When to Get an Attorney For a Car Accident

May 10, 2023 | Ed Bernstein
When to Get an Attorney For a Car Accident

The best time to get an attorney after a car accident is now. You gain nothing by waiting to get a lawyer, but you can lose out on essential compensation. Having an experienced car accident lawyer in your corner can provide substantial benefits and protect you from making costly mistakes. Hiring an car accident attorney to handle your car accident claims should cost nothing upfront and nothing unless they win your case.

Here’s a deeper dive into why you should get an attorney immediately after a car accident harms you or someone you love.

Your Rights to Compensation After a Car Accident

When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident

You might have the right to claim substantial compensation if you got hurt in a car accident. The law generally entitles you to demand monetary damages from anyone whose careless, reckless, or intentional actions caused your crash and possibly from their liability insurance carrier. You may also have the right to receive payment for your expenses and injuries from your own insurance company.

In most cases, you can claim monetary damages for the full scope of losses you’ve suffered because of a car accident. You might recover far more money than you expect.

The typical car accident claim can include:

  • Medical expenses in treating accident-related injuries and health complications
  • The cost of repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle or other personal property
  • Other out-of-pocket expenditures related to dealing with the accident or injuries
  • Lost income and job benefits from missing work while healing
  • Lost future earnings due to a temporary or permanent disability
  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Emotional suffering and mental health challenges
  • Loss of independence and diminished quality of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement

If the party at fault caused your car accident by engaging in extreme or intentional misconduct, you might also have the right to claim an award of punitive damages at the discretion of the court. These are payments that serve to punish the at-fault party and deter similar behavior.

What a Car Accident Attorney Can Do for You

A car accident attorney can handle the entire process of claiming compensation for your car accident losses. The attorney takes care of everything so you can spend your time and energy recovering from your trauma.

Every car accident case differs. No two crashes are alike, and no two victims suffer identical injuries or setbacks. An experienced car accident attorney has the resources and know-how to pursue a compensation claim tailored to your unique losses. The attorney can handle anything your case throws their way and pursue the maximum compensation available.

A car accident attorney might, for example:

  • Investigate your car accident to pinpoint its causes and the parties responsible
  • Review insurance policies (yours and other people’s) to determine whether and for how much they cover your losses
  • Handle all dealings with insurance companies on your behalf
  • Act as your representative in communicating with the press and official investigators
  • Counsel you about decisions you need to make that might affect your rights
  • Answer your questions and explain your options for pursuing payment
  • Submit first- and third-party insurance claims for compensation under policies that cover your losses
  • Prepare and file lawsuits or similar legal actions seeking to hold at-fault parties liable for damages
  • Negotiate settlements of your claims with defense lawyers and insurance adjusters
  • Advise you about what represents a fair settlement offer
  • Go to court to prove your case to a judge and jury
  • Collect and disburse the money owed to you by at-fault parties or insurers

This is just a sampling of what a skilled car accident attorney can do for you. Attorneys are advisors, counselors, advocates, and allies to their clients. They stand up for you, guide you, protect you, and fight to ensure you receive justice and fair compensation.

Why Getting an Attorney Sooner Matters

Time isn’t on your side after you get hurt in a car accident. With every day that passes without a lawyer working on your behalf, proving a claim for car accident damages tends to become increasingly difficult. And if you wait too long to hire a lawyer, you could lose your rights entirely.


Your rights to compensation for your car accident losses depend on an attorney being able to prove that someone’s wrongful decisions, actions, or inaction caused the crash that harmed you. Establishing a case requires evidence, including documents, photographs, videos, and witness recollections. And the evidence is generally easiest to locate and preserve in the early days after a car accident.

As time passes, the evidence tends to become harder to come by. Memories fade. Images get deleted. Documents are thrown away. Every time a piece of evidence disappears, it makes a car accident case just a little bit harder to prove.

The harder your car accident case is to prove, in turn, the less likely you are to receive full compensation for your losses. Insurance companies, defense lawyers, judges, and juries tend to place a lower value on a claim based on old or incomplete evidence.

Hiring a lawyer right away protects you from that erosion in value. A lawyer can begin collecting and preserving evidence immediately, which can be critical to building the strongest possible case on your behalf and maximizing the payment for your losses.


The legal right to pursue compensation for car accident losses also comes with a built-in expiration date called the statute of limitations. That’s a law designed to ensure that claims get brought to court promptly. It establishes a window of time for a lawyer to file a lawsuit on your behalf. Once that window closes, you lose your right to utilize the court system to pursue compensation.

The statute of limitations for a car accident case varies from state to state and circumstance to circumstance. It can range from just a few months to a few years, depending on where you live, how old you are, and who caused your car accident. And it’s subject to a host of conditions and exceptions that can make the length of your window of opportunity somewhat unpredictable.

