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When Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Car Accident?

Thursday, October 8 2015 2:53 PM

After a car accident, it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether or not you need to hire an attorney. Here are some things to consider when deciding if you need a lawyer.

Was a personal injury involved?

If you and/or someone else involved in the accident suffered permanent injury or missed a lot of time at work, you should contact a personal injury attorney. Serious injury could include broken bones, paralysis, or anything that requires hospitalization. Other considerations are if the accident involved a death, pedestrians, or took place in a construction zone.

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A lawyer can help you seek reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, and general damages like emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other losses. If the accident wasn’t your fault, the other driver’s liability insurance should pay for your loss. If the accident is found to be your fault or you’re in a no-fault state, you would go through your auto insurance’s personal injury protection coverage to get reimbursed. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can seek payment through your insurance if you’re hit by a driver who’s uninsured/underinsured, or if it was a hit-and-run accident.

During the reimbursement process, it’s common for insurance companies to negotiate with each other and to attempt to validate expenses, to make sure they don’t end up paying more than needed. Personal injury attorneys like those at Oswalt, Roberts & Oswald are experienced at working to get the highest settlement amount for their clients by working and negotiating with insurance companies.

Was the accident your fault, or is fault in question?

Determining fault in a car accident is important, because it affects whose insurance company will pay. If there’s an issue with who’s at fault, it’s best to contact a lawyer to make sure your rights are protected, and that the claim amount is fair.

If you are found at fault, you would go through your insurance policy to request payment for damages. If you’re not at fault, you would contact the other driver’s insurance company. However, there are some cases, like a hit-and-run, or a no-fault state, where you must try to get compensation from your own car insurance, even though you’re not at fault.

Was there significant property damage?

If you’re involved in a minor fender-bender, you can most likely navigate the insurance claim process without legal representation. If your vehicle suffered heavy damage, you may need a lawyer to help you get the settlement you deserve.

After an accident, the insurance company will evaluate your vehicle to determine whether they’re going to pay for repairs or consider the vehicle a total loss. A lawyer can help you pursue a claim that is sufficient to cover your vehicle’s repair bills or the replacement cost.

Keep in mind the statute of limitations

If you wish to file a personal injury claim, you only have a certain amount of time to do so. In Kanas, this time limit, called the statute of limitations, is two years. In order to protect your rights and recover your financial and property losses because of an accident, it’s important to contact an attorney right away.

At Oswalt, Roberts & Oswald, we have experience with personal injury claims for auto, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents, as well as wrongful death claims. Contact us for expert guidance through the entire process. In Hutchinson, call 620-662-5489.

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