Car accidents can be a traumatic and frustrating experience from the moment of impact to dealing with injuries to negotiating a full and fair car accident settlement with uncooperative insurance adjusters. Most people are so overwhelmed with seeking treatment and dealing with damage to their vehicle after an accident that they aren’t immediately thinking about filing an injury claim. In Washington State, the injured party generally has three years from the date of the accident to file a car accident claim but a lot can happen in those three years. The way things are managed after an accident can go a long way to ensuring a positive outcome. Car accident lawyers represent injured clients by handling all aspects of injury claims, including negotiating on behalf of their clients. Here’s how to know if you need a lawyer for a car accident.
How to Know If You Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident
- Severity of the accident
One of the main factors to consider when deciding whether or not to hire a lawyer after a car accident is the severity of the accident. If the accident was a minor fender bender with little to no damage to your vehicle and there were no injuries, you may not need a lawyer. However, if the accident was severe and resulted in serious injuries or fatalities, you should consider hiring a lawyer. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
- Liability is in dispute or shared
If it is unclear who is liable for the accident, a car accident lawyer can help prove fault and protect your rights. Because Washington is a comparative fault state, fault can be shared in a personal injury case. This means that even if you were partially at fault in the accident, you may be able to recover damages for the percentage of fault assigned to the other party. A lawyer can help you fight for the share of damages you are entitled to.
- Insurance company disputes
Insurance companies are almost always more concerned with their bottom line than with ensuring that accident victims receive fair compensation. If the insurance company is disputing your claim or offering a low settlement, you may need a lawyer to help you negotiate a fair settlement (never accept an offer before understanding the value of your claim). A lawyer can also represent you in court if a fair settlement cannot be negotiated out of court.
- High medical expenses
If you have been severely injured in a car accident, you may be facing high medical expenses. A lawyer can help you recover these expenses and ensure that you receive compensation for future medical expenses related to the accident. A lawyer can also make arrangements with medical providers to defer payments on medical bills until after the settlement is paid out.
- Statute of limitations
Each state has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims, which is the time period in which you must file your claim. If you wait too long to file your claim, you may lose your right to compensation. A personal injury lawyer can help ensure that your claim is filed within the statute of limitations.
6. Complex cases
Some car accident cases are more complex than others. For example, if the accident involved multiple vehicles or if poor weather was the cause of the accident, it may be a more complex case. In these situations, a lawyer can help protect your rights as you navigate the legal process.
While it isn’t necessary to hire a car accident lawyer to handle your car accident claim, there are many reasons that it can make sense to do so. You can always set up a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer who can provide you with guidance and advice for how to move forward. Remember that the insurance company is not on your side and may try to offer you a low settlement. A lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact a car accident lawyer today!
A car accident lawyer can help you recover a full and fair settlement for the injuries you sustained in a car accident with no up-front costs to you. We know the sneaky strategies used by insurance companies to get injured people to agree to settlements far below what they are worth. Our clients typically end up with a settlement or jury award that is five to ten times larger than they could have negotiated on their own. We have been representing people injured in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. Contact the experienced and hard-working personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Mount Vernon, WA today for a FREE consultation!