Do I Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
While you do not need a lawyer after a car accident, you may want to consider retaining one. If you suffered injuries in a car accident, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you pursue compensation, protect you against unfair defense tactics, and stand up for your rights.
Lawyers also have resources to help you build a case and work for you on a contingency-fee-basis where you pay nothing up-front.
Gathering Evidence for Your Case
Though you do not need a lawyer after a car accident, a car accident lawyer may be able to help you build a case for compensation by gathering and preserving evidence that shows another party as liable for your injuries. This evidence may include:
- Photos and videos from the accident
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Eyewitness statements, including locating witnesses after the accident
- Video surveillance footage, if available
- And possibly more
Even in cases where evidence from the scene of the accident is limited, a lawyer may also be able to hire an accident reconstruction expert to submit testimony in your defense.
It is important to establish who is at fault for a car accident, because this determines which party to pursue for compensation. A lawyer may be able to help you establish who is at fault in your car accident, whether that party is:
- Another driver
- A negligent mechanic
- A corporation employing a driver on the road
- A municipality responsible for a dangerous road
- Or other negligent parties
In cases where multiple parties are at fault, a lawyer may be able to help you pursue all responsible parties.
You do not need a lawyer after a car accident, however, a lawyer may be able to help you to establish the types of damages for which you may be eligible. Evidence of this may be useful for negotiating a settlement or for the valuation of your awards in court.
While you may be able to easily gather medical bills, receipts, and an estimate for the repairs to your car on your own, evidence for other damages in a personal injury case may be more difficult to obtain. This evidence may include but is not limited to:
- Future medical expenses: an estimate of all future costs of medical care, which medical records or testimony from medical experts may support.
- Lost wages: an evidence-backed estimate of the wages you lost and stand to lose during the recovery time from your accident.
- Diminished earning capacity: in some cases, your injury may impact your ability to do your current job. Evidence of your diminished earning capacity could produce an award in your injury case.
- Pain and suffering: pain and suffering damages may be available in your personal injury case, but they come with unique legal guidelines. A lawyer may be able to explain the threshold requirements for pursuing pain and suffering and determining whether you qualify. A lawyer may also be able to explain the Insurance Act and the amount that may be automatically taken out for the statutory deductible.
Filing Your Claim and Negotiating for Your Rights
There are many steps to negotiating a settlement or filing a claim in court that a lawyer may be able to handle for you.
According to the Ontario Limitations Act, there is typically a two-year limitations period, or time limit, for filing a personal injury case. A few circumstances may alter this limitation period. A lawyer may be able to manage the limitations period and other legal deadlines in your case.
When a lawyer represents you in a personal injury case, they may also speak with the insurance company on your behalf. This representation may ensure that you do not say anything to the insurance company that could be taken out of context and used against you later.
If your lawyer is familiar with the defense tactics that insurance companies and other lawyers use, they may be able to protect your case against attempts to reduce your compensation after an accident.
If we are unable to reach an agreeable settlement in negotiations, a lawyer may be able to fight for your rights at court.
Taking the Burden Off of You
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident, you may have the right to hold the at-fault party responsible. Rather than trying to figure out the legal system and the steps you need to take to file a claim and pursue compensation for your injuries, representation from a personal injury lawyer allows you to focus your time and energy on the recovery from your injuries.
For a free initial consultation with a personal injury legal team member, contact Preszler Injury Lawyers at 1-800-JUSTICE. Our firm operates on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning the clients we represent pay nothing to us up-front. Our payment only comes out of a settlement or awards in court you may receive.