When filing an auto accident claim, the type of claim you're able to file will make a major difference in how it is handled. Likewise, it will dictate how much compensation you may be able to recover, and that determines where it may be worth it to hire an automobile injury attorney to represent your interests. Here are the three ways auto accident cases are generally dealt with.
This is the simplest version. You appear to be completely uninjured and the entirety of the claim is about the repair or replacement value of your car.
It's worth noting that you should not immediately assume your case is purely about property damage. While you may not want to run out and retain the services of an auto accident lawyer right away, you should at least get a full medical examination before accepting a settlement of your case. If you're not 100% sure that there aren't lingering medical problems, it's best to hold off for at least a few months before you accept a settlement.
A Standard Injury Case
Most insurance policies have limits on the amounts of compensation that can be awarded for basic injuries. This is especially the case if a policy was drawn up in a state that uses a no-fault insurance system. In a no-fault system, the two insurance companies are required to sort claims out among themselves.
A few other factors can further complicate these cases. First, one person may be from a fault state and the other is from a no-fault state. Generally, these cases are resolved as if they were in a state without a no-fault system. Second, you might be involved in an accident involving a driver who has no insurance. That means that rather than dealing with the other side's insurance carrier, you may spend more time fighting with your own. As things get more complex, the odds will go up that you'll want to hire an auto accident lawyer.
The most extreme scenario is a claim involving catastrophic injuries. Even in the most rigid no-fault states, catastrophic injuries are major exceptions to limits on seeking damages. Legally speaking, a catastrophic injury is one that's life-altering, such as paralysis or disfigurement. Injuries that prevent claimants from ever plying their trades again are also considered catastrophic. You may need to hire an auto injury lawyer, though, to present the argument that your injuries are, in fact, catastrophic.
For more information on auto accident claims, contact a local auto accident lawyer.