If you are involved in a car accident, there is no legal requirement that mandates you to hire a car accident attorney. However, while you may try to seek compensation by going through the insurance claims process alone, there are benefits to hiring an attorney after a car accident.
One of the main benefits is that you can focus on your physical health and recovery while an attorney handles the legal claim. But, you do not have to hire an attorney immediately after a car accident–you have a right to hire legal representation at any time during the process, whether it is an insurance claim or you seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
While hiring an attorney after a car accident does not mean you are guaranteed a set outcome for the claim or case, a car accident attorney can:
When you should hire an attorney after a car accident will be completely up to you–the DC, VA, and MD, car accident attorneys of Regan Zambri Long can help you at any step in the process.
The first step you will likely take following a car accident, is to seek compensation for your losses via an insurance claim with your own provider or the other drivers’ insurance company.
Depending on the state you live in will ultimately determine how your compensation will be calculated. For example, Washington, D.C, Virginia, and Maryland all follow contributory negligence laws which mean if you are at all responsible for the collision, it can limit your ability to collect compensation.
This is why hiring an attorney immediately after a car accident can be beneficial to your claim. An experienced car accident attorney will be able to look at the causes of the accident, determine who was at fault in the collision, and negate the insurance company’s attempts to place blame on you.
Further, if the other driver does not have insurance, or enough insurance to compensate for losses, a car accident lawyer will be able to help you begin the personal injury lawsuit process depending on the severity of those injuries you sustained.
If your injuries do not warrant a personal injury lawsuit, a lawyer will also be able to determine if your insurance policy contains uninsured motorist coverage. From there, the attorney can assess the total value of your losses, and explain any potential avenues for compensation from the insurance.
If your insurance policy or that of the other driver is unable to compensate you for your losses, you may have the ability to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
Keep in mind that even if immediately following the accident you do not have severe injuries, in the days and sometimes weeks following, the damage from the accident may emerge.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 2.1 million emergency department visits for car accident injuries in 2020 and 40,000 deaths resulting in $430 billion in total costs.
Some of the most common injuries that may not emerge right away following a car accident include:
Oftentimes, when these injuries emerge the insurance companies will offer a settlement that does not account for your long-term health needs, such as rehabilitation, therapies, and medication.
In these cases, a car accident attorney will help you file a lawsuit within your state’s statute of limitations. Potential compensation you may be able to recover in a personal injury lawsuit includes:
Whether you are filing an insurance claim or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, establishing negligence and determining fault for the car accident will be a critical component of your recovery of damages.
For example, the other driver may have caused the collision due to simple human error, or it could have been the result of driving under the influence, distracted driving, drowsy driving, etc. While you may have suspicions that extreme negligence was at play, an attorney can utilize professional resources like medical records, expert testimony, and accident site recreation to substantiate these claims.
Despite the majority of car accidents not being fatal, when wrongful deaths occur because of an automobile accident, you will likely need the guidance of an attorney. These cases are often complex as the death may not have occurred at the scene of the collision but rather occurs days or even weeks later because of the severity of the injuries sustained. In some cases, victims die after years of suffering because of the chronic complications from these collisions.
However, families often struggle to undergo the wrongful death process because of the emotional and financial ramifications of the event. Medical treatment until the time of death still needs to be paid for, and then the added stress of funeral and burial costs can be unmanageable.
A wrongful death attorney can be hired to help seek compensation for:
While these benefits can be paid out to a spouse, child(ren), parents, etc. the family will need to act swiftly as the clock begins once the death occurs.
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is:
More than one party may be liable in these situations, even if the catalyst event was the car accident. A wrongful death attorney can guide the family through the process.
Knowing the window you have to hire an attorney after a car accident can be a difficult thing to navigate alone. Car accidents are stressful, and when you’ve been hurt, you may not have the ability to handle the insurance companies or take the case to trial. Know that you can hire a car accident lawyer at any point in the claims or lawsuit process, so long as you haven’t already accepted a settlement.
At Regan Zambri Long, we have helped injured drivers secure millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts following car accidents for more than three decades. Our team of Washington, D.C, Virginia, and Maryland car accident attorneys can handle your case from the start or jump in to aid you at any step of the way when issues emerge. We work on a contingency fee basis meaning you don’t pay anything upfront, we collect a percentage at the end of the claim or case.
For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact the DC, MD, and VA car accident attorneys of Regan Zambri Long at 202-960-4596 or by connecting with us online.