When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

December 30, 2023 | Thomas L. Stroble
When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

If you recently suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident, talk to a skilled Michigan car accident lawyer as quickly as possible.

If you wait too long to secure legal counsel after your accident, you may no longer file a claim with the insurance company or a lawsuit.

Under the state statute of limitations, car accident victims must file a personal injury claim within a certain time of their accident date. Otherwise, they may waive their right to file suit and recover the monetary compensation they need.

By retaining an experienced attorney early on in the process – and preferably right after your accident – your lawyer can begin advocating for you immediately. 

Specifically, your lawyer can investigate your car accident circumstances, gather necessary documents, and file a claim with the appropriate insurance company on your behalf.

Then, your lawyer may negotiate aggressively to pursue the monetary recovery you deserve. Sometimes, your lawyer can also file a third-party personal injury claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company.

Throughout every stage of the proceedings, your attorney can offer you zealous representation and answer all your legal questions and concerns. Your lawyer will also inform you of all new developments in your case and begin pursuing the monetary compensation you deserve as quickly as possible.

The sooner you call, the stronger case your car accident attorney may build for you, as your lawyer can collect fresher evidence. Never wait to seek your free case evaluation with a trusted law firm.

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Types of Local Car Crashes

When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

Car crashes come in all shapes and sizes and may lead to serious physical injuries and property damage. The type of car accident will usually depend on the location of the accident, the number of vehicles involved, and the type of negligence that the at-fault driver exhibits.

Some of the most common types of local car accidents include:

  • Rear-end accidents, where the front of one vehicle hits the back of another car, usually because the at-fault driver is tailgating or speeding
  • Sideswipe accidents, where the sides of two vehicles brush up against one another while they are traveling in the same direction, commonly on a multi-lane road (such as an interstate highway)
  • T-bone or broadside accidents, where the front of one vehicle strikes the side panel of an intersecting vehicle, usually at a traffic intersection where a negligent driver fails to yield the right-of-way by running a stop sign, yield sign, or red traffic light
  • Head-on collisions, where the front of two vehicles strike one another while they are traveling in opposite directions, usually because the negligent driver fails to observe the road or operates their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

If you suffered injuries in one of these types of local car crashes, consult a car accident attorney immediately.

Your lawyer can meet with you to discuss your accident circumstances and obtain copies of important documents, including police reports. Your lawyer may then file a claim with the appropriate insurance company, seeking the monetary damages you deserve to recover.

Common Reasons Why Car Collisions Happen

Car accidents are typically the result of another driver's careless or reckless behavior. Car accidents often happen when drivers hurry to arrive at their final destination and resort to reckless driving maneuvers and road rage.

Some of the most common types of road rage that negligent drivers exhibit include:

  • Tailgating or following other vehicles too closely
  • Excessive speeding
  • Failing to use turn signals
  • Moving into another driver's travel lane
  • Aggressive horn honking and flashing one's headlights

When drivers resort to these reckless driving maneuvers, they significantly increase their likelihood of causing a severe traffic accident.

In addition to road rage, many traffic accidents happen when other drivers violate common traffic laws and regulations.

Some of the most common traffic law violations that lead to motor vehicle accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Failing to use a turn signal
  • Failing to use a backup camera or lane change warning (if equipped)
  • Failing to use rearview and side view mirrors while driving and pulling out of parking spaces
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles
  • Disobeying traffic signs, such as do not enter and one-way signs

Moreover, some car accidents happen when drivers fail to observe the road or engage in distracted driving. Drivers frequently become distracted when they shift their eyes onto electronic devices in their vehicles, such as GPS navigation systems, tablets, and cellular phones.

If a driver reads or sends a text message while driving, it is very easy for them to lose sight of what's in front of them or behind them, potentially bringing about an accident.

A driver may also become distracted if they listen to loud music in their vehicle, roughhouse with vehicle passengers, or adjust the volume on their stereo system while driving. All of these activities may cause a driver to take their eyes and mental focus off the road, leading to a severe accident.

Finally, some car accidents occur when drivers violate state OWI laws. In most cases, unless a driver is operating a commercial vehicle or is under 21 years old, a driver is legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration that measures at least 0.08 percent.

If a driver's BAC reaches this level, a police officer may arrest them for DUI and take them into custody.

If the driver ultimately incurs a DUI conviction, they may have to pay criminal fines and administrative penalties, including the potential loss of their driver's license.

The law subjects DUI offenders to serious penalties because of the serious nature of these offenses.

An intoxicated driver is far more likely than a sober driver to cause a traffic accident. These accidents are common because impaired drivers frequently experience both physical and mental symptoms, including blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, disorientation, lack of concentration, delayed reaction time, delayed reflexes, and impaired muscular coordination and judgment.

If you sustained injuries in a traffic accident that a negligent driver brought about, consult a car accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible. Your attorney can immediately investigate your accident circumstances and set you on course to pursue the full monetary recovery you deserve.

Types of Car Accident Legal Claims

Depending on where your car accident occurred, your lawyer can file several types of legal claims after a car accident.

