An Introduction to Car Accident Injury Claims
In various industries, the axiom, “Timing is everything” is appropriate and meaningful. In real estate, timing can mean the difference between getting the home of your dreams and either paying too much for that dream home or not getting it at all. In the workplace, getting that promotion can depend largely on your timing: your punctuality, your ability to get tasks completed in a timely manner, and being in the right place at the right time.
Timing is equally important in the aftermath of a car wreck: especially when it comes to hiring an attorney. Involving an attorney too early in your case may appear to cause you to incur unnecessary expenses. This is particularly true when the insurance companies and/or the at-fault driver are in a mood to settle your case. Wait too long to hire an attorney, however, and irreparable harm can occur to your case and legal rights such that your ability to recover compensation is compromised. When, then, is the perfect time to hire an attorney in your car accident case?
Considerations in Deciding When to Hire an Attorney
One of the biggest considerations to make in your case when determining when to hire an attorney is when the statute of limitations expires. The statute of limitations is the time period afforded by the laws of the state in which you file your car accident lawsuit to initiate your suit. Your auto accident case can be summarily dismissed if you attempt to start your case after the statute of limitations has expired. Hiring an attorney does not extend the statute of limitations period at all: thus, you will want to make sure an attorney is retained well in advance of the statute of limitations’ expiration. Deciding to retain an attorney well before the statute of limitations’ period runs gives you and your attorney plenty of time to investigate the facts of your case, discuss your legal rights and possible remedies, and formulate a strategy designed to maximize your opportunity for recovery.
You should also consider the availability of evidence in determining when to hire an attorney – unless you plan to gather and preserve evidence of your car accident and injuries yourself. “Business records” that can include a driver’s performance reviews from his or her employer, security camera footage, e-mails and internal memoranda (just to name a few) can all be easily lost or destroyed through companies’ internal document storage and disposal procedures. Some of this critical evidence can be lost as quickly as 30 days after it is generated; therefore, the sooner you retain an attorney the more likely it is that important tangible evidence can still be found and preserved for later use.
Finally, the day of trial (or even the day before trial) is not the time you want to be looking for an attorney to hire. Why? Because it is unlikely that your trial date would be continued under these circumstances and your attorney would prove to be of little use. You should instead involve an attorney in your case before your case heads to trial.
It is Never Too Early to Hire a Car Accident Attorney
While there are times in the life of your traffic accident lawsuit and/or your legal rights that it may be too late to hire an attorney, it is hard to identify a time during which it is too early to hire a lawyer to help you. In fact, it may be that the sooner you hire an attorney, the more times and opportunities your attorney has to help you develop and strengthen your case. Even in cases where you are nearly certain you and the opposing party will settle your differences, an attorney can help you in many ways that cannot be duplicated easily:
- Investigating your case and gathering evidence to help strengthen your bargaining position, thereby helping you secure more favorable terms;
- Reviewing your legal rights and objectives and ensuring a settlement agreement is in your best interests;
- Helping negotiate favorable terms for your settlement agreement so that your recovery is maximized and the rights you give up as part of the settlement agreement are minimal;
- Reviewing the settlement agreement itself to ensure the terms reflected in the written agreement match the terms that you and the opposing party agreed upon.
For these reasons, there is little harm in hiring an attorney as soon as possible following your injury car wreck. Although you may incur some expense in so doing, the peace of mind and resources that an attorney can bring to your situation make the expense well worth it.
Indication That You Need to Hire an Attorney Right Away
Some people may nonetheless wait until the last possible moment before hiring an attorney. If any of the following describes your circumstances, you should make an appointment to speak with an auto accident lawyer as soon as possible:
- The statute of limitations in your case has almost run and you only have a few more months before the statute of limitations expires completely;
- You and the opposing party have discussed reaching a settlement agreement in your case;
- Your case may involve reports from law enforcement agencies or other involved individuals and entities, or other similar tangible evidence;
- The opposing party is wanting you to provide a statement under oath about the facts that gave rise to the car wreck’s occurrence;
- Your case has been set for trial in the near future because you and the other party have not been able to reach an agreement; and/or
- You are not familiar with the legal terms and concepts being used by the court and opposing counsel.
You should also take the time to speak with an attorney at times when the court and/or opposing counsel are introducing terms and concepts with which you are not familiar.
When to Call Parker Waichman LLP For Help
Do not hesitate to call Parker Waichman LLP at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529). Whether your car wreck just happened or it happened several months (or years) in the past, we are eager to help you understand and exercise your legal rights.
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