Should I contact an attorney immediately after a car accident?
Yes, you should contact an attorney immediately after a car accident. You may not have a case that is worth pursuing in the end, but it is important to at least talk to an attorney who can assess the value of the case for you and give you advice on how to best proceed. Many personal injury lawyers consult with clients for free and have no problem giving car crash victims proper guidance after a car accident.
Whether you're dealing with the other person's insurance company, your own insurance company, or both, you have to keep in mind that the insurance company is ultimately going to do what is in their best interest. If they can find a reason to deny your claim, there is a good chance they will. This might sound like an overly cynical point of view, but insurance companies are in the business of collecting premiums and minimizing payouts as much as possible. If they can hurt your case, there is a good chance they will.
For example, if you call the insurance company after an accident to file your claim, one of the first things they will do is tell you they want a recorded statement from you. This goes for the other person's insurance company or even your own insurance company. They are going to ask you questions in an attempt to decrease the value of your case. They will ask questions that will make it sound as if the accident was your fault and that you weren't injured. They do this because if the accident was your fault and/or you weren't injured at all, they may not have to pay you.
It is widely known in the medical community that pain from a car accident can develop a day or several days after an accident. It's premature for you to fully assess if you've been injured or the extent of your injury on the day of the accident. Oftentimes, the insurance company will offer you a few hundred dollars to resolve your bodily injury claim in hopes of avoiding to have to pay you thousands of dollars later after it turns out you need extensive medical treatment (chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, pain management, etc.).
Don't let the insurance companies take advantage of you after a crash. You've already been through enough. From the minute you file a claim, they already have a team of individuals dedicated to minimizing your claim. You need someone on your side dedicated to protecting your rights and maximizing the value of your case. Make sure to contact a personal injury attorney for advice and/or representation.