Though no car accident is pleasant to experience, sometimes they are minor enough that filing an insurance claim to help recover the costs of the damage suffered is straightforward and can be navigated completely on your own. But in other cases, the aftermath of car accidents that are more severe or complicated can quickly become overwhelming if you’re not sure how to navigate them with your insurance provider or in a court of law if it gets to those stages. It all depends on the circumstances you find yourself in and what outcome you’re hoping to achieve.

Q: Can I legally handle a claim myself instead of using a lawyer?  

A: Yes, legally you do not need an attorney to assist you through your insurance claim process or even through an ensuing legal battle if it comes to that. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider hiring one, especially if things start to get complex, such as in the case of moving beyond insurance negotiations and into a legal trial. This is especially true if you’ve suffered impactful injuries that you’re trying to recover from, as attempting to navigate your own case can add layers of stress that can be harmful to your recovery process.

Q: How do you know if your accident is straightforward or complex?

A: It usually depends on the amount of property damage done, the number and types of vehicles involved, and the severity of your injuries. The less damage, fewer cars, and less severe the injuries, generally the more straightforward things tend to be. But if you’re involved in a major accident with multiple vehicles, lots of property damage, unique vehicles such as semi-trucks, or major injuries have been suffered or even deaths caused, your accident case is going to be much more complicated. In these cases, we would strongly suggest seeking legal representation to make sure you’re receiving the highest amount of compensation possible.

Q: What should I do if I decide to handle my claim myself?

A: If you do decide to handle your claim yourself, the first step is to always make sure you seek out and receive any immediate medical attention you might need. Then gather as much evidence from your accident as you can, including photo evidence of the vehicles, the location, and your injuries, a copy of the police report, and witness statements or video evidence if possible. Also be sure to keep an ongoing, in-depth, and organized record of all your related medical procedures and their bills. You’ll need them to make your claim or case as strong as possible.

Q: Are there specific laws or regulations I should be aware of when filing my claim?

A: Every state has unique laws and regulations pertaining to things like traffic laws, liability rules, and insurance coverage, so it’s important to be aware of what those are so you understand what kind of claim you can file and what damages you might be entitled to. It’s also important to understand the statute of limitations involved in a claim like yours, especially if you’re filing it after an extended period of time has passed since your accident. And if your case does move into a trial, you will also need a solid understanding of the procedural requirements of how that process works and what will be expected of you should you be representing yourself.

Q: What are the benefits of hiring a car accident lawyer?

A: A car accident lawyer’s knowledge and expertise can potentially help you recover a much larger amount of damages than you might be able to recover on your own, because they know how to navigate every part of this process and system intricately. They can help you negotiate with your insurance provider, build and argue your case, and understand if you’re getting everything you’re entitled to. This is extremely beneficial when you’re in the midst of recovering from your injuries and likely do not have the capacity to take care of all these complex steps on your own.

Q: How much does it cost to hire a lawyer for a car accident claim?

A: Many car accident and/or personal injuries attorneys perform their work based upon contingency fees. This means that you don’t actually pay your attorney any money up front to work on your case or represent you. Instead, you will only pay them a portion of the compensation you’re awarded by the end of things if they achieve a favorable outcome for you or win your injury case. If you meet with an attorney who wants to charge you up front to work with them, we suggest exploring additional options.

Q: What if the insurance company denies or undervalues my car accident claim?

A: The best strategy in this case would be to try and negotiate for a higher settlement. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to automatically settle for the first offer of coverage your insurance provider gives, especially if you truly believe and have evidence pointing to the fact that you are deserving of more. You always have the ability to try and negotiate. Again, you can do this negotiation on your own, but the expertise of an attorney can really help in a situation like this when you need insider knowledge of how the process works and what the true value of your case is.

Q: What should I look for in a lawyer if I decide to hire one?

A: If you are interested in hiring a car accident lawyer, some of the most important things to look for to help you decide who to go with are their experience, their reputation, and the specific specialty of the personal injury lawyer. Some personal injury attorneys have an extensive background in car accident cases, while others may focus more on things premise liability injuries, daycare injuries, or others. Depending on the complexity of your case and who all was involved in it, you will also want to seek out a lawyer with specific knowledge relevant to your case. For example, if you were involved in an accident with a semi-truck, you will want to work with an experienced semi-truck accident attorney.

Q: Can I consult a lawyer for free before deciding whether or not to hire one?  

A: At many law offices, you can usually consult with a lawyer free of charge before deciding whether or not you would like to hire them, but always be sure to ask if this is the case before going in to visit them. Even if you’re positive you’re going to navigate your case yourself, it may be wise to receive at least a consultation from an experienced car accident attorney to see what their opinion of your case is. You will need to bring any evidence you’ve already collected to the meeting, as well as the details of your insurance claim and medical treatment. The lawyer will review this information and give you an idea of how strong your case is or whether you should opt to use professional legal representation.