When Do You Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

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When Do You Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

In a best-case scenario, a skilled car accident attorney might double, triple, or even quadruple the amount of money you walk away with. Naturally, however, no ethical attorney will guarantee specific results. 

Some car accidents don’t require the assistance of an attorney, and some do. Following are some red flags that should prompt you to at least schedule a free consultation with an accident lawyer.

Signs Indicating You Might Need a Lawyer

Signs Indicating You Might Need a Lawyer

Consider the following ‘red flags’ to be warnings that you should probably hire a personal injury lawyer. That said, personal injury lawyers typically charge nothing for an initial consultation, and so it is almost always at least worth your time to reach out for a meeting.

Serious or Catastrophic Injury

Serious or catastrophic injury might mean traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, and injuries of similar seriousness. One of the reasons why you need a lawyer is that you will likely suffer from diminished earning capacity, either long-term or throughout your lifetime. 

If this happens, you will need a lawyer’s help to calculate your future lost income and medical expenses. Without a good lawyer, you won’t know how much money to ask for.

Survival Actions/Wrongful Death Claims

What happens when a personal injury victim dies from their injuries? Their claim doesn’t disappear. Instead, it becomes a survival action filed by the victim’s estate executor. 

Certain family members can also file a wrongful death claim for additional damages. Survival actions and wrongful death claims work very differently from personal injury claims.

Hit and Run Accidents

If you are the victim of a hit and run accident, you might need help finding the at-fault driver and holding them accountable. If you can’t do that, you may need to find a second defendant (the manufacturer of a defective traffic light, for example). A lawyer can help you with this, although there are no guarantees.

DUI Accidents

DUI is a crime, but you can secure personal injury compensation for a DUI even if the criminal court acquits them. That is because the burden of proof is lower for a civil lawsuit than for a criminal prosecution. 

A DUI accident might also qualify you for punitive damages. Punitive damages are an additional amount that you can win if the opposing party’s misconduct was outrageous. Even proving a DUI claim is no guarantee of punitive damages, but it improves your odds. 

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist

Georgia law requires drivers to purchase a minimum amount of auto accident liability insurance. Nevertheless, a significant percentage of Georgia drivers lack even this mandatory minimum car insurance. Even if they carry minimum insurance, that amount typically adds up to no more than $25,000 for your bodily injury ($50,000 total per accident) and $20,000 for property damage. 

There is uninsured/underinsured motorists insurance to (hopefully) make up the difference. Nevertheless, you do not have any legal obligation to purchase this type of insurance. If you don’t carry any, or if your injury expenses are astronomical, you might need to look for a second defendant who is liable for your claim. That’s when you’re going to need a lawyer.

Insurance Company Gamesmanship

Once you file a car accident claim against them, the insurance company is not your neighbor, and you are not in “good hands” with them. They may deny your claim or delay it as long as possible, trying to wear you down. 

They might also issue an early ‘lowball’ offer and pressure you to accept it before you’ve talked to a lawyer. A lawyer can help you navigate the claims process and fight for fair compensation.

Disputed Liability

There are many ways to ‘blame the victim’ for an accident. Even if the opposing party cannot establish that you were completely or even mostly at fault, they can chip away at the value of your claim using comparative fault.

Under comparative fault, you will lose 25% of your damages if the accident was 25% your fault. If you were 50% or more at fault, your recovery drops to zero under state law. You need an advocate to protect your rights and counter the opposing party’s arguments.

This is only natural if you are not a lawyer. A lawyer can explain the car accident claim resolution process and help you make informed decisions.

You Are Feeling Overwhelmed

You might be hurt, hospitalized, out of work, broke, under financial pressure, in pain, and suffering vicariously due to an injured spouse or child. All of this is a lot to deal with on top of the stress caused by an uncooperative insurance company. A skilled personal injury lawyer can handle your claim while you focus on recovery.

Commercial Truck Accidents

Truck accidents  cases often involve multiple parties and complex insurance and legal issues. The silver lining on this cloud is that commercial truckers are typically very well insured. 

The Accident Occurred on Someone Else’s Property

Did your injury arise from a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, such as a loose stairwell railing? Food poisoning at a restaurant? A malfunctioning escalator at a department store? You may have a premises liability claim against the property owner, and you might need a lawyer to help you assert it effectively.

The Accident Involved a Defective Product

Did your brakes lock right before the accident? Did your airbags fail? If something like that happened, you might be able to sue the manufacturer or distributor of the defective product that caused your injury. Because of the complex nature of product liability claims, you’re probably going to need the assistance of a lawyer. 

The foregoing list is not even close to a complete list of ‘red flags.’ The red flags that do appear above, however, are among the most commonly asserted reasons why people choose to hire car accident attorneys.

Most Kennesaw Car Accident Lawyers Do Not Use the ‘Billable Hours’ System

Almost every accident attorney in Kennesaw (and throughout Georgia) charges legal fees based on a contingency fee system, not billable hours. That means you don’t need a penny in your pocket to hire a car accident lawyer. All you need is a strong claim. A claim is strong if it is worth a significant amount of money and the lawyer believes they can win. 

Ultimately, your legal fee will add up to a certain percentage of your recovery. If you recover nothing, then you pay no legal fees. Because of this “no win, no pay” system, you can be sure of one thing. If a personal injury lawyer offers to represent you on a contingency fee, they almost certainly believe they can win it. Contact the Kennesaw law office of Starks Byron, P.C. at (404) 795 5115 for a free consultation.

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