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How Long After A Car Accident Can I Contact A Lawyer?

Posted June 1, 2024 | Personal Injury Blog

contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident

It is important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following a car accident. Seeking legal counsel is often necessary for you to secure your legal rights and pursue financial compensation. 

For various reasons and circumstances, some car accident victims put off contacting a lawyer after a car accident. In some situations, severe injuries sustained in the accident even prevent individuals from being able to reach out to a personal injury attorney.

Fortunately, even if circumstances have hindered you from contacting a lawyer immediately after an accident, you may still have time to file your car accident claim. However, you need to know how long is too long to wait. 

Why a Car Accident Victim May Put Off Contacting a Lawyer After an Accident

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 2.38 million people were injured on US roadways in 2022. 

A serious car accident is a traumatic event for everyone involved. Suddenly, there are important medical and legal decisions to be made. At times, people choose to prioritize medical decisions and leave legal matters to be handled down the road. 

The following are some of the reasons why an individual may delay in contacting a car accident lawyer:

  • Physical limitations: A car accident can result in serious medical conditions such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and internal organ damage. Accident victims may be immobile, in excruciating pain, or incapacitated. 
  • Cognitive impairment: Concussions, head trauma, and other brain injuries can affect a person’s memory retention, ability to make decisions, and other cognitive functions. Accident victims in this situation may be unable to recall crucial details of the accident or understand the importance of seeking legal help. 
  • Emotional distress: A severe accident can trigger significant emotional distress, including shock, anxiety, depression, and trauma. An accident victim’s emotional state may hinder his or her ability to focus on things like insurance claims and legal matters. 
  • Financial concerns: Car accidents can bring unforeseen financial strains such as medical expenses, loss of income, and property damage. Accident victims might not be aware that personal injury lawyers work on contingency. The concern about the cost of legal representation may deter them from contacting a lawyer. 
  • Lack of awareness: Some car accident victims are unaware of their legal rights or of the importance of consulting a personal injury lawyer. They may underestimate the complexity of the financial recovery process or the benefits of having a legal advocate on their side. 

Potential Consequences of Waiting to Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

The following are just some of the many reasons why you should not put off contacting a personal injury attorney following a car accident:

  • Evidence: Strong evidence is needed to prove fault and establish liability, but it can quickly be lost, altered, or destroyed over time, reducing the chances of a positive financial outcome for the accident victim.
  • Damages: It is critical to your health and well-being to prioritize your medical treatment. However, it is also important to keep track of your medical bills, prognosis, and treatment plans since these will be essential for calculating damages. A lawyer can handle tracking down all medical documentation while you focus on your recovery.
  • Witnesses: Eyewitness testimony can provide valuable evidence in car accident cases, but memories fade over time. Witnesses may be more difficult to locate and their recollection of events may become less reliable over time. 
  • Insurance deadlines: Insurance companies often have deadlines for filing claims or providing notice you were involved in a car accident. Failing to file within the allotted deadlines could result in your claim being denied or you receiving less compensation than you were entitled to receive. 
  • Statute of limitations: All states have a statute of limitations that imposes deadlines on car accident claims. Failure to begin legal proceedings within the allowed time frame can result in you losing out on your ability to recover compensation entirely. 

Do You Need to Call the Insurance Company Before Contacting a Car Accident Attorney?

No, you do not need to reach out to the insurance company before contacting a car accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you file your insurance claim and handle all communication with the insurance company on your behalf. 

If you communicate with the insurance company on your own, they may try to pressure you into giving a recorded statement. Keep in mind that anything you say to them could be used against you to devalue or deny your car accident claim. 

Insurers may also try to force you into accepting a low settlement offer. Once you sign the paperwork, accepting the payout, you usually cannot go back later to ask for additional compensation. 

Is It Too Late to Contact a Car Accident Lawyer?

If you are wondering whether it’s too late to contact a lawyer following your car accident and injuries, we recommend that you reach out to a personal injury law firm and ask a lawyer. The answer will depend on the laws in the state where you live and other factors. A personal injury lawyer can tell you if it is too late to file a car accident claim or lawsuit. 

The statute of limitations for car accident cases in Utah is 4 years – while in Texas, it is only 2 years. However, depending on your situation, there may be an exception to these time frames. 

Additionally, if your loved one was killed in a car accident, you may be considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute of limitations is sometimes different for wrongful death claims. 

Get Help From a Car Accident Lawyer Today

The compassionate car accident lawyer at Fielding Law understands that severe injuries or other circumstances may have hindered you from reaching out to a lawyer immediately after your accident. If this is your situation, don’t delay in contacting a personal injury lawyer. Contact our law firm today. 

Our legal team would be glad to review your case and determine whether you still have a valid claim for compensation. Your initial consultation with us is absolutely free and we take all car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. 

Call us 24/7 at (877) 880-4090 or complete our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation. 

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Text edited by Mitchell Fielding, a personal injury lawyer and partner at Fielding Law. Mitchell is known for his hard work ethic, friendly personality and dedication to the law. You can find out personal injury law offices in Taylorsville, UT and Mesquite, TX.