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You most likely do not have a personal injury lawyer like Samuel I. Kane, P.A.
on speed dial just in case you are in a car accident, but maybe you should. That is because if you are in a wreck, it is never too early to talk to a car accident attorney.
It is fine to contact a car accident attorney right away. But a victim should never feel rushed to do so if they are not ready. Still, getting started sooner rather than later is preferable. Not only will evidence be easier to gather, but a settlement or court judgment can come quicker, allowing the victim to put the accident behind them and get on with their life.
Signs That It’s Time to Call a Car Accident Attorney
In an accident that results in injuries, the victim may choose to call a lawyer as soon as they are out of immediate danger. This might happen when they arrive home after seeking medical attention, or even from the hospital. But it might not occur to them to make the call right away if, for example, things are too chaotic, if they are in too much pain, or if they initially think they are fine.
No matter the reason for waiting, the following situations are indications that a car accident attorney is going to be necessary:
It is advisable to contact a lawyer for any car accident that results in an ambulance ride, emergency room visit, hospital admittance, surgery, or an ongoing treatment plan. An insurance claim will need to be filed in order to be reimbursed for any of these expenses and for damage to the vehicle. Attorneys understand how to work with insurance companies.
If an accident happens because of one driver’s negligence, that driver is responsible for compensating the victim for their personal injuries. And even though it might seem clear who is at fault, it is not always so easy to prove it
. A car accident attorney can be instrumental in collecting evidence for the case. And since New Mexico is a “pure comparative fault” state, the victim’s settlement may be reduced if they share part of the blame. A lawyer can determine their client’s percentage of liability fairly, so they still receive appropriate compensation.
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Lack of Clarity
Understanding legal terminology and insurance jargon is difficult for most people. This is even more likely when the person is suffering after a car accident. Once someone signs a settlement agreement, there is no turning back. It is absolutely essential that the victim knows exactly what they are agreeing to. Whenever language in a contract or a settlement offer is confusing, it is wise to have a lawyer review it to avoid any costly mistakes.
Unfortunately, some insurance companies and lawyers for at-fault drivers might try to pressure people into accepting a lowball offer for compensation. They may use scare tactics and arbitrary deadlines to force a quick decision. Victims might be told that hiring their own attorney is unnecessary or a bad idea. A common strategy is to reach out to a victim before they have had time to file an insurance claim—even showing up at the hospital or at the victim’s home.
Feeling pressured or intimidated is a red flag. Hiring an attorney at this point will likely make the other parties back off. They can handle all of the communication going forward so the victim can focus on healing.
Sometimes it takes a few days or even weeks for certain injuries to present themselves. For example, what seemed like a simple headache could worsen and make a victim wonder if they have a concussion. Just because someone does not receive immediate care does not mean that they can not be compensated for their medical expenses.
It also does not mean they have missed their chance to contact a lawyer.
Statute of Limitations
The only time it is too late to get a lawyer for a car accident case is when the statute of limitations has run out. New Mexico allows three years from the time of the accident to start a personal injury case. This means that any insurance claim or lawsuit must be filed—not resolved—within that time period. If a victim passes away due to injuries suffered in an accident, the statute for a wrongful death case
is three years from the date of death.
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How a Lawyer Will Help Your Car Accident Case
There are many advantages to contacting an attorney
after an accident that involves injuries. Legal professionals know what steps to take and have experience navigating the complex world of insurance claims. Once an attorney takes charge, they will handle communication and negotiations
. The victim can focus on healing rather than fielding calls and letters from insurance companies and the negligent driver’s lawyers.
While it is not impossible for an individual to build their own car accident case, the expertise of an attorney can improve the chances of winning—and maximizing the amount of the settlement or judgment. There are often expenses or losses that a victim might not even think to include, let alone how to calculate their dollar value. For example, if a victim’s injuries will prevent them from advancing in their field of work—there could be compensation for lost potential earnings.
Situations When You Can Skip a Lawyer
In the case of an injury accident, when a victim contacts a lawyer is not as important as if they need to contact one. There are times, however, when an attorney’s help might not be necessary at all. A fender-bender without injuries, for example, can usually be handled directly with the insurance company. Compensation, in this case, would only involve fixing the vehicle and not covering ambulance or doctor bills.
It is important to note, though, that even what might seem like a minor crash can result in injuries. All parties involved should accept medical attention at the scene if it is offered, just to be safe. They may also want to check with their doctor within a day or two. If everything checks out, and they continue to feel fine, there is no need to contact an attorney.
Kane Personal Injury Is Here When You Need Them
In addition to the physical pain of being seriously hurt in a car accident, it is also upsetting and stressful. Getting a lawyer to handle insurance paperwork and legal proceedings will allow the victim to focus on their health and recovery.
Many people are not sure if their accident was “bad enough” to get a lawyer. When in doubt, it is best to err on the side of caution and make the call, whether the crash just happened or if it was months ago.
Kane Personal Injury does not collect any fees unless there is a settlement. We review every case to see how—and if—we can help. The sooner they are contacted, the quicker they can get started working to build a case to get full and fair compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Please note that this article was created for advertisement purposes, and it does not constitute any contractual legal relationship, nor imply one.