After an accident, you may think that you weren't hurt that bad or that the insurance company is handling everything so you don't need a lawyer. The problem is that if you later find out that you need a lawyer, you might have already hurt your chances of winning your claim or collecting as much money. So how do you know when to get a lawyer involved?

Immediately After the Accident

The only way calling a lawyer can hurt you is if you do it before you call for an ambulance. That could delay your medical treatment. But if you've already taken care of your immediate safety needs, it can't hurt you to call a lawyer even before you've left the scene of the accident.

Most personal injury lawyers offer free phone consultations. If you call them, you can discuss what happened and whether you need a lawyer. If they tell you you don't need a lawyer yet, the only thing you've lost is a few minutes of your time.

Before You Go to the Doctor

If you need emergency care, you obviously want to get to the hospital right away and may not have time or the ability to call a lawyer. However, if you don't need to immediately go to a hospital, it's usually a good idea to get checked out by a doctor within a day. If you do receive emergency care, you'll probably need to go back for a follow-up visit.

Talking to a lawyer before you go to the doctor can help you figure out what you need to prove your case. You might need to ask for specific tests to be run or to get specific documentation of your injuries. A doctor who is only concerned with getting you healthy might skip steps that aren't necessary to get you back to full health but could impact your ability to win your case.

Before You Talk to the Insurance Company

You should talk to a lawyer before you even file your insurance claim. That's because the insurance company will often ask you to make a statement about what happened. If you leave out details or have minor inconsistencies with what you say later, they could use that to deny your claim.

In addition, you should ask a lawyer to review any settlement offers. The offer may seem good to you, but you may not be aware that you're legally entitled to much more compensation.

To learn more, contact a local personal injury lawyer today.