When to Get an Attorney After a Car Accident

When to Get an Attorney After a Car Accident

Car accidents are all too common in Connecticut. According to the Connecticut Crash Data Repository, over 105,000 motor vehicle crashes took place in the state in one recent year alone, resulting in more than 35,000 injuries and 326 fatalities.

While no one ever expects to be involved in a car crash, you need to know what steps to take if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

You also need to know when to get an attorney after a car accident to help you obtain compensation for any injuries or losses you suffered due to another driver’s negligence or wrongdoing.

Read on to learn about when you need to seek legal counsel following a car wreck someone else caused. For specific advice about your situation, contact a Connecticut car accident lawyer near you for a free consultation.

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Minor Accidents

A minor accident generally refers to a low-speed collision resulting in minimal damage to the vehicles involved and no apparent injuries to the drivers or passengers.

Common examples include small fender benders, sideswipe crashes with limited impact, or accidents occurring in parking lots or driveways at very low speeds.

However, even with apparently straightforward situations, consult an attorney before accepting any settlement to ensure the insurance company is treating you fairly.

Most car accident lawyers offer free initial consultations, so you face no financial downside to at least discussing your case with a professional.

Regardless of the severity of the accident, gather as much documentation as possible at the scene.

If you can do so safely, take photos of the damage to both vehicles from multiple angles, as well as any skid marks, debris, or road signs/signals that may show what happened. Obtain the contact and insurance information of the other driver(s) involved.

Call the police after any accident, even a seemingly minor one. The responding officer will generate an official accident report which may contain important evidence if a dispute over fault arises later on. Try to get the names and contact info for any eyewitnesses in case you need their statements.

Serious Accidents 

A serious accident is one that causes severe injuries to those involved and/or major damage to one or more vehicles.

Some examples of severe crashes include:

  • High-speed collisions 
  • T-bone or head-on accidents
  • Rollovers
  • Accidents involving large commercial trucks 
  • Crashes resulting in airbag deployment
  • Wrecks requiring a vehicle to be towed from the scene

Situations Where You Should Get an Attorney

Hire a lawyer following a more serious car accident:

Injuries Requiring Medical Attention

If you or a passenger suffered serious injuries that required treatment by a medical professional, an attorney can navigate the claims process and pursue adequate compensation. Injuries come with medical bills and frequently cause those injured to miss work. You and your attorney need to account for this along with pain and suffering and other damages.

Even minor injuries, like whiplash or muscle strains, can linger and require ongoing treatment. More serious injuries like compound fractures, internal trauma, concussions, or spinal damage can easily result in medical expenses in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A lawyer will fight to ensure the settlement accounts for your current and expected future medical expenses.

Significant Property Damage

When a crash causes major damage to your vehicle to the point of it being undrivable or totaled, an attorney can be immensely helpful in securing a fair property damage settlement.

Insurance companies often try to undervalue property damage claims. They may offer actual cash value for your car which includes depreciation, rather than the cost to actually replace it.

An experienced lawyer knows how to properly value vehicles and will work to get you an amount that allows you to replace your car with a comparable model. They can also arrange for repair estimates from trusted mechanics or body shops to bolster your claim.

Disputes Over Fault

Connecticut uses a modified comparative negligence rule when more than one party causes an accident. Under this system, you may recover compensation as long as you are less than 51% responsible for the crash. However, your damage award will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.

As you can imagine, insurance companies will often try to shift an unfair amount of blame onto the other party to minimize what they have to pay out. An attorney will gather evidence like accident reports, photos, and witness testimony to make the strongest possible case for the other driver's liability.

Insurance Company Denying or Undervaluing the Claim

Unfortunately, insurers may attempt to settle claims for far less than they're actually worth or to even deny legitimate claims completely.

Common tactics include making lowball initial offers, misrepresenting your policy's coverage, dragging out the process in hopes that you'll get desperate and accept less, or claiming that your injuries were pre-existing.

If you're getting the runaround from the insurance company, bring in professional legal counsel. A car accident lawyer will recognize these strategies and can exert the right pressure to get the insurer to deal with your claim reasonably and fairly.

