Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Dec 9, 2020

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Generally speaking, it depends on what happened and what injuries were suffered, and to whom. If you have not been hurt, the answer is probably no. If you or anyone you care about has been injured in a car accident, especially if there is any permanent injury, or significant time is lost from work, school, or household duties, you should see a lawyer about representing you in a claim against anyone who may be responsible for your injuries. However, even if you’re not injured, don’t entirely rule it out as the facts and circumstances surrounding car accidents are always different. It is important to look at the degree of the car accident and use your best judgment. A simple fender bender where no one involved is hurt can usually be appropriately handled through the insurance company. Anything other than that deserves a bit more thought – especially in this litigious environment.

If you require the help of an attorney, just enter your ZIP code below.

Is it worth suing after a car accident?

Contacting an attorney who deals with personal injury (especially relating to auto accidents) can provide you with the peace of mind that no stone gets left unturned. Here are some tips for when you should run to an attorney and when you can just walk:

Is it worth getting a lawyer for a minor car accident?

Run to an attorney when:

  • An injury has occurred where there has been serious injury (broken bones/hospitalization) or where injuries are likely to be permanent (paralysis);
  • A death has resulted from the accident;
  • Fault is clearly an issue;
  • Other parties were involved such as pedestrians or other autos;
  • The accident occurred in a construction area;
  • A police report does not accurately describe the accident and puts you at fault;
  • Important technical, legal, or medical issues are involved;
  • The limits of your liability insurance are low,
  • You have no insurance, or your insurance company suggests that you did not pay your premium.
  • Your insurer starts “acting funny.”
  • Your insurer involves its own attorney (in this case, sprint!).

Walk to an attorney when:

  • Seeking advice on the settlement value of a claim (while not an exact science, attorneys may be able to provide best and worse case scenarios);
  • Unsure if other insurance (homeowners, travel, etc.) may be available;
  • Fault may be an issue;
  • Determining whether your insurer may be acting in bad faith (not looking out for your best interests);
  • Seeking information on how to handle negotiations with an insurer;
  • You don’t know your rights;
  • Confused over the terms of your policy;
  • Needing an expert to review confusing paperwork or forms.

When should I hire an attorney after a car accident?

Hiring a car accident lawyer to represent you after a car accident means you will have professional help from a person who knows the relevant laws and procedural rules that may affect your case. An attorney can advise you about filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. An attorney will also inform you about any special exceptions to the statute of limitations and can file a lawsuit on your behalf. He will also know how to reduce any possible defenses and prepare your case for trial. Lawyers do all the legwork – from negotiating an insurance settlement to trying a personal injury lawsuit. Being in a car accident is stressful enough, so taking on the case by yourself may be the last thing you want to do.

Finding a car accident lawyer is easy and most attorneys listed provide free initial consultations. If you’re not certain that you want to contact an attorney, and have been asking yourself: How do I settle a car accident claim without a lawyer? – check out FreeAdvice.com Auto Accidents for FAQs or the Auto Accidents Forums section where you can post a question to see how others may have handled similar situations and find out how to settle a car accident claim without a lawyer.

Related Content: Do You Need an Attorney to Help You File Your Car Accident Claim?