If I Am At Fault in a Car Accident, Do I Need an Attorney?
If you were found at fault in an auto accident that resulted in personal injury and/or property damage, it’s important that you know your legal rights and decide whether or not you need an attorney to represent you. Some people tend to believe they only need an attorney in situations where the accident is not covered by any insurance – however this may not always be true.
An attorney can protect your rights and advise you on how to mitigate the damages in your best interest. Without an attorney present, the opposing investigator or insurance company attorney can and will use what you say against you, striving for the biggest reward possible for their client. An attorney that is strictly looking our for your rights in this unfortunate situation is definitely a plus.
The claimant will almost certainly inflate their claim and an attorney will recognize this tactic and ensure you do not get taken to the cleaners. If there was a personal injury claim and you did not carry bodily injury liability insurance at the time, you will definitely want an attorney to represent you to ensure that your own best interests are kept in mind throughout the process.
In some states you can be held liable even if you are not driving at the time and was simply the registered owner of a vehicle involved in an accident that resulted in property damage or personal injury. Having an auto accident attorney that knows all of the laws and the complete scope of your potential liability is extremely important in these cases.
Unfortunately some insurance companies expose their own customers to risk of excessive verdicts due to their own claims handling. For this reason you may want to consider hiring an auto accident attorney to monitor the insurance company; reminding them of the consequences of their conduct and hopefully preventing your financial information from being shared with overzealous strangers interested solely in their own client’s best interest.
Things to Avoid in an Accident Involving Personal Injury or Property Damage
- Moving Your Vehicle – Only move your vehicle if it is creating a safety hazard or you are required to do so by law. Otherwise you want the scene to remain untouched until properly documented.
- Hiding or Throwing Away Evidence – Anything that may be relevant to the accident or injury must be preserved. This includes deleting text messages or clearing call logs as well as clearing trash or debris from inside the vehicle. If you question whether or not you should do it, lean to the side of caution and preserve it as-is.
- Leaving the Scene – You must wait at the scene until you have exchanged information with the other parties involved or until the police allow you to leave.
- Discussing the Accident – Don’t discuss the details of the accident with anyone, including the other party’s attorney and any insurance company representative.
- Don’t Apologize – Apologizing to the other party might seem the polite thing to do but it should be avoided. Apologizing can be construed as evidence of fault and you want to let those in authority make that call.
If you are in the Boise, Idaho or Salt Lake City Utah areas, visit the Morgan Law Firm website or call us at 208-789-2098 for a free phone consultation regarding your accident involving personal injury or property damage.