Lawyering Up After An Accident: Avoid These 9 Mistakes
Car accidents are really unfortunate incidents due to the multiple losses that a person suffers. If you’ve ever been in a car accident then you know exactly what we’re talking about. The losses that you suffer can include monetary losses, injuries, loss of time, damages to your car, and god forbid- loss of life. It’s a very stressful event and during this difficult time, an attorney can be your best friend. The attorney can help you avoid the most common pitfalls and ease your post-accident experience, which is very important.
In this article, we’re looking at why you should hire a lawyer after a car accident and what could go wrong if you don’t. You must’ve encountered some of the issues that we’ll be discussing in your own life at one point or another. There are also newer perspectives here so that you can understand why lawyering up is so important. So let’s get to it and find out the mistakes that you’ll be able to avoid post-accident if you hire a lawyer.
1. Being Unaware of the Laws
Most people don’t even know what their local laws are and they end up taking actions that are not permissible by law. While most people assume that a gentlemen’s agreement after an accident is good enough for them to leave, they’re grossly wrong. In some places, it’s mandatory to call the police if an accident has occurred. You can’t just leave by shrugging it off as a mistake even if the opposition party feels the same way.
A lawyer would guide you on the proper procedure to be followed once the cops reach the scene. However, if you don’t have the expertise of a lawyer to help you out, you’ll most likely just drive away thinking that you’re doing the right thing. This is just one of the many possible scenarios where you might make a mistake, and the possibilities are endless. This is why you should trust the expertise of a lawyer rather than trying to explore the possibilities.
2. Making Statements
One of the biggest mistakes that almost everyone makes is to give a statement. This statement can either be to the cops who arrive on the scene or it can be to the lawyer of the opposition. You can understand how big a mistake this is once you realize that these statements that you made jokingly are likely to be used against you in court. If the other person decides to slap you with a lawsuit and you’ve already made a reckless statement, then you’ll come to regret each word you spoke.
However, a lawyer can save you from this trouble by acting as your representative every step of the way. Your lawyer is allowed to represent you in every situation and to every person, including the police. This is why hiring a lawyer becomes crucial since they know what they’re talking about.
Let’s assume the fault was yours and you even made a statement that puts you in a disadvantageous position. Now you’ll have to negotiate a settlement with the other party either out of the court or go through an arduous lawsuit. The lawsuit will most likely cost you a fortune and will also waste your time. However, the lawsuit will cost the same time and money to the other person without any guarantee of them winning. This is why most people choose to settle matters outside the court, wherein the guilty party pays compensation to the aggrieved party.
If you decide to go solo without getting any help from a lawyer, you’re more likely to end up settling in a disadvantageous position. This is because the other person will be bringing in their lawyer who’ll effectively scare you into submission. However, if you bring your own lawyer then you’ll be standing on an equal footing and your lawyer will catch all the bluffs of the other party. Your lawyer will most likely end the settlement at either favorable or neutral terms for you.
4. Dealing With Insurance Companies
The insurance companies don’t make profits by compensating every accidental case with the amount they deserve. Most insurance companies are profitable ventures and they turn these profits by denying people like you the compensation that they deserve. If you negotiate with the insurance agents then you might even feel like they’re on your side and doing their best to squeeze out every last bit of money from the company they work for. The loyalty of these employees lies with their company and their jobs depend on the amount of money they’re able to save for their company. This is why if you go in without a lawyer, these companies will lowball you and try to convince you that it’s the best they can do.
However, the tables turn when you hire a lawyer to do your bidding. A lawyer has the prerequisite experience that’s needed to conduct a successful negotiation. Most lawyers who have any sort of experience dealing with cases like yours have negotiated with the insurance companies before, this is why your car accident lawyer might be able to get you the best deal and the amount that they settle on will be significantly higher than what the company would’ve otherwise offered you. This alone makes a strong argument for hiring a lawyer as they can easily help you recover more money than you’ll be paying them for their services.
5. Underestimating Lawsuits
Most of the time people don’t even see a lawsuit for an accident coming since the accident happened a long time ago. People just conveniently assume that the other person who was engaged in the accident will not try to slap a lawsuit on them to squeeze some money. Trusting another person’s intentions is just fine until it comes to hit you right back. Having a lawyer can be a huge lifesaver in this situation since the lawyer will have a better understanding of your case. If you don’t hire a lawyer right after the accident then you’re just devoiding them of any chances to study your case better which can help them defend you better.
