Can You Wait Too Long To Call an Attorney After a South Bend Car Crash?

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on December 15, 2023

. Updated on January 26, 2024


Car crash claims are often complex and involve many steps, such as gathering evidence, proving the other party was at fault and negotiating for a fair settlement. Calling an attorney to help you navigate the legal process is a good idea, but can you wait too long to call?

Below, our experienced South Bend car accident lawyers discuss why waiting to call an attorney could risk your claim. We also explain how contacting a lawyer after a crash helps protect your interests and when it could be too late to seek legal help.

Not sure if you may have a case? Call Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak to discuss your situation in a free case review. There is no cost for this meeting, and it is a great way to find out whether you may have legal options for seeking compensation for things like medical costs, lost wages and other damages.

Call our office today to discuss your situation in a FREE case review. (844)-678-1800

Why Waiting To Call an Attorney Could Risk Your Claim

It is better to contact a lawyer as soon after a crash as possible. Below, we discuss some of the reasons why waiting to call an attorney could put your claim at risk.

Indiana Has a Deadline for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit

In Indiana, you have just two years from the day of the car accident to file a lawsuit. If you miss that deadline and try to file after that period, your case will most likely be barred from any recovery. If that happens, you will not be able to seek compensation from the at-fault party for any damages you sustained in the crash.

Building a Strong Case Takes Time

If you wait too long to seek legal help, an attorney may not have enough time to build your case. Since car crash cases are often contingency-based, meaning you do not pay for your legal services up front, attorneys do not like taking cases they are not sure they can win. Additionally, your attorney needs sufficient time to investigate your crash, gather evidence, review your medical records and negotiate with the liable insurance company on your behalf.

Evidence Can Get Lost Over Time

Over time, you and your eyewitnesses may forget many details of the accident that could be vital to your case. Video footage from surveillance cameras is typically quickly overridden by other footage. If your attorney knows about your situation sooner, however, he or she can request a subpoena to get that footage.

Crash scenes get cleared away quickly, which may eliminate evidence that could help to show who was at fault for the accident. If you call an attorney right away, he or she may be able to examine the scene soon after the crash.

A Lawyer Can Help You Avoid Making Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Claim

Insurance companies often attempt to lowball car accident victims. They are primarily focused on their bottom line and ensuring they make a profit. In short, their interests do not align with yours. Paying you fair compensation without question could end up costing them more money than they might have to pay if you take their first offer.

Contacting an attorney early on after a car accident means you have someone watching out for your interests. For instance, an experienced attorney knows how to properly calculate the value of a claim. He or she can protect you from accepting an early offer that is unlikely to cover all of your damages. An attorney can also help you avoid making other mistakes when speaking with the insurance company, such as:

  • Admitting fault
  • Accepting a quick settlement
  • Downplaying injuries

Why Do People Wait To Call An Attorney?

Some people are intimidated by lawyers. Therefore, it is normal for individuals to hesitate about reaching out to one. The following are some of the reasons why some people may wait to call an attorney:

Some Victims Think Attorneys Are Too Expensive

Car accident and personal injury attorneys get paid on contingency. This payment method means they do not charge you any upfront fees. Your attorney only gets paid if you receive a settlement or win a favorable jury-awarded verdict if your case goes to trial.

Another misconception some victims have is that they think some injuries or damages are minor and will heal quickly without treatment. It may even seem that way right after a car accident when crash victims are still in shock. However, internal injuries could worsen or become life-threatening in just hours. Other injuries could take days or weeks following the crash before symptoms begin to show, such as if you have a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The only way to know for certain whether or not you sustained a serious injury is to seek immediate medical attention after a car crash.

When Is the Best Time To Contact a Lawyer After a Car Accident?

If you intend to seek compensation for your medical costs and other losses, you should consider seeking legal help as soon as possible.

Having an attorney managing your case from day one allows you to focus on your health and getting the treatment you need to recover from your injuries. It also helps you to avoid making critical mistakes that could hurt your case or even cause your case to be denied.

How Can a Lawyer Help With Your Car Accident Case?

Your lawyer can help you seek the compensation that you need by doing the following:

  • Gathering evidence
  • Investigating your accident
  • Negotiating with insurance companies
  • Calculating damages and medical expenses
  • Speaking on your behalf if your case goes to trial
  • Assisting with filing documents
  • And more

Keep in mind that every case is different. For example, if your injuries have hurt your relationship with your children or spouse, you may be able to include additional damages for your pain and suffering.

How Can I Avoid Waiting Too Long to Call an Attorney?

Victims can avoid putting off calling an attorney by preparing ahead of time for what they need to do if a crash occurs. Although no one plans to be in a car accident, having a checklist can help you to be more prepared. Doing your research ahead of time also means you can have confidence in your choice of an attorney.

Some good items to have on your checklist could include:

  • The contact details of an injury attorney in your area that you have already researched and are therefore confident to use.
  • A reminder to schedule an initial consultation with your chosen attorney to get answers to your legal questions, including whether he or she thinks you may have a valid case.
  • A list of the vital documents your attorney will need

Contact Our South Bend Office To Discuss Your Case Further

If you have been in a car crash, your first step should always be to protect your health by seeking medical attention first. However, once your injuries have been stabilized, your next step should be to call an attorney to help protect your legal interests.

At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, we have been helping victims injured by the negligence of other drivers for decades. We have a history of success, and we are prepared to seek the maximum possible compensation on your behalf.

Call our law office to request a free case review with one of our knowledgeable attorneys. We know that compensation cannot undo your injuries. However, it can help to cover the costs of your damages, such as medical costs, property damage, lost wages and other losses.

Call (844)-678-1800 to schedule a free case review.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases