When you feel that the accident was your fault, that’s when you need a lawyer more. A driver is “at fault” when his action, inaction or wrong action was the cause of an accident. A driver is also at fault when he has a legal duty of care but failed or refused to discharge their duty of care such as when the driver disregards or violates traffic laws.
First thing, did you get hurt in the accident? Assuming you had car insurance, generally, your car insurance will answer for the injuries sustained by the other driver (the driver who was not at fault), the passenger (of your car or the car of the other driver) or the motorist. But even when you were at fault, if your insurance had additional liability coverage for your own injuries, you can claim from your own insurance for the bodily injury you sustained up to the policy limits.
Second, some people directly file lawsuits against the at-fault driver without filing claims with the insurer of the at-fault driver. If the persons who were injured during the accident file a claim against you personally, you will need a lawyer to answer the claims.
Third, if your “fault” consists in a traffic violation, you really need a lawyer. For one, the duty to prove that you violated traffic rules rests on the police. You may be issued a traffic ticket, but you should not ignore it or pay the fine immediately. You may want to contest the ticket to see the evidence the police have – they may not have evidence or the evidence they have may be compromised or destroyed or unavailable. If you do not contest it, you are admitting the fault.
Fourth, you need advice from a lawyer because there are some unscrupulous people out there who will pad their claims against you and make up injuries just to milk compensation from you. An experienced lawyer can advise you on how much compensation is just under the circumstances.
Fifth, your insurer may stonewall you and deny any claims made by you or the person who was injured in the accident even if your liability insurance covers the claim. An attorney by your side can persuade your insurer to deal fairly.
Sixth, you may need to negotiate on a settlement of the claims against you. Even if your insurer agrees to pay, the persons injured in the accident may ask for compensation beyond your policy limits. A lawyer on your side can help you weigh your options (to fight it out in court or to settle) and a lawyer can help you negotiate.