When To Get an Attorney After a Car Accident

When To Get an Attorney After a Car Accident

Steven Schwartzapfel -Founding Partner Jun 22, 2022

For more than 35 years, Steven Schwartzapfel, the founding member of Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C., has been one of New York’s most prominent personal injury attorneys. Steve represents clients in all types of personal injury cases. His experience, skill, and dedication have enabled Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. to recover hundreds of millions of dollars for their clients.

Auto accidents happen every day in New York City. According to official state statistics, there are well over 100,000 emergency room visits and hospitalizations in NYS each year due to auto accidents.

But not every auto accident is severe or debilitating. When you’re involved in a fender bender, for instance, it can be tempting to shake hands with the other driver and walk away with minimum fuss. Question: Do you really need an attorney for such minor car accidents?

Answer: Yes. In fact, it’s critical to know when to get an attorney after a car accident so that you can promptly hire legal representation when needed. This is especially important, as you only have a limited time to receive your fair compensation due to the potential statute of limitations controlling your claim.

That’s why if you or a loved one need legal representation for an upcoming case, you should act now by contacting Schwartzapfel Lawyers today. Simply dial 1-800-966-4999 and you will be able to speak with one of our experienced car accident attorneys at no charge. If, however, you wish to first study up on the relevant facts surrounding NYC car accidents and lawyers, please continue reading.

Why Are Car Accident Attorneys Needed?

Car accident law firms are needed in a number of legal situations. In addition to representing you in court, the right car accident attorneys can:

  • Collect necessary evidence on your behalf, such as medical reports, traffic camera footage, and eyewitness accounts
  • Present that evidence compellingly to the court
  • Coach you on your court appearance
  • Help you negotiate with insurance adjusters
  • And much more

These are similar duties to what other legal professionals do for different types of court cases. Specifically, however, auto accident attorneys are needed for the below three reasons.

Assist with Legal Claims

First off, car accident attorneys can provide major assistance with all forms of legal claims and help you through the claims process. For example, if you wish to sue an at-fault driver for a New York car accident, a car accident attorney can:

  • Assess whether a lawsuit is likely to succeed or whether you should pursue an out-of-court settlement
  • Inform you as to who is most likely to be found at fault for your accident

Please note: This second attribute is more important than you might think. As a no-fault car insurance state, you are not legally allowed to sue other drivers for typical accidents. You can only sue at-fault drivers if your injuries are particularly severe or when your monetary damages reach a specific threshold.

The right New York car accident lawyer can tell you whether you have a viable legal claim, or if you should pursue other means of recourse/compensation. Call Schwartzapfel Lawyers now at 1-800-966-4999 to learn more!

Protect You From Accusations of Negligence

Next, car accident attorneys can protect you from accusations of negligence or lawsuits from other drivers and/or parties.

Imagine a circumstance where you and another driver bump into each other on the road. You both get out of the cars, agree not to sue each other, then shake hands and drive off. While this sounds safe, it’s not.

The next week, you get a phone call from the other driver’s attorney informing you that they plan to sue you on the grounds that your negligent driving caused the accident. If you don’t already have legal help on your side, you’ll have to scramble to find qualified representation fast.

In this way and others, car accident attorneys can protect you from accusations of fault, prevent you from being sued unnecessarily, and also mount sturdy legal defenses if another party tries to sue you in spite of the facts.

Remember, you are only responsible for your actions. You can’t stop another driver or party from suing you, regardless of whether they have reasonable grounds for legal action. Accordingly, if only to cover your bases, it’s a good idea to hire a car accident attorney after any auto accident or roadway incident.

Negotiate With Insurers

Most New York car crashes end with one or both parties contacting insurance companies. Next, the insurance companies involved pay out a certain amount of money to one or both drivers based on apparent fault.

However, even if you have insurance coverage, insurance companies are not in the business of doing what’s right. They’re in the business of making money. Plain and simple.

As such, you might find in some cases that an at-fault driver’s insurance company will refuse to play ball. For instance, the insurance company and its team of adjusters may try to not pay you the money you need to repair damage to your car and/or cover medical expenses.

Moreover, attempts to negotiate with insurance companies can be like talking to a brick wall. Knowledgeable personal injury lawyers, however, can handle this for you. Additionally, they can help you better understand the full scope of your legal options and will do everything in their power to see that the insurance company pays what is rightly owed to you in a prompt and satisfactory manner.

They will know what to say, who to speak to, and how to negotiate on your behalf – no matter what. So even if you and another driver are amenable to insurance payouts, you’ll still need a personal injury attorney working for you to make sure you get that payout when you need it most.

To speak with one of our experienced car accident attorneys today, contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers online or at 1-800-966-4999. In doing so, you will be provided with a free consultation as well as sound legal advice that may very well save you time, money, and miles of headache down the road.

Should You Get an Attorney Even After a Minor Accident?

