When is it too late to get a lawyer for a car accident? Find out how long you have to file a claim, when to hire a lawyer after a car accident, and what can happen if you don’t hire a lawyer to help you.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, hiring a lawyer is the only way to make sure you receive the financial compensation you deserve. It’s that simple. As an accident victim, it isn’t realistic to expect to handle your accident claim on your own. There is simply too much you need to know, and statistics show that accident victims who don’t hire lawyers tend to end up with significantly less than those that do. So, when is it too late to get a lawyer for a car accident?
The simple answer is that it too late to get a lawyer for a car accident once the statute of limitations for your claim has expired. Statutes of limitations vary by state, but tend to be at least a couple of years. In California, for example, the statute of limitations for non-fatal car accident claims is two years from the date of the collision in most cases.
But, you should not wait anywhere near two years to call a lawyer after a car accident. While it might not technically be too late until the statute of limitations expires, as a practical matter, a lawyer may not be able to help you if key evidence is no longer available or you have made mistakes that have cost you your legal rights.
When to Call a Lawyer After a Car Accident in California
When should you get a lawyer for a car accident in California? You should get a lawyer as soon after your car accident as possible. Ideally, this will be before you contact your insurance company. While it’s no secret that insurance companies use a variety of tactics to deny accident claims, many people assume that they can avoid falling victim. But, in reality, most of these people don’t know what to say and what to do (or what not to say and what not to do), and they end up making mistakes that jeopardize their financial recoveries.
If you have already contacted your insurance company, it is not too late to call a lawyer. But, you may need your lawyer to do damage control. Your lawyer will need to determine what mistakes have been made (if any), and your lawyer will need to determine what he or she can do (if anything) to get your claim back on track.
Why is it important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible? Here are five reasons why car accident victims should seek legal help right away:
- You need to avoid costly mistakes. As we already mentioned, there are a lot of mistakes you need to avoid when dealing with the insurance companies. Your lawyer can explain the mistakes you need to avoid, and your lawyer will be able to handle most aspects of your insurance claim on your behalf. If you’ve already made mistakes, you need to give your lawyer every opportunity to take corrective action on your behalf.
- Your lawyer will need to collect evidence before it disappears. Recovering just compensation for a car accident requires evidence. This includes evidence from the scene of the accident and from various other sources. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better chance your lawyer will have to collect the evidence he or she needs to pursue a successful claim.
- The insurance companies are working to minimize your recovery. While you are waiting around, the insurance companies are actively working to minimize your recovery. As a result, the longer you wait to seek help, the more you will be putting yourself at a disadvantage. Hiring an experienced lawyer promptly will turn the tables in your favor.
- You will need a lawyer to help you seek full compensation. From calculating your future medical needs to calculating just compensation for your emotional distress, you will need a lawyer to help you seek full compensation for your accident-related losses. Accurately calculating the value of your claim requires knowledge of the law, and you cannot rely on the insurance companies to pay the full amount you are owed. Unless and until you present evidence of your losses, the insurance companies will have no way to accurately assess the value of your claim.
- Without a lawyer, you won’t know when (or if) to settle. If you don’t know how much you are entitled to recover, you won’t know when (or if) to settle. You will simply be guessing at what constitutes just compensation; and, if you haven’t presented evidence of your current and future financial and non-financial losses, you will have no chance of recovering the full compensation you deserve.
There are many other reasons why you should hire a lawyer promptly as well. But, these should be enough to convince you to reach out for a free consultation. You truly have nothing to lose, and hiring a lawyer promptly could significantly increase the amount of your financial recovery.
What if You Have Waited to Contact a Lawyer about Your Car Accident?
If you’ve waited to contact a lawyer, you should not feel ashamed or embarrassed. Many people wait longer than they should. But, you need to take action, and you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
If you are wondering, “When is it too late to get a lawyer for a car accident?”, you should stop procrastinating, and you should speak with a lawyer right away. Unnecessary delays can be costly, and waiting any longer than necessary will make it more difficult for your lawyer to collect the financial compensation you deserve.