As if being involved in a car accident isn’t bad enough, it may turn out that you wind up needing a lawyer to get what you’re due or defend yourself from accusations following the incident. But it’s not always going to be cut and dry. In some cases you may be unsure whether hiring a lawyer is necessary or whether it’s worth the expense. Generally speaking, the insurance companies will simply hash it out and come to a decision. But what if the police report is inconclusive, finding no fault with either driver even though it was clearly the other driver’s fault? What if the other driver claims you were drunk behind the wheel? What if you were drunk? And what if the other driver has no insurance? There are all kinds of reasons why the matter might not be settled to your satisfaction, either by the parties involved in the accident or by their automobile insurance providers. So here are just a few guidelines that can help you to determine when it’s time to secure professional help by hiring a qualified attorney to take your case.
One of the most obvious reasons to hire a lawyer is if the other party involved in the accident is deemed to be responsible and he/she has no insurance coverage. In this case it is unlikely that you’ll see a penny without filing a lawsuit for damages. In most cases, your insurance will cover you, although your rates may go up as a result. But if they refuse to pay, you’ll definitely have to take the offending party to court in order to sue for the cost of medical bills from injuries related to the accident, as well as the cost to repair damages to your car. And if the accident is deemed “no fault” by police (which could happen if there are no witnesses present and the evidence is unclear), you may also have to head to court to plead your case and have costs paid for by the responsible party.
Of course, it could be that you are at fault for the accident. And there are certain situations in which you may need to hire a lawyer not to sue on your behalf, but to defend you from a lawsuit. If, for example, it turns out that you took some Ambien and went to bed only to wake up in a hospital room because you unwittingly got behind the wheel in some kind of drug-induced twilight state, causing an accident in the process, then there’s a good chance the other party will try to sue you for damages. Even if insurance covers their claim, they may think they have a case for punitive damages in civil court (and they very well might have a chance of winning, although those odds will probably go down if you lawyer up).
Not every automobile accident will require a lawyer to reach a fair solution. The majority of collisions are quickly and easily settled by the insurance providers of the parties involved. But there will certainly be times when the facts aren’t clear, when people lie, or when illegal activity is directly involved. In these cases, you may definitely want a qualified attorney from a reputable firm like Reiner & Slaughter Law Office on your side. If you’re not sure, simply set up a consultation to see what a lawyer can do for you, and what you stand to gain or lose in the process.