Were you recently involved in a car accident? Depending on your case, you might need to hire an accident lawyer.
According to the law, a car accident takes place when a motor vehicle runs into a stationary object, another vehicle, a pedestrian, or an animal.
The legal definition also outlines what responsibility every party may incur in the case of an accident. The law states that any driver has a legal duty to comply with traffic laws and drive their vehicle responsibly around other people.
Conflicts happen when there is a disagreement between the driver and victim on whether the former was fulfilling their legal duty.
In that case, the victim may hire an auto accident lawyer if they believe the driver was behaving recklessly.
An accident lawyer can help the victim negotiate a settlement with an insurance company, or navigate the legal system if a settlement can’t be agreed upon.
Under some circumstances, you should call upon an accident lawyer to get compensation. Read this article to learn 7 sure signs that you need to hire a car accident lawyer right away.
1. Critical Injuries
If you sustained critical injuries in your car accident, you need to find an accident attorney as soon as possible.
You could be looking at very steep medical expenses to restore your health, not to mention that some injuries may result in the need for a lifetime of continued care.
In that case, in addition to the hospital bills, you’ll have to undergo extended financial strain to pay for your medical treatment.
What’s more, the injuries could cause you to have to drastically change your lifestyle. If you lose your source of income as a result of the accident, the medical bills could prove too high for you.
Additionally, you may have to endure persistent painful symptoms or to make adjustments in your home or car due to your injuries.
All those factors are causes of distress that could entitle you to receive compensation.
2. Mental and Emotional Suffering
The trauma caused by a car accident may extend beyond physical injuries, as accident victims may also incur mental and emotional injuries. These injuries are referred to as “pain and suffering” in legal terms.
Mental and emotional suffering can include issues such as emotional distress, mental anguish, anxiety, shock, fear, and anger.
These issues can cause accident victims to experience physical symptoms in the form of bouts of crying, panic attacks, sexual dysfunction, mood swings, or trouble sleeping.
In more severe cases, the victim may need to enlist professional medical or psychological help, and receive specific diagnoses like acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you need to consult professionals, the added financial cost might help a jury look more favorably upon your request for compensation.
3. Losing a Loved One
If someone close to you was in an accident, you may be able to recover damages even if you weren’t directly involved in it.
This can happen, for instance, if your spouse was in a major car accident and passed away or ended up in a coma. Not only do you feel devastated, but you’re also suffering from being deprived of your companion’s support and care.
In legal terms, this is called loss of consortium, or loss of companionship. It means that you’re deprived of the benefits of interacting with your loved one after an accident.
Usually, the loss of consortium claim is brought by a close relative of the victim, such as a spouse, parent, or child.
If, after the accident, the victim is no longer able to provide the same love, companionship, affection, parenting, care, or sexual relationship, their spouse, parent, or child can receive compensation.
4. Dispute Over Who Is at Fault
In most states, there are laws called “at-fault laws”. These laws state that, in order for an accident victim to recover their damages, they must bear less than half the responsibility of the accident.
To determine the levels of responsibility of each party, there will be a certain degree of scrutiny. If the situation isn’t easily resolved, the matter will be brought to the courts for a judge to review it.
If it comes to this, a car accident attorney will help you build and present your case to the judge, and go through all the legal hoops until it’s resolved.
5. Contradictory Reports
In some car accidents, insurance, police, or medical reports may contain contradictory information. Those reports will play a determining role in recovering damages.
If you disagree with one of these reports, your car accident attorney can investigate your case to determine if any kind of mistake occurred.
This investigation can prove essential in presenting your case to the court and disputing the records.
6. Your Accident Happened on Unsafe Roads or Other Hazardous Public Areas
Accidents can sometimes happen due to hazardous road conditions. In that case, there may be other responsible parties in your accident.
If your accident happened in a public street or public right of way, you will have to file what’s termed an “administrative claim with a county or city government office.”
You’ll have to start filing your claim within six months of the date of the accident, and the government agency in charge of these roadways will have 45 days to respond. A car accident lawyer will help you with the legal paperwork.
7. Negotiate a Proper Settlement
Car accident lawsuits generally settle without going to trial. This means that you’ll most likely get a settlement offer from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. This offer will usually be way too low.
While settling a lawsuit without trial can save you money, you should only accept the settlement offer if the amount fairly accounts for your damages.
A competent car accident lawyer will help you get a proper settlement. Most lawyers get compensated on the basis of what you receive, so ensuring you get the maximum amount is in their best interest.
Don’t Wait to Get an Accident Lawyer
After the shock of a car accident, it can be difficult to establish clear priorities. However, if you find yourself in any of the situations described in this article, you should get in touch with an accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Check out our Lifestyle section for more articles about everyday situations and tips on how to handle them.