Is It Worth Getting An Attorney For A Car Accident? (2024)

Sarah Edwards

Contributor

Reviewed By Adam Ramirez, J.D.

Editor

Read in 4 mins

Car accidents produce a wide range of outcomes. The injuries and property damage caused by your crash will directly affect the amount of legal work required, the complexity of the legal issues, and the severity of the consequences of making a mistake.

Thus, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “Is it worth getting an attorney for a car accident.” Instead, the response will depend on many factors, including your goals for your case and even the state where your crash occurred.

Factors Influencing Whether to Get a Car Accident Lawyer

Several factors go into whether you will benefit from legal representation. Some of the most important include the following:

Crash Outcome

The outcome of your crash will play a large role in your decision to hire a car accident lawyer. Crashes resulting in injury or death justify hiring a lawyer because of the stakes involved. In fatal cases, you will lose your deceased family member’s financial contributions over their remaining expected life. The family also misses the financial value of their services, such as child care, cooking, and home repair.

You will also have medical costs and ambulance fees associated with the fatal injuries they sustained. Finally, the family and the estate will likely have funeral costs and burial expenses. All of these losses could be significant. Hiring a car accident lawyer will give the family the best possible chance to recover fair compensation.

Injury cases can have similarly high stakes. After you sustain a non-fatal injury, you will likely incur thousands of dollars in costs for emergency room, hospital, and doctor bills. Even if you have health insurance, your copays and deductibles could be significant.

The pain and disabilities from your injuries could require you to cut the hours you can work or stop working altogether. Your income losses affect your ability to pay for medical treatment as well as your basic living expenses.

Your quality of life will also diminish. You will worry about your health and finances. Pain will keep you awake at night. And you will not be able to participate in necessary activities like shopping or enjoyable pastimes like playing with your children.

While you can pursue a claim for these losses without legal representation, missing out on this valuable compensation could put you in financial jeopardy. Medical costs are a leading cause of bankruptcies. A lawyer can advance the strongest arguments for getting the compensation the law entitles you to recover.

Insurance System

States use two insurance systems. The majority use a fault-based insurance system. Under this system, vehicle owners must buy liability insurance. After a crash, all injured road users injured by the insured driver’s negligence file a liability claim.

The insurer pays accident victims for their losses up to a preset policy limit. Importantly, this right to pursue claims against the at-fault driver can happen at any time as long as the claimant can prove negligence and losses.

A small number of states use no-fault insurance systems. In these states, vehicle owners buy personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. After a minor crash, the occupants of each vehicle file claims with the insurer for their vehicle rather than the at-fault driver’s insurer. This system is supposed to reduce insurance costs and cut down on the number of lawsuits that clog the courts.

Under a no-fault system, accident victims can only file claims against the at-fault driver under certain conditions. As a result, many claimants handle their claims without a lawyer unless they meet those conditions, and the case becomes contested.

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Reasons to Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident

Lawyers perform several tasks while handling your claim. Some reasons to get a lawyer for your car accident claim include the following:

Experience

A lawyer with experience can assess the strength and value of your case. This evaluation allows them to determine your chances of winning and the amount you will likely win. It will also help you decide when you have received a fair settlement offer from the insurance company.

Negotiating Skills

When the insurer accepts your claim, it will offer a settlement. This number will likely undervalue your case. Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurer to get a better settlement based on the losses you suffered.

Legal and Procedural Knowledge

You may need to file a lawsuit if your lawyer cannot negotiate a settlement. Litigation experience helps a lawyer avoid any procedural mistakes when filing documents in court. It also guides the lawyer in preparing a legal strategy to present the evidence and arguments that give you the best chance of winning.

Contact ConsumerShield to Learn About Hiring a Lawyer

ConsumerShield is dedicated to helping accident victims. We provide educational resources so you understand as much as possible about the strength and value of your potential claim as you go through the process. We also connect you with an experienced lawyer to provide legal advice and representation.

Fill out our contact form for a free case evaluation and to learn how we can help you after your car accident.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If “minor” means property damage only, you can consider handling your claim without a lawyer. The legal issues are less complicated, and the consequences of losing are less severe. However, if “minor” means minor injuries, you should still consider talking to an attorney to ensure a fair payout.

  • It is usually better to have a lawyer. Insurance companies have a financial incentive to avoid paying you. As a result, they will delay and deny your claims until you quit out of frustration. A lawyer knows these tactics and can counter them.

  • Lawyers wear many hats, including:

    • Legal advisor and counselor
    • Representative with insurers, at-fault drivers, and insurance defense lawyers
    • Negotiator against claim adjusters
    • Advocate in court for your rights

    A lawyer cannot guarantee a win. But their hard work will put your claim in the best condition possible.

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