Did you know that, in some states, it is illegal to not report an accident resulting in the injury or death of a person? Likewise, in the state of California, property damage which meets or exceeds $1,000 must also be reported. Do you know whether your state is fault or no fault insurance? Do you even know the difference? You may not have known these things, but a good lawyer certainly would have! It may be tempting to skimp on hiring an attorney and fight your own battles after a car accident, and, in some cases, you may be able to come out the other side unscathed. However, there are some instances wherein hiring a lawyer is your best and, frankly, only option. Here are 5 signs that it is time to consult with an experienced car accident attorney.
You Need Medical Attention
No matter who is at fault, your car accident becomes doubly more complex the moment someone complains about a sore neck or another injury resultant of the accident. One car accident injury attorney in San Diego says that most patients injured as the result of a car accident still end up paying about half of the medical bills from their own pockets—even if they are insured! Can your rainy day fund weather years of debt as the result of a trip to the emergency room? If not, you should consider consulting with an experienced attorney.
Someone is Tampering with Evidence on the Scene
So you’ve taken all the appropriate steps: you pulled over, you called the police, you exchanged insurance information…and then you see the other driver doing something fishy. Perhaps what they are doing is totally innocuous, and they do not realize they are potentially affecting the insurance investigations to follow. Either way, start documenting, and stop talking to the other party. Ideally, you should start taking pictures the moment you come to the earliest stop while ensuring the safety of all parties, and if you see someone acting in a way that makes you uneasy, definitely document it. If prompted, you can make it known that you are recording the happenings of the accident site and will be forwarding the information to your attorney…then hire an attorney!
There are More than Two Vehicles Involved
Juggling two insurance companies after an accident can be demanding enough: you are already dealing with rental cars or other transportation costs, immediate repair bills, any personal injury bills you might have sustained as the result of the accident, etc. Now, add another two insurance companies to contend with on top of that, and you have stirred up the perfect storm of stress and anxiety. If nothing else, hiring an attorney in cases involving multiple motor vehicles will lessen the burden you have to carry, and that in itself can easily be worth the cost—and then some.
The Other Person is Uninsured
According to the Insurance Information Institute, 13% of motorists on the road in 2015 were uninsured. It’s not necessarily true that you should hire a lawyer in all cases involving uninsured motorists, but it is definitely something to consider seriously. In cases involving multiple motor vehicles or injuries sustained on the part of any involved party, an uninsured motorist complicates things in an already stressful and emotionally demanding situation. If you feel as though your insurance company is not helping to the degree that they should, find a free consultation with a lawyer in your area and parse out whether or not you have a case. With a professional looking over the facts of the case, you will be able to determine whether or not hiring a lawyer is warranted or overkill.
The Accident Took Place in Another State
If you get into an accident on an excursion outside your home state, you definitely ought to consider hiring an attorney to manage your case. Accidents that occur in other states can affect your license back home, so you need to be conscientious of relevant statutes in both states. Furthermore, an in-state lawyer saves you the time and money involved traveling to and fro the state in question. Who can afford to take another five weekdays off from work? Not me! And, if you have bills to pay, I’m sure you can’t, either. Save yourself the headache.
Car accidents are stressful enough without the labyrinth of legal statutes and insurance claims to navigate. Even in your standard fender bender, sometimes just consulting with an experienced attorney is enough to ease your mind.