When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney
Anytime a person is involved in a vehicle accident, it can be a scary and terrifying experience. Even though the vast majority of vehicle accident cases in Washington are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, that does not mean that it will be easy for a crash victim to recover the compensation they are entitled to. Often, insurance carriers put up a fight, and it may even become necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. Here, we want to discuss when to hire a car accident attorney to help with a claim.
Hiring an Attorney Right After an Accident
In many cases, there is a clear indication that an attorney will be necessary to handle the situation after a crash occurs in Washington. Some of the main reasons why a person may need to immediately consider a car accident lawyer include the following:
- There is a dispute over who caused the accident
- There were any catastrophic injuries
- There was a fatality
- Insurance carriers dispute the total amount that should be paid
Anytime it looks like there may be a complication when it comes to securing compensation following a vehicle accident, those involved need to consider seeking assistance from an attorney as soon as possible.
An attorney can get involved quickly and begin the process of gathering evidence before it disappears or is destroyed. This can include obtaining any video or photo surveillance of the incident, speaking to eyewitnesses before their memories fade, and examining damaged vehicles.
An attorney who gets involved quickly can also handle filing the initial claim with the insurance carrier and then handle any negotiations about how much compensation should be paid.
Hiring an Attorney in the Weeks or Months After an Accident
Most people do not think about calling an attorney right after an accident occurs. That is okay and completely understandable. Often, crash victims do not realize the extent of property damage or injury expenses right away.
However, as negotiations with insurance carriers drag on, it is certainly acceptable to contact an attorney to take over the case on your behalf. A skilled lawyer will be able to jump in and examine the evidence that has already been gathered and then work on gathering additional evidence to bolster your claim. An attorney will also immediately take over all communications with other parties, including the insurance carriers and possibly other legal teams.
We bring this up because it is not uncommon for many people to think that they have waited too long to contact an attorney after a crash occurs. It is never too late to call an attorney to get a free evaluation of your car accident injury case and let the attorney determine the best steps forward for your situation. In many cases, car accident lawyers will handle these cases on a contingency basis. This means that the client will not owe any legal fees until after the attorney secures the compensation they need.
However, please understand that the Washington personal injury statute of limitations is three years from the date an injury occurs. A car accident victim who fails to file a claim within this three-year window will likely not be able to recover any compensation at all for their losses.