When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident

If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Tampa, Florida, you may have questions about what to do next, whether you should seek legal guidance, and how to deal with the other parties and the insurance companies involved. 

Navigating a car accident can be overwhelming, especially if you have suffered an injury because of the accident. Feeling overwhelmed and having mounting questions and concerns about what to do next is completely normal.

A car accident scene with two damaged cars.

At Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, our experienced car accident attorneys thoroughly know local and state auto laws. Our team is committed to offering comprehensive legal guidance for victims like you following a car accident. Along with helping you build a robust case, you can count on our team to help you recover a competitive settlement agreement or provide comprehensive representation if your case goes to trial.

Learn more about what to do after a car accident by contacting our attorneys today. We work on contingency, meaning there is no fee until we win your case. Get in touch today to schedule a free consultation and thoroughly understand your legal rights and options.

Should I get an attorney after a car accident? 

After an auto accident, many victims will be left wondering if and when to get an attorney for a car accident. Not all car accidents require the legal guidance an attorney can offer. However, if you have sustained an injury after a car accident, suffered severe property damage, or were in a collision with a semi-truck or commercial vehicle, you may benefit from the guidance of a car accident attorney

Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may have a strong case, even if you are unaware of it. An experienced car accident attorney can evaluate your case to determine the best steps forward.  

How long do I have to file a claim?

The statute of limitations is the legal term used to describe the time period in which a victim can take legal action against a defendant. Once this time limit runs out, plaintiffs lose the ability to recover damages they may be entitled to.

There are different statutes of limitations for different types of claims, but with all claims, the time begins to run from the date of the accident. In some instances, the statute of limitations can be tolled or paused, but this is generally rare. 

Newly enacted House Bill 837 establishes that Florida’s statute of limitations to file a claim after a car accident is two years. If a surviving family member has lost a loved one in a car accident, they have two years to file a claim under the state’s wrongful death statute of limitations. If the defendant is a government entity, a plaintiff has three years to file a case. 

Why is it a good idea to reach out to an attorney early on after a car accident?

There are many factors at play when a car accident occurs. These factors can all influence your case and have an overall effect on the strength of your case. Common factors that are critical to any car accident case include:

  • Witness statements
  • Police reports
  • Environmental factors like the weather, road signs, and road conditions
  • Statements from medical professionals who have treated your injuries 
  • Access to surveillance footage and other critical pieces of evidence 

An attorney will help you collect critical evidence

The sooner you are able to speak with an attorney about your car accident, the sooner your attorney and their team can begin collecting evidence on your case.

Additionally, the sooner an attorney begins working on your case, the easier it is to collect critical information like witness statements while they are still fresh, statements from medical professionals, available surveillance footage, testimony from experts, and other critical pieces of evidence. 

You’ll have legal support when communicating with the insurance company

Florida has strict guidelines on when to file a claim after a car accident. Under Floida’s auto coverage laws, personal injury protection policyholders typically have 14 days to file a claim with their insurance provider. If you are a car accident victim and fail to do so within this deadline, you could miss out on recovering the insurance benefits you are entitled to.

Once the insurance company is involved, it’s critical to have legal guidance on your side. An experienced car accident attorney will know how to push back against insurance adjusters who may try to minimize your case. Additionally, insurance companies will typically try to offer you a settlement immediately after your accident to close your case. However, an attorney can ensure that a settlement agreement is not a lowball offer and covers your losses comprehensively. 

The sooner you speak with an attorney about your case, the sooner you can have legal representation when dealing with insurance companies. 

Hiring an attorney allows you to focus on your recovery

Hiring a car accident attorney also gives you peace of mind so you can focus on your recovery. An attorney will take care of critical legal processes, including filing deadlines, evidence collection, working with the insurance company, and speaking with the legal teams of the other parties involved in your case.

Having an expert on your side who knows what questions to ask and how to speak with the parties involved means you can focus your full attention on your recovery. This alleviated burden of stress can have a dramatic impact on your recovery process as well. 

How an attorney can help you after a car accident

An experienced car accident attorney like the team at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, will be able to offer comprehensive legal representation so you have the strongest case possible. Our attorneys have dedicated knowledge of what to do after a car accident and will help you plan a successful legal path forward. The services an attorney will provide will typically include the following: 

Make sure you get a fair case evaluation

Auto insurance companies are in the business of minimizing losses, and unfortunately, this often means offering lowball settlements to claimants. Other parties involved in your case may try to push you into closing a claim without having your interests protected or represented to the fullest extent possible. An experienced car accident attorney will ensure your case is the strongest it can be.

They’ll look over any and all documentation offered by medical professionals, responding police officers, and the insurance companies involved. They will evaluate your case to make sure your best interest is protected every step of the way and that you are not taken advantage of. 

Representing your interest in negotiations and court

When negotiating a settlement with insurance companies and other involved parties, a knowledgeable car accident lawyer can bring their expert negotiating skills to the table so that you get a fair settlement. 

While most car accident cases end in a settlement, a small percentage go to trial. If your case is one of the few that go to trial, you can count on comprehensive legal representation before a judge or jury.

Assistance and guidance through the entire process

Most importantly, working with a car accident lawyer means having a legal representative with you during every step of the legal process. If you receive documentation you don’t understand, have concerns about your rights, or have questions about the type of damages you can seek, an attorney will answer all those questions and more. 

Contingency fees — only pay if we win your case

After a car accident, it can be overwhelming to think about hiring an attorney. At Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, we understand the financial concerns of hiring legal counsel. We work on contingency to help ease this burden, meaning you only pay if we win your case.

It’s easier to have clarity about your legal rights and options following a car accident by alleviating this financial burden. 

Speak with a car accident attorney in Tampa, Florida 

A gavel, a stack of books and the scales of justice on a car accident attorney's desk.

Call Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, today if you have been hurt in a car accident in Tampa, Florida. Our team of attorneys, investigators, and paralegals will work diligently to help you recover the compensation you deserve following an accident.

Our law firm has proudly served hundreds of car accident victims just like you recover the compensation they deserve. Learn about your legal rights and options when you schedule a free case evaluation with our team.


House Bill 837.

FLA. STAT. § 627.736(a).

Bieber. C. (2022). Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts (2023).