Should I Hire a Lawyer after a Car Accident?

Have you recently been in a car accident? If so, you may be overwhelmed with your new, unwanted to-do list. Perhaps you’ve found our page today because you’re wondering if hiring a car accident lawyer could help you sort through it all.

Maybe you’ve never had reason to need a lawyer before. The good news is you’ve come to the right place. With decades of combined experience, our Washington team answers questions every day from people who have been in auto wrecks.

Is it Worth it to Hire a Lawyer for a Car Accident?

Yes, in many cases it is to your advantage to hire a lawyer when you’ve been the victim of a car accident. Studies show that most people will recover a larger settlement with an attorney on their side than if they go it alone.

But what about the cost? Most personal injury firms, including Ladenburg Law, work on a contingency basis. Put another way, you only pay a fee after we win you a settlement. There’s nothing to pay upfront.

This also means that we don’t charge for an initial case review. We encourage you to take advantage of this! In other words, there’s no risk or obligation just to have one of our experienced lawyers hear what happened to see if we can help.

Are There Some Accidents Where It’s More Important to Have a Lawyer?

There are some accident scenarios where having a lawyer on your side is even more important.

For example, you should call an accident lawyer if:

  1. There were serious injuries or fatalities. An aggressive lawyer can make sure your settlement will adequately compensate you for your medical bills, pain, and suffering. Be warned: these are the types of claims adjustors are particularly eager to minimize or settle quickly before victims understand the true value.
  2. There’s disagreement about liability. Liability is a way of asking “who’s to blame here?” Simply put, the person who’s to blame is responsible for paying for the victim’s property damage and injuries. If there is a liability disagreement, you can have issues in getting your claim resolved.
  3. Complex claim situations. Lots of things can make a claim complex. For instance, if there were multiple vehicles or victims involved, if the driver who hit you was drunk, if you are self-employed, or if a commercial vehicle was responsible.

Think of it this way: this may be the only time you’ve been in a car accident. On the other hand, a car accident attorney deals with this every single day. And a quality firm will have helped hundreds, if not thousands, of clients through the process. When dealing with a complicated, frustrating accident claim, why not rely on their expertise?

After an Accident, When Do I Reach Out to a Lawyer?

You can reach out to an accident lawyer at any point in the process. However, the sooner you call a lawyer, the more support you’ll get throughout that process. Believe it or not, we’ve even had clients call us from the scene of an accident.

Here are a few ways calling a lawyer early can help you:

  • Better chance at obtaining key evidence
  • Prevent common mistakes that could hurt your claim
  • Handle all communication with the at-fault party and their insurance company
  • Details of what happened are still fresh in your mind
  • Access to additional resources and support

Ultimately, this all adds up to a better chance at having you recover a fair settlement. Of course, you might be reading this well after your accident. Perhaps you’ve even started your claim and are struggling to negotiate with the adjustor. This is OK – just call us as soon as you’re able. Many clients only reach out once they’ve hit a roadblock. A good personal lawyer can pick up anywhere in the process.

That being said, be aware that in the State of Washington, you have a limited time to file a claim after a car accident (RCW 4.16.080). So please, don’t wait too long before giving us a call.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?

In most cases, you won’t need a lawyer if you were in a minor car accident and only had property damage.  Thankfully, property damage claims tend to be more straightforward to settle with the insurance company.

There are also times when you might feel comfortable in handling your own injury claim. For instance, if your medical bills were relatively inexpensive and you recovered quickly. However, you’re always free to run your case past our lawyers. Sometimes, what you thought was a minor injury ends up needing months of physical therapy. Now you’re looking at steep bills, not to mention the time off work to make all those appointments. An experienced lawyer can rely on their knowledge of past, similar cases and your circumstances to help you know if an offer is fair or not.

What Can a Car Accident Lawyer Do for Me?

The primary job of a car accident lawyer is to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. In addition, you’ll find the lawyer will remove a lot of the stresses associated with a car accident off your shoulders, such as:

  • Compiling evidence, including police reports and witness testimony
  • Drawing on resources, such as accident reconstruction specialists
  • Handling all communication with the insurance company
  • Negotiating the settlement
  • Advising you on the fairness of any offer received

Sometimes, the lawyer may feel that the offer is just too low or that negotiations are stalling. When this happens, they can file a lawsuit and take your case to court. By having a skilled attorney on your side, you’ll be prepared.

How Should I Find the Right Lawyer?

So now you know that you would like to start the conversation with a lawyer. But which one do you choose? Chances are you’ve seen many flashy advertisements from lawyers promising to “be in your corner.” Remember, just because a firm has big advertising bucks does not mean they’ll live up to that promise.

Here are a couple tips for selecting a reputable lawyer:

  1. Read their reviews. It’s one thing to hear what the lawyer says about their firm. It’s another thing to hear what past clients have to say. Look for reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
  2. Consider local. Some firms are quite large and can buy those top search ad spots. So even if you see “Tacoma personal injury lawyer” on the page you’re visiting, double check the physical address on the contact page. You might be surprised to discover the attorney is in Chicago or Austin.

Keep in mind that most personal injury firms, including Ladenburg Law, offer free case reviews. This means you can come in and learn if you have a case at no cost. Come prepared with your questions! A case review is a good opportunity to get a sense of the lawyer and their firm.

Call Us Today

Our team currently accepts clients in the greater Puget Sound and Western Washington region. If you would like more information on hiring a car accident lawyer, please call us. We’d be happy to hear from you and answer any questions you have.

PS Make sure to request our free ebook, What the Insurance Companies Don’t Want you to Know. It was written by one of our attorneys and addresses some of the most pressing questions clients ask us after an accident. 

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