When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

May 15, 2024 | Steve Crandall
When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

Car accidents usually happen when other people fail to drive responsibly. If you suffered injuries because someone else caused a recent car crash, you should always involve experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. By waiting too long, you may inadvertently jeopardize your right to recover compensation for your injuries for various reasons.

Once you retain a car accident lawyer, they can immediately begin representing you and advocating for your interests. Specifically, your lawyer can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer, aggressively negotiate a fair settlement offer, or, if necessary, litigate your case in the court system.

Seek a free consultation as soon as possible, even if you are unsure whether you need legal representation. A car accident lawyer will be honest about your situation, so you have nothing to lose and much to gain by discussing a possible case today. 


Car Accident Types and Injuries

When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

Car accidents come in various types, each with its own set of risks and potential injuries. Among the most common types of car accidents are rear-end collisions, T-bone accidents, and rollover crashes.

Rear-end collisions occur when one vehicle strikes the back of another. These accidents often happen due to tailgating, distracted driving, or sudden stops. The force of impact can cause whiplash – a common injury characterized by neck pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Victims may also suffer back injuries, such as herniated discs or spinal fractures, depending on the severity of the collision.

T-bone accidents, also known as side-impact collisions, happen when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle at a perpendicular angle, forming a “T” shape. These accidents frequently occur at intersections when one driver fails to yield the right-of-way by running a red light or stop sign. Injuries in T-bone accidents can be severe, as the side of a vehicle offers less protection than the front or rear. Common injuries include broken bones, internal organ damage, and head injuries, such as concussions or other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Rollover crashes involve a vehicle overturning onto its side or roof. These accidents may occur when a vehicle overcorrects while attempting to regain control, swerves suddenly to avoid an obstacle, or collides with another object or vehicle. Rollover crashes are particularly dangerous because they often result in a driver or passenger’s ejection from the vehicle, leading to catastrophic injuries or fatalities. Common injuries in rollover crashes include head and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, and severe lacerations or crush injuries.

In addition to these common accident types, other factors can contribute to the severity of injuries in car accidents, such as vehicle speeds, sizes, and safety features. If you recently suffered injuries in one of these types of accidents, an experienced car accident lawyer can handle the legal steps of your case while you focus on recovering fully from your injuries.

Legally Proving a Car Accident Case

Proving the key elements of duty, breach, causation, and damages in a car accident claim or lawsuit is essential for establishing liability and seeking compensation for injuries and losses.

  • Duty – The duty element refers to the legal obligation each driver has to drive with reasonable care and follow traffic laws to prevent harm to others on the road. To prove duty, the accident victim (or plaintiff) must show that the at-fault driver (or defendant) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff as a fellow road user. This duty is typically established by demonstrating that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle on public roads, where a duty to drive safely is inherent.
  • Breach – Breach of duty occurs when a driver fails to uphold their duty of care by engaging in negligent or reckless behavior. To prove breach, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions fell below the standard of care expected of a reasonable driver under the same or similar circumstances. This can include behaviors like speeding, texting while driving, running red lights, or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Evidence such as witness testimony, police reports, and traffic camera footage can help to establish a breach of this legal duty.
  • Causation – Causation establishes the link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injuries. In other words, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s negligent actions directly caused or contributed to the accident and resulting harm. Proving causation often requires medical evidence linking the plaintiff’s injuries to the accident, such as expert testimony, doctor’s reports, and diagnostic tests. Additionally, accident reconstruction experts may analyze the scene of the accident to determine factors such as speed and impact angles to help establish causation.
  • Damages – Damages refer to the plaintiff’s losses, including physical injuries, property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, that direct result from the car crash. To prove damages, plaintiffs may present pay stubs, medical bills, medical records, and testimony from medical experts and mental health professionals. 

By gathering and presenting evidence to support each of these legal elements, plaintiffs can build a strong case for liability and seek the compensation they deserve for their car – accident losses.

What to Look for in a Car Accident Lawyer

Finding the right car accident attorney to represent you can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Here are some qualities to look for when choosing a good car accident lawyer:

  • Experience – Look for a car accident attorney who has experience handling car accident cases specifically. A car accident lawyer will be better equipped to navigate the complexities of your case and advocate effectively on your behalf.
  • Reputation – Research the attorney’s reputation in the legal community and among past car accident clients. Look for online testimonials, reviews, and references that speak to the attorney’s integrity, professionalism, and ability to achieve favorable results for their clients.
  • Communication Skills – Choose an attorney who communicates effectively and clearly – and who will keep you informed at every stage of the proceedings. A good attorney should be responsive to your questions and concerns and provide regular updates on your case’s progress.
  • Negotiation Skills – Many car accident cases are resolved through negotiation rather than trial. Look for an attorney who is skilled at negotiating with insurance companies and other parties to reach a fair settlement that fully compensates you for your injuries and losses.
  • Litigation Experience – Although most car accident cases settle at some point, you still want a lawyer on your side who is prepared to take your case to trial if that step becomes necessary. Make sure the attorney has significant trial experience and a proven track record of success in the courtroom.
  • Compassion – Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be a stressful and emotional experience. Choose an attorney who demonstrates empathy and compassion for your situation and who genuinely cares about helping you recover the compensation you deserve.

