There is no ironclad rule for whether or not a case requires an attorney. However, there are a few general characteristics that usually make a case easier to handle on your own.
Cases that can be handled without an attorney are usually cases that are:
- More Straightforward
- Less Complex
- Undisputed (i.e., there is no disagreement about what happened and who was at fault).
It is also far easier to handle a car accident case on your own if both parties are sufficiently insured. When both parties have sufficient coverage, there are far more official and effective avenues in place through which to pursue reimbursement and compensation—as well as money available to make those reimbursement and compensation payments.
In addition, the less serious the damage (both in terms of personal injury and damage to the cars/any other property), the easier a car accident case will be for you to handle without an attorney. The less money involved in a potential claim, the less the insurance companies will be inclined to fight it.
Are there any minor accidents I will need an attorney to handle? If so, what are the signs that I should hire an attorney in a minor accident case?
Yes, there are seemingly minor accidents in which it is absolutely advisable to hire an attorney. This is largely because there are many car accidents that initially appear to be minor, but which then spiral out into very serious, very involved, and sometimes very contentious cases.
There are many different indications that you should hire an attorney in a minor car accident case. Some examples include:
- Disputed cases, where there is disagreement about what happened, who was at fault, how much money ought to be paid, and any other major disagreements.
- Cases where at least one driver is uninsured or underinsured (i.e., where you may be required to pursue damages in small claims court)
- Cases with very expensive property damage
- Cases that result in serious personal injuries that require ongoing and/or expensive medical treatment
In order to ensure the best possible outcome and to protect yourself from being taken advantage of, it is also very highly recommended to hire an attorney if the other driver, their insurance company, or any other party is taking you to court over the accident. Representing yourself in court rarely—if ever—works in a person’s favor. Car accident cases are no exception to this rule. If a case is going to court, you are best served by hiring an attorney to represent you there.