First, if your accident occurred in a no-fault jurisdiction like Michigan, you will typically turn to your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage in pursuit of financial compensation for your injuries.

PIP policies usually cover limited medical expenses, lost income, and other out-of-pocket losses. However, if you suffered a permanent or disabling injury in your car accident, your lawyer can file a third-party personal injury claim against the at-fault driver's insurance policy up to the available coverage limits.

In a personal injury claim, your lawyer must satisfy the applicable legal burden of proof. Ordinarily, you must show that the other driver owed you a duty of reasonable care, which they subsequently violated, usually by disregarding a traffic law or engaging in reckless driving.

Additionally, your lawyer must demonstrate that the car accident directly resulted from the other driver's negligence and that your injury or injuries directly resulted from the subject accident.

To establish medical causation in your car accident claim, your lawyer can retain a medical expert, such as a treating doctor or other healthcare provider. A medical expert may establish that you suffered a permanent injury and/or determine that your injuries are directly related to the car crash.

Injuries in a Car Accident

A car crash victim's injuries typically vary from case to case and accident to accident. In general, the more forceful a collision and the higher the vehicle speeds, the more serious the injuries that an accident victim will suffer in their crash.

In some instances, drivers and passengers suffer permanent injuries, which leave them in ongoing pain, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

Some of the most common injuries that car accident victims may suffer include:

  • Internal bleeding and organ damage
  • Rib fractures
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic head and brain injuries
  • Facial bruising
  • Mouth and teeth injuries
  • Eye injuries
  • Complete and incomplete paralysis injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Open lacerations
  • Body bruises from airbag deployment

Before calling a lawyer to represent you, get medical treatment as quickly as possible. This may mean treating with your primary care doctor or visiting with a medical specialist, such as an orthopedic doctor or neurologist.

You may also undergo a medical procedure or attend physical/occupational therapy sessions. By following through with your medical provider's treatment recommendations and getting the medical treatment you need, you significantly increase your chances of a full medical recovery.

You also show the insurance company in your case that your injuries deserve considerable monetary compensation.

Consult a car accident lawyer as soon as you start your medical treatment. While you focus on your medical treatment, your lawyer can begin gathering the medical documentation for your case and assembling that documentation into a settlement demand package.

After your medical treatment is over or doctors know your prognosis for lasting injuries, your lawyer can handle the legal aspects of your claim, including negotiating with insurance company representatives on your behalf.

Monetary Damages for Car Accident Injuries

If you are eligible to file a third-party personal injury claim arising from your car crash, you can recover various types of monetary compensation, depending on the total cost of your medical treatment, the nature and extent of your injuries, and the amount of time you missed from work due to your injuries.

First, accident victims can pursue compensation for their related medical losses. In addition to seeking monetary recovery for their past medical expenses, they may also recover compensation for anticipated medical costs, such as the cost of a future surgery. Additionally, if the car accident victim misses time from work after their accident, they can pursue a claim for lost income or loss of earning capacity.

In addition to recovering compensation for out-of-pocket losses and economic damages, an accident victim may pursue compensation for their intangible losses. 

Recoverable non-economic damages in a car accident claim may include compensation for mental distress, loss of spousal consortium, past and future physical pain and suffering, permanent disability or disfigurement, cognitive impairments, long-term or lifetime care costs, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of the ability to use an injured body part, and scarring.

A skilled car accident attorney in your area can determine which monetary damages you can pursue and recover as part of your insurance claim or lawsuit. If you file a lawsuit in the court system, your case may still settle out of court. However, if it does not settle, you may take your case to a civil jury trial for a jury to determine the amount of monetary compensation to award you.

Instead of taking your case to an in-court proceeding, you can pursue various alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options, like mediation or binding arbitration, to resolve your case favorably out of court.

During mediation, a neutral mediator can help the parties facilitate and narrow their settlement discussion to resolve the case fairly.

At a binding arbitration proceeding, the pre-selected neutral arbitrator will review documentary evidence in the case, listen to witness testimony, and decide on how much monetary compensation to award the injured accident victim.

Speak with a Car Accident Attorney Near You Today

Thomas L. Stroble
Thomas Stroble, Car Accident Lawyer

If you recently sustained injuries in a local car accident, time is of the essence. Generally, the sooner you retain an attorney to represent you in your case, the better your chances of receiving favorable monetary damages.

As soon as a Michigan personal injury attorney enters an appearance on your behalf, they can start advocating for you aggressively and negotiating for the fair monetary compensation you deserve. Your lawyer can also provide you with the information necessary to make important decisions in your best personal and legal interests.

Thomas L. Stroble Author Image

Thomas L. Stroble


Mr. Stroble is a highly accomplished graduate of Michigan State University, with degrees in both science and law. He specializes in commercial lawsuits and personal injury cases. Licensed to practice law in Michigan and even the U.S. Supreme Court, he’s a well-qualified legal expert. Besides his career in law, he loves outdoor activities and volunteers as a part-time police officer in Birmingham.

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