Injured victims seeking compensation through car crash claims often benefit from an experienced lawyer, but how quickly do you need to hire one? Are there any deadlines to consider? Can it ever be too late to hire an attorney?
Anderson & Cummings answer these and other questions in the article below, including why crash victims often put off seeking legal help.
Our collision lawyers in Fort Worth have extensive experience helping crash victims recover full and fair compensation. Not sure if you have a case? Many people have the same concern. Call today at any time to discuss your situation. We are ready to review your case and determine if you have legal options.
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Are There Deadlines for Calling an Attorney in Texas?
You can call a lawyer at any time, but if you are a crash victim seeking compensation for your damages, there is a time limit. The statute of limitations is the legal deadline that determines how long you have to file a lawsuit after being injured in a Texas car crash.
In Fort Worth and across the entire state, crash victims generally have two years from the date of their motor vehicle accident to file a damages claim. However, as with most things, it is not quite as simple as that. There are other factors involved, so even if you call before the deadline, it could be too late for an attorney to be able to help.
Why Do People Put Off Calling a Fort Worth Car Crash Lawyer?
Calling a lawyer is intimidating for many people, but there are other reasons crash victims may delay seeking legal help, including:
- Feeling confused or in being in a state of shock after the crash
- Being treated for severe injuries that are not yet stabilized
- Taking time to consider the situation and what steps to take
- Speaking with the insurance company to file the initial claim
- Getting the police report, photos and other evidence together
- Accepting an early settlement offer from the insurance company
An attorney can help you with many of these things, including speaking with the liable insurance company on your behalf. Unfortunately, however, once you agree to a settlement, there is likely nothing we can do to help.
Accepting an early offer is almost always a bad idea because it cannot cover all of your damages. We know this because you cannot know the extent of your medical costs, lost wages and other damages so soon after your crash.
How Long Do I Have to Call an Attorney After a Collision?
There are multiple factors that can impact how long you have to call an attorney after being injured in a crash.
In addition to the deadlines set by the Texas statute of limitations, these other factors play a role:
- The extent of your injuries and the difficulty of your case
- Preserving key evidence from the crash scene
- Getting statements from witnesses to your crash
- How much time your attorney needs to investigate, gather evidence and negotiate your settlement
When crash victims wait too long to seek legal help, an attorney may not want to take the case even if it is valid. There may not be enough time to do all these things when a crash victim delays seeking legal help.
Are There Benefits to Calling a Fort Worth Crash Attorney Sooner?
Hiring an attorney right after your car crash does have multiple benefits that can have a significant bearing on the outcome of your claim.
To start with, hiring legal services right away gives your attorney the ability to assess the crash scene while it is still fresh. Evidence can be destroyed or lost once a crash scene is cleared away.
For instance, recovering available dash cam or traffic camera footage may take some legal steps. If recovered, however, it could show how your crash occurred and show the other driver’s negligence. This evidence can be very valuable, especially in “he said, she said” situations.
What Problems Might Arise If I Wait To Call a Lawyer?
Putting off calling an attorney after a car crash can significantly impact your ability to recover full compensation. In some cases, if the injured victim waited too long, it could even mean not getting any compensation at all.
Some of the most common issues crash victims face when they wait to call a lawyer include:
- Missing the statute of limitations and other critical deadlines – this could bar you from recovering any compensation for your damages.
- Having a harder time proving negligence or linking your injuries to the crash
- Making mistakes that can severely damage your ability to recover compensation, such as accepting a quick, but low settlement.
- Waiting to seek legal advice could also hinder your ability to make other critical decisions, such as what type of medical care you need, how much your property damages are worth, whether you are owed pain and suffering damages, and more
- In some cases, injured victims wait so long no attorney wants to take the case because they know they will not have enough time to build a strong case.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Law if You Miss the Statute of Limitations?
In Texas, you might be able to extend the statute of limitations in certain and rare circumstances. One example has to do with the discovery rule of a car crash claim. Sometimes, the clock starts ticking on the date the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury.
It is vital to understand that valid extenuating circumstances are very rare. Typically, if you miss the deadline, you will be barred from making any recovery at all.
How Can I Avoid Waiting Too Long to Call a Lawyer?
The simplest way to avoid putting off calling a lawyer right after a crash is to plan what to do if one ever happens.
This could include:
- Thoroughly researching injury lawyers until you find one you feel confident to use
- Add attorney contact details to your smartphone so you have it if ever you need it
- Have a car crash to-do list and add it to your smartphone files to refer to
Taking these steps may make it easier for you to contact an attorney immediately and yet still have confidence in your decision.
When researching an attorney, ask friends and family members for referrals. Be sure to research things like what fees are involved and how much experience they have. Once you select an attorney, he or she will want more details about your collision.
There are no upfront costs to hire our services. We do not get paid unless we are successful in winning your case.
Need Legal Help in Texas? Call Anderson & Cummings Today (817) 920-9000