If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident that was not your fault then 100% of the time you need to call and TALK with a car accident attorney. There will never be a charge to call us after a car accident. 80%+ of the time you need to HIRE a car accident attorney.
In another article we discuss what you do should after a car accident. Here we discuss why it is important to talk with a car accident attorney after a car accident.
After a car accident you can expect at some point to receive a call from an adjuster from the insurance company of the driver who hit you. That adjuster is trained to ask you questions in ways that confuse you and make you give them inaccurate answers they can later use against you. The adjuster is trained to ask you to sign documents such as a Medical Release Form which gives them access to all of of your previous medical records. Even though your case is worth far more, the adjuster may offer you $1000 to “just put this behind you”.
This adjuster is NOT on your side. This adjuster works for a business whose ultimate goal is to pay you as little money as possible in exchange for you sign paperwork releasing any and all claims that you may legally have against the company and their insured. Oftentimes, these initial conversations are recorded and ulimately can be used against you down the line.
A car accident attorney will:
– handle all correspondence with the insurance company so you don’t have to worry about saying anything wrong or signing away any rights;
– handle all aspects of the case so you focus on healing and getting better;
– help you get a rental car and get your car fixed;
– help you get you the medical care you need;
– gather evidence about the accident needed to prove why the other driver was at fault;
– counsel you on all possible areas of damages to recover;
– compile your medical records and medical bills and put them in an organized demand package for the insurance company as part of the settlement process;
– understand the wages you lost from work and know how to present those in number form to the insurance company;
– obtain insurance information [in terms of amounts of available policy limits] from the at fault driver and from any applicable Underinsured motorist policies so you know the pot of money available to collect;
– advise you on a fair and reasonable settlement range;
– negotiate the best possible settlement with the insurance company;
– file a lawsuit if the insurance company does not make a fair and reasonable offer;
– make sure that all applicable statute of limitation to file a lawsuit are met;
– conduct discovery in the case to include depositions and then have a jury trial if the insurance company continues to refuse to make a fair and reasonable offer.
The bottom line is insurance companies take injury cases far more seriously when an attorney is involved. They offer more money and stand back on their requests for information. The settlement offers go up and the stress on the injury victim goes down.
What are the occasions where you do NOT need to hire a car accident attorney? If your injuries healed within a few weeks (4-6 weeks) and your treatment was pretty limited it is likely the settlement value of your case will end up being less than $5,000. In that scenario, it generally makes more sense to handle negotiating the settlement yourself to save the costs and fees associated with hiring a car accident lawyer. This will leave you with a better net outcome when all is said and done.