After you've been involved in an accident, the first thing you're going to do is make sure you and everyone involved in the accident are safe. If you're injured, you need to seek medical treatment. The next most important thing is to speak to a personal injury lawyer. Many people tend to put speaking to an attorney off – similar to the way they put off medical treatment – until it is absolutely necessary. However, you don't want to snooze and lose, which is what may happen if you wait. Here are four clear reasons why you'll want to speak to an attorney sooner rather than later after an accident:
1. State of Limitations
The state of limitations is simply a legal stipulation that requires a victim to file a lawsuit within a certain timeframe of an accident occurring. If the claim is not made within this timeframe, then it cannot be made. These time limits do vary from one state to the next. For example, in California and Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years for personal injury. However, in Maine and North Dakota, you have six years to file a claim.
2. Destroyed or Lost Evidence
If you want to be successful with a personal injury lawsuit, you are going to need strong evidence. The longer you wait to file a legal claim, the better the chances are of losing your evidence. This includes physical evidence that can be gathered from the scene of the accident, the physical proof of your injuries and verbal or written statements from witnesses who saw the accident take place. These will all be harder to document as time goes on. If you speak to a lawyer immediately, he or she will spring into action immediately to preserve all of the evidence that could potentially help your case and increase your odds of winning the case in the end.
3. Faded Memories
One of the most important pieces of your evidence is going to be your memory of the event and the memories of the witnesses. With time, memory fades or is altered – even if it's just a bit. Unfortunately, this is not something that you can afford when you're trying to win a personal injury case. Luckily, an attorney can help you accurately document every single detail of the accident after it happens so that you can use it when needed later. Believe it or not, your attorney may be able to pull little details that you thought were unnecessary and use them as a key point to knock a huge hole in the other side's case.
4. Potential for a Quick Settlement
Although a settlement may not always be the best solution, it may be in your case. An attorney (like those at The Gil Law Firm and similar offices) can help you look at the pros and cons of a quick settlement and help you determine whether it is the best resolution in your individual situation. In some cases, especially if you're under a lot of stress, a settlement can help you quickly be compensated and forego the trial, which can be time-consuming and expensive. If you decide to do this, an experienced attorney can help negotiate an appropriate settlement on your behalf to ensure you get an amount that you deserve.