Let’s say you were just in a car accident. You’re not sure what to do and how to handle it. Some questions you may ask yourself are: should I let my insurance company handle the accident? Are they going to take advantage of me? How long is it going to take to get my car fixed going to take? Should I get a car accident lawyer?
In a perfect world, you would call your insurance company, they would promptly handle all the work, and you would receive your maximum benefits for the accident. But it doesn’t always work that way. Your insurance company will always put their interests above yours.
So let’s say that you’re in a car accident. The first thing you should do is call the police. When there is an accident, whether there are any injuries or not, the police needs to investigate the accident. They will give you a case number that you need to give to your insurance company’s claims department. The police officer looks at the circumstances that caused the accident, including the road conditions, the weather, the cars and drivers.
Next, call your insurance company and start taking pictures. Take pictures of street names, both cars involved in the accident, license plates, and pictures of the damages caused by the accident including anything that fell on the ground. After you get the police report case number, the date, the location and the pictures of damages, give that information to your insurance company so they can file claim a claim. If the other party was at fault, then your insurance company has to rely on the other party’s insurance company to settle your claim.
If there were any injuries, go to the nearest hospital to get treatment. If you live in a state that has state accident insurance, the hospital should have a claims office where you can file your case and they can help pay for treatments. You have up to 24 hours to get treatment for injuries. After that it’s too late to claim them.
When to Get a Lawyer
If the other driver does not have car insurance, you can hire a lawyer and take the case to court. A private attorney can be expensive, so ask for their fee first. If it’s too expensive, check with free legal services in your city because they will help put you on the right track. If the other party was at fault, then the attorney fees can be covered by their insurance. Have all your documents ready: name of other driver, photos of the car, claim number, insurance company information and name of the repair shop where your car is being serviced. Give all of this information to the lawyer. They will carry out the process faster than if you only include your insurance company.
Lawyers are also very helpful in case you want to get compensation from accident injuries. If a private lawyer is too expensive, your state’s compensation office may have attorneys who will defend you at lower rates. You can have the attorney attend the case on a contingency basis, which means that you pay no legal fees unless you win the case. Your lawyer will get a percentage of the settlement, which means no money will come out for your pocket.
Getting a Rental Car
After all the necessary paperwork has been filed, go in person to a car rental agency and ask for a car replacement. Give them your insurance information and tell them you were in an accident. The car rental agency works with the insurance company to complete the required paperwork. Depending on your insurance coverage, the rental agency will tell you what type of car you can get and for how long. For example, my insurance company allows me to rent a car for 10 days while my car is being repaired in an auto shop. Anything longer than 10 days comes out of my pocket and it may take much longer for my car to be repaired.
So Should I Hire a Lawyer?
To summarize and answer the initial question, should you get a lawyer? If you were in an accident, and suffered an injury, it’s a good idea to get one. A lawyer will have your interests in mind because if you win, they win. They will speed up the process and will help you get the best compensation for car repairs and personal injuries. Your insurance company will help you, but they are more interested in paying you the least they can and will sometimes drag the process for a longer time than it needs to. In the end, getting a lawyer will depend on how serious the accident was and the severity of the injuries.
You can find all the information you need about lawyers and car accidents by reading my free articles. They are listed on the top right hand side of this page.