — this easy-to-understand guide can help.
What an Attorney Does After a Car Accident
A car accident lawyer is an attorney who specializes in representing people involved in car accidents. This means protecting their client’s legal rights, assets, and interests, including ensuring they receive any compensation they are entitled to for injuries or property damage they have sustained.
To accomplish this, car accident lawyers provide legal advice and guidance on navigating the often complex legal and insurance system. Typical tasks a car accident lawyer will perform on behalf of a person in an accident include:
- Providing legal advice and guidance to clients, explaining their rights and options to help make informed decisions
- Gathering evidence, reviewing police reports, and interviewing witnesses to determine the cause of the accident and verify fault and responsibility
- Helping clients file insurance claims and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure they receive fair compensation for medical expenses and property damage
- If court proceedings are necessary, representing clients and arguing their cases before a judge and jury
- If the case is settled out of court, working to negotiate a fair and timely settlement with the other party or their insurance company
Most car accident cases are settled outside of court, but having an attorney in your corner means having someone looking out for and protecting your interests.
How a Lawyer Helps Your Car Accident and Personal Injury Case
The fact is that insurance companies, including yours, have an incentive to pay out the smallest amount possible in an accident claim. Lawyers have knowledge and experience that most people don’t have, and know the tactics insurance companies use on both sides of the case.
Even with personal injury protection (PIP) and liability coverage, people often do not receive an adequate settlement to cover medical expenses and property damage. What’s worse, minor missteps or thinking you are cooperating and doing what you are supposed to after an accident can leave you vulnerable or exposed to a denied claim or even a lawsuit.
Car accident attorneys know which questions to ask the other driver, which documents to request, including police reports, and how to deal with insurance companies. They will also ensure you don’t say anything that may later be used against you by the other driver or their insurance company. Finally, a car accident lawyer helps you stay on top of crucial deadlines that may impact your claims. The goal is to enable you to focus on recovery and moving on while your lawyer handles investigation, negotiation, and litigation.
Statute of Limitations in Car Accident Cases
After you are in an accident, you are on the clock. In Florida, you have 14 days to file a PIP claim with your insurance provider. Your car accident lawyer can help you make sure you meet this critical deadline on time.
Another key deadline is the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit, which is four years in Florida. If a lawsuit is necessary, the longer you wait, the more evidence can vanish, and the harder it becomes to gather witness testimony. This is why time is of the essence, and a thorough investigation is critical.
No matter how long it has been since an accident, an experienced and knowledgeable car accident lawyer will help you make the most of your current situation and advise you on how to proceed.
When Should You Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer?
In all but the most minor accidents, it is highly recommended to speak with a car accident lawyer if there has been any property damage or risk of injury.
In the aftermath of an accident, always get checked out by a doctor to ensure you have not sustained any injuries. Many accident-related injuries have a delayed onset, and it is essential to establish a clear medical record connecting the injury to your accident.
Working with a lawyer can ensure that you are fairly compensated for any injuries sustained and damage to your vehicle while protecting your legal rights and assets from the other party if needed.
Call the Car Accident Experts at Clark Law Today for a Free Consultation
Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.