Should I Get an Attorney After a Car Accident?
A car accident can be a nerve-wracking experience. If you or another party was injured, the stress of the accident and determining the best way forward can be a lot to manage on your own.
2.35 million people are injured or disabled in car accidents in the United States each year.
Fortunately, most auto accidents only involve damage to the vehicle(s) and can generally be handled between you and the insurance company, but there are certainly times when seeking legal counsel is your best course.
What an Attorney Can Do for You
- Provide honest advice regarding your situation
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Prove liability/fault
- Determine the value of injuries
- Negotiate a settlement or file a lawsuit
For help deciding when to get an attorney for a car accident read on, or if you would prefer to speak to a Minneapolis car accident attorney right away, contact our legal team to schedule a consultation.
Considerations for Your Auto Accident
Should the Police Be Notified?
Even if the accident appears to be a simple “fender bender,” it is a good idea to call the police. They may not send an officer to the scene if they decide the accident was minor enough. In Minnesota, if the accident resulted in injury or death, you are required to report it immediately.
When Should You Call Your Insurance Agency?
You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. In Minnesota, your auto-insurer is typically required to pay you accident-related medical expenses, up to $20,000. Your insurer can only make these payments if they’ve been notified of the claim. Most insurance agencies require full cooperation to initiate payments or to settle a claim.
Should I Speak to a Lawyer Before I File an Insurance Claim?
You can contact a lawyer about your auto accident after you have already reported it to your insurance company, but it must be before you have reached a settlement. Typically, once a settlement with the insurance company has been reached, you cannot return to the settlement to change its terms.
When Should I Contact an Attorney About My Car Accident?
If you think you might hire an attorney to help represent you, you should contact one as soon as possible after the accident.
Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no legal fees due from you unless the attorney recovers compensation for your injuries. Most law firms also offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation and decide how to proceed.
Information to keep track of regarding your car accident:
Whether or not you hire an attorney to assist you, there are important documents and information regarding your auto accident that you should gather and keep together in a safe place.
- Information for the other driver and any passengers that were in the vehicle
- This includes the name, address, and phone number for all persons involved and additionally the driver’s license plate number and insurance information
- Contact information for any witnesses if police aren’t called to the scene
- If police are notified and arrive to the scene, they should obtain this information for their report
- The police report if one was filed
- Get the name and badge number of the officer(s) on the scene, the police agency they represent (city police, state patrol, etc.), and the report number so you can obtain a copy of it later
- Pictures of the accident and any vehicle damage
- Ideally you should take pictures at the scene, but if that is not possible take them as soon as possible following the accident
- Receipts or invoices for any expenses incurred as a result of the accident
- This includes things like a tow truck fee, vehicle rental, doctor or physical therapist visits, and paperwork (there may be a small fee to obtain the police report, for example)
- The insurance adjustor’s name and phone number
- The insurance claim file number
- Any other pertinent contact information
Ultimately, a good attorney will give you an honest opinion on whether it would be worth your while to hire legal representation or not. Hall Law has more than 40 years of experience helping injury victims receive fair compensation. To set up a free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers in Minneapolis, contact us today.