When should you hire an auto accident attorney?
After an accident, you might be wondering: do I get an attorney for an auto accident? Knowing when you should hire an attorney is important—and it depends on a few key factors.
Today, the auto accident attorneys at Casper & Casper explain when to seek representation. Keep reading to learn what you need to know.
Do You Have a Case?
To determine if you should hire an auto accident attorney, you need to know whether or not you have a case. This will depend on the extent of the injuries and/or property damage, who was at fault for your accident, and if your case is within the statute of limitations.
Let’s talk about each of these in depth.
Did you experience significant injuries or property damage?
Auto accidents without injuries or serious property damage don’t need an attorney. That’s because there aren’t any losses to claim or compensation to be awarded. If you were involved in a minor fender bender, for example, with only a few bruises and a scratched bumper, you wouldn’t need an auto accident attorney.
However, if you experienced a serious accident, with major injuries and expensive property damage, your case would merit help from a lawyer. An experienced auto accident attorney could help you prove your case and obtain the maximum compensation possible.
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to receive compensation for:
- Medical bills (treatment, hospital stays, prescriptions, rehab, etc.)
- Lost wages
- Property loss
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium (the negative impact any injuries had on your relationship with your spouse)
In particularly serious cases, punitive damages are possible. Punitive damages are awarded when the wrong-doer’s behavior was so egregious that the courts issue additional damages as punishment.
Who was at fault in your accident?
In order to win your claim and receive compensation, the other party needs to have been at fault for your accident.
Ohio is a “comparative fault” state. This means that you are allowed to sue another person if that person is at least 51 percent at fault. If you were found to be mostly at fault, your case would be dismissed.
If the other party is mostly at fault, but you share some of the fault, the compensation you could receive would be reduced by the percentage of your fault. For example, let’s say you are found to be 20 percent at fault for the auto accident. You could still receive compensation, but the compensation would be reduced by 20 percent.
Fault is a key part of your case, and it can be tricky to prove. If you’re not sure who was at fault in your case, it’s a good idea to speak to an auto accident attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can look at the facts in your case and help you understand how comparative fault might affect it.
Is your case within the statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations is a state law that puts a time limit on your right to file a lawsuit.
In Ohio, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the auto accident. If you are filing a claim on behalf of a loved one who passed in an accident (called a wrongful death claim), the statute is two years from the date of death. (These two dates might be different.)
If your case isn’t within the statute of limitations, the court will typically dismiss it. That’s why it’s a good idea to speak with an attorney sooner, rather than later.
What Kind of Auto Accident Attorney Do You Need?
It’s always a good idea to hire an attorney that has experience with cases like yours. Not all personal injury attorneys are knowledgeable or specialize in auto accidents.
If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident or motorcycle accident, it’s especially important to find an attorney experienced in these areas. These types of auto accidents are often more serious than your average claim—motorcycle accidents, because the rider is less protected than a driver, and truck accidents, because semis are so much heavier and cause more damage.
Before hiring an auto accident attorney, make sure to ask them what kind of cases they’ve handled before. Do they have experience gathering evidence for auto accident claims? Negotiating with auto insurers? Going to trial, if necessary?
You want to be able to trust your attorney with your case.
Call Us Today
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an auto accident—whether it was a car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident—we are here for you.
Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a skilled auto accident attorney. We’ll answer your questions, help you understand your options, and let you know how we can help you.