There is no debate about when to hire an experienced personal injury attorney after a car accident—hire them as soon as possible. Your lawyer will face many time-sensitive obligations when they take over your case, including protecting your rights and obtaining evidence.

An attorney also typically has a limited time to file any necessary lawsuit, which is another reason to find your car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Only your health should come before hiring a lawyer. Once you are safe to speak with prospective car accident attorneys, do so.


Waiting to Hire a Lawyer Can Have Catastrophic Consequences

You must understand how urgent it is to find a lawyer. If you wait to hire your car accident attorney, you may:

Let Valuable Evidence Go Unclaimed

Your attorney will need to secure relevant evidence as quickly as possible, which may include:

  • Eyewitness accounts, which can fade or become distorted over time
  • Photographs of damaged vehicles, which will eventually be repaired or replaced
  • Video footage of the accident, which camera owners will eventually erase
  • The police report documenting your accident

These are just a few types of evidence your lawyer may obtain. The sooner your lawyer can obtain evidence, the more evidence they may get and the stronger it may be.

Miss the Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Each state imposes a deadline for filing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. While your case may not move beyond an insurance claim, it can.

Keeping the filing deadline active is important because:

  • If a lawsuit is necessary, you must file it before the statute of limitations expires
  • As your lawyer negotiates with insurers, the credible ability to file a lawsuit may provide leverage

In Florida, for example, Florida Statutes § 95.11 generally requires attorneys to file personal injury lawsuits within two years of a car accident. Two years may seem like a long time, but countless accident victims have failed to file their lawsuits before this deadline expires.

Fail to Document Your Injuries

Most injuries from car accidents eventually heal. Your attorney needs to document your injuries as they are when the accident happens (or as soon as possible).

If you wait to hire your lawyer, then:

  • Your injuries may heal in a way that makes it difficult to document their true extent
  • Insurers may claim that your injuries are not as serious as they truly are
  • Important documentation related to your injuries (like X-rays and CT scans) may no longer show the true severity of your injuries

Injuries are the centerpiece of car accident claims and lawsuits. An attorney will ensure you get the needed treatment and document your injuries.

Make It More Difficult to Calculate Damages

The more information your attorney has about your accident and damages, the more accurately they can value them. If your attorney can review your injuries while they are fresh, they might better calculate the cost of your car accident.

Fail to Obtain the Compensation You Deserve

Securing the compensation you deserve may be more difficult if you hamstring your lawyer by waiting to hire them. While a capable lawyer may overcome difficult circumstances that come with getting a late start, it’s best to hire your car accident attorney as soon as possible.

Ways to Find the Right Car Accident Lawyer for Your Case

You must start your search once you recognize the urgency necessary when hiring a lawyer.

You may find a seasoned car accident lawyer by:

  • Asking family, friends, and coworkers about any personal injury lawyers they have worked with
  • Contact attorneys who place advertisements in your area
  • Conduct online research into car accident lawyers who serve your region

Online research may help you evaluate car accident attorneys serving your geographic area.

How to Evaluate Your Prospective Lawyers

Once you find a pool of lawyers who handle car accident cases in your area, you should consider:

  • What former clients say about the law firm: Clients have an unobstructed view of a law firm. For this reason, you should put stock in what former clients say about any law firm you are researching. Ideally, you will find a firm with overwhelmingly positive reviews from former clients.
  • What case results the firm has obtained: Most clients evaluate their lawyer based on the financial recovery they obtain (or fail to obtain) for the client. For this reason, you should review any case results a law firm publishes on its website. Though this list won’t include the cases the firm didn’t win, the results can still show you how the firm has helped other car accident victims.
  • The firm’s size: You may prefer a large firm, as this may mean the law firm has substantial resources to invest in your case. You may instead prefer a smaller firm with a more personalized feel. Ideally, you will find a firm with significant financial resources and excellent client service.
  • The quality of your free consultation: Most car accident lawyers allow prospective clients to complete a free consultation. This is usually a phone call, a chance to ask about the firm and hear its pitch for handling your case.

No single piece of information should determine which law firm you hire. Instead, consider as much information as is available to you. Find a firm that checks all your boxes; you deserve nothing less.

Your Rights May Be Under Fire from the Moment Your Accident Happens

Studies indicate the many challenges car accident victims face when seeking compensation for accident-related damages, which may include:

  • Allegations that the victim is not as injured as they claim: The severity of your injuries will be a factor in the value of your case. Therefore, liable parties (including insurers) may allege that your injuries are not as severe as you know they are.
  • Allegations that the victim is not working to improve their health: You should follow your doctor’s orders. This will deter any claims by liable parties that you are causing health problems by failing to prioritize your health.
  • Claim delays: Car accident victims must receive compensation for their damages quickly. Insurers or other liable parties may delay your claim for multiple reasons, including pressuring you to accept a lowball settlement.
  • Lowball settlement offers: A liable party will rather pay an accident victim $5,000 than $20,000. You should be aware that any early settlement offers you receive may be lowball offers.
  • Attempts to confuse the victim about insurance policies: The details of insurance policies will spell out coverage limits and other information related to your claim. Insurers may try to mislead or confuse you about such important policies.
  • Bad-faith negotiation tactics: If an insurer or other liable party actively works to pay you less than you deserve, they may engage in various tactics to achieve their goal. A car accident lawyer will deal with insurers and negate any bad-faith tactics they attempt to use.

Insurance companies and other liable parties will likely prioritize their own financial interests over yours. An attorney will protect you from any bad-faith tactics and resolve your claim or lawsuit as soon as possible.