The Benefits of Hiring an Attorney for Serious Accidents

Bringing an experienced car accident attorney on board as early as possible after a major wreck provides numerous advantages:

  • Knowledge of the process: Personal injury lawyers deal with car accident claims day in and day out. They understand all the nuances, from properly calculating damages to meeting important deadlines. An attorney can take the burden off your shoulders and ensure no detail is overlooked.
  • Access to resources: Attorneys work with a network of professionals like investigators, medical experts, accident reconstruction engineers, and expert witnesses who can provide critical insights to support your case. They also subscribe to legal databases and research tools that the average person doesn't have.
  • Aggressive negotiation: Lawyers are skilled negotiators who won't be bullied by insurance adjusters. They know how to value a claim accurately and will go to bat to make sure you receive every dollar you deserve.
  • Leveling the playing field: Insurance companies have vast legal resources at their disposal. Having your own advocate in your corner who understands the law and isn't afraid to take on large insurers is invaluable.
  • Litigation experience: While most car accident cases settle out of court, if the insurance company refuses to make a fair offer, hire an attorney willing to file a lawsuit and represent you at trial. Attorneys understand court rules and procedures and can present your case compellingly before a judge and jury.

When to Contact an Attorney After a Connecticut Car Accident

As Soon as Possible After the Accident

Reach out to an attorney as soon as possible following a serious car accident, especially if you suffered significant injuries. Important physical evidence can disappear quickly, and eyewitnesses' memories can fade. An attorney can promptly get to work to preserve these key pieces of evidence.

Consulting a lawyer early on also ensures you avoid missing any critical legal deadlines. For example, in Connecticut, if your accident involved a state or local government vehicle, you have only 90 days to file a special notice of claim or you lose the right to seek compensation.

Before Providing a Recorded Statement 

After an accident, the other driver's insurance company will likely reach out asking you to provide a recorded statement about what happened. It's best to decline this request and refer them to your attorney instead.

These statements are often used to try to get you to inadvertently admit fault or downplay your injuries. The insurance adjuster may seem caring but remember that their goal is to limit what the insurer has to pay out. An attorney can communicate with the insurance company on your behalf to protect your interests.

Before Accepting a Settlement Offer

Insurance companies are often quick to offer settlements after an accident, sometimes within days. However, their initial offers are almost always for far less than your claim is actually worth. Never accept a settlement without first consulting an attorney, even if it seems generous.

Once you sign settlement paperwork, your claim is over and you can't go back and ask for more money later — even if your injuries turn out to be worse than you originally thought.

An experienced lawyer can properly value your damages and will work to negotiate a settlement that fully and fairly compensates you. 

Within the Statute of Limitations

In Connecticut, the statute of limitations for most car accident lawsuits is two years from the date of the crash. If you miss this deadline, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case. While two years may seem like plenty of time, it's important to get the process started well before this.

Complex cases involving serious injuries, multiple vehicles, or disputed fault often require collecting a great deal of evidence and documentation, all of which takes time.

If the other party won’t negotiate a fair settlement, your attorney needs time to prepare and file a formal complaint. So the sooner you consult a lawyer, the better your chances of success.

How an Attorney Can Help

  • An experienced car accident attorney will investigate the accident and gather evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and medical records to build a strong case on your behalf.
  • Your attorney will handle all communication with insurance companies, protecting you from tactics designed to minimize your claim.
  • Attorneys are skilled negotiators who can work to secure a fair settlement that covers all your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • If necessary, your attorney will represent you in court to fight for the compensation you deserve.

Choosing the Right Attorney

When selecting an attorney, look for someone with experience handling car accident cases and a track record of successful results.

Read reviews and testimonials from past clients to get an idea of the attorney's reputation and client satisfaction. Discuss your case, ask questions, and ensure you feel comfortable working with the attorney.

Contact a Connecticut Car Accident Attorney Today

Dealing with the aftermath of a car crash is never easy, but you don't have to go it alone. If you suffered serious injuries or significant property damage, consulting with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer is a wise move.

An attorney can take the weight of the legal process off your shoulders, deftly navigate the insurance system on your behalf, and fight to secure every dollar of compensation you deserve.

Especially when you're up against the vast resources and less-than-honorable tactics of insurance companies, you need an aggressive advocate on your side. The sooner you reach out to an attorney after your accident, the better your odds of achieving a successful outcome.

If someone caused a car wreck in Connecticut that injured you or someone you love, the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Flood Law Firm are here to help.

We have a proven track record of standing up for the rights of accident victims and recovering substantial settlements and verdicts on their behalf. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We're ready to put our skills and resources to work for you.

Brian Flood


Brian has dedicated his entire legal career to helping accident victims. By choice, he has never represented the interests of an insurance company.

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