No one can fully prepare for a car crash and all that comes with it. In addition to seeking medical care and sorting out property damages, accident victims will need to contact the insurance company. While all of these steps are important, victims may often wait to call an attorney after a crash until much later. However, there are a few reasons why you may want to seek legal help sooner than later.
Today at Jay Trucks, we discuss some of the reasons why injured victims may delay calling an attorney, how that decision could affect the outcome of your claim, and when it may be too late to seek legal help.
Call our law offices today to learn more. Get answers to your legal questions in a completely free, no-obligation consultation with one of our qualified attorneys.
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Why Do Injured Victims Often Wait to Call a Lawyer?
There are a lot of reasons why injured victims may wait to seek legal help. Many people have a few misconceptions about calling an attorney after a crash, such as:
- Hiring a lawyer is too expensive, especially if you have upfront costs to pay
- The damages do not seem serious enough to seek legal help
- Thinking about making even one more call while trying to recover is overwhelming
- Sometimes, victims may simply be unsure when or if they should call an attorney after a car crash
All of these concerns are valid, yet calling a lawyer may actually benefit your claim significantly. When you meet with one of our Grand Rapids car crash lawyers, we can answer any questions you have.
This initial consultation is not only free, but there is also no “hard sell” to get you to hire our firm. It is, however, a good opportunity to find out if you have legal options and whether we may be able to help. Most importantly, when a qualified attorney handles your case, it frees you up to focus fully on your recovery.
Could Waiting to Call an Attorney Hurt Your Claim?
Not calling a lawyer after a car crash will not prevent you from filing a no-fault claim to begin receiving your benefits. However, without legal help, there are many things that could hurt the value of your claim, such as:
Losing Access to Critical Crash Scene Evidence
One of the benefits of hiring an attorney is that he or she will fully investigate your claim and gather evidence. This part of seeking compensation is best to do soon after the accident. Waiting to call an attorney after a crash makes it more likely that key pieces of evidence may get misplaced, damaged or lost, such as:
- Crash scene photos
- Camera footage
- Details of vehicle damages
- The accident or police report
- Medical records
- Tracking down witnesses who may not remember what they saw even months after the crash
Insurance Companies May Pressure Victims and Delay Claims
All drivers in Michigan must carry auto insurance under the law. These policies help crash victims to recover from their injuries and other losses. That said, it is important to remember that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. This means when you file a claim, they will not automatically offer you a large settlement. They will look for ways to pay out as little as possible, such as trying to prove that your injuries are less serious than you say.
Another way insurance companies try to protect their bottom line is by trying to pressure accident victims into settling quickly. Taking a quick offer is often attractive to injured victims. Many may be struggling financially, especially if they are receiving low or no wages while recovering. The insurance company banks on that, as well as the fact that many injured victims do not know the true value of their claims.
If pressuring the victim does not work, sometimes insurance companies may look for other ways to delay, devalue or deny a claim.
You May Miss Important Filing Deadlines
Whether filing a first-party no-fault benefits claim or a third-party lawsuit, there are deadlines accident victims need to know about and pay attention to.
For instance, you have one year from the date of your accident to file your no-fault benefits claim. If you miss the deadline, you will not be able to seek those benefits.
The statute of limitations is just three years from the date of your collision/injury. Compared to only one year for filing your no-fault benefits claim, this may sound like a lot of time. However, it is important to remember that lawyers need time to build a solid claim on your behalf.
Victims Often Make Mistakes That Damage Their Claim
Attorneys help crash victims in many ways, such as handling communication with their insurance company and negotiating for full compensation. Another part of what they do is guide injury victims throughout the legal process to help them avoid saying things or making decisions that could hurt their claim.
Sometimes Victims Wait Too Long to Call a Lawyer
Crash victims may often worry about calling an attorney too soon. However, waiting too long to call is the real risk. If you are calling too close to the statute of limitations deadline, many lawyers would likely be unwilling to take on your case. This is because attorneys do not want to waste your time or theirs if they do not think they can win.
To properly prepare for a case, attorneys need time to:
- Investigate the crash that caused your injuries
- Calculate your damages – after you have reached your Maximum Medical Improvement
- Negotiate for a settlement based on your claims full value
Injured in a Car Crash? Call Jay Trucks for Legal Help You Can Trust
At Jay Trucks, all of your legal questions can be answered in the free case review we offer. Not only is there zero cost to you, but if we represent you, there are also no out-of-pocket costs while we work on your case.
Call our law offices anytime, night or day, to schedule your zero-cost consultation. Check out our proven results and what other clients have to say about our services. We are here to help.
Millions Recovered for Our Clients. 989-244-0356