Typically this is NOT the first question that pops into your mind after being involved in an accident, nor should it be. If you have ever been involved in an accident, the first thought or question is usually, “Is everyone alright?” Once it has been determined those involved have not been seriously injured, the adrenaline kicks in, then the anger, fear, or compassion as your internal wiring dictates. Most often, the idea of hiring an attorney arises when dealing with an insurance company.
So when should you call an attorney? Why does anyone need an attorney? Can I just handle it myself? The best way to answer these questions is to provide a household analogy. For example: When might you need a plumber? The truthful answer is … it depends. It depends on a number of things including your aptitude to do-it-yourself. In the case of a leak, factors to be considered may include:
How bad is the leak? Where is the leak and how long has it been leaking? Is this a recurring leak and is it causing damage? Do you have the necessary tools and parts to fix the leak? The list of questions and considerations goes on and on.
The wonders of Google and YouTube have many of us choosing to do our own minor home repairs or improvement projects once the proper considerations have been addressed. I installed a wash sink in my garage using a “How To” video found on the internet. As I look back, it probably would have been better to hire a professional. I spent more money on materials and tools, not to mention the time invested over the following months, fixing a recurring leak, than had I hired someone to do the job properly.
My decision to “DIY projects” is based on mitigated risk. How much REAL damage could occur should something go wrong? The choice to hire an attorney should be approached in much of the same manner.
The need to hire an attorney depends on the gravity of the potential harm. IF there are no injuries, IF YOU are prepared to pay for damage to your vehicle out-of-pocket with little concern for recovery and IF you are prepared to pay damages to other parties involved in the accident, you probably do not need to hire an attorney.
However, IF you cannot afford to repair or replace your car; IF you have injuries, medical bills or wage loss that may financially affect you or your family; IF there is a question who may be at fault for the accident; IF you have been asked for a recorded statement; IF you do not understand what insurance coverages apply and how to use them; IF you do not know what questions to ask or understand the gravity of the potential harm you or your family may suffer as a result of the accident, you may want to consider hiring an attorney.
An experienced attorney will help answer your questions. An attorney can help you understand the pitfalls, potential harms and help you identify your goals. The insurance company and adjusters involved will have very clear goals that most often differ from yours. Insurance companies have their own attorneys to help guide them through the process.
The attorneys at The McIntosh Law Firm have the experience and tools to help you even the playing field. If you, or someone you know, have been involved in an accident please call us and we will walk you through the process. We are here to help.
Author: Tim Zarsadias, Attorney
The McIntosh Law Firm, P.C.