Washington State Automobile Accident Lawsuits: When To Contact An Attorney
Consultations are key
Matt Menzer, a Washington car accident lawyer whos been practicing law and representing plaintiffs for over 20 years in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death and other areas, explained why consulting with an attorney is generally a good first step.
I think accident victims should be encouraged to make that phone call to determine whether or not their claim is of a nature in which they need to hire a lawyer. So my advice would be that if they have questions about the process itself in terms of whether things arent going smoothly with the other insurance company or even with their own insurance company in terms of getting their medical bills paid I think thats a good time to contact a lawyer.
I personally provide initial consultations without any charge and I think there are plenty of other lawyers in the area who would do the same to help determine if it makes sense for the injured person to get a lawyer to help resolve the accident claim.
What are your damages?
Menzer says that the decision of whether or not to hire an attorney is really a question of how serious of an accident it was and what the clients potential damages are. He explained:
The goal should always be to maximize recovery for the client. If the damages arent significant enough, the client may very well be better off not retaining a lawyer and just getting a little advice on how to negotiate with the insurance company and to how to handle the case on their own. Otherwise, if the claim for damages isnt very big, the attorneys' fees can take too big of a chunk out of the recovery.
From my perspective, there is a certain cut off where I advise people that theyre better off negotiating on their own and saving the attorneys fees. However, any time somebody has serious injuries involving any period of hospitalization, if they are still receiving medical care six months after the accident or if theres any question of long term injuries or disabilities, I believe that these folks are going to be much better off getting a lawyer to represent them in their claims.
There are many benefits of consulting with a qualified Washington car accident attorney even if you ultimately choose to handle the matter on your own. If you do choose to hire someone, make sure you know what questions to ask a Washington auto accident lawyer before hiring them to make sure you've got someone who will look out for your best interests.