When to Call an Attorney After a Car Accident

Categories: Car Accidents

When to Call an Attorney After a Car Accident

It’s an unfortunate reality that, at some point or another, most of us may be involved in a car accident. Many may be lucky and escape a collision unscathed, with little to no injuries or damage. However, what happens if you suffer serious injuries or extensive damage to your vehicle? Car accidents can be costly financially and emotionally.

An attorney can help you navigate the difficult road ahead and get some money in your pocket. But when do you call an attorney? And how can they help you? Searching for the right car accident attorney in Washington state may feel like another overwhelming task to take on at such a difficult point in your life. Read on to learn when to call a lawyer after a car accident and how they can assist in getting you the compensation that you need and deserve.


There may be situations where it might not be necessary to call an attorney. For example, an attorney may not be necessary if your accident was small with no injuries and no involved parties contesting their responsibility. However, in any other type of collision, it’s best to seek the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney in Washington to protect your rights. For example, in accidents where any of the following occur, it’s best to call an attorney:

  • Injuries or death,
  • Multiple injuries suffered by multiple parties,
  • Complex medical issues,
  • You are unable to work, or
  • Your vehicle or motorcycle was totaled.

In situations like these, when asking, Should I call a lawyer after a car accident? the answer is yes, as soon as possible.

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

Consulting with a car accident attorney provides multiple benefits as you focus on recovering from your injuries.

Financial Recovery

Retaining an attorney gives you a better chance of receiving the compensation you and your family need and deserve. With a deep understanding of personal injury law, liability in car accidents, and insurance requirements, your attorney analyzes the facts of your case to determine how best to proceed. An attorney has expert witnesses, accident reconstructionists, and other useful tools at their disposal to build a strong case on your behalf to ensure you receive the full value of your claim.

Gather Evidence

In situations where, due to your injuries, you were unable to gather evidence at the scene of an accident, your attorney gets to work to gather the relevant evidence needed for your case. Helpful evidence includes photographs, surveillance footage, witness statements, insurance information, and documentation related to your injuries and other losses. Each piece of evidence retained in your case makes it difficult for the liable party to refute any aspect of your claim.


Once the facts and details of your accident are known, your attorney begins negotiating a just settlement on your behalf. Negotiation with the attorney for the liable party and insurance adjusters is a difficult task. Many insurance companies and attorneys try to convince an injured victim to accept a settlement offer early on.

Many victims accept these offers as they come at a time when a victim is overwhelmed by their financial situation and unable to work. Unfortunately, those offers rarely capture the true extent of your injuries and losses. Your attorney works to negotiate a fair settlement that gets you and your family back on the road to normalcy.


When negotiations for settlement fail to progress, an attorney prepares your case for trial. Trial preparation is complex, filled with procedural deadlines, complicated court paperwork, and stressful court appearances. Attempting to do this without an attorney will almost certainly lead to delays and mistakes that could spell disaster for your case. An experienced attorney knows what is required to present your case at trial and convince a judge or jury that you deserve the compensation you demand.

An attorney also provides emotional support to victims who may feel overwhelmed by the legal process. They help clients learn what to do in the moments immediately following a car accident so that they can make efforts to protect their rights if the unfortunate were to happen again.

What to Do After a Car Accident

The minutes following a collision may seem like seconds as you try to make sense of what you just experienced and what you should do next. Reviewing this list ahead of time can help victims understand what steps are most important to take in these crucial moments.

Move to Safety

If possible, move all involved vehicles, bicycles, or motorcycles to safety and out of oncoming traffic. Secondary accidents are common and can further complicate matters in an already stressful time. Turn on the hazard lights for your car and stand out of the way of moving vehicles.

Check for Injuries

Check yourself and those involved for serious injuries. Call 9-1-1 for those requiring immediate medical attention. If anyone is trapped in a vehicle, it’s usually best to wait for emergency personnel to arrive to avoid causing further injury to the victim.

Call 9-1-1

Call 911 and request medical personnel and law enforcement to the scene. If injuries are not immediately apparent, medical workers will assess the condition of all involved parties to determine if any require a visit to the hospital. Law enforcement officers reporting to the scene of a car accident create an accident report.

These reports are valuable to attorneys and insurance companies because they provide unbiased third-party facts regarding the collision. Useful details include the names and contact information of all involved parties, witnesses, and photographs of the scene. Some officers may even make a determination of fault within the report.

Gather Evidence

If you are physically able, gather evidence at the scene of the collision. Relevant evidence includes the following:

  • Names, contact information, and insurance information for all parties involved in the accident;
  • Names and contact information for witnesses to the collision; and
  • Photographs of the scene of the accident, vehicles, property damage, and your injuries.

Once collected, keep this evidence for safekeeping to provide to your attorney for review.

Seek Medical Attention

Many serious injuries are not immediately apparent following a collision. Internal bleeding, concussions, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal injuries are serious though their symptoms may not develop for hours or days after the event. It’s vital to seek medical attention not only for your health and safety but to maintain a connection between your injuries and the collision. Waiting a month to seek medical attention allows the liable party to argue that your injuries resulted from an event other than the accident.

Call Your Insurance Company

Report your accident to your insurance company. Provide only facts and do not provide any other information. It’s never advised to speak to the insurance company for the liable driver without an attorney present. The insurance company may try to get you to admit fault or other admissions to minimize their payout for your losses.

Contact a Lawyer

Contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a collision. A lawyer assists in all aspects of your car accident case and provides valuable legal knowledge in a difficult time. Injuries, property damage, and an inability to work can overwhelm most car accident victims. A lawyer alleviates this burden and makes it easier for you to focus on what’s most important—your recovery.

What Damages Can I Recover?

California law permits injured victims to recover compensatory damages in the form of economic and noneconomic damages.

Economic damages include direct financial losses resulting from your accident. Examples include:

  • Medical expenses,
  • Lost wages,
  • Loss of future earnings, and
  • Property damage.

Keep all copies of receipts, pay stubs, tax returns, photographs, and other evidence that can assist your attorney in calculating the value of these economic losses.

Noneconomic damages represent subjective losses resulting from your injuries and commonly include:

  • Pain and suffering,
  • Emotional distress,
  • Loss of consortium,
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, and
  • Permanent disability and disfigurement.

Due to their subjective nature, proving noneconomic damages is difficult without an attorney. Through testimony from experts, friends, and family, in addition to other objective evidence, your attorney sets out to establish the impact that your injuries and losses have had on your life.

Contact Us

From the moment you hire Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner to represent you in your personal injury case, you can stop worrying about medical bills, lost work, insurance adjusters, damaged vehicles, and future expenses. Instead, you can concentrate on your physical and emotional recovery and spending time with your family. A car accident can completely derail your life. We are here to get everything back on track. We have assisted many of our clients with the legal side of terrible car accidents, painful injuries, and wrongful death cases. We want to do the same for you. Contact us by phone or email to get a free consultation and learn more about how Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner can help you.


Author Photo

Matt Conner

Matt Conner, a distinguished attorney at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, brings a unique blend of financial and legal expertise to his practice. Graduating with a double major in mathematics and economics from Willamette University, he initially honed his analytical skills as an economist for the State of Oregon. Specializing in personal injury law, Matt is adept at handling a wide array of cases, including multiparty litigation against large entities, and claims involving gun violence, sexual and police misconduct, car accidents, traumatic brain injuries, and wrongful death. Admitted to the Washington State Bar in 2014, he is known for his tenacious advocacy and deep compassion for clients facing life-altering challenges. His approach is not just about legal representation; it’s about restoring lives.