It is no exaggeration to say that calling an attorney is one of the most important steps to take after a car accident. Although you may trust your insurance company to cover the costs of the accident, you may soon discover that you will have to fight to get what you are owed—and a delay in hiring an attorney could significantly limit your recovery.
Consequences of Waiting to Contact a Car Accident Injury Attorney
One of the many benefits of seeking an attorney’s advice is that it will not cost you anything up front to learn about your legal options. Most attorneys take injury cases on a contingency-fee basis, and offer free consultations to discuss the details of a car accident case. Whether you were able to walk away from a fender bender or have been hospitalized due to your injuries, it is always a good idea to speak with an injury lawyer to protect your right to recovery.
By neglecting to speak with an attorney, you are placing a considerable amount at risk, including:
- The ability to prove your case. More and more evidence in your case will be lost with each passing day, making it more difficult to track down photos, reports, and documents that can help make your case a success. Hiring an attorney early can prevent the loss or destruction of evidence and allow the lawyer to gather the necessary elements to strengthen your claim.
- Your credibility. Your attorney will instruct you to seek medical attention and follow all doctor’s orders. He or she will also assist you in filing a claim with your insurance company. If you fail to do these things, your credibility may be questioned later.
- Payment for your injuries. Many victims will accept a settlement from an insurance company before they know the full extent of their injuries. An attorney can hire expert witnesses to determine what your limitations are, what to expect from your injury in the future, and the difference in your earning capacity before and after the injury.
- Your ability to file a lawsuit. All states have different limits on the length of time an injury victim has to file an injury lawsuit. In Illinois, there is a two-year time limit for personal injury cases and a five-year limit for property damage cases relating to a crash. Missouri victims have up to five years after the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. Once the statute of limitations expires, victims are longer be able to recover damages. An attorney can ensure that all actions have been taken and a lawsuit has been filed in a timely fashion.
- The amount you could receive. Many victims make small mistakes throughout the course of their claims that can end up costing them a significant amount of damages. For example, victims may agree to give recorded statements to an insurance agent, accidentally saying things on record that can be used against them in their case. Others may talk about their injuries or their injury claim on social media, or post photos that can call the nature of their injury into question. An injury attorney can not only prevent these errors from happening; he or she can correspond with the insurance company and negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
- Your future. Your injuries could result in permanent disability, reduced income, or a total inability to earn a living or enjoy daily life. An attorney can accurately estimate the total amount of your losses, plus negotiate an amount to make up for the suffering you have endured as a result of the accident.
If you are having trouble recovering after a car accident, our injury attorneys have offices in Illinois and Missouri to advise you on your next steps and legal rights. Download your FREE copy of one of our books, When the Rules of the Road Get Broken: A Guide to Illinois Car Wreck Cases or The Missouri Car Crash Guide: Don't Wreck Your Car Crash Case!, or contact The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm via our online contact form to schedule an appointment.