When You Should Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident
Not every car accident case requires an attorney. If you were in a very minor car accident and did not sustain injuries, for example, you likely don’t need to speak with a lawyer just to sort out a property damage claim. However, if you have suffered significant injury and are now dealing with mounting medical expenses and are unable to work, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
A knowledgeable car accident attorney from Ketterman Rowland & Westlund can file a claim with a negligent driver’s insurance company, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and help you pursue the full amount of compensation you deserve. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case in a free consultation.
Do I Even Really Need A Lawyer?
Yes you do. Even after a serious accident, many people don’t think they need an attorney. They believe that because they are going through an insurance company, they will receive the compensation they need quickly and easily. Unfortunately, it’s not usually that simple. Our attorneys understand this and have extensive experience taking on large insurance companies that seek to minimize, delay, or deny claims.
The Most Common Ways Our Lawyers Can Assist With A Car Accident Claim Include:
- Provide a free evaluation: Our attorneys understand that car accident victims are not typically in a position to pay a lawyer after a crash. You are already dealing with high medical expenses and are likely unable to work. For this reason, our car accident lawyers offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. A consultation allows our lawyer to review your case and advise you of your legal options, all at no cost to you.
- Investigate your crash: Investigating the cause of an accident is no easy task. It’s necessary, though, as it’s the only way to know who should be held liable. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and resources to properly investigate your crash, including using accident reconstruction experts.
- Identify all potential sources of compensation: There may be more than one party to blame after an accident. If a commercial truck was involved, for example, the truck driver, trucking company, and truck manufacturer may all be responsible for paying compensation. Your attorney will identify all negligent parties, so you can demand the full amount of compensation you need.
- Document your damages: Although you have costs arising from the accident, you may not have kept records of all of them. Your attorney will gather documents substantiating the costly repairs to your vehicle, medical expenses, lost income, and more to accurately evaluate your claim. In addition, your lawyer will help you calculate future losses and non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
- Consult with experts: Our attorneys have a vast network of experts to call on in car accident cases. Medical experts will give their opinion on your injury, mental health experts can substantiate claims of mental anguish, and highway safety experts can testify about road conditions that contributed to the accident. These are just a few types of experts whom our lawyers can contact to help with a claim.
- Manage settlement negotiations: Insurance companies don’t want to pay out on large claims. The more they pay, the more profits they lose. As such, they often offer low settlements, hoping accident victims are happy to receive anything at all. Our lawyers know the tricks these companies use to reduce, delay, or deny claims, and we won’t stand for them. Your car accident lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company and the at-fault party to demand the fairest settlement possible.
- Argue your case at trial, if necessary: When insurance companies and at-fault parties don’t want to pay a fair settlement, our powerful team of litigators will take the case to trial and argue in front of a judge and jury, if necessary.
These are just a few of the ways our lawyers can help after a car crash. To receive that help, you should contact our firm as soon as possible after a collision.
Why Is It Important to Contact a Lawyer Soon After a Crash?
Accident victims have a lot to deal with after a crash. They are typically suffering from injury, trying to determine when they can go back to work, and wondering how they are going to pay for their medical expenses. Among all this, it’s important that victims speak to an attorney soon after a crash for many reasons.
- Evidence can disappear: Some evidence, such as tire marks on a road, will naturally disappear over time. Other evidence, such as vehicle parts left at the accident site, may be cleaned up or even taken by the at-fault party to make it more difficult for the accident victim to prove fault. Evidence is most effective when it is gathered soon after a crash, and your attorney can get to work collecting it right away.
- Witnesses’ memories can fade: Eyewitness testimony is often crucial in a personal injury claim. However, over time memories can fade. Witnesses may not remember important details, such as whether the at-fault party was speeding or distracted. Although eyewitness testimony is solid evidence, that only remains true if they still remember how the accident happened. Over time, they may not.
- Documentation of your losses should begin immediately: When filing a car accident claim, you want to get compensation for all your losses and expenses associated with the accident. As such, your losses must be documented from the very beginning of the case. While you may keep records of things such as medical expenses, your attorney will ensure other losses, such as the cost of transportation to doctor’s appointments, are also documented.
- You need an advocate to manage the insurance company: Even if you don’t contact a car accident lawyer soon after a crash, the insurance company of the at-fault party is likely to contact you. When they do, they will try a number of strategies to discount your claim. They may take your words out of context to show that you admitted fault, or they may offer a low settlement in the hope that you’ll take it and forfeit some compensation. Your attorney can speak to the insurance company on your behalf from the very beginning so these communications don’t hurt your case.
- Statute of limitations: In Texas, accident victims have only two years from the date of an accident to file a claim. This is known as the statute of limitations. Once the statute of limitations expires, accident victims are typically barred from receiving any compensation at all. While two years sounds like a long time, it’s not. Lawyers must collect evidence, gather documentation, consult with experts, and more. All of that takes time, which is why speaking to a lawyer soon after a crash is so important.
There are many reasons accident victims should not wait to speak to a lawyer after an accident. Contacting a lawyer as soon as you can after a crash will prevent you from making costly mistakes and ensure you are on a level playing field from the start.
How Will a Lawyer Determine What Compensation Should Be?
There are many types of compensation available in a car accident claim, and our attorneys can thoroughly evaluate what full compensation should be in your case. A few of the most common types of compensation awarded are:
- Medical expenses: The cost of your medical bills will likely make up a large portion of your accident claim. After speaking to your doctor about your prognosis, a lawyer may work with experts to calculate your current and future medical expenses.
- Lost income: Car accident victims are often left unable to work, sometimes for days, weeks, or even months following a crash. A lawyer will calculate the income you have lost as a result of the accident, as well as other benefits such as vacation pay or health insurance.
- Reduced earning capacity: Sometimes accidents are so severe, they leave victims unable to ever return to their former line of work. When this happens and victims can no longer receive the same amount of income they once earned, a lawyer will include this type of compensation in a claim.
- Property damage: Vehicles can sustain an immense amount of damage in a claim. If your car needs major repair, or you need to replace it after a crash, a lawyer will also include these costs. Vehicle damage isn’t the only type of property damage sustained in a crash. If your cellphone or any other property was damaged, a lawyer will also advise on compensation for these losses.
- Pain and suffering: The injuries that result from a car accident are severe and inflict a great amount of pain and suffering on accident victims. The courts recognize this as a loss, and compensation is available for it.
- Mental anguish: This type of compensation is available in Texas even when there are no physical injuries. However, these damages are extremely difficult to prove, and so, it is important that accident victims speak to an attorney who can help.
While these are some of the most common forms of compensation awarded in car accident claims, there are others as well. After reviewing your case, a car accident lawyer from our firm will advise on all the different types of compensation you can claim.
Start Your Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a crash, you need the help of our San Antonio car accident lawyers. At Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, our lawyers have the experience needed to hold insurance companies and at-fault parties accountable so you are not forced to pay for someone else’s mistake.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and learn more about how we can help.