Generally speaking, it depends on what happened and what injuries were suffered, and to whom. If you have not been hurt, the answer is probably no. If you or anyone you care about has been injured in the car accident, especially if there is any permanent injury, or significant time is lost from work, school or household duties, you should see a lawyer about representing you in a claim against anyone who may be responsible for your injuries. However, even if you’re not injured, don’t entirely rule it out as the facts and circumstances surrounding car accidents are always different. It is important to look to the degree of the car accident and use your best judgment. A simple fender bender where no one involved is hurt can usually be appropriately handled through the insurance company. Anything other than that deserves a bit more thought – especially in this litigious environment.
When to run to an attorney and when to walk. Contacting an attorney who deals with personal injury (especially relating to auto accidents) can provide you with the peace of mind that no stone gets left unturned. Here are some tips for when you should run to an attorney and when you can just walk:
Run to an attorney when:
- An injury has occurred where there has been serious injury (broken bones / hospitalization) or where injuries are likely to be permanent (paralysis);
- A death has resulted from the accident;
- Fault is clearly an issue;
- Other parties were involved such as pedestrians or other autos;
- The accident occurred in a construction area;
- A police report does not accurately describe the accident and puts you at fault;
- Important technical, legal or medical issues are involved;
- The limits of your liability insurance are low,
- You have no insurance, or your insurance company suggests that you did not pay your premium.
- Your insurer starts “acting funny.”
- Your insurer involves its own attorney (in this case, sprint!).
Walk to an attorney when:
- Seeking advice on the settlement value of a claim (while not an exact science, attorneys may be able to provide best and worse case scenarios);
- Unsure if other insurance (homeowners, travel, etc.) may be available;
- Fault may be an issue;
- Determining whether your insurer may be acting in bad faith (not looking out for your best interests);
- Seeking information on how to handle negotiations with an insurer;
- You don’t know your rights;
- Confused over the terms of your policy;
- Needing an expert to review confusing paperwork or forms.
Finding an attorney is easy and most attorneys listed provide free initial consultations. If you’re not certain that you want to contact an attorney, Auto Accidents for FAQs or the Auto Accidents Forums section where you can post a question to see how others may have handled similar situations.