How many billboards advertising attorneys did you see today on your commute from work? If you live anywhere in Tampa Bay, chances are that you lost track of them. At this point, you should know whom to call if you’re having family law issues. Hurricane damage? Well, there’s a lawyer who can help you with that too. We know who’s aggressive, and who wishes you a Merry Christmas.
But when you get into a car accident, shouldn’t your insurance company and a doctor be enough? How do you know when you should be consulting with an attorney, and when to go on about it on your own?
4 Reasons You Should Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident
When in doubt, call a Personal Injury attorney and get your questions answered, ASAP. The following are a few reasons why:
1. You May Receive Coverage for Medical Costs
Florida requires auto insurance policies to include Personal Injury Protection (PIP). The great news is that your own insurance would cover 80% of your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages, up to $10,000.00. This is the case regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
The bad news is that you only have 14 days to file a claim. This means that if you feel OK right after the accident, but start getting neck pain 15 days later, you can’t receive coverage from your own policy. You’d have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party (if there was one).
2. You’d Be Better Prepared in Case of a Lawsuit
If you have costs that exceed the $10,000 PIP, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the person who caused the accident. A personal injury attorney is going to think about things that may not even cross your mind — such as preservation of evidence, deposing witnesses, and subpoenaing information from the other parties involved in the accident.
You would also have someone watching out for your own interests when the attorney from the at-fault party’s insurance company tries to minimize your damages or make it seem like you may be exaggerating things.
3. A Lawyer Understands the Nuances of a Case
Sometimes, a legitimate claim may get denied by an insurance company. Other times, the at-fault party’s insurance will accept the claim, but severely undervalue it.
A personal injury attorney will likely know the reasons for the denial or undervaluation and will know the next steps to take to ensure that you still have a chance at collecting an adequate amount of compensation.
4. An Attorney Will Take Into Account Every Single Component
If you do things on your own, you’d probably be thinking about the present: your current medical condition, the costs of repairing your car, etc. A lawyer will also take into account future loss of wages, and pain and suffering caused by your injuries.
Are there instances when you wouldn’t need a lawyer?
Florida law doesn’t require you to hire an attorney after a car accident. In fact, there are several instances when hiring one may not be necessary. These include:
- Accidents of a minor impact, with no apparent damage
- When the other party admits fault and pays for damages
- When the damage is minor and you filed a claim with our own PIP insurance
The above examples notwithstanding, when in doubt, always consult with an attorney. If there was a significant impact and you feel like you weren’t injured, you may still have internal injuries or may have aggravated an existing issue — such as herniated discs or muscle spasms. And when such is the case, it’s crucial to file your claim as early as possible to ensure maximum recovery for your medical costs and potential lost wages.
In addition, even if you thought the accident was minor, the other party may still file a claim against you. In that case, don’t make any statements to the other party, their insurance company, or their attorney. As soon as you get notification of litigation, schedule a consult with an experienced personal injury attorney and have the other party contact the lawyer once you hire them. This is the best way to ensure that nothing you say is used against you later on as a partial admission of fault.
Contact St. Petersburg Car Accident Attorneys at Clark Law for a Free Consultation
No matter how much you read online about how the legal system works, every case is different. A particular set of circumstances may allow one party to recover more than another.
The only way to know is by talking about your case with an experienced personal injury attorney. At Clark Law, we’ll know the best course of action to take. Contact us to find out how to move forward. When dealing with potential medical costs, it’s better to be safe than sorry.