Many people go through their lives without ever hiring an attorney, so it’s understandable that you may not be aware of when you really need one. In the case of auto wrecks, you may not even think you need to hire an attorney, believing the first step you should take after a collision is contacting your insurer. A lot of people believe this, but a lot of people are wrong.
Knowing when to get a car accident attorney could be one of the most important things you ever learn. Apart from minor collisions, you can always contact an attorney right away when you’ve been injured in a vehicle collision.
Who to Contact in Car Accident Cases and When
Notifying relevant parties after a car accident creates a record of the crash, preserves evidence, and protects your right to pursue benefits and compensation. The main parties you must contact are:
- Local authorities
- Legal representation
- Insurance companies
You typically must contact the police if an accident caused injuries or vehicle damage. You can err on the side of caution and call the authorities after a crash to ensure you aren’t later penalized for failing to report it.
After the initial police reporting, you can call a personal injury lawyer. You can even call an attorney from the accident scene or contact them at any point while your case is underway if you have questions.
When it comes to reporting to an insurer, each insurance company can have different requirements for when you must report a crash and file a claim. The deadline can also change depending on the claim you file. You can check your policy and talk to a lawyer to determine your specific deadlines.
A Lawyer Can Explain Your Car Accident Compensation Options
In Michigan, you can receive compensation for auto accident injuries in two ways:
- A No-Fault claim with your insurer
- A third-party claim with another insurer
A claim with your No-Fault insurance company can allow you to collect monetary compensation to cover your accident-related medical expenses and missed income. However, these claims usually only offer some benefits while leaving out compensation for pain and suffering.
Plus, insurers may still seek reasons to lower your benefits. Filing with your insurer can make you feel like they’re on your side, but your attorney can hold them accountable for honoring your policy’s terms.
The second way to receive compensation is by filing a personal injury claim against the party who caused the crash that injured you. In Michigan, you can file an injury claim only when your injuries are especially serious. Mich. Comp. Laws § 500.3135 defines serious injuries as anything that causes serious impairment of body function or serious disfigurement.
As you can imagine, these claims are sometimes tougher to pursue because you are filing against a negligent party and arguing that you meet the serious injury threshold. If your case involves this claim type, you can call a lawyer immediately to start documenting your serious injuries.
Other Scenarios When You Can Hire a Lawyer for a Car Accident
Some situations can call for hiring a lawyer after a car crash, such as if:
- You are facing unfair blame for an accident
- Benefits or settlement offers are too low for your losses
- You suspect an insurance company is acting in bad faith
- An insurance company is taking too long or stalling your claim
- Your crash involved multiple parties or was complicated
- You need help accessing benefits and paying bills
These common issues prompt car collision victims to reach out for help, so if you experience any of these, you can contact our law firm right away for support and answers.
Why Hire an Attorney for a Car Accident?
In addition to the misconception that you must talk to insurance first, you may believe you can only talk to a lawyer when you’re having problems with your case, such as the ones listed above. Attorneys perform a wide range of tasks and services after car accidents.
Lawyers Can Help Gather and Preserve Evidence
Recognizing what is relevant for an injury claim and what is not can prove challenging for laypeople. In general, the more information the better, but you don’t have to make these decisions alone. Your attorney can help determine what evidence is useful and take steps to preserve it.
This includes obtaining evidence like:
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Witness testimony
- Expert analysis
- Accident reconstruction
- Phone records
- Traffic camera footage
In fact, law firms can investigate your case to ensure they don’t miss anything.
Attorneys Can Act as a Buffer
Adjusters can overdo it, sometimes on purpose—phone calls, emails, letters, and other communications can overwhelm you. They may even add extra, unnecessary steps to the claims process.
A lawyer can represent you and advocate for your financial recovery from the very beginning. If an adjuster asks you to give a recorded statement, release your medical records, or accept a settlement offer, you can tell them to talk to your attorney instead.
Your Legal Team Can Help You Avoid Pitfalls
You do not have to give a recorded statement to an insurance company. Accident victims commonly assume this is a necessary part of the claims process, an assumption that adjusters are in no hurry to contradict. After all, that statement could provide them with reasons to deny or lower your settlement.
This is one of several mistakes your legal team can prevent. Personal injury lawyers are familiar with common tricks insurance companies use and can determine the best action for your situation.
Firms Have Additional Resources
You may have questions about seeking medical care, repairs, or experts who can help you case. A lawyer can act as your intermediary, connecting you to resources and support you might not ordinarily be able to access.
You Can Talk to a Detroit Car Accident Lawyer Right Now
When to call an attorney for a car accident is any time you’ve been injured in a crash. Trying to tackle claims on your own can cause you needless stress and worry, not to mention potentially cause you to miss out on some forms of compensation. Preventing that is what we do. Let us get you the compensation you need to move beyond your wreck.
To speak with an attorney at Christensen Law, call or fill out the online contact form below.