A car accident can leave you sore, scared, and shaken for days, and put you at a loss as to what you should do next. Your family or friends may say that you should get an attorney, while others may say you don’t need legal representation. What should you do? Do you always need an attorney after an accident?
When to Hire a Lawyer After an Automobile Accident
Whether or you need an attorney after your accident depends on several factors. Broadly speaking, if nobody was hurt and the property damage is minimal, it’s not likely you’ll need an attorney. For some minor accidents, the insurance companies will typically deal with everything. There are times, though, when you’re going to want to seek legal help as soon as possible. Here are some situations that you should definitely consider getting an attorney for:
- Serious injuries or death. If someone has been killed or seriously hurt in the accident, including broken bones or other injuries that require hospitalization, it’s time to contact an attorney fast. You need to act quickly to protect your rights and make sure that the party responsible bears the expenses.
- Long-term disability. Similarly, if the accident has left you or your passenger totally or partially disabled in any way, you need to contact an attorney to make sure that not only your current medical bills are covered, but all future medical costs related to the accident, too.
- Pedestrian or motorcycle involvement. If a pedestrian or a motorcyclist is involved, injuries can turn severe very quickly. Don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer right away to make sure that you’re legally protected.
- Contested liability. If the facts about who caused the accident are in dispute, you don’t have to fight it alone. The other driver’s insurance company may try to claim that its policyholder wasn’t responsible for the accident, so that they don’t have to pay out all or even part of an expensive claim. Texas follows modified comparative negligence laws, which means that any party found liable by 51% or more is unable to recover any damages at all. For partial fault below 50%, damages are reduced accordingly. If the insurer is disputing liability, get an attorney to help you make sure that any fault determinations are correct, so that you don’t miss out on damages that may be rightfully yours.
- Unreasonable settlements. When the insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement, it’s time to get legal help. While insurers do have certain contractual obligations to policyholders, long ago insurance companies realized that they don’t make money by paying out claims. Some companies will try just about anything to avoid giving you the full recovery you deserve, so if you think the offer is unfair, seek professional advice.
- Denied claims. Sometimes an insurer will just outright deny a claim that should be covered under a policy. If you rightful claim is denied and the insurance company refuses to reconsider, it’s time to get to an attorney.
- Commercial vehicles are involved. The law can get complicated fast when it comes to claims involving commercial vehicles such as delivery trucks or semi-trailers. To best protect your own interests in this type of situation, it’s wise to contact a lawyer with experience in commercial truck accidents.
- Lost wages. If the accident has cost you time away from work and thereby resulted in lost income, chances are good that you’re eligible to recover that lost income from the person who caused the accident.
In any accident situation, even a minor one, if you’re just not sure about your rights or what to do, it’s prudent to contact an attorney for advice on how to proceed. He or she should be able to answer all of your questions, and help you determine what next legal steps you need to take, if any.
How to Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today
Wayne Wright LLP has been fighting for the rights of victims for decades, and if you’ve been in a serious car accident in Texas, we’d like to hear from you. To protect your legal rights and seek the compensation that you may be owed, reach out to us by phone, email, or the live chat box today.