How Long Do I Have to Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident?

How Long Do I Have to Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident?

Following a Columbus car accident, everyday life can easily become a flurry of chaotic activity. There may be appointments with your doctor, follow-up scans at the hospital, and other meetings to attend. 

Keeping up with all this activity can be made more difficult by the impact of any pain and injuries you sustained in the crash. In the midst of this experience, finding and contacting a car accident lawyer to help you can seem like a task best saved for another day.

However, making time to speak to and hire a Columbus car accident lawyer can be one of the most significant and impactful steps you take after a car wreck. Here is what you need to know about hiring a lawyer after a crash in Ohio and how long you have to do so under state law.

Hiring a Lawyer and the Statute of Limitations

In Ohio, a car accident injury victim has two years from the date of the crash to file a claim for damages. This is known as the statute of limitations, and it operates to prohibit injury victims from waiting too long to file a claim. If you fail to file your injury claim within this period, you may lose your chance to receive compensation.

This means that technically, you have until the statute of limitations expires to hire a lawyer after a car accident. While you can hire a car accident lawyer after this time, they may be limited in what they can do for you. You should instead seek legal counsel much earlier than this to allow your attorney enough time to build a strong case.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Helps You After an Accident

To better understand why you should not wait to hire an attorney, it is helpful to understand what a lawyer can do for you after a car accident. Some of the more important ways a lawyer supports you after a wreck include:

Serving as a Point of Contact for Others

When a lawyer is representing you, all calls about the accident should be directed to your attorney. This includes calls from law enforcement officers, insurance adjusters, other attorneys, and repair shops. Your lawyer will address the concerns these and other individuals have and contact you only when necessary. 

In this way, having an attorney not only reduces the volume of phone calls you receive, but also the number of people you must communicate directly with about your case.

Investigating Your Claim

Most car insurance claims and lawsuits reach a settlement. Conversely, very few of them are tried before a judge or jury. Nonetheless, to fully protect your legal rights, your case should be investigated as if a court would need to decide whether you are entitled to compensation and if so, how much.

To have the best opportunity for success in court, a thorough investigation into how the accident happened and how it impacted you is necessary. Your lawyer can gather and review evidence such as:

  • Witness statements from those who saw the accident or helped in the aftermath
  • Law enforcement reports and photographs documenting the accident scene
  • Other photographs or cell phone videos that bystanders may have taken
  • Statements the other drivers involved made about the accident
  • Medical bills, wage statements, and other documentation of losses you sustained

Taken together, these statements and evidence can tell a court the story of your crash. Gathering it early and preserving it helps ensure it will be available when and if you need it. 

If you delay retaining a car accident lawyer, some of this evidence may no longer be available. Similarly, some witnesses may not remember the details of your crash if they are asked to recall them months or years after they happened. Thus, quickly hiring a lawyer gives you the best chance of building a successful case for compensation.

Negotiating or Litigating Your Claim

Your car accident lawyer will be well-equipped to seek a settlement in your case. If a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer can take your case to trial. In either scenario, your lawyer will handle all of the procedural steps necessary to file your claim in a timely manner.

The skills that a talented car accident lawyer brings to your case can give you an advantage in seeking a successful outcome through either avenue. Similarly, your attorney’s informed advice can help you decide which avenue is the appropriate method for your situation. 

The sooner you get an attorney involved in your case, the swifter they can be about pursuing the options available to you for getting the compensation you need. Cases in which liability and damages are clear can still take weeks to settle, and getting a case resolved at trial can take even longer. 

Hiring an attorney at the outset means you are not waiting unnecessarily before you get the damages you need and deserve.

The Right Time to Hire an Ohio Car Accident Lawyer Is Now

Waiting to hire an attorney until life has calmed down after your car wreck can be as disadvantageous as not hiring one at all. Your decision to delay can lead to the loss of evidence and the expiration of the statute of limitations, both of which could mean that you are not able to obtain damages for your medical bills, lost wages, or other financial and non-economic losses.

You may worry that hiring a car accident lawyer will be another drain on your time and resources at a moment when you have little of either. But having a lawyer working on your case on your behalf can free up additional time for you and lead to faster results. 

To give your case the best chance for success, it’s vital to hire a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a car crash in Columbus. A lawyer will be able to evaluate the details of your accident during a consultation to determine whether pursuing a claim is the right path forward for you. 

Contact a Car Accident Attorney From Schiff & Associates

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Ohio, turn to Schiff & Associates. Our team of experienced attorneys can handle all aspects of investigating your case and preparing and pursuing a resolution.

From gathering important documents and evidence to handling the insurance adjuster and settlement negotiations, you can count on your car accident lawyer from Schiff & Associates to work diligently to protect your rights and interests. Contact Schiff & Associates to schedule a consultation with us today.