Have you ever been in a situation where you were confronted with judicial questions and you noticed with shock that you don’t really have a clue which legal action you need to take first? One of the most common problems in such matters is the question of legal assistance. Many people wonder whether they need an attorney or not after being involved in an accident, for example. As laws can be quite complicated sometimes, we have done the research for you on this subject. In the following, we will present our findings on those cases in which you may relax because you don’t need an attorney.
There are many cases where people have a minor injury after a car accident, for example. After these kinds of crashes, most people are left with a few scratches under shock, but that’s about it. They are often not significantly hurt, and they get better within hours or just a few days. If this happens to you, you probably won’t need an attorney. We say “probably” as you must be 100 % sure that you are fine. Many people don’t realize the long-term effects until later on, which will make it very difficult to still get the help of an attorney. If you are, however, sure that you have only suffered minor injuries, don’t hire an attorney! The fees they charge won’t be covered by the money you could potentially get from a personal injury claim. When you present such a case at civil court – or in rare cases to any other type of court, they can most often be resolved quite easily. Concerning the damage that has been done to your car or motorbike, you won’t need an attorney either. This surprises many people, but insurance companies usually will, contrary to common belief, work directly with you and resolve the issue swiftly. So, you can generally say that minor injuries as well as sustained material damage do not require an attorney to support you in enforcing your claims. If the degree of your injury is uncertain, however, and you have any doubt about it being just something minor, you should definitely consult an attorney!
Sir Francis Bacon said it all in one statement: “Wisdom is power.” So, if you are well educated and know just enough about law, you can handle a claim yourself. The majority of people do not know anything about the most common issues like insurance coverage or any of the technicalities involved. If you, however, have devoted much of your time to actually reading and understanding insurance contracts before you sign them, or you have put some effort into understanding the law that applies here, you definitely won’t need an attorney. An attorney is not some type of wizard! He just does what you can do as well, which is read and be informed about different subject matters. If you have the time, you can do it yourself – without legal assistance. This applies to every type of accident you may be involved in. You basically never need an attorney; it is always just an option. This is also one of the reasons why the so-called Miranda Warning is read to you when you are taken into custody; he/she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning, and that, if he/she is indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent him/her. It says, “has the right to,” because it is simply not mandatory to have one.
You Caused the Accident
If you happen to cause an accident or it is just partly your fault, you don’t need to hire an attorney as long as you have insurance. Insurance plans usually have the added benefit of providing you with an attorney free of charge; that’s usually part of their service. Therefore, the attorney defending you will usually be someone who works closely with the insurance company. The only downside is that they might raise your rates afterwards. Additionally, some states in the U.S. also have rules regarding contributory negligence, which means that you are not allowed to file claims against anyone if you are even just partly at fault as well.
It is Clearly not Your Fault
The opposite of the previously mentioned accident caused by you is also no reason to hire an attorney – that is, as long as there are enough witnesses who are willing to testify on your behalf. If there is a sufficient number of witnesses, it doesn’t really matter how severe the injuries are, because at court, it will just be a matter of proving your innocence or the opposite party’s liability to the jury and/or the judge. This means that you can save a huge amount of money if you have witnesses on your side who are willing to testify and clearly state that the opposite party is liable.
It can happen that both parties, the responsible and the injured party, agree to not make any claims considering the accident. Quite often one car bumps into another one in a parking lot, at a stop sign, or at a traffic light. Usually, the slow speed prevents any severe damage to the cars, only a few scratches or maybe a small dent. The parties get out of their cars, take a look at the damage, and conclude that it is just a small hiccup and not worth taking legal action. They get back into their cars and drive off. In such cases, you don’t need an attorney, first of all, because there won’t be a trial, and secondly, because even if the other party decides to take legal action later on, the court is most likely to drop the claim when the damage is too small and the parties agreed in advance in good faith to not take action.
So, to summarize this article, it can be said that you never but also always need an attorney. An attorney is always optional, but not mandatory. However, in many cases it is useful to have an attorney at your disposal whose knowledge and expertise might aid you in fighting for your claims or representing you in court.