By considering these qualities when selecting a car accident attorney, you can increase your chances of finding a skilled and trustworthy advocate who will fight for your rights and best interests throughout the legal process.

How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?

How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help

A car accident attorney can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the complexities of your case and maximizing your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your injuries. Here are some important ways that a car accident lawyer can help with your case:

  • Legal Guidance – A knowledgeable car accident attorney can provide expert legal guidance and explain your rights and options under the law. They can help you understand the applicable statutes of limitations, filing deadlines, and other legal requirements that may affect your case and its outcome.
  • Investigation – An attorney can conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the accident to gather evidence and determine fault. This may involve obtaining police reports, interviewing witnesses, and collecting other relevant evidence to support your claim.
  • Evidence Preservation – In the aftermath of a car accident, crucial evidence can quickly disappear or become lost. An attorney can take immediate steps to preserve evidence, such as securing accident scene photos, obtaining surveillance footage, and gathering medical records documenting your injuries.
  • Aggressive Settlement Negotiation – Insurance companies are skilled at minimizing payouts to accident victims. An attorney can negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf to seek a fair settlement that fully compensates you for your injuries, medical expenses, lost income, and other damages.
  • Litigation – If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, an attorney can represent you in court and advocate for your rights at trial. They can present compelling evidence, expert testimony, and legal arguments to support your case and seek a favorable verdict.
  • Case Management – Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, especially if you are recovering from serious injuries. An attorney can handle all aspects of your case, including paperwork, communication with insurance companies and other parties, and court proceedings, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

Retaining a car accident attorney early in the process can also be highly beneficial for several reasons:

  • Legal Protection – By retaining an attorney early, you ensure that your rights are protected from the outset and that no critical deadlines are missed.
  • Evidence Preservation – An attorney can take immediate steps to preserve crucial evidence and prevent it from being lost or destroyed.
  • Maximized Compensation – With early intervention, an attorney can begin building a strong case on your behalf and advocating for fair compensation from the start.

Overall, hiring a car accident attorney early in the process can increase your chances of a favorable outcome and help you navigate the legal complexities of your case with confidence and peace of mind.

How to Accurately Value a Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit

The total value of a car accident claim or lawsuit can be influenced by various factors, each affecting the amount of compensation the victim may be entitled to receive. Some of the key factors that may affect the value of a car accident claim include:

  • The Extent of the Victim’s Injuries – The severity and long-term implications of the victim’s injuries play a significant role in determining the value of a car accident claim. More severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care typically result in higher compensation.
  • Medical Expenses – The total cost of medical treatment is another crucial factor in calculating the value of a car accident claim. Victims may be entitled to compensation for both past and future medical expenses related to their injuries.
  • Lost Earnings – If the victim cannot work because of their injuries, they may be entitled to receive compensation for their lost income. This includes both past and anticipated lost earnings. 
  • Property Damage – Victims may also be entitled to compensation for the repair or replacement costs of their vehicle and any damaged items therein.
  • Pain and Suffering – Compensation for pain and suffering is necessary to compensate victims for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish they experienced as a result of their injuries. Victims may seek compensation for both past and anticipated pain, suffering, and inconvenience. 
  • Loss of Consortium – In cases where the victim’s injuries affect their relationships with loved ones – including a spouse – then compensation for loss of consortium may be available. These damages compensate for the loss of the victim’s intimacy, support, and affection. 

Overall, the total value of a car accident claim or lawsuit depends on a combination of these factors, as well as the specific circumstances of the car accident and the jurisdiction in which the case is filed. By understanding the types of damages available and the factors that may affect their value, accident victims can work with their attorneys to seek fair compensation for their accident-related losses.

Contact a Local Car Accident Attorney Right Away

After suffering injuries in a car crash, you need to involve an experienced Cleveland personal injury attorney right away to safeguard your legal interests. Your attorney can begin advocating for you right away by filing a claim and negotiating with the insurance company. If the insurance adjuster fails to compensate you fairly, your attorney can file a timely lawsuit in court and, if necessary, take your case to a jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding, such as mediation or arbitration.

Steve Crandall Author Image

Steve Crandall


With licenses to practice law in Kentucky, Ohio, and various Federal Courts, Steve Crandall has been a top trial lawyer for nearly 30 years. Steve’s goals are to first investigate your case to get you answers and then focus on holding those responsible for the mistakes that changed your life. Steve’s clients can attest to the fact that Steve is responsive, keeps them constantly updated and aggressively pursues their case. Steve also remains their lawyer for life.

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