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When to Hire a Car Crash Attorney

Is It Worth Getting an Attorney for a Car Crash?

October 5, 2020

When you are in a car accident, your whole life can change in an instant. The injuries you suffer are just the beginning of a process that is often long and difficult.

There are many reasons to hire a car crash attorney to assist you after an accident. In the sections below, we discuss 5 of the major ways an attorney can help with your claim.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car crash, please don’t hesitate to contact the Karl Truman Law Office for a free consultation. Call our office in Louisville, Kentucky, at (502) 222-2222 or call our office in Jeffersonville, Indiana, at (812) 282-8500 today.

1. Handling the Insurance Company

One of the biggest reasons to hire an attorney after a car crash is to have someone on your side in dealing with the insurance company. While you are receiving treatment for your injuries and trying to put your life back together, agents for the insurance company are investigating the accident and trying to find ways to pay you as little as possible. You may even start to receive phone calls from the insurance company within days of the accident when you are just beginning your recovery.

Representatives of the insurance company may come across as friendly and present themselves as wanting to help you. However, their true goal is to get you to say or do something that they can use to justify denying or underpaying your claim. Tactics they employ to this end may include:

  • Asking seemingly innocuous questions to elicit loaded answers
    (Ex: If the agent asks “How are you feeling?” and you respond “OK” or “Pretty good” simply out of habit, the insurer may present this as an admission that you are not badly hurt.)
  • Asking you to make a recorded statement about the accident
  • Asking you to sign a medical release

You may assume that cooperating with the insurance company will expedite the process. In reality, however, you could be seriously undermining your claim.

Instead, your best course of action is to hire an attorney who can handle communications with the insurance company on your behalf. Your lawyer will know how insurers operate and protect your rights and interests each step of the way.

2. Understanding the Laws in Your State

State laws differ in the amount of time you have to pursue damages after an accident. For example, in Indiana the statute of limitations on personal injury claims (including car accidents) is 2 years, while in Kentucky the statute of limitations is only 1 year.

The process of filing an insurance claim after an accident also varies by state:

Kentucky

Because Kentucky is a no-fault state, you are generally required to file a claim with your own insurance company first after an accident. Your personal injury protection (PIP) policy will cover economic losses from the crash.

You may think that filing a claim with your own insurance provider will make the process easier, but this isn’t always the case. Simply because you faithfully pay your premiums does not mean the company will feel inclined to pay what you deserve.

A car crash attorney can represent you in communications with your insurance company. Your lawyer can also advise you of your right to take action against the at-fault driver if you meet the threshold for certain losses.

Indiana

Unlike Kentucky, Indiana is a “fault” state. Although you will need to report the accident to your insurance provider, there are no special requirements you have to meet before you can file a claim against the at-fault driver.

Of course, filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company will initiate the adversarial process described above. It is crucial to have an experienced attorney who can advocate on your behalf.

3. Investigating the Accident

You may be able to take some steps at the scene of the accident to begin building your claim, such as taking photos and exchanging information with the other driver. However, if you suffer serious injuries, you may be unable to do anything until you receive medical treatment.

Your car crash attorney can help you build your case by:

  • Photographing the accident scene – your legal team will know what details are important, including:
    • The layout of the road or intersection where the accident took place
    • Debris at the scene
    • Damage to the road surface, such as skid marks, and nearby objects, such as guardrails, barriers, etc.
  • Inspecting the damage to the vehicles
  • Requesting a copy of the police report
  • Identifying witnesses and getting their statements
  • Requesting video footage from drivers with dash cameras, surveillance from local businesses, etc.
  • Obtaining cell phone records (crucial in distracted driving accidents)

All of this evidence will help your attorney determine who is at fault for the accident. Thorough investigation is also crucial for calculating the damages you may be able to recover in your case.

4. Understanding the Seriousness of Your Injuries

After being injured in an accident, your life may seem like it is a series of doctor appointments. You may follow the doctors’ orders, but do you truly understand how the injuries affect your life?

Experienced car crash attorneys have seen a wide range of injuries caused by accidents. These may include:

Through their experience, your attorney will recognize that the losses from these injuries go beyond the immediate medical bills. Catastrophic injuries often carry significant future medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of employment, and much more. Your lawyer will fully investigate your injuries and work with experts to determine how they affect the value of your claim.

If your loved one was killed in a car crash, it is also important to hire an attorney who will evaluate the full extent of your losses and pursue compensation on your behalf through a wrongful death claim.

5. Maximizing Your Compensation

Ultimately, the insurance company wants to resolve your claim quickly and for minimal cost. So, if you receive a settlement offer, you can count on it being for less than your case is worth.

Without an attorney, you may be inclined to take the settlement. You are likely facing significant medical expenses and other costs after the accident, and the offered amount may meet those needs.

However, once you settle, you can’t pursue additional compensation for future costs. Therefore, the settlement needs to reflect your total losses – now and in the future.

An experienced car crash attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve in a number of ways:

  • Reviewing your medical records and communicating with your doctors to understand the full nature and extent of your injuries
  • Enlisting experts to provide opinions on how your injuries may affect you short- and long-term
  • Working with you to determine the minimum acceptable settlement amount
  • Negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf
  • Communicating with you as negotiations proceed, advising you of new offers, and discussing your options

Clients who hire an attorney get significantly higher settlements in car crash claims than those who try to handle the claim themselves. Knowledge and experience go a long way toward a favorable outcome.

And, although most car crash cases settle out of court, it is certainly in your best interest to hire an attorney if no settlement can be reached. Your lawyer will know court procedure and how to present your case at trial in order to recover the full compensation you deserve.

Contact Our Car Crash Attorneys Today

Hiring a lawyer after a car accident has a number of benefits. If you are looking for quality representation you can count on, please contact the Karl Truman Law Office today for a free case review.

Our car crash attorneys serve clients throughout Kentucky and Indiana. Please call (502) 222-2222 (KY) or (812) 282-8500 (IN) to reach the office closest to you.