3 cases when car accident victims may need to hire an attorney

Hiring an attorney may be necessary for car crash victims who were partly at fault, suffered severe injuries or experienced a late onset of injury symptoms.

Car crashes affect the lives of thousands of people in Arizona each year. In 2015, more than 116,000 car accidents occurred statewide, causing over 50,000 injuries and over 850 fatalities, per the Arizona Department of Transportation. The survivors of these accidents often may consider addressing their losses without the assistance of an attorney. However, this can leave victims at risk for losing out on the redress that they may be entitled to, particularly in the following cases.

1. Severe injuries

It is not uncommon for car accident victims to suffer serious and debilitating injuries, such as fractures, head trauma or spinal cord damage. Just in Arizona, more than 4,000 incapacitating injuries reportedly resulted from car accidents in 2015. On average, each of these injuries had a cumulative economic cost of over $90,000.

Securing fair recompense for one of these severe and costly injuries can be difficult. These injuries may have complicated prognoses, and a settlement may also need to take into account a victim's lost wages, reduced earning potential and long-term medical expenses. An attorney may be able to aid a person in assessing these damages and seeking the highest amount of compensation possible.

2. Gradual-onset injury symptoms

Many common car accident injuries are not necessarily evident immediately, and some may not even become apparent until days later. Unfortunately, delayed-onset signs of injury can make it difficult for victims to prove that an injury truly occurred during an accident. This especially holds true if victims have already described their injuries as mild or nonexistent. As KTAR News notes, all of the following significant injuries may only become clear after enough time has passed:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Whiplash or other soft tissue injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Injuries to the neck or back

An attorney may be able to help a person prove that these complex injuries resulted from the accident rather than other circumstances.

3. Mixed liability accidents

Under Arizona law, accident victims who are found partly at fault in the incident can still recover compensation from another at-fault party. However, the compensation awarded is lowered based on the amount of fault that is attributed to the injury victim. In these cases, an attorney may be able to help a person document the circumstances of the crash and ensure that the proper amount of fault is attributed to each party.

Getting a second opinion

Before deciding whether to hire an attorney or make a claim alone, victims should strongly consider meeting with one to discuss the case and any potential stumbling blocks. An attorney may be able to help a person better understand the possible benefits of securing legal representation, along with the potential risks of handling the personal injury claim process alone.