In short: Absolutely. As noted above, there’s nothing stopping another driver from trying to sue you, even after a minor fender bender or roadway incident. For this simple fact, even if you don’t think they’ll be successful in their lawsuit, it’s wiser to retain legal protection quickly. Doing so will afford you peace of mind, which can easily be taken for granted on occasion, but is always desired when supplies are short.

Beyond this, an at-fault driver may still accuse you of being at fault regardless of circumstance or verbalized assurances . And if they are successful, or if you don’t put up a legitimate legal fight, your insurance company might cave and pay the other driver for damages. As a result, your insurance policy premiums will likely increase and you’ll have to pay more in the long run.

Therefore, you should never walk away from a minor accident under the assumption that legal advice isn’t necessary. No matter the circumstances or severity of a car accident, protect yourself and your financial future by calling expert car accident attorneys at the earliest opportunity after seeking out medical attention.

What if You Both Agree to Walk Away?

Once more, there’s no guarantee that another driver or party will agree to “walk away” permanently. In part, this is because complications often arise as a result of hidden car accident injuries, wherein victim symptoms only begin to manifest later on.

Hidden injuries can be sustained unknowingly by either party in a car accident. For instance, you might be involved in a car accident where your head snaps forward due to impact. Your car isn’t very damaged, and you feel fine initially.

But in the hours following the incident, your neck begins to ache and you discover that you received a minor concussion from the impact. In time, those kinds of injuries can easily lead to significant medical bills as a result of hospital visits, X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, check-ups, physical rehabilitation, and other accident-related costs.

Here, if you and the other party “agreed” to walk away after the accident, you might later on have difficulty getting the damages you deserve for your injuries from the at-fault driver. Alternatively, the same could be true of the other involved motorist(s) if the circumstances were flipped. For instance, they could discover hidden injuries from the accident and decide to sue you after the fact.

Therefore, it’s always wise to contact car accident lawyers – even if you believe no lasting harm has been done. You can call Schwartzapfel Lawyers today at 1-800-966-4999 for a free consultation regarding your personal injury claim. Remember: It’s better to be protected and ready for lengthier legal proceedings than to be caught off guard and without help.

What To Do Prior to Hiring an Attorney

While you should hire a car accident attorney after any roadway incident, you should do several things beforehand. These steps include:

  • Getting yourself and anyone else to safety. Without putting yourself in harm’s way, help yourself and others out of severely damaged vehicles and move to where it’s safe to use your phone and/or speak to the other driver.
  • Calling emergency services. Police and ambulances may arrive to check on everybody. Remember: Even if you feel fine, you should seek medical treatment right away! This is important because certain injuries can stay hidden for hours, days, or even weeks after a motor vehicle accident, such as whiplash. Moreover, those injuries might be easily detected by trained medical professionals. As well, be sure to request the medical records for any treatment you receive.
  • Gathering evidence at the scene if you are uninjured or waiting for emergency services. Photograph the scene of the accident and collect phone numbers from all involved parties as well as any eyewitnesses. Later, if you decide to sue another driver or if they try to sue you for negligence, this evidence may prove invaluable to your claim or defense.
  • Not admitting fault under any circumstances. Even if you think you are not at fault for a car accident, especially if it’s a minor accident, do not admit fault to anyone. Such an admission can and will be used against you later on. Instead, keep your language neutral and mention that you’ll be hiring legal representatives just in case.

Only after you have completed the above should you then call your legal representatives for next steps.

Note: It’s almost always better to contact car accident attorneys before contacting your insurance company. Additionally, your attorneys can speak to your insurer for you while you recover in a hospital if your injuries are severe or dangerous.

Worth noting, too, is that by calling car accident attorneys sooner than later, they can get to work faster on your car accident case and begin collecting evidence and formulating compelling arguments on your behalf. Moreover, in many personal injury cases, the injured party will move quickly. As such, you will need to have well-qualified attorneys working for you ASAP if you want the best chance of minimizing damages or, if you sue another party, maximizing the compensation you may receive.

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today

As a general rule of thumb, you should hire an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident. It doesn’t matter how injured or uninjured you think you might be or whether you think the accident, on the whole, was major or minor. To protect yourself from legal repercussions and maximize your chances of receiving a settlement if you are a car accident victim, auto accident attorneys are must-haves.

That’s why you should contact an experienced law firm like Schwartzapfel Lawyers right away. As well-educated New York City lawyers, we can help you find the right evidence to secure your car accident claim, protect you from accusations of fault, and make sure you are not held responsible for any accident you did not cause. Also, we can go to bat for you in the event you or a loved one needs to recover damages from an at-fault party or negligent driver.

Why wait? Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today for a free case evaluation at 1-800-966-4999. We operate on a contingency fee basis, which means we won’t charge you a dime unless we recover damages from your court case or settlement.

Protect your financial future starting today. Act now and allow Schwartzapfel Lawyers the honor and privilege of fighting – and winning – for you!


Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You

Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Statistics: New York State Residents | New York State Department of Health

Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements | Department of Financial Services

The Tricky Business of Determining Fault After a Car Accident | Forbes Advisor

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