I’ve Been Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident… Do I Need an Attorney?
We all know that accidents happen. However, people often question whether they need the assistance of counsel as a result. The safe answer is to always consult with an attorney to be certain that your rights are best protected.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may have the ability to file suit against the person or persons at fault. This, however, is dependent on several factors. First, and most importantly, you should concentrate on receiving necessary medical treatment. This may mean a trip to the hospital or your primary care physician to determine whether further care is necessary.
The next topic to be considered is whether you will need legal assistance. Being involved in an accident can be very stressful, as well as painful for those involved. To ease the stress, seeking a competent attorney to stand by you is a smart decision. It is important to do this early, in the event that further investigation is necessary. Often attorneys will send an investigator to the scene to photograph the surrounding area and report any inconsistencies that may exist with the police report.
Furthermore, when you are injured in New Jersey, your medical benefits are paid through your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This is part of your car insurance and can be identified through review of your policy. However, most PIP insurance requires pre-certification for any treatment afforded. Physician’s offices are equipped to request pre-certification, but as we all know, situations such as these may not always go smoothly for the injured party. An attorney, once retained, can assist you with any difficulty you may have with receiving necessary treatment.
When seeking the advice of counsel it is important to bring all documents with you that involve your accident. This includes the accident report (if available), any medical documentation, as well as the declaration page regarding you car insurance in place at the time of the accident. This will help the attorney to advise you as to the benefits that can be afforded to you, as well as whether you will be permitted to file suit for any compensatory damages as a result of the accident.
When involved in an accident, there is no charge to you to seek the advice of counsel. This type of matter is handled on a contingency basis. That means that the attorney is only awarded a fee, should you recover a financial benefit as a result of the representation.
In the event that you are at fault, or receive a citation as a result of the accident, the role of the attorney does change. In fact, if someone is injured as a result of your negligence in operation your motor vehicle, generally your insurance will provide a legal defense for the personal injury action on your behalf. However, if a summons is issued, it is beneficial to you to seek the advice of counsel, as this will not be defended by your carrier. Contrary to a personal injury case, this is generally not handled on a contingent basis.
As you can see, there are many reasons to seek the advice of counsel after being involved in a motor vehicle accident. The best action to take is to consult with an attorney and discuss the options and benefits that you may have.