In other words, just because you know someone who had a window of two years to file a car accident claim doesn’t mean that’s how much time you’ll have. It all depends on the particulars of your car accident case.

Retaining an experienced car accident attorney right away after getting hurt in a crash is the safest way to avoid running into trouble with the statute of limitations and other deadlines that might affect your rights. An attorney knows how to calculate the time available in your case and can take immediate action when necessary to protect you.


Every day you spend without an attorney on your side after a car accident exposes you to making costly mistakes. Having potentially valuable rights to compensation for your losses makes you a target for insurance adjusters, defense lawyers, and others who want to avoid financial responsibility for what happened. They will scrutinize your words and actions to justify refusing to pay you what they owe.

Dealings with insurance companies, in particular, put you at risk when you don’t have an attorney watching your back.

An adjuster who works for the at-fault party’s liability insurance company, for example, might try to get you to give a recorded statement about the accident and, when you agree, will ask you loaded questions designed to trip you up and undermine the potential value of your claim. Or that same adjuster might offer you a quick cash settlement of your claim, presenting it as a generous gift for your troubles when, in reality, it would only pay you a fraction of what you have the right to receive.

Hiring a car accident lawyer protects you from falling for these sorts of tactics. Attorneys who represent crash victims like you know all about how insurance companies and defense lawyers operate. They protect you from being taken advantage of and force insurers and at-fault parties to live up to their legal and financial obligations to you.

Hiring an Attorney Today Won’t Cost You Anything Upfront

Getting hurt in a car accident can put you under financial strain. It’s understandable to worry about taking on extra expenses. But that’s not something that should concern you when hiring a lawyer. In most cases, an attorney will get to work on your car accident case without charging you a dime upfront.

All reputable car accident injury law firms offer free consultations to crash victims. You can sit down with them in person or remotely to discuss what happened and learn from them about your potential rights to claim compensation. They’ll never charge you for that consultation, even if you decide not to hire them.

In addition, any lawyer you do want to hire will almost certainly agree to represent you on a contingent fee basis. That’s when a lawyer’s fee consists only of a percentage of any money recovered on your behalf. An attorney working on contingency generally does not charge upfront fees or bill you by the hour. You only pay for their services if they win for you.

Find the Right Attorney for Your Car Accident Case

Take care in choosing the attorney for your car accident case.

To maximize your chances of receiving full, fair compensation for your losses, the law firm you pick should have:

  • Extensive experience with car accident cases like yours
  • An all-star team of attorneys and support staff
  • An established reputation for getting top-dollar results
  • The respect and admiration of former clients and fellow lawyers
  • 24/7 accessibility, convenient locations, and a commitment to client service

Take full advantage of a law firm’s offer of a free consultation to kick the tires. You deserve personalized legal service after a car accident disrupts your life, and you should always feel comfortable putting your case in an experienced attorney’s hands.

Focus on Your Health and Well-Being While an Attorney Works for You

In the wake of a car accident, it can be crucial to prioritize your health and well-being. Hiring an attorney to care for every aspect of seeking compensation makes that possible. While an attorney works on your behalf, you can concentrate on healing and rebuilding.

To that end, remember that seeking prompt medical care for all crash-related injuries is essential, even if you think they’re minor. Some potentially life-altering trauma, like brain injuries and internal bleeding, might not necessarily show symptoms immediately but could worsen without proper care. Go to the doctor for a check-up as soon as possible after a car accident and follow the plan to treat any injuries they find.

Seeking medical care also protects you legally. The records a doctor creates of your care can serve as valuable evidence in a compensation claim. Those records can also protect you against accusations from insurance companies or defense lawyers that you should have taken better care of yourself.

Contact a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney Today

Headshot of Ed Bernstein from Ed Bernstein and Associates
Ed Bernstein, Workers Compensation Lawyer 

There’s no time like the present to hire a car accident attorney. Without charging you a dime upfront, an attorney can get to work protecting your interests and pursuing your rights to compensation for your losses. And that can free you up to focus on healing from your trauma and planning for the future. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.

So don’t delay another minute. If you or someone close to you suffered losses in a car accident that was probably someone else’s fault, immediately contact a knowledgeable car accident attorney for a free case evaluation. You have nothing to lose and potentially lots to gain.


Ed Bernstein

Edward M. Bernstein, Esq. is the owner and founding partner of Edward M. Bernstein & Associates, and one of the most recognizable figures in Nevada. Ed is one of state’s premier personal injury attorneys and has hosted The Ed Bernstein Show for over 31 years. He has served the Las Vegas community for decades with dozens of community appointments and terms of service. In the year 2000, he was Nevada’s Democratic nominee for the United States Senate.

Ed received his B.A. from Long Island University in 1971 and his J.D. from Widener University in 1975. Since then, Ed’s professional accolades include numerous publications, honors and awards, court appointments, and has been named one of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.