August 12, 2020 | Car Accidents
Deciding whether you need to hire a car accident lawyer can be challenging. Some accident claims can be settled without the assistance of a lawyer. How do you know if your case falls into that category?
Take Advantage of a Free Consultation
After any car accident, it is wise to talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Reputable injury lawyers do not charge for the first visit. They evaluate your case free of charge and without any obligation.
Therefore, take advantage of a free consultation to discuss your car accident case. Get advice from an experienced injury lawyer while learning about your legal rights and options for recovering compensation. By seeking legal advice, you can make an informed decision about how to proceed with your car accident claim.
Seven Signs that You Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
Some situations can complicate a personal injury case or require resources, skills, and expertise that many people do not possess unless they are an attorney. Signs that you need a car accident attorney include:
The Car Accident Involved a Fatality or Serious Injury
Traffic accidents that involve serious injuries and deaths are more complicated than accidents involving only minor injuries. In these cases, medical expenses may be very high, and you may miss more time from work. Therefore, the value of the claim may be higher, which means the insurance company may work harder to avoid liability.
Common car accident injuries that can complicate a car accident claim include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Multiple fractures or broken bones
- Back and neck injuries
In addition to serious injuries, claims involving a traffic fatality are complicated. Wrongful death claims are different from regular personal injury claims. The wrongful death laws in Oklahoma dictate who can file a wrongful death claim and what damages are available for the family members.
The Insurance Company is Blaming You for the Accident
Oklahoma is a fault state for car accident claims. Victims can only receive compensation for damages if they can prove that the other driver caused the crash.
For example, a drunk driver may be involved in an accident, but you must prove that the driver did something to cause the collision. Being intoxicated is not sufficient proof that a driver caused a crash.
If you can prove that a driver was responsible for causing the crash, you should be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, if you were partially to blame for the cause of the crash, you cannot receive full compensation under Oklahoma’s modified comparative fault law.
Oklahoma Statute Title 23 §13 states that your compensation for injuries is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. In other words, if you are 40 percent at-fault for causing the car crash, the money you should receive for an injury claim is reduced by 40 percent. In some cases, you could be barred from all financial recovery if you share the blame for the crash.
Car insurance companies use comparative fault allegations to undervalue claims. Call an attorney immediately if the insurance provider alleges you are partially to blame for causing the car wreck.
The Insurance Company Is Dragging Out The Claim
Some insurance companies try to drag out accident claims to wear you down so that you accept a lower settlement offer. Do not fall for this tactic. If you wait too long to contact an attorney, you could lose your right to file a claim.
In most cases, you have just two years from the date of the crash to file a car accident lawsuit. The delay tactics by the insurance company could be an attempt to make you miss the filing deadline.
The Accident Involved a Government Vehicle or Employee
If your car accident involved a government vehicle or employee, you have less time to file a claim. In most cases, you have just one year from the date of the crash to file an administrative claim with the government entity. If the government entity fails to respond or denies the claim, you have just 90 days to file a lawsuit.
The accelerated timeline for government claims is not the only difference. There are also special laws that apply to injury claims involving a government entity. It is always best to talk with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible if a government vehicle or employee was involved in your car accident.
The Other Driver Has Minimum Car Insurance or No Car Insurance
All drivers in Oklahoma are required to carry minimum liability insurance for car accidents. That does not mean that all drivers obey the law. Accidents involving uninsured drivers or underinsured drivers may involve additional claims against your insurance company.
Even though you may be filing a claim against your insurance policy, that does not guarantee your insurance provider will treat you fairly. An attorney identifies all potential sources of compensation, but the attorney also protects you from unfair insurance tactics, even by your own insurance provider.
You Sustained a Permanent Impairment or Disability
Some car accident victims sustain catastrophic injuries that result in permanent impairments and disabilities. If you sustained permanent impairments, you might be entitled to future damages for ongoing medical treatment, personal care, and loss of income or diminished earning potential.
Future damages can be difficult to prove and value. In most cases, you need medical experts, financial professionals, and economists to calculate the value of future damages. Because you may be unable to work and may need specialized care for the rest of your life, you want an attorney to handle the cause who knows how to maximize recovery for future damages.
The Accident Involved a Commercial Truck
Large truck accidents are complex because of the vehicle involved. The federal government regulates the trucking industry. There are special laws and regulations that apply in accidents involving 18-wheelers, big rigs, tractor-trailers, and other commercial vehicles.
Truck accident cases usually involve traumatic injuries and high-value damages. They also involve trucking companies and their insurance providers, who aggressively investigate claims. These companies have teams of professionals working to protect their best interests.
Because truck accident investigations are time-consuming, complicated, and costly, it is best to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer to handle the case. A law firm has the resources and skills to handle the investigation and even the playing field against the other parties.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
There are many more reasons to hire a car accident lawyer. The best way to protect your rights is to talk to an attorney. If you are worried about the cost of hiring an attorney, do not let that stop you from getting the legal advice you need.
Most attorneys accept injury cases on a contingency fee basis. You do not pay any attorneys’ fees until the attorney recovers compensation for your claim. Therefore, you can hire an attorney to protect your best interests without paying any fees upfront.