If you or a family member has been injured in a Pennsylvania Car Accident, you may be wondering whether or not you need to hire a Car Accident Lawyer.
Sometimes it makes sense, but sometimes there is no need. How do you decide?
You Probably DO NOT Need a Lawyer If….
The Accident Was Your Fault
If the accident was clearly your fault, you may not need a lawyer.
You should notify your car insurance company of the accident and they will assign an adjuster to handle the claim and hire a lawyer to defend the claim if it goes into litigation. As long as you have sufficient Liability Coverage to fairly compensate anyone you harmed in the accident for both vehicle damage and injuries, then you probably don’t need a personal lawyer to represent you. If, however, the damages you caused are potentially greater than your coverage, then you have risk of loss of personal assets and should consult with your own lawyer to make sure you are fully protected.
Your Injuries and Damages are Minimal
Another situation in which you probably don’t need a lawyer is if your injuries are minor, resulting in no medical treatment or just one or two visits. In such a situation, it’s unlikely that your case has enough value to justify hiring a lawyer. Instead, it’s likely that you can negotiate a minimal fair settlement with the insurance company on your own and without legal representation. However, please understand that to get the settlement, you’ll be required to sign a Release of Claims so you’ll want to be confident that you know you are fully healed before you consider settling your claim.
The Time Limit in Pennsylvania is Two Years from the date of the accident, so there is no rush to settle.
You Probably Need a Lawyer If….
If you or your family member was not at fault for causing the accident and sustained more than minor injuries, then you should consult with and consider hiring an Experienced Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer.
Car Accident Lawyers (me included) offer Free Consultations and take cases on a Contingent Fee Basis, meaning that you pay no fee to retain the lawyer and no fees during the representation. Instead, the lawyer is paid out of any settlement with the Insurance Company. This Contingent Fee allows you to get advice and representation without any up front costs.
The reason why it’s smart to consult with a Lawyer is the he/she can explain your legal rights and the claim and litigation process. You will be educated on your rights to compensation and on the fair value of your case.
An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer can also take over all communication and dealings with the insurance companies and either negotiate a fair resolution to your claim or litigate it in court.
Oftentimes, if a Car Accident Victim is not represented by a lawyer, the insurance company will try to offer a low ball settlement rather than fair compensation, hoping that the victim will just take it to be done with the claim. This is less likely when you are represented by an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer because the insurance company knows that the lawyer knows the fair value of the claim AND has the ability to litigate the case in Court if a fair settlement is not offered.
So sometimes you don’t need a Car Accident Lawyer, but often you do.
Tim Rayne is a Car Accident Lawyer with MacElree Harvey, Ltd. Tim has law offices in Kennett Square and West Chester Pennsylvania, but also meets with clients at their homes or virtually via Zoom or FaceTime. For over 25 years, Tim Rayne has been helping injured Pennsylvania Car Accident Victims receive fair compensation from insurance companies. Tim has been named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Pennsylvania by Super Lawyers and has numerous other awards and certifications.