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Updated July 26, 2020
It’s not always necessary to hire a car accident lawyer after an auto accident. If you’re settling a relatively routine claim—for example, fault is evident or there are only minor injuries—you can generally do your own investigating. If that’s the route you choose, you have to be prepared to to present your case and defend it with confidence if it becomes aggressive.
But with a lawyer, the legwork is taken care of. No researching jargon or procedure, no negotiating, and no filling out paperwork. Before you make any decisions, take a step back and review these factors. Ask yourself the following questions to decide whether to hire an attorney after a car accident.
Evaluate what’s at stake and gauge your own comfort level with the claim. If you’re having any doubts, feeling overwhelmed, or you have questions, it’s in your best interest to get in touch with a lawyer.
Of course, you can couple this with your own research about the process, but we advise you gather as much information as you can from professionals.
Bear in mind that it’s not always necessary to hire a lawyer if you’ve been injured from the accident. When injuries are minor, you will most likely have a good handle on it. The determining factor will be the severity of your injuries and the other driver’s injuries.
Serious injuries have the potential for out-of-pocket expenses to skyrocket for all parties involved. So, when out-of-pocket expenses start creeping up in cost or the injuries sustained are permanent or cause a loss of wages, things can escalate quickly.
Don’t let insurance companies fool you: A settlement offer is always negotiable. If you’re offered a settlement that doesn’t cover your medical bills or other out-of-pocket expenses, come back with more. You’ll receive more push-back if you don’t have a lawyer, though. Insurance companies bank on the fact that you don’t know the legalities and will likely take advantage of you.
The second you accept an offer is the second you lose the right to sue the other party again. It’s so important that you fully understand the settlement offer (or if it’s even the best option) given the circumstances of your case.
Here’s a scenario: Say you run into a parked car. Your car has pretty extensive damage, and your neck’s been aching since the accident. You’ve received a ticket, and the other driver’s insurance company already contacted you. To the naked eye, the fault seems clear: You hit the car. But no one mentioned the fact that the car you crashed into was parked illegally, and it turns out that driver didn’t receive a ticket.
In this case, the lines are blurry. Hiring a lawyer to conduct an independent investigation on your behalf might be a good option. You want someone on your side with an agenda where you’re the focal point—someone who can sharpen the blur and get you what’s rightfully yours.
Whether you decide to hire an attorney or not, keep in mind that you never want to risk losing something you could have easily gained with just a little guidance.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a car crash, consider contacting the Indianapolis Automobile Accident Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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