Being in a car accident can be a traumatic and stressful experience. You may be dealing with injuries, property damage, insurance claims, and uncertainty about your legal rights. While over 6 million car accidents occur annually in the United States, many victims consider handling their claims without an attorney in order to save money on legal fees.
However, there are many benefits to hiring an experienced car accident attorney. Read on to understand why having legal representation can be crucial after an auto collision.
The Risks of Self-Representation in Car Accident Claims
The American legal system can be complex and is dominated by lawyers on both sides of personal injury cases.
Most car accident claims end up settling through negotiations between injury victims, insurance companies, and legal teams. The data below show the composition of roles involved in auto accident legal cases
Data Source: BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook
There are some potential advantages to handling your own claim without an attorney:
- You may be able to resolve your case faster without the delays of attorney involvement.
- Avoiding legal fees means you keep more of your eventual settlement or court award.
However, non-lawyers face an uphill battle in navigating the intricacies of car accident laws and insurance policies. Before deciding to go at it alone, weigh the risks and benefits carefully.
If your accident occurred in a popular tourist destination, like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, be aware that the local laws, insurance policies, and legal procedures may be different from what you are accustomed to.
Connecting with an experienced local car accident lawyer in Myrtle Beach can help you avoid potential missteps when navigating the claims process in an unfamiliar area.
11 Reasons Why You May Need a Car Accident Attorney
While simple, straightforward claims may be easy to handle alone, certain situations call for legal expertise.
1. Maximizing Compensation
Attorneys have established credibility and leverage to negotiate the maximum possible settlement or court award. Their legal expertise helps determine the full value of a case down to the last dollar. An attorney’s reputation and negotiation skills can mean the difference between receiving fair compensation or not.
2. Proving Liability
Attorneys utilize police reports, accident reconstruction evidence, eyewitness and expert testimony, and other investigative means to build a rock-solid case proving the other driver’s fault. Documenting fault beyond any doubt is crucial to succeeding with an injury claim.
3. Paperwork Expertise
The paperwork demands involved throughout the claims process – including demands, releases, settlements, pleadings, and more – can overwhelm an individual. Attorneys have extensive experience compiling the paperwork in an error-free manner.
4. Injury Valuation
The value placed on an injury claim directly impacts the compensation received. Attorneys work closely with medical experts to thoroughly substantiate both economic and non-economic damages stemming from an accident. Maximal valuation of the injury’s short and long-term effects is vital.
5. Litigation Skills
If a fair settlement can’t be reached outside court, attorneys have the specialized courtroom skills, knowledge of car accident law, trial experience, and negotiation tactics to successfully prove a case before a judge or jury, leading to maximum compensation.
6. Handling Appeals
If an unfavorable verdict occurs and the at-fault driver appeals, experienced attorneys can provide tireless advocacy to protect your rights and award amounts throughout the lengthy appeals process – which can drag on for years in some cases.
7. Dealing With Multiple Parties
In major collisions involving multiple vehicles and insurance companies, intricate legal strategies are required to navigate shared fault and multiple claims. Skilled attorneys are adept at maximizing payouts from all liable parties.
8. Allowing You to Recover
Hiring an attorney lifts the legal and administrative burden from an injury victim’s shoulders. This allows full focus on health recovery rather than stressing over legal demands. Their expertise handles the claim while you recover.
9. Serious Injuries
In accidents resulting in permanent disabilities, long-term health impacts, or serious injuries like brain trauma or spinal damage, the stakes are far too high to risk handling a claim without an attorney’s guidance to maximize lifetime compensation.
10. Stalled Negotiations
When insurers refuse reasonable settlement offers, seasoned attorneys have the tenacity and legal means to re-energize stalled talks and continue fighting until fair compensation is secured. An attorney won’t allow insurers to stonewall.
11. Heading to Trial
During litigation, injury victims are at a major disadvantage without extensive courtroom experience and car accident law expertise when up against seasoned defense attorneys. Navigating a trial requires specialized legal skills.
The Added Value of a Car Accident Attorney
Beyond just expertise in the law, an experienced car accident attorney brings many tangible benefits:
- Established Credibility – Insurance companies take attorneys more seriously than individuals. Their involvement lends credibility and leverage to demand maximum compensation.
- Efficiency and Convenience –Attorneys handle everything related to your claim so you can concentrate on healing. No need to spend your time researching laws, talking to insurers, or filing paperwork.
- Thorough Investigation – Attorneys leave no stone unturned gathering police reports, vehicle data, witness statements, smartphone records, and other evidence to build a rock-solid claim. According to one analysis, accident victims represented by an attorney received an average settlement over 300% higherthan those who attempted to handle their claim without legal representation.
- Accurate Case Valuation –Legal expertise combined with relationships with medical experts leads to a precise assessment of both economic and non-economic damages.
- Relentless Negotiation – Tenacious attorneys will relentlessly negotiate with insurers to force reasonable settlement offers and will not hesitate to file a lawsuit if necessary.
- Courtroom Strengths –If a trial becomes necessary, attorneys have the litigation experience, knowledge of car accident law, and trial advocacy skills to maximize their odds before a jury.
- No Fees Unless Successful – Car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis meaning you pay nothing unless they successfully secure compensation for you.
The advantages of legal expertise and skill make hiring an attorney well worthwhile.
Handling car accident claims without legal counsel saves money in the short term but carries significant risks.
While simple fender benders can often be handled alone, more complex cases involving long-term injuries, permanent disabilities, policy limits, or disputed faults require specialized legal expertise to ensure maximum compensation.
An experienced personal injury attorney has the leverage, negotiation tactics, litigation skills, and legal knowledge to optimize your financial recovery after an accident. When in doubt, consulting an attorney for a free case evaluation is wise to protect your rights and future well-being.
Knowledge truly is power when it comes to accident claims. Educate yourself on your legal options and don’t hesitate to enlist experienced legal counsel if warranted.
With the proper preparation and representation, you can emerge from any car collision in the best financial, medical, and legal position possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I handle my car accident claim if the other driver admits fault?
Yes, if the other driver admits full legal responsibility upfront, your claim will likely be more straightforward to handle on your own without an attorney. However, if they change their story later and deny fault, it’s advisable to consult a lawyer.
- What if the insurance company refuses to make a reasonable settlement offer?
If you’ve attempted to negotiate with the claims adjuster and insurer yourself without success, hiring a car accident lawyer can shift the balance in your favor. The credible threat of litigation from an attorney can bring adjusters to the table with better offers.
- Are there specific injuries where I should always hire a lawyer?
If your injuries from the car accident are severe, permanent, or disabling – such as brain trauma, spinal cord damage, or amputation – it is strongly recommended to hire an attorney. Long-term health care needs call for maximum compensation.