Murphy Trial Law

When Is It Too Late to Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident?

too late to get a car accident lawyer

Obtaining a car accident settlement is hard work. Some accident victims try to handle their own claims, only to realize that they are in over their heads. They don’t know how to negotiate, and they might struggle to get a claims adjuster to even return their calls.

At Murphy Trial Law, we receive phone calls from men and women injured in car wrecks who need help submitting a claim. You have called the right law firm. Our car accident lawyer can get to work immediately protecting your legal rights following a car crash.

Although it’s almost never too late to hire a lawyer, you should call our firm as soon as possible. There are critical deadlines to meet, and you don’t want to miss them. We are happy to meet with anyone shopping for a car accident attorney, so reach out today.

Why People Delay Calling a Lawyer

Some common reasons include:

  • No money. They feel they can’t hire an attorney.
  • Too much pain. It’s hard to think straight when you’re groggy from pain pills.
  • Confusion. Maybe you don’t really know who or what caused the accident.
  • Fear of lawyers. Some people are burned by a divorce lawyer, so they are skeptical of all attorneys.

The Importance of the Statute of Limitations

Washington Revised Code § 4.16.080 lays out the statute of limitations for bringing a personal injury case based on a car accident. In short, you get three years from the day of the accident to file a lawsuit. That is a decent amount of time. So if you were hurt on July 1, 2023, then you get until July 1, 2026 to file your claim in court.

You need to meet this deadline. It’s not optional. If you go over, a judge can dismiss your lawsuit with prejudice, which means you can’t file again later. You permanently lose the ability to sue.

But don’t we settle most of our cases? That’s true. A lawsuit isn’t necessary in most cases. Nonetheless, losing the ability to sue means you lose any leverage over the defendant. The only reason they come to the table to negotiate is they know you might file a lawsuit in court. If the statutory deadline has passed, then you lose this leverage. Now the defendant’s insurer doesn’t fear a lawsuit because they know a judge will dismiss it.

Why You Should Call Us Early

Most of our clients call us in the week after an accident. They go to the hospital to receive emergency medical treatment and then begin looking for an attorney once they are comfortably back home. It’s never too early to call. You can even call us from the hospital, if you want. Our law firm can begin constructing a solid case for compensation.

For example, the sooner you reach out, the more evidence we can usually find to use. If you wait years to call, then witnesses could disappear, or they might have forgotten the accident. Physical evidence will be washed away from the scene, and surveillance video might be erased. It’s harder to piece together what happened.

This evidence is critical for proving fault. You can only request compensation if you show the defendant is at least partly to blame for your accident. That’s why it is so important to call.

Delay only hurts your case. Without an attorney, you might slip up and hand over evidence to the defense which harms your case. For example, you might give a recorded statement to the defendant and slip up and admit to fault when you don’t really mean it. Any fault will reduce the amount of financial compensation you can receive for a Washington car accident.

Do Not Negotiate a Claim by Yourself

Every settlement will come with a release of claims. When you sign the release, you are giving up the right to sue the defendant in the future for this accident. Consequently, the compensation included in the settlement is all you will ever get from the defendant.

Some accident victims aren’t aware of this fact. They think they can agree to a few thousand dollars today and then wait and try to negotiate for more money a few months down the road. Once you sign a release, the defense will no longer negotiate with you. Try to sue them in court? The release is a valid, written contract. The defense will show it to a judge who will dismiss your claims.

Many non-lawyers have no idea the value of their claims. They might think they can request compensation to cover their medical bills and car damage but do not realize they can also request money for lost income, physical pain, emotional distress, and other losses. As a result, they accept too little.

If you have already reached a settlement with the defendant, then it might be too late to help you. Still, you should call us so we can figure out what is going on.

Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer Today

At Murphy Trial Law, our legal team has tackled some of the more complicated car accident cases in Washington. We know that each accident is unique. There is no “typical” victim. And we pride ourselves on developing individualized strategies for our clients.

The quicker you call our firm, the stronger we can make your case. It’s really that simple. Do not delay. Contact us to speak with a lawyer in a free consultation about your accident.

Recent Posts


Reach out to us

Take the first step towards justice with a complimentary consultation.

"(Required)" indicates required fields

Take the First Step Towards Justice

Protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve. Contact Murphy Trial Law today.
murphy contact form

Schedule A Free Consultation Now

Take the first step towards justice with a complimentary consultation.

"(Required)" indicates required fields

Scroll to Top