If you hire a personal injury lawyer, it allows you to focus on your health and proceed through recovery so that you can get back to normal life, work and fun as much as possible. Your attorney will handle all of the phone calls and paperwork so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of everything or forgetting to include something.
When Should I Call an Attorney?
I tell my family and friends all the time that the best time to call an attorney is immediately after an accident happens, even before you call the police. This allows me to ensure that you are taking note of all important details while they are fresh in your mind so you can report them correctly to the police officer. I can also help direct you on what information to get from any potential witnesses, what to take photographs of, and what you should or should not say that may potentially compromise future claims or statements you may make. A lot of times clients will tell me that they forgot to mention an important detail to the police officer, or that they told the officer that they felt completely fine and did not need medical attention, not realizing that the injuries could take a couple of days to present themselves. Talking to an attorney right away helps eliminate some of those misstatements.
Do I Still Need an Attorney If the At-Fault Insurance Company Already Offered Me a Settlement ?
Sometimes, a potential client does not reach out to me until after they have already spoken to the at-fault insurance company and received a settlement offer. They may then question whether the offer they received is fair and seek legal help. While I do strongly suggest that it is best to call an attorney immediately after an accident, it is not too late to hire a personal injury lawyer even at this point.
A lot of times, insurance companies will recognize the potential for a large claim and attempt to stop it before it starts by offering a settlement within a few days of the accident, before the injured claimant has even had a chance to realize what their injuries are or how much treatment they will need. This can appear enticing, but the figure given is usually much lower than what it rightfully should be. However, you have to remember that the insurance adjuster’s biggest goal is to save the insurance company money – even at your physical expense. Once you accept a settlement and sign a release, you are agreeing to bring no further claims related to that accident – even if six months down the road, you find yourself in surgery because the accident actually caused irreversible damage to your bones or nerves. You are no longer able to recover because you released the other driver from liability for any and all claims, including future claims.
So, in summary – YES! You should absolutely consult an attorney, even if you have already received a settlement offer from the at-fault insurance company. Even if you have already given recorded statements, said you weren’t injured, or otherwise potentially complicated the claim, an attorney can help you artfully argue your way out of those early statements and bolster your claim with legal and medical supports.
Sometimes, on smaller impact cases where injuries were minimal and expenses are low, it may make sense to accept an offer from an insurance company without retaining an attorney to help you do so. I still recommend that you call me so that I can help you analyze all of the angles and make the best decision for you with the given information. I will give you my honest opinion on whether or not it will benefit you to retain an attorney. If I believe the offer given will result in more money to you without retaining and paying an attorney, I will tell you so, so that you can proceed with the best result for you.
What Will an Attorney Do For Me Throughout the Claims Process?
When you retain me as your attorney, I immediately take over handling all communications with the insurance companies. They are no longer allowed to communicate directly with you, so you will not have to deal with the stress of their repeated calls for status updates, attempting to offer you low settlements, ask you to specify what your injuries are and who you are treating with, etc.
Additionally, I will communicate with you to make sure I can keep track of all of the medical providers you are seeing. At the appropriate time, I will obtain all of the necessary paperwork, medical bills, medical records and other related documents we will need to create a comprehensive picture of how the accident affected you. This is submitted to the insurance company, along with a personalized demand letter. This is what the insurance company will determine the value of your claim on.
I then handle all negotiations with the insurance adjuster after communicating offers and conferring with you to determine together what the best approach will be in negotiating your claim. We will then work together to ensure necessary paperwork is completed to get the settlement done.
Some of the greatest benefits you will receive from retaining me as your attorney are my expertise in negotiating and presenting facts, and my rapport with the insurance companies and medical providers. These go hand in hand in allowing me to help you get the best value for your claim.
If you would like more specific information on how I can help you in your claim, please call or email me for a consultation at 480-450-0626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article should be used for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. If you need legal advice regarding these issues, please feel free to contact me at 480-450-0626, or contact an attorney in your area.