There’s no doubt that a car accident can really ruin your day. It’s a jarring, unsettling and potentially disastrous experience. Despite the traumatizing experiences that could possibly arise in the aftermath of a car accident, a great many problematic issues could manifest in the wake of the event. It stands to reason that most people involved in a car wreck are emotional, possibly in shock and quite shaken up. In the most dire scenarios, persons involved may be severely injured, unconscious or killed.
Because of this, car accidents are one of the most difficult events to deal with after the fact in terms of legal liability and financial responsibility. Still, all parties involved will likely want to find quick and hassle-free closure and get those loose ends tied up.
One of the most common questions people have when dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is: “Should I hire an attorney?” Of course, that question doesn’t have a clear cut answer because it almost always depends on the severity and circumstances of each car accident.
Most common car accidents are relatively minor. Usually there isn’t much need for an attorney if you’ve been involved in a ‘fender bender’ where there’s minimal damage and no injuries – although it doesn’t always mean you should completely rule it out.
The best approach to almost any car accident, which in most cases are minor; is to remain calm, document as much as you can and refrain from admitting any fault. In many cases, law enforcement officials may arrive on the scene and a police report is filed, documenting the details of the event according to witnesses and those involved. It’s possible that, if you were determined to have committed a traffic infraction, an attorney might be of interest to you for traffic court, but that’s a different scenario than consulting legal counsel for other consequences of the incident.
While it will always have to be your own decision in the end regarding whether to contact legal counsel after a car accident, there are few red flags you can look out for that indicate you should highly consider contacting an attorney, such as: Serious injury or death, no clear indication of fault, police documentation and/or witnesses’ accounts are incorrect, your insurers are stonewalling you (or worse yet, you’re caught without any insurance at the time of the accident). One of the biggest red flags, however, pops up when your insurer involves their own attorney.
In some cases, you may not feel that hiring an attorney immediately is the best choice, but you’d rather simply consult with legal counsel and gauge your options. Some indications where this might be a good idea include: Determining proper valuation of insurance claim, you’re unsure if you’re being treated fairly and within your rights, you need advice on dealing with your insurance company or if you find yourself having difficult with legal forms and paperwork.
Remember, even with an attorney at your side, the outcome of your situation may still not always live up to your expectations, but legal counsel can give you peace of mind and help you steer through some very muddy terrain of hassles and headaches following a car accident.
Frank Cristiano is a Denver Malpractice Lawyer and blogger for Cristiano Law, LLC