Car Accident? Do You Really Need an Attorney?

Automobile accidents can leave victims with repair bills, medical bills, physical pain, and a reduced ability to earn an income. When an accident occurs, parties injured due to the actions of another should be made whole. Unfortunately, recovering financially from an accident is not always simple. As a general rule of thumb, if you have been injured in a car accident and are wondering whether you should retain an attorney, schedule a consultation with one as soon as possible.

When You May Not Need a Lawyer

The legal system exists to resolve disputes between parties in a socially beneficial manner. Following an accident, an attorney will represent a client in a dispute of some sort. For plaintiffs who are being ignored or offered reduced settlements that do not encompass the scope of the injury, an attorney can be a valuable ally.

That is not to say that every accident calls for legal intervention. Some attorneys can be expensive if paid by the hour, and even a contingency fee agreement may involve an initial cash outlay to defray some of the early costs of litigation. If the damage from an accident is relatively minor in the sense that the vehicles are clearly not totaled and neither party is injured, the parties should first consider working out the matter privately. If the at-fault party or his or her insurance company is willing to fully compensate the injured party for the lost property or vehicle damage, then the legal system may not be needed in the matter. But when a dispute arises, especially to an injured party, he or she should consider retaining counsel as soon as possible.

Limited Instances

In certain limited cases, some parties will view an accident as a potential source of income. Parties who intentionally malinger to inflate the damages caused by an accident can expose themselves to civil and criminal liability, as well as compromising their credibility with respect to the underlying valid claim. Filing frivolous claims wastes money, can lead to sanctions, and casts suspicion on parties filing legitimate claims with similar injuries. The legal system seeks to make parties whole; it is not a lottery ticket.

Even if the claim is legitimate, disputes regarding damages can arise following an accident. Obstinate parties can refuse to pay for certain damages, insurers often offer artificially low settlements, and long-term damages can be difficult to quantify. In many cases where the vehicle damage is relatively low, the damages may be less than the statutory maximum for the local small claims court. In small claims court, the plaintiff and defendant are not permitted to have attorneys representing their interests. As such for smaller amounts, retaining counsel may not be financially worthwhile.

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When You Do Need a Lawyer

According to our experienced Dallas attorneys of if anyone is injured in an automobile accident, the injured party should retain counsel immediately. An attorney specializing in personal injury law can explain the available options to the injured party. An attorney who is experienced in handling cases with injuries stemming from automobile accidents can also ensure that the plaintiff is examined thoroughly for injuries. Latent injuries that go undetected and are left untreated can cause greater harm down the road.

Experienced accident attorneys can also help the injured parties assess their damages. If a plaintiff is unable to work or begins experiencing constant pain following an accident, the injured party may not be able to recover the full scope of the damage from the at-fault party or his or her insurance company. An attorney can help accident victims injured by the negligence or wrongful act of another obtain compensation for their injuries.

When in Doubt, Consult a Lawyer

When in doubt, the injured party should always consult an attorney. If the damage is more than minor property damage or if there is a dispute regarding the damages and they exceed the statutory cap for small claims court, the injured parties should retain counsel. Attorneys specializing in cases stemming from automobile accidents frequently offer free consultations, so the injured party will have nothing to lose by speaking with an experienced lawyer – and possibly much to gain.

Legal researcher and writer, Karla M. Somers is a contributing author to the professionals at These qualified attorneys specialize in every type of motor vehicle accident including those involving trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, hit and run, buses, taxis, drunk driving and distracted driver cases.

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