That is a great question - one that we get a lot.
If you have a serious injury, you can ignore those CALL NOW!!! WE'RE AGGRESSIVE!! WE GET YOU MONEY!! screeching TV commercials you see (and same for the internet pop-up ads).
If you were in a tiny fender bender with no real injury, just some stiffness and you want some lawyer to send you to his chiropractor buddy to run up a bill and get some small settlement that pays the lawyer and the chiropractor more than you...then go ahead and call one of those commercials.
And don't be fooled by the more "tasteful" ads - some lawyers are just better at making commercials but they do the same thing with your case.
Quick story - I was moderating a panel of judges at a forum with a group of trial lawyers a few years ago. It was like a debate, I'd ask the questions and follow up and the judges would answer them. Right before we started, we were talking informally and getting prepared. One of the judges saw a lawyer who had just switched firms to a big TV advertiser and was now featured in their commercials.
"Oh," the judge said, "I see you're a big TV star now."
It was not a compliment.
Back to your question. There's actually a lot that goes into the decision of when to hire the best lawyer for you and your family (and getting the right lawyer for you - someone you can trust to give you the honest, best guidance and advice on your case so you can focus on your rehab and be able to make the best decisions for yourself and your family - is critical). Remember, it's a relationship. You have to be able to trust each other.
There is no real hurry in getting a lawyer right away but there are a few things you shouldn't do:
Don't talk to the other drivers insurance company adjuster - they are trained to get statements from you when you're in pain, on medication, not thinking clearly, worrying about your injuries, etc. - they want to get you to say something damaging about your case, something that they could use to pay you less than you deserve.
There is no reason to feel pressured to talk to the adjuster - they won't "close your case" if you don't call back (that means absolutely nothing by the way). They don't pay your doctors, therapists, surgeons, specialists, or hospital directly, so that is never an issue (but they might tell you it is).
We tell people all the time that we want you to focus on getting better - on your healthcare decisions, on your rehab.
Yes, we are here for you and can talk to you, but I guarantee you will hear us say that if you call. And we want to help you whenever you call.
Sometimes someone just needs us to answer a question or two, or called another lawyer and got bad advice, or needs some clarification and support on the insurance coverage they have available or whether their health insurance has a lien against their case (subrogation, or a right to be repaid what they paid out if your case settles).
And sometimes people want us to take care of all of the legal issues from the beginning, so they can focus on getting better. If that's you, that's OK too, we're happy to do that for people who want that.
So there is no hard and fast rule on when to hire a lawyer after a serious injury, especially in a car crash (if the serious injury happened at work, that can complicate things so call us to help give you specific guidance on that). And don't wait until you're close to the statute of limitations - we won't take a case that is close to the statute of limitations (the deadline to file a lawsuit for your injuries) because we may not have enough time to thoroughly investigate it and give you the best guidance and advice.
The main thing is that you are comfortable and make the right decision for you and your family. We have a lot of resources on the process of hiring the best lawyer after a serious injury and what to expect if you've been in a serious accident in D.C., Virginia or Maryland - they are all free, with absolutely no obligation - just call or click on them and we'll get them right out to you!