If you hire a lawyer as soon as the accident occurs, you’ll develop a history with the lawyer and the lawyer will be able to gather all the facts relating to the circumstances of the accident. This will help them to defend you by presenting a well-planned case in the court when the opposition party tries to file a lawsuit. Sure, it’ll cost you a little more and it can be a little inconvenient as well, however, the benefits far outweigh these minimal investments in terms of time and money.
6. Ignoring injuries
The adrenaline rush right after an accident is so high that most people don’t even realize they’re injured. Many injuries like whiplash might even take days or weeks to manifest fully. However, if you don’t document your injuries by then, you’re already too late. Having a lawyer can prove extremely useful in case you have to make a claim on the person who caused these injuries, or if you have to convince your medical insurance provider about the seriousness of your injuries.
Sometimes these injuries can even be permanent and debilitating, in which case you’re entitled to proper compensation from whoever caused them. The fault might be of a private party or even the government, and this is why you have to have a lawyer if you want to successfully make a claim without delaying your case unnecessarily. A lawyer will immediately start putting the pieces together to build up a case that will be in your favor the moment it reaches the court. The sooner your lawyer can start the better, any delay can result in a lack of evidence or an incomplete case which isn’t desirable.
7. Ignoring Financial Losses
No matter how trivial the damages to your car are, you should always strive to get compensated for your loss. If you choose to walk away from the scene of the accident without taking any evidence or without asking a lawyer to help you out, you might end up losing the chance to make any claims. Most of the time, you wouldn’t be able to properly estimate the cost of repairs and you’ll usually underestimate these costs by a huge margin. This is why people usually choose to walk away instead of making attempts to claim the amount that they should be compensated with.
Rather than making peace with the reality of your accident, you should call your lawyer who can properly document the entire scene and gather adequate evidence to be used against the other person in case it was their fault and you want to make any claims. Even if you don’t proceed further with a lawsuit, it’s always good to know that you have an option to do so if you want to.
8. Not Documenting Everything
The most foolish mistake that anyone can make at the scene of the accident is to not document what’s happened. However, we see this mistake made by all sorts of people all the time. Most of us are even guilty of doing this ourselves. This might seem insignificant but it can lead to long-term repercussions for you if you don’t document the accident site. If you hire a lawyer who has worked on such cases in the past then he’ll know exactly what to do.
An experienced lawyer must’ve done the same thing before and using their expertise is important for building a valid case. The lawyer will help you to capture all the information available that will be necessary in case of a lawsuit. The typical stuff that’s documented includes license plates, injuries to you and the other party, damage to your vehicle and the other party’s vehicle, and any other relevant details that the lawyer deems necessary. Even if you don’t have a lawyer present at the scene of the accident, you should try to document everything by yourself. You can utilize a simple mobile camera to take pictures which will be better than nothing at all.
9. Being Stressed
Last but not the least, you should hire a lawyer immediately after an accident to have peace of mind. An accident is quite a stressful time and even if it didn’t result in any major injuries, you could’ve been subjected to stress that can manifest in the long term. If you keep worrying about the accident, the cops, the documentation, and the various other things associated with an accident then you’ll forget to pay attention to what matters the most.
Your personal health is the priority and you shouldn’t be taking so much mental and emotional stress after an accident. Instead, you should try to go to a doctor and get yourself checked for any signs of injuries. A lawyer can be immense help as they’ll ease your burden and will conduct all the above-mentioned tasks for you. This is why hiring a lawyer is so critical as you can focus on yourself and they can focus on the accident.
These are just some of the many mistakes that you can make after an accident. Keep in mind that this list isn’t exhaustive and there could be various other things that could be done right. However, these nine tips form the basics and if you follow the advice given above, you’ll be in a much better position as compared to someone who doesn’t have any knowledge about how to deal with an accident. You have to remember that an accident is quite a stressful event and in order to even remember these tips, you’ll have to stay calm and composed. Balancing all the different things is very important and it’s quite difficult to do that alone. You should take the help of an experienced professional who can help ease your burden by taking on some of the responsibilities that would’ve otherwise fallen on you. Don’t worry about the costs of hiring a lawyer because that’s an investment and it’s usually recovered by the time and money that you save in the long run.