While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
If you have a car accident, you might think the easy thing to do is to try to handle it yourself first. If you have a problem, you can always call a lawyer. The reality is it doesn't work that way. If you make a mistake, it could have permanent consequences that no lawyer can fix. Here's what can go wrong.
Missed Insurance Deadlines
When you have an accident, the first step is notifying your insurance company. You'll often do this by calling, but this may not be all you actually have to do. You will usually still need to file a written claim or submit additional documents by a certain deadline. No matter how helpful the insurance representative is on the phone, their job is to help the insurance company not you. Your lawyer is the only one required to put your interests first by law, and accident lawyers know from experience what you need to do and when even if you aren't aware yourself.
Missing the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a law that gives you a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, you generally lose the right to sue. The statute of limitations is usually measured in years rather than months. However, to file your case and meet the statute of limitations, your lawyer often has to do a lot of prep work.
It can take months to properly prepare a case to file. If you try to work things out with the insurance company, the clock is ticking. If you wait too long to call a lawyer, they might not have time to prepare your case. Even if they manage to get papers filed, your case may be weaker due to this lack of preparation time.
Loss of Evidence
Evidence can also be lost as a result of waiting too long to talk to a lawyer. For example, if your city records videos of traffic, you have the right to subpoena the video of your accident. However, these videos usually get erased after a certain time, such as 30 days, in order to save storage space. You'd need to get your request in sooner to make sure the video gets saved. Talking to a lawyer right away helps you find out where to get evidence and start the process to save it before it's too late to get it.
To learn more about how to handle your car accident case the right way, talk to a local car accident lawyer today.