If you’ve been injured through someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering when to call a personal injury lawyer. Many people don’t want to “make a fuss” and may not consider calling a lawyer until things are “really bad.” And it can be hard to know when you’ve reached that point. The truth is, it’s a good idea to consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as you think you might need one. You don’t need to wait until things go south with the insurance company or the medical bills start piling up. In fact, the sooner you get an attorney involved in your case, the sooner they can help you get the compensation that you deserve. Here are a few signs that it’s definitely time to call a personal injury lawyer.
When Your Injury Is Serious
If you have a very severe injury that requires emergency care, you should call a personal injury lawyer as soon as you are able. Medical bills for emergency treatment and a possibly lengthy recovery can add up fast, and insurance companies will be looking for any reason not to pay your claim. An experienced attorney can make sure that your interests are protected as you recover from your accident.
When Your Injury Isn’t Getting Better
Sometimes, the full extent of your injuries isn’t immediately apparent. You may have seemingly minor aches and pains in the first few hours or days after your accident, only to realize as time goes on that your pain is worsening rather than going away. When you find that you may need more extensive or lengthy medical treatment, it is a good idea to call a personal injury attorney. Insurance companies may try to say that your injury was caused by something else because you didn’t realize the full extent of it right away. A lawyer who is familiar with cases like yours can make sure that they are held accountable and provide you all the compensation you are due.
When Your Medical Bills Are Piling Up
Even if you have health insurance, you may have significant medical expenses from your accident. If you have a high deductible plan, for example, you may have to pay thousands of dollars before your insurance company pays a dime. And even after meeting your deductible, you may have to pay co-insurance of 20% or more. It all adds up to a huge expense that you weren’t planning for, and you may end up with severe financial hardship. An experienced personal injury attorney will help to make sure you don’t pay the price from someone else’s negligence.
When You Get Overwhelmed
Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be daunting. The virtual mountains of paperwork and phone calls from the insurance companies, both yours and the responsible party’s, may feel impossible to navigate. And when you’ve been injured, you’re also dealing with going to doctor’s appointments and completing your treatment, not to mention jumping through your health insurance company’s hoops. It can all feel like too much at a time when you should be focusing on getting better. A personal injury lawyer will help you manage the miles of red tape and will communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf, so that you have time to rest and recover.
As Soon As Possible
There are several reasons you should call a personal injury lawyer as soon as you think you might need one. Many aspects of a personal injury case are time sensitive, and you don’t want to put off calling an attorney, only to find out later that the delay has harmed your chances of getting fair compensation.
- Statute of Limitations: You only have a certain amount of time to make a legal claim after an accident takes place. This statute of limitations varies from state to state. In Virginia, you must file your case within two years of the date of the accident for most injuries. However, certain types of cases may have different time limits. The best course of action is to consult an attorney right away so that you don’t miss your chance to plead your case.
- Fresh Memories: Your own recollection of the accident, as well as that of any eyewitnesses, will be clearest and most accurate shortly after the accident. An attorney can help make sure that fresh accounts of the accident are preserved as evidence.
- Physical Evidence: As time goes by, important evidence that could help your case may be lost or destroyed. An experienced attorney will make sure that relevant evidence is preserved and documented to make the best case possible.
- Insurance Companies May Take Advantage: The insurance company’s goal is always to pay as little as possible on any claim. If you are not represented by an attorney, they may take advantage of your lack of experience and push you to sign documents that limit your ability to seek compensation later or agree to a settlement that is far less than you are entitled to. An experienced personal injury attorney will protect your interests and make sure the insurance companies play fair.
So when should you call a personal injury lawyer? Well, chances are if you’re asking yourself that question, the answer is “right away.” Geoff McDonald & Associates has decades of experience helping injured people get the compensation they deserve. For a free evaluation of your case, contact us online or give us a call.