When to Hire an Auto Accident Lawyer
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Car accidents can be unavoidable. There can be many causes, including driver negligence, weather conditions, mechanical failure, and much more. If an accident does occur, there can be several things other than recovery from any injuries that may worry you.
Medical bills, lost wages, and repairs to the car can all be major concerns in the initial days after the accident. In some cases, a car accident lawyer may be your best option for a positive outcome.
Under Michigan law, every driver is required to hold no-fault car accident insurance. This means that no matter whose fault the accident was, your insurance will pay for various expenses, including lost wages and medical bills. It will not cover car repairs, and insurance for this will have to be purchased separately.
There are three primary parts to this type of car accident insurance. The first is PIP (personal injury protection), which covers all medical bills and up to 85% of lost wages for a period of up to three years. The second part is PPI (property protection insurance), which offers up to $1 million to cover damage your car has caused to others’ property or parked cars.
The final part is RLI (residual liability insurance), which protects you from being sued as a result of an accident you caused. There are some situations where you are not protected from being sued.
Why You May Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
Michigan’s no-fault insurance protects you from being sued in most circumstances. The exceptions to this are:
- If you are at fault for an accident in Michigan in which someone is killed, permanently disfigured, or seriously injured.
- If the other party in an accident is not a resident of Michigan and their vehicle is not registered in Michigan.
- If the accident occurs in another state.
- For up to $1,000 in expenses to cover damage to a car where you were mostly at fault and where such expenses are not covered by insurance.
Why You May Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
While the no-fault law may appear to be a simple process that would not need the assistance of a lawyer, it can be rather complicated. Navigating the maze of the no-fault law and how it applies to other insurance policies can be tricky.
Then there is dealing with the insurance companies involved and their adjusters. Adjusters often attempt to obtain signed depositions in the early stages from accident victims which may undermine their claim later. If you hire a lawyer, they can help at every stage and can guide you through the often-confusing language used in insurance policies.
What to Look for When Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
If you need to hire a car accident lawyer, there are several things to look for before engaging one. Look for a firm that has experience in this area of law and who has demonstrable success in pursuing car accident claims. Check to see if they have testimonials from previous clients and if they have had any disciplinary transgressions.
When to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
Due to the often-complicated insurance procedures and other factors involved in a car accident claim, we recommend that you consult with a car accident lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. at the earliest opportunity. We can also ensure that you meet any deadline for filing.
Questions to Ask an Attorney
If you are assessing an attorney’s suitability to handle your case, there are some basic questions you may consider asking:
How many car accident claims have you handled, and how well do you know the relevant laws?
- Do you honestly think I have a strong case?
- Will you work on my case, or will it be a junior partner or even a paralegal?
- Do you work on a contingency fee basis, or do you charge hourly rates?
- Can you estimate how long the case will take?
- What actions can I take to improve my chances of winning the case?
How a prospective attorney answers these questions will go a long way toward you having the confidence to hire them.
It is Important to Consult an Auto Accident Attorney When:
- You feel any offer made by the insurance company is too low.
- Your claim has been denied, and you feel the decision is unfair.
- Other parties involved in the accident are suing you.
- There is disagreement over liability, which is affecting the claim.
- There are unusual circumstances that you feel make your claim worth more than it appears.
- A long period of time has passed since the accident, the claim is no further forward, and you are concerned it may be time barred by the statute of limitations.
There are other incidences where an attorney’s assistance is crucial. If you are unsure whether you may need a lawyer or not, take advantage of our free initial consultation.
Seek Advice from an Auto Accident Attorney When:
- You feel the offer made is too low.
- Issues of liability are unclear.
- You feel you need assistance to navigate the claims process.
- Part of your claim is difficult to prove, for example, levels of lost earnings if in a profession such as sales.
- You are being offered structured payments rather than a one-off payment.
An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help with Your Insurance Claim
Even with Michigan’s no-fault insurance law, the process can often be confusing to the layman. By engaging an experienced car accident lawyer, you can avoid a lot of stress and also increase your chances of a positive outcome.
Should I Get an Attorney After a Car Accident?
In some cases, the insurance claims process can be relatively simple, and you will not need an attorney. But in many other cases, there can be complicated circumstances, or the insurance company or adjuster may make a low offer. If this happens, then you need the services of professional injury attorneys.
The Best Time to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer is Now!
While you may not immediately think you need to hire an attorney, it is worth remembering that the insurance companies have lawyers permanently on call, ones who have vast experience in finding ways to reduce those companies’ liabilities. At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., we offer a free consultation to help evaluate your case and advise you on your next steps.
Get the Help You Need After Your Accident
If you have suffered any injuries in a car accident, then your primary focus should be on recovering from those injuries. An experienced personal injury lawyer at our law firm can help guide you through any potential pitfalls and alleviate your burden so you can focus on your recovery.
Reasons to Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident
There are several reasons to hire an attorney after you have been involved in a car accident. Consulting with an attorney takes the pressure off you, enabling you to concentrate on recovery. An attorney also ensures you meet all deadlines, obtains evidence, organizes your medical records and bills, communicates with healthcare providers, communicates with the other driver’s insurance company and negotiates a settlement on your behalf.
How to Hire an Accident Attorney
The first step many people take when hiring an accident attorney is an online search. An attorney’s website will often list their areas of specialty as well as demonstrating a proven track record in that area. In many cases, people will consult an attorney based on personal recommendations from friends or family members. By following our guide, you can choose the one best suited to your case.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Michigan, consider engaging an experienced attorney at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. If the accident you were in caused any injuries, you can rest assured you will be in great hands because one of our senior partners, Eileen Kroll, is both a licensed attorney and an experienced registered nurse. This means she can offer not only an in-depth knowledge of the legal aspects of your case but also an expert medical view.
An initial consultation with Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. is free, so why not call us for an appointment now on 866-MICH-LAW.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.