Should you hire an attorney for your car accident claim? Here, we discuss when you can negotiate your own settlement and when hiring an attorney is essential.

Should You Hire an Experienced Car Accident Attorney to Handle Your Injury Claim?

If you must file a claim for compensation after suffering injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, you may wonder whether you should hire a lawyer or handle the claim on your own. While it may be tempting to save money by settling your claim on your own, you almost always want to let an attorney negotiate your settlement for you. If you try to go it alone, you could make a mistake that seriously hurts your case or agree to accept much less than the full value of your claim.

When Can You Handle Your Claim on Your Own?

While you should retain an attorney in most cases, there are situations where you can negotiate your own settlement. You may not need an attorney if any of the following applies to your accident:

  • You were not injured but were assessed at either the emergency room or by a doctor soon after your accident and did not need further medical care.
  • You experienced soreness after the wreck, but this quickly went away and you did not develop any other symptoms of an injury.
  • You suffered little or no injuries or property damage.
  • You are not feeling any pain, and the insurance company is offering to settle your claim for what you believe is a reasonable amount.

When Will You Need to Retain an Attorney to Settle Your Claim?

In most cases, you will want the expertise of an attorney to help you navigate the process of filing and settling your claim. You would be at a disadvantage representing yourself in these situations:

  • You suffered any injuries that required medical care beyond an initial consultation.
  • You suffered serious injuries that will result in long-term pain or limitations in your ability to work or day-to-day activities.
  • A loved one died as a result of the accident.
  • There are disputes about who was liable for causing the crash or the seriousness of your injuries.
  • The negligent driver was uninsured or has insufficient insurance to fully compensate you.
  • Parties other than the negligent driver are partially or completely responsible for compensating you.
  • You need to hire an expert to help prove liability, the extent of your injuries, or the compensation that are you are entitled to.

How Soon After Your Car Wreck Should You Retain an Attorney?

Ideally, you want to retain an attorney as soon as possible after your automobile accident. This will give him the opportunity to thoroughly investigate your accident, interview witnesses before they disappear, and collect the evidence you need to prove your claim. He can also handle all communications with the negligent driver’s insurance company and negotiate your settlement for you. If the insurance company will not offer you a reasonable settlement, he can file a civil lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your case. You give your attorney an advantage—and strengthen your claim for compensation—when you hire him right away after your wreck.

Tips for Retaining an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

If you have not used a car accident attorney in the past, it can be difficult to find an experienced lawyer out of the many that represent car accident victims. However, you want to be certain to hire an attorney who is experienced handling cases similar to yours, has a track record of success, and is not afraid to take your case to trial if this becomes necessary. In addition, you want an attorney that you communicate well with and that you trust. Here are some tips for finding an experienced attorney:

  • Obtain referrals from other attorneys you have used, friends, co-workers, or family members or a state bar referral service.
  • Research attorneys on the Internet.
  • Review the attorneys’ websites for helpful articles, testimonials from former clients, and case results showing successful cases that they have resolved.
  • Narrow your choices to two to three attorneys and schedule free consultations to obtain advice about your case and to interview the attorneys.

Did you suffer injuries in a car accident caused by a negligent driver? Call our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options and how we can assist you in settling your claim.