If you or someone you love has been in an accident, you're most likely shaken up, hurt, confused and feeling overwhelmed. You may be feeling confused, too, wondering whether the accident warrants a call to a personal injury attorney or whether you should just let the insurance companies battle it out.
These feelings are common in many victims of motor vehicle and other types of accidents. This tendency comes from a normal reaction to trust insurance companies and hope for a payout that will cover the damage to your vehicle, your missed time off work and your mounting medical bills.
The harsh reality is that insurance companies do NOT have your best interests at heart and are in fact working against you from the first moment the accident occurs. They don't want to pay out fair settlements. They don't want to admit fault. They don't want to set a reputation for paying out large sums to claimants. What they DO want is to keep their costs low profits up and move on, and they will achieve that by undermining you at every step.
When is the best time to contact a lawyer after your accident? The answer is as soon as possible. Don't be convinced by the hope of the insurance company to cover your damages. You may be able to get your immediate minimum vehicle damages covered. What you may not realize is that there's so much more to think about, from time off work to medical bills. How will you be repaid for that? Without representation, you'll be fighting the insurance company with no legal recourse to get the compensation you need to support your family.
The Problem with Choosing to Wait
The longer you wait to contact a personal injury lawyer after your accident, the weaker your case may become. Crucial evidence can be lost, memories can fade, and people have a way of disappearing after accidents like these, especially when they know they're at fault.
An immediate discussion with an attorney may alert you to things you didn't know you needed to take care of, such as visiting the doctor right way to get a full exam and photos of your injuries. Your attorney can also advise you of what NOT to say in public, to the press, on social media, or even to your friends and family. It's wise to refrain from speaking about your case to anyone until it is resolved – with the exception being your lawyer and your doctor.
Also, the longer you wait to treat your injuries – even the smallest of them – without documentation means you are losing crucial evidence in your case.
Benefits of Contacting an Personal Injury Attorney ASAP
Contacting a lawyer within 24 hours of your accident can provide untold benefits to your case, and drastically increase your chances of winning a settlement. Your attorney can send out expert accident-scene investigators to conduct their own independent analysis of the accident scene, gathering crucial evidence that can exonerate you later and support your case. Translation: you could get more money to pay for your recovery, missed wages, and pain and suffering.
Additionally, if your injuries stemming from the accident require specialized treatment or diagnosis, you can get access to a team of neurologists, orthopedic surgeons and other specialists who can analyze your injuries. For example, if manufacturer defects caused your injuries, such as with the motor vehicle in question, your attorney can call in expert engineers, mechanics, and other experts to study the evidence in your case.
This can't happen if you wait days, weeks or months to call an attorney.
When to Call an Accident Attorney
Even the smallest of fender benders can have lasting consequences, but there are some cases in which it's clear beyond a doubt you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.