Services a Car Accident Lawyer Provides

Your attorney may seek a five-, six-, or seven-figure settlement, depending on the severity of your injuries. Obtaining such a settlement requires a strategic plan, plenty of work, and prior experience representing car accident victims. Your attorney will work to obtain your financial recovery by:

Establishing Liability for Your Damages

Services a Car Accident Lawyer Provides

Your lawyer will rely on evidence, witness accounts, and other relevant information to establish liability for your damages.

Those who can be responsible for a car accident include:

  • A motorist
  • A municipality responsible for dangerous road conditions
  • A manufacturer responsible for a defective vehicle or part
  • An employer whose employee caused the accident

The details of each accident determine who is financially liable for a victim’s damages. Your lawyer’s investigation of your collision will determine who they seek compensation from.

Securing and Organizing Evidence

Your attorney will speak with witnesses, consult experts, review video recordings, and take necessary steps to secure evidence. In some cases, attorneys must file legal documents to secure evidence from liable parties who won’t provide evidence voluntarily.

Documenting Your Economic and Non-Economic Damages

Your attorney will seek all available proof of your accident-related damages, which may include:

  • Expert testimony about the nature of your damages
  • X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other medical images
  • Medical bills
  • Doctors’ diagnoses of your injuries
  • An invoice for repairing or replacing your damaged car
  • Invoices for replacing damaged personal property
  • Your own account of damages

Detail is key when documenting accident-related damages. Your attorney will work with investigators and experts to portray your damages in as much detail as possible.

Calculating a Case Value

Your attorney needs to know the value of your damages to secure a fair settlement or judgment. They will calculate your existing damages, project future damages, and even calculate damages (like pain and suffering) that don’t have an obvious financial value.

Negotiating with Liable Parties

When your attorney knows the value of your damages, they will negotiate a settlement with the liable parties. Insurance companies are usually the first party a lawyer seeks compensation from. If your case goes to trial, your lawyer will ask a jury to award you a fair judgment.

Filing a Lawsuit and Going to Trial 

There is a strong chance your case will settle, as most car accident cases do.

Many attorneys prepare cases for trial, though, because:

  • Liable parties do not always agree to offer a fair settlement
  • Damages from a car accident sometimes exceed insurance coverage limits, and your lawyer may need to sue at-fault parties 
  • A lawyer should be ready for any path a case takes, which may include trial

Trials can be months-long (or even multi-year) undertakings, but the financial reward of going to trial can be worth the wait.

Recoverable Damages in a Car Accident Case

Allow an attorney to determine the cost of your damages, which may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation-related expenses
  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning power
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental healthcare costs
  • Vehicle repairs
  • Replacement of a totaled vehicle

If you have lost a loved one because of a fatal car accident, an attorney will measure the cost of your loss. Wrongful death cases often involve large financial recoveries to reflect the permanent loss of a loved one.

How Will My Lawyer Seek Compensation for My Damages?

Your lawyer will follow two potential paths to a financial recovery:

  1. An insurance claim
  2. A lawsuit

Many car accident cases begin with an insurance claim. If it becomes clear that one or more insurers will not pay the compensation you deserve, an attorney may file a lawsuit against liable parties.

Even if your lawyer files a lawsuit, they can continue negotiating a settlement. Your attorney can proceed to trial if final settlement negotiations don’t lead to a fair settlement offer.

Hiring a Lawyer Will Cost You Nothing Out of Pocket

Car accident lawyers usually use contingency fees, which benefit the client because:

  • Car accident victims do not have to pay any upfront fee to their lawyer
  • The law firm provides total financial support for the case
  • The lawyer only receives their fee if the client receives a settlement or verdict
  • The lawyer’s fee comes from the settlement or judgment, not directly from the client

Car accident victims can cause much financial uncertainty. Being able to hire a lawyer without paying a dollar out of your pocket may provide the financial relief you seek.


What should I do after a car accident? After a car accident, it’s crucial to gather evidence to support your potential car accident claim. This includes obtaining the other driver’s insurance information, taking photos of the accident scene and any physical injuries, and requesting a copy of the police report. It’s also essential to seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t feel injured, as some injuries may not be apparent right away. Keep detailed records of your medical treatment, including doctor’s notes and bills.

How can a car accident injury attorney help me? A skilled car accident injury attorney can help you navigate the complex claims process with the insurance company or providers. They will gather evidence to prove the other driver was at fault, deal with the insurance adjusters on your behalf, and fight to secure maximum compensation for your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

What if the insurance company denies my claim? Insurance companies are focused on minimizing payouts, so they may try to deny or undervalue your personal injury claim, even if the other driver was clearly at fault. An experienced car accident attorney knows how to effectively negotiate with insurers and take legal action if necessary to recover the compensation you deserve.

How much is my car accident case worth? The value of your case depends on factors like the severity of your physical injuries, the amount of your medical bills and lost income, and the impact the accident had on your life. An attorney can evaluate your specific situation and fight for maximum compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits.

How long do I have to file a car accident claim? There are strict time limits, known as the statute of limitations, for filing a personal injury claim after a car accident. An attorney can ensure you meet all deadlines and requirements to preserve your right to compensation.

Do Your Research and Find Your Lawyer as Soon as Possible

Steven A. Bagen, Attorney for Car Accident
Steven A. Bagen, Car Accident Lawyer

Remember that you may have a limited time to file a car accident-related lawsuit. The sooner you hire your attorney, the sooner they’ll begin fighting for the compensation you need and deserve.

Case evaluations are no-cost and no-obligation, which means you have nothing to lose by scheduling yours today. If you’re wondering about the best time to hire a personal injury attorney, the best time is now.