5 September 2020

Car accident claims - when to contact a lawyer

If you have been involved in a non-fault road traffic accident, whether as a driver, a passenger,
a motorcyclist or cyclist, or as a pedestrian, you may wonder when is the right time to contact a
lawyer. Today, we’re going to cover some of things you may not have considered regarding
when to contact a lawyer (click here for more information on the topic).

Speak to a lawyer before the other side’s lawyer makes contact with you
If you have been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, your immediate attention will
be drawn to your injuries and to the injuries of any other people involved in the incident. This is
normal. Once you have established that you are not in a life-threatening situation and that
everybody else is OK, it’s time to report the accident to the authorities and to call your lawyer.

Why call your lawyer so soon? The driver at fault will likely fear the repercussions of their
negligence, which, depending on the severity of the accident, could bear financial implications
or even jail time. This means they will speak to their lawyer as soon as possible, and their
lawyer will then try to contact you for comment - speaking to the other side’s lawyer before you
have spoken to your own lawyer is never a good idea, because the other side could attempt to
force some kind of admission that can be used against you. Instead, redirect all correspondence
through your legal team, thus ensuring that you do not inadvertently say or do anything that
could harm your claim.

What if the accident was months ago - can I still claim?
If you have been involved in a car accident that was not particularly serious in terms of injuries
suffered, but has left you in the difficult position of paying for fixes to your car whilst chasing the
other side for reimbursement of any mechanical or body work to you vehicle, you should
consider contacting a lawyer. Depending on your location, the typical time frame limits involved
in making a claim range from 2 - 3 years. This merely means that you have to begin your claim
within that time period, and doesn’t mean that you have to have completed your claim before
this deadline.

Always remember that even if you have begun the process of speaking to the other side’s
insurance company, you are entitled to instruct a lawyer to ‘take over from here’ and to
complete the negotiations on your behalf. Insurance companies will not normally pay out if they
are not held to account, meaning one or two phone calls and an email from you enquiring as to
the progress of your claim is not likely to work. A lawyer can expedite the claims process, and
can also help you to understand whether you are entitled to any other forms of compensation,
such as loss of earnings, travel expenses, and any physical or psychological suffering that may
have occurred as a direct result of your non-fault crash.

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