You can hire a car accident lawyer almost anytime after a car crash. However, waiting to hire an attorney lessens your chances of getting maximum compensation. If you wait too long, the time to file a personal injury lawsuit may pass leaving you without a remedy.
While every case is different, it’s a good idea to know when to hire an Illinois car accident lawyer after a car accident.
Why Should You Hire a Car Accident Attorney in Illinois?
The first question you might ask is if you need a lawyer at all after a car crash. That question is easily answered: You do. Illinois law is complicated. Car accident lawyers spend years learning about the law so they can help their clients. Anyone without that knowledge is likely to make mistakes.
For example, you probably don’t know whether your case qualifies for a jury trial or requires you to go to small claims court. Similarly, very few people who aren’t lawyers know the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Illinois. Your car accident attorney knows all this information and will answer any questions you have.
Legal knowledge is only half the reason you want to hire an attorney. Car accident attorneys also have experience negotiating with insurance companies. They can negotiate informally or at arbitration proceedings. And if everything goes well, the arbitration can prevent you from going to court.
When Should You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Some people hire an attorney before they need one. And while this is a responsible action, it can also be expensive, depending on the lawyer. That being said, even if you don’t put a lawyer on retainer, you can consult with one for free and decide whether you want to work with them.
Normally, you would hire an attorney right after a car crash. For instance:
At the Crash Scene
One of the best times to hire an attorney is while you are waiting for police or medical services to arrive at the crash scene. The earlier you hire a lawyer, the earlier they can start giving you legal advice.
You can deal with police officers, other drivers, and insurance companies easier if an experienced attorney gives you advice the entire time. Sometimes, your newly hired lawyer could even show up at the crash and represent you in person.
Not everyone likes making decisions that quickly, though, and that’s understandable. If you would prefer to think through your options, you can delay hiring an attorney. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak to someone who can give you legal advice.
Nearly every car crash lawyer offers free consultations, and you should take advantage of that as soon as possible. A consultation allows you to learn about your options.
If your injuries aren’t too bad or your financial situation is such that you can wait, you can spend some time considering your options thoroughly and pick the best approach for you.
After Starting a Claim
Some people prefer to file a claim before contacting a lawyer. This point usually isn’t too late, but it can make your attorney’s job more difficult. If you have already filed your claim, you have likely provided a statement to the insurance company. And depending on what you said, that statement could make it harder for you to collect money.
If you waited until you filed a claim, hopefully, you kept careful records of all your interactions with other drivers, police, and insurance companies. These records will help your car crash lawyer get up to speed quickly.
When Filing an Appeal
Unfortunately, some potential clients wait until the insurance company denied them before hiring an attorney. You want a lawyer when appealing a decision, but by then, your lawyer is starting at a major disadvantage.
If they didn’t represent you at the beginning of your claim, it will take a while for them to research the case. Also, at this point, it is usually too late to perform an independent investigation. Some evidence just isn’t available anymore.
If you wait until you need to appeal to hire a lawyer, they probably won’t get you as much money as they would have if you had hired them earlier. Still, the attorney can probably get you some additional compensation, and that could matter a lot.
Attorneys Aren’t Just For Lawsuits
Many people unfamiliar with the law think that an attorney can only help them in a lawsuit. This is an understandable misconception, but lawyers do more than just go to court.
Car crash lawyers in Illinois can help without filing a lawsuit. Some injury cases will need to be tried in front of a judge and jury. However, accident attorneys help clients navigate the claims process and negotiate accident claims with insurance companies without going to court in the majority of car accident cases.
If the insurance company is not offering a fair settlement, you may need to file a lawsuit. For that, it’s best to be represented by legal counsel. It’s never a good idea to represent yourself in court. Generally speaking, people who represent themselves at trial get a fraction of the money that those with lawyers get—if they get any money at all.
Car Crash Lawyers Get You More Money
As a rule, people who hire a car crash attorney end up with more money than those who don’t. This outcome is even true once they deduct the lawyer’s fee from their damages.
To protect yourself and your family and get the maximum amount of money the law allows, consult a car crash lawyer to learn about your options and how much money you can expect to get if they represent you.
Contact an Illinois Car Accident Attorney
Car accident lawyers have the necessary legal knowledge and experience to navigate the complexities of Illinois law and negotiate with insurance companies effectively. While it’s advisable to hire an attorney early on, even if you haven’t done so, free consultations are available to discuss your options and obtain valuable legal advice.
Remember, hiring a car accident attorney can significantly increase your chances of securing a fair settlement and obtaining the compensation you deserve. Contact an Illinois car accident attorney today to protect your interests and get the guidance you need.