When is the Right Time to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

right time to hire a personal injury lawyer

An incident that causes personal injuries can be terribly stressful for your mind and body. It ruins your plans, affects your loved ones, and generates a variety of unexpected expenses. If you want to get the compensation you deserve, you need to take legal action. And you need to do it fast. While the law doesn’t require you to hire a personal injury lawyer, without one, your chances of recovering fair damages are low. Let’s find out when to hire an attorney for your personal injury case.

When is the Right Time to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

The right time to hire a personal injury lawyer is right after you take care of your immediate medical needs. Ideally, you should consult an attorney right after the incident occurs. However, at that point, your injuries are more important than legal assistance. As soon as you get medical treatment and have an opportunity to make a phone call, consider getting a consultation.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney 

You start building your personal injury case the moment an incident occurs. As soon as you slip and fall, get into a car accident, or suffer from another type of someone’s negligence, legal action begins. If you don’t have any legal experience, you could make errors that might hurt your case in the future and keep you from obtaining fair compensation. By consulting a legal professional quickly, it’s possible to avoid them.

Making Statements

Anything you tell the insurance company after the accident could be held against you in the future. It’s imperative to avoid any statements before you speak to an attorney or, at least, until you have sufficient time to think. Admitting fault right after the incident could result in shared liability for its consequences. West Virginia is a comparative negligence state. It means that if you are partially responsible for the incident, you can still recover damages but only if your fault is less than 50%. If the judge decides that you are more than 50% responsible, you can’t count on compensation.

Collecting Evidence

Evidence is the pillar of any strong personal injury case. It appears immediately after the incident occurs. The longer you wait to collect this evidence, the more likely it is to lose its quality. Meanwhile, eyewitness memories could fade, and camera recordings could be erased.

The sooner you hire an attorney, the faster they can start collecting valuable evidence and building a strong case.

Focusing on Recovery

If you have severe injuries, you need to focus on getting the required treatment. Dealing with legal issues while you are recovering can be complicated. The faster you hire an attorney, the more time you can gain to focus on your injuries without hurting your case or missing important deadlines.

When It’s Too Late to Hire an Attorney 

Many people put off legal action until they are fully recovered. An experienced attorney can start building a strong case any time after the incident. However, sometimes, it may be too late. In each state, there is a statute of limitations that determines the time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. In West Virginia, it’s two years from the time the injury occurs or from the time you should have reasonably discovered it. If you file a lawsuit after the two years are up, the judge will likely dismiss the case immediately. West Virginia’s statute of limitations comes with certain legal exceptions. For example, if an injured person is a minor at the time of the incident, the statute comes into effect after they reach 18 years of age. An attorney can tell you whether any of the legal exceptions apply to your case. Many personal injury lawyers offer free case evaluations during which you can learn about your chances of damage recovery.

Can You Avoid Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?

You may not need to hire a personal injury attorney if:

  • The accident is your fault (however, if there is a chance that you can prove another party’s partial fault, you may still recover damages).
  • Your injuries are minor (keep in mind that some injuries don’t become obvious immediately).
  • You have extensive legal experience and time to deal with a personal injury case on your own.

In all the above situations, it may still make sense to consult an attorney. Professional legal assistance can help maximize your settlement and save you valuable time.

The Takeaway 

The best time to hire a personal injury attorney is as soon after the incident as possible. The faster they start working on your case, the more chances you have of obtaining maximum compensation. In some cases, you may not need an attorney. However, consulting one before making this decision is highly recommended.

Author Bio

Tim Miley is the Founder of Miley Legal Accident Injury Lawyers, a West Virginia personal injury law firm he formed in 2006. With more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, brain injuries, wrongful death, and other personal injury matters.

Tim received his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University and is a member of the West Virginia State Bar and the Harrison County Bar Association. He has helped his clients win more than $10 million in personal injury verdicts and settlements and has further served the people of West Virginia by filling legislative roles in the state’s government since 2004.

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