It can happen to anybody: You're driving down the road and then - boom - out of nowhere, you're in a car accident. It might be your fault; it might be the other driver's fault. While fault is important, especially if the accident turns into a court case, it's not the most important detail when deciding whether to hire a lawyer. The need to hire an accident attorney is not based on fault so much as on the severity of the accident and your need to protect yourself financially.
5 questions to consider before hiring an accident attorney
- Was the accident just a fender bender? This is one of the first things to consider before hiring a lawyer to represent you after an accident. If you are looking at a simple fender bender with no injuries, it is safe to let your insurance company represent you in getting the damage repaired. However, if you have any doubts, discuss the matter with your attorney.
- Was anyone hurt? If injuries are involved, it's a good idea to discuss the case with a personal injury attorney. If the accident was your fault, the accident victims could sue you and gain a legal claim to part of your long-term income. If the accident was someone else's fault, they could try to avoid financial responsibility for the damage if you don't get legal help to protect your interests.
- Are you easily bullied? Not all insurance companies will do this, but some will approach accident victims with a strong-handed attitude, telling them they have to accept the amount of compensation offered. If you spend all your time trying to "be nice," then insurance adjusters can leave you feeling bullied. In this case, it's a good idea to have your attorney deal with the insurance company instead of trying to do it yourself.
- Do you want to do the legwork? If the case goes to court, you are going to need documents from the police or highway patrol as well as the hospital, doctors and the Atlanta auto body repair shop that did any work. Acquiring these documents can be time-consuming; plus, you need to be certain that you have every single bit of information. Hiring an attorney to handle the details helps to deliver the best possible results in the court proceedings.
- How do you feel about dealing with the other party's attorney? You have already been through the ordeal of a car accident. Are you up to discussing the details with an opposing attorney who is going to be trying to twist your words to the benefit of the other party involved in the accident?
Being involved in an accident is rough enough without an added financial blow. It is always wise to discuss an accident with an attorney to make sure your interests are protected. Check the reputation of the attorney you are considering before you hire her, and look for an attorney experienced in handling auto accident cases.