How quickly should I retain an attorney?
If you have been injured in an accident that someone else caused, it is important for you to retain an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. People who hire personal injury attorneys to represent them in their car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents and other types of personal injury cases are often able to recover significantly higher settlement amounts than people who try to represent themselves do. Hiring a personal injury lawyer early in the case may also help you to protect your rights and toobtain maximum recovery amounts.
Statutes of limitations
Every state has its own statute of limitations within which you must file your personal injury claim. If you wait until the limitations period has expired, you will not be able to file a lawsuit to recover damages. The statute of limitations generally begins to run from the date that you were injured or from the date that you discovered or reasonably should have discovered your injury. The length of time you have to file a lawsuit varies greatly depending on where the incident occurred, who you are filing a lawsuit against, and what type of incident led to your injuries and damages. If your claim is against a governmental agency, the statute of limitations may be greatly reduced. Before you can file a lawsuit against a government agency, there are strict notice requirements. In some jurisdictions, you are required to submit a notice of claim within 30 days of the accident that caused your injury.
Even if you live in a state with a longer statute of limitations period, it is important for you not to wait until the limitations period is almost up to talk to an attorney. Your personal injury attorney will need time to investigate, collect evidence, and prepare your lawsuit prior to filing. Hiring a personal injury lawyer soon after your accident can help you to secure a higher settlement amount.
When to hire a personal injury lawyer
Right after your injury accident, it is important for you to seek prompt medical attention. This will ensure you obtain the proper medical care quickly and put you on the best road to a full recovery. You should seek medical care even if you are uncertain of the extent of your injuries. There are certain types of common injuries that may not show symptoms for several hours or days after an accident.
After you have sought medical treatment for your injuries, you should then retain a personal injury lawyer. It is common for insurance companies to try to contact injured victims as soon as they learn about the accidents. They may ask for a recorded statement or for you to sign an authorization release. You should not agree to give a statement or to sign a release. The insurance companies use these to gather evidence that they can use against you in your claim in an effort to avoid having to pay money to you for your losses.
Getting help from a personal injury lawyer soon after your accident may also give him or her more time to investigate the accident and to uncover evidence that might be lost as time passes. When an attorney is hired early in the case, he or she may be able to use accident reconstruction experts and investigators to gather evidence from the scene and from any witnesses who may have seen what happened. All of this type of evidence can help to bolster your claim and make it likelier for you to prevail.
While some people think that they should wait to hire a personal injury lawyer until they see what the insurance company has to offer, waiting may be a mistake. The insurance company is interested in minimizing the amount of money that it might be forced to pay you. The longer that you wait, the likelier the insurance company will be working to build a case against your claim. Contacting and retaining an experienced personal injury attorney early can help you to protect the rights that you might have to recovering damages.