When an individual is involved in a car accident, he is entitled to compensation for injuries suffered if another person, or entity, was at fault. A victim is never legally required to obtain the services of a car accident insurance lawyer; however, there are certain factors that make hiring an attorney a smart move for either a victim or a driver who was at fault in an accident.
When You Were at Fault
If you were clearly at fault in the accident, you should have legal representation. If you had liability insurance at the time of the accident, your liability insurer is responsible for compensating the victims up to the limit of your liability coverage. As such, the insurance company will generally employ an insurance attorney who represents your interests up to the limit of your policy. If, however, you were uninsured at the time of the accident, or it appears as though the damages will exceed your policy limits, then legal representation may be needed to protect your interests against an excessive damages award.
When Negligence Is Disputed
Negligence is the legal term used to refer to fault or blame. In some accidents, negligence is easily determined. In others, however, the issue of negligence is complicated -- particularly if more than two vehicles were involved in the accident. If you believe another party was negligent for the accident, but they are disputing that conclusion, you may need a car accident insurance attorney to prove negligence.
When Damages Are Disputed
"Damages" is the legal term used to refer to both damages caused to physical property, such as your vehicle, and injuries to you, both physical and emotional. When an accident only causes minor injuries, such as a "fender-bender," damages are often easy to agree on; however, the negligent party's insurance company may not agree to the amount of damages to which you feel you are entitled, even in a minor accident. If there is a significant discrepancy in the amount of damages sought and the amount the negligent party is willing to pay, then a car accident insurance attorney is likely needed.
When Injuries Were Severe
In an accident where the victim suffered severe injuries, it is almost always a good idea to obtain the services of an attorney. First, the injuries may take months or even years to heal, and the victim may need an attorney to arrange for partial payments while the lawsuit is pending. Second, serious injuries may continue to incur medical expenses long after the lawsuit has been settled, which needs to be factored into any settlement. Finally, severe physical injuries often cause equally severe emotional injuries, which are more difficult to value and prove making the services of a car accident insurance attorney more valuable.