No one plans for an accident but when it happens it can cause your life to change – sometimes forever. Injuries aren’t always immediately apparent and symptoms might not show up for weeks. There will also be costs associated with property damage and medical treatment. If you are a victim of an accident, you should find the best personal injury attorney to aggressively advocate for your rights and help you get the financial compensation you need and deserve.
Going Up Against Insurance Company Lawyers
Some people choose to file a personal injury claim against an insurance company without hiring a lawyer, especially if they only have mild injuries. However, keep in mind that you might be going up against large auto insurance companies that have an experienced team of lawyers on their staff. The insurance company’s goal is to reduce the amount of compensation you will receive and potentially deny your claim altogether. A professional personal injury attorney knows the procedural rules and the laws that pertain to your specific situation. Because they have the knowledge and expertise in personal injury law that you don’t have, they will be in a better position to effectively fight for you.
The role of the insurance company is to protect those they insure and to compensate them for damages. However, remember that they also want to keep their costs down as much as possible so you and your insurance company don’t have the same set of priorities. Hiring an attorney with knowledge and experience to be your best advocate will be looking out for your best interests. Your lawyer can investigate your case in the event that the insurance company or the defendant tries to raise issues or attempts to deny your claim. If negotiations are required, an attorney can handle them on your behalf so you don’t have to deal with stress on top of any physical and emotional pain you might be experiencing. Your lawyer can also advise you about the legal process and what you should expect.
Who is at fault in a car accident is generally determined by the state laws where the accident occurred. Because state laws vary greatly, you are best served by an attorney who understands the state law, specifically whether the state has a fault or no-fault based insurance.
The majority of the states have a fault-based auto insurance system. This means that they pay damages according to the degree of fault. Many long and costly court battles occur in an effort to determine not only who was at fault but also to what degree. Because of this, many insurance policymakers have changed from a fault-based system to some form of a no-fault system. In these situations, it is possible that you will not be adequately compensated and might have to file a lawsuit for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For states that have no-fault laws, there is no need to prove who was at fault before receiving compensation. The insurance company pays for the rehabilitation costs, medical bills, and lost wages. However, the injured person is not allowed to sue the other driver for emotional distress, pain and suffering, or inconvenience.
There are certain situations where you can benefit from hiring an attorney, especially if you feel your insurance company isn’t compensating you enough money. Don’t wait too long before making that call. The more time you spend negotiating with the insurance company, the more time they can spend reviewing your medical records and build a case against you, thereby limiting your lawyer’s ability to get you the best settlement. Some of these situations are:
- If you are permanently injured
- You are hit by a drunk driver
- The accident is the result of road construction
- You missed a lot of work and didn’t receive any wage reimbursement
Situations When You Should Definitely Hire an Attorney
There are other situations such as when your case is not clear-cut, that in order to protect yourself, you should consult with an attorney. You want to protect yourself from telling an insurance adjuster anything that can damage your claim. Some of these situations are:
- The injured party is a minor with significant injuries
- You believe you are not responsible for the accident and liability is being disputed
- Your claim was denied by the insurance company and they will not reconsider
- The settlement offer is too low
- An expert investigation is required because the circumstances of the accident are complex
- You are served with a lawsuit by the other party
Insurance company lawyers protect the interests of the insurance company. A personal injury attorney hired by you will protect your interests, puts you on a level playing field with the insurance company, and will ensure that you receive the compensation you need and deserve.