Often, when a person is involved in a personal injury accident it seems simpler, quicker and less expensive to simply handle to claim without hiring an attorney. Many car accident cases appear to be fairly straight forward – at least initially. Maybe the other driver admitted that he was at fault at the scene of the accident and gave you all his insurance information right then and there. If one has been injured in a slip and fall accident the store owner frequently is very reassuring and cooperative right after the accident. Regardless of what type of personal injury accident a person was involved in, it is not uncommon that the negligent party (the person that caused the accident) appears very remorseful, cooperative and reassuring immediately after the accident. So what happens once you get home and start attempting to communicate with the defendant or his insurance company regarding compensation for you injuries?
Unfortunately, this is when things sometimes begin to change. That is not to say that a personal injury accident case cannot be handled in a cooperative manner between the parties or even with the insurance adjuster involved. To the contrary, many personal injury cases are resolved amicably and without the need for an attorney. Sometimes, however, that initial cooperation that you received from the defendant becomes turns adversarial. It may be that he stops answering your calls or that he blatantly changes his version of events when you talk to him after the accident. It can also be that his insurance company becomes involved and the aren’t so happy to accept liability for your injuries. Whatever the reason, it often becomes apparent that you may need an attorney to help you with your case after all.
There is no rule regarding when in the personal injury accident process you must hire an attorney. In theory, you could hire an attorney the day before a jury trial. It would clearly not be a good a idea to wait that long, but the point is that the rules allow a plaintiff to retain counsel at whatever point in the legal process that chooses as a general rule. While you are certainly allowed to hire an attorney halfway through a personal injury accident case, it may put your attorney-and ultimately you- at a distinct disadvantage. For instance you may have already made admissions to the insurance adjuster without even realizing you were making them. Evidence may be lost since no on thought to preserve it. Witnesses that could have helped your case may have moved or otherwise become unavailable. Important medical examinations that should have been done immediately following the accident may not have been done which could make proving negligence more difficult for your newly retained lawyer.
The old adage “better late than never” applies here. Hiring an attorney well into the personal injury accident case process is certainly better than attempting to negotiate a complicated or adversarial case on your own, but consulting with an attorney immediately after an accident is truly the best course of action. If you believe that you may have a California personal injury accident case and would like a free and confidential evaluation, please contact attorney Emery Ledger of Ledger & Associates at 1-800-300-0001 or visit him on his website at www.ledgerlaw.com.