Should I Get A Lawyer For A Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?
This is a common question that people ask after there has been an accident ("should I call a lawyer after a car accident?"), especially ones which involve injuries. The answer to this question isn't simple or obvious. But it is a smart question to ask.
So I created a flow chart (below) to help answer this question for you. The flow chart makes it easy to get an answer.
There are a series of simple questions you have to ask yourself. If you do, you can answer the ultimate question "Should I Get A Lawyer For A Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?".
Just answer these 'sub' questions. Then you will know whether you should talk to a injury lawyer yourself after an accident that wasn't your fault. How simple is that?
Question One: Were You Injured In The Accident?
The first question is a simple one. Did you get hurt in the accident?
The reason we have to ask this is that if you got hurt in the accident, then you need to hire your own lawyer to represent you for your own claim for personal injuries. If multiple people got hurt, it is usually, but not always, okay for one personal injury lawyer to represent everyone who got hurt in the accident.
So let's say you had a car crash while you were driving, but you had passengers. In that case, one lawyer should easily be able to represent everyone in your car, assuming they all got hurt in the crash.
If you got hurt, you have to get a lawyer. Otherwise, no one else will help you get the money and compensation you deserve. And also make sure you get paid for time lost from work and get your medical bills paid.
After an accident, insurance companies usually step in to fix car damage or damage to property. But prosecuting a case for personal injuries is not something they will do for you. So, if you got hurt, you HAVE to talk to a lawyer about your case.
Injury lawyers give free consultations. That means you can talk to the lawyer for free. And they do not charge to listen to you or to give you free advice. And, the best part is that an injury lawyer only gets paid if he or she wins your case. You usually never pay any money out of pocket, just for what they win in your accident case. So if you got into and accident, you can submit your case by clicking HERE.
If you DIDN'T get hurt, then its time to ask another important question.
Question Two: Did You Have Insurance That Covers The Accident?
If you have car damage and the accident wasn't your fault, then the insurance company for the other driver should fix your car. Or if you had full coverage insurance, then you could also choose to just have your own insurance company pay for your car repairs. Either way, no reason to hire a lawyer, because insurance should pay for the property damage as a result of the accident, since it was not your fault.
For example, let's say you are stopped in traffic and someone hits you from the rear while you are stopped. The crash wasn't your fault. The other guy's insurance should fix your car for free. If they do not, then your own insurance should fix it, if you have full coverage insurance instead of just liability insurance. No need for any lawyers, usually.
But what if someone else is claiming they got hurt and it was your fault (even though it wasn't)?
If someone is saying they got hurt in an accident and it was your fault, it is time to immediately call your own insurance. This is true whether it is automobile insurance or a home or property owner's insurance or even business liability insurance. It is importatant to know that your insurance company requires you to contact them as soon as possible. Or as soon as you have an accident or become aware that someone is making a claim against you.
Let's take the same facts as above. You are rear ended and someone says the crash was your fault. (Silly, but possible.) And let's say they claim to be hurt. They can technically hire an injury lawyer to sue you.
But if you have insurance, your insurance company will hire a Defense lawyer. They will pay any judgment agaiunst you up to policy limits. Again, no reason for you to hire a lawyer of your own.
Of course, if no one is suing you or making any claim against you, then talking to an injury lawyer is not necessary.
If someone is making a claim against you, whether it is for property damage or personal injury, failure to report the claim to your insurance company could result in them dropping your insurance coverage. It could also make you personally responsible for any settlement or judgment. Always cooperate with your insurance company and notify them of any claim against you.
But what if you didn't have insurance?
If you were involved in an accident and it wasn't your fault, but someone is making a claim against you for property damage or personal injury. Then you probably should consult with a lawyer.
Why? That's because, without insurance, you can get sued and get a Judgment against you. That can ruin your credit, result in garnished wages. You may even have to pay money out of your pocket, as well as lawyer fees and perhaps penalties.
Time for another example. Let's' say that you are rear ended and it is the other guy's fault. The other guy claims the accident was your fault, and hires a lawyer to sue you. But you do not have any insurance. This is the perfect time to call a lawyer because if the other guy goes to Court and wins, even it wasn't your fault, your personal money and assets are at risk. Word of caution: hiring a lawyer to defend you (instead of hiring an injury lawyer to sue someone for you) costs money out of your pocket.
A lawyer will be able to advise you about what it will cost for the lawyer to defend you in Court. And what the case value against you might be. A lawyer familiar with injury cases may also be able to advise you about your chances at trial. Also, whether it makes sense to call the other side to settle the case for a small amount. This is sometimes possible. It depends on what evidence there is in the case, and how big the damages or injuries are. A lawyer may also be able to give you other options to help.
And, I said before, if no one is making any case or claim against you as a result of the accident, then there's really no need to talk to a lawyer. In that case, the answer to "Should I Get A Lawyer For An Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?" should be a resounding "No".
I hope that my flow chart and explanation helped answer your questions. Thanks for reading.
If you have been hurt in an accident, I offer a free and zero obligation consultation to help and answer your questions.
You can call my office 24 hour a day, 7 days a week to talk about your case at 312-500-4500.
Or maybe you'd prefer to submit your case to my office to find out if you have a good case by cliking the button below.