Not every car accident case requires a lawyer’s help. But you should definitely call a lawyer after a car accident if anybody got seriously hurt, it’s unclear whose fault it was, or if the accident involved a pedestrian, cyclist, or truck. Also, if you have high medical bills, loss of work for more than a few days, or difficulties with your insurance company, you should call an attorney after your car crash.
When to Call a Car Accident Lawyer in Indiana
If you’re in a small fender bender, you may not need an attorney. Insurance companies usually make the filing process simple and painless for small accidents. For anything more serious, you should consider contacting a car accident lawyer.
You will probably need an attorney’s help after your car accident if:
- You were severely injured
- Another motorist, pedestrian, or cyclist was severely injured
- A death occurred because the accident
- You need long-term medical treatment
- You have to miss work because of injuries you got in the accident
- Your car was totalled or badly damaged in the accident
- Your insurance company is giving you a hard time
- Your insurance company is asking you to sign a release
- Your accident was a hit-and-run
- Your insurance company offers you money to settle your claim
- It’s not clear whose fault it is and liability is disputed
You may wonder if your accident is “serious” enough to contact a lawyer. If you have any doubts about your car accident claim, you should call a personal injury lawyer. Even if you don’t end up needing an attorney for your claim, it helps to have at least one consultation to get some advice.
Should I get a lawyer for a car accident that wasn’t my fault?
If you didn’t cause the accident but got seriously injured, you should still retain an attorney. Why? Your insurance company may not want to give you the compensation you deserve. You shouldn’t assume that all your medical bills and damaged vehicle will automatically be paid for since you were not at fault. You may have to put up a fight — and a lawyer can help.
When you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance, the insurer might:
- Decide that their policyholder (the other driver) is not responsible for the accident
- Consider you partially liable for the accident
- Cover your claim but offer you a lower settlement than what it’s worth
What should you do in these situations? If you don’t know, then you need an attorney. A personal injury lawyer can:
- Take action if your claim was denied
- Intervene if you get partially blamed for the accident
- Negotiate with the adjuster for a higher settlement
Insurance companies don’t have your best interests in mind. Even in a case where you’re clearly not at fault, they may offer a low settlement offer right off the bat to get it over with. Another tactic is dragging out the claims process so you get frustrated and agree to their bad offer. An attorney will know these tricks and how to counter them.
When is it too late to get a lawyer for a car accident?
It’s usually too late to get a personal injury lawyer for your accident if you’ve already accepted a settlement or signed a release stating that the other party is not liable. Once you take these actions, there’s not much an attorney can do to help you.
You shouldn’t wait too long to speak to an attorney after your accident, especially if you or a family member has been seriously injured. However, even if it’s been several months since your accident occurred, you can still contact an attorney. They’ll know how to build your case for you.
Statute of Limitations Deadline
The state of Indiana has a two-year statute of limitations on filing personal injury lawsuits for car accidents. That means you have two years from the date of the accident to sue the other party for damages.
If you wait longer than two years, you may not be able to receive any compensation. Contacting a lawyer as soon as you feel well enough is a good idea because your case could take a long time. You want to be sure you don’t miss the deadline.
How much does a car accident lawyer cost?
Most car accident lawyers work on contingency — they only get paid if you do. If you receive a settlement or award from your car accident case, your attorney will take between 33-40% of the final amount. Usually, the percentage only goes up to 40% if your case has to go to trial.
It’s hard to say exactly how much you’ll pay attorney’s fees for a car accident case because it depends entirely on your settlement amount. And your settlement amount depends on several factors, such as:
- The severity of your injuries
- The damage to your vehicle
- How much work you’ve missed (if any)
- Your reduced earning potential
- Your pain and suffering
- Other expenses related to the car accident
Can I settle a car accident claim without a lawyer?
Yes, it’s possible to settle a claim for a car accident without a lawyer. But if you don’t have an attorney to represent you, you may not get the full amount your case is worth. A lawyer has the training and experience necessary to accurately assess your claim and negotiate a proper settlement for you.
A lawyer can also file necessary paperwork for you, collect evidence related to your accident, and calculate your recoverable damages. Most importantly, they can represent you in court if you can’t reach an agreement with the other party through negotiations. Of course, you can represent yourself in front of a judge or jury but unless you’re familiar with Indiana personal injury laws, it’s not a good idea.
Know when to call a car accident lawyer
The aftermath of a bad car accident can be overwhelming. Dealing with medical bills, missing work, and altering your whole life to accommodate your injuries can take up all of your time. Hiring an attorney may be the last thing on your mind. However, if you want the chance to get compensation to help you put your life back in order you need an attorney’s help.
Call the car accident lawyers at Yosha Law Firm when you need assistance with your car accident claim. We’ve helped countless people seek justice after suffering bad car accidents.