Getting into an accident, whether that is because of a car, bike, motorcycle, medical malpractice, or even a bad fall, can be a horrible experience.
And accidents of these types and others are not a rarity: the CDC reports that every year there are close to 31 million people who are injured and require medical treatment.
Something that many people wonder about when they are in an accident is whether or not they should hire an accident attorney.
In this article, we are going to take you through the information you need to make that decision. Hopefully, this will relieve you of one stressor if you’ve recently been in an accident.
Whether you have a minor or a serious injury from an accident, it is a good idea to consult with an accident attorney. It’s especially important if you have an injury that lasts longer than a couple of days or forces your to receive medical care.
Many lawyers suggest hiring an accident attorney even if you weren’t injured initially, as some injuries can present themselves at a later date.
Some injuries could inhibit you from working on your claim, which would be detrimental to you and whatever settlement you might receive.
An accident attorney would be able to work on your case for you, even if you or your loved one is severely injured.
The settlement or award you get will depend on how severe the injury is, what type of injury it is, and the cost of the medical bills (including predicted future medical expenses).
It’s an especially good idea to consult with a lawyer if your injury has caused you to lose wages from your job, required hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, or visits to doctors and specialists.
Besides these medical expenses, an attorney can be helpful if you have a long-term or permanent injury because of the accident you were in. These types of injuries will result in long-term medical expenses, which should be taken into account.
An accident attorney will have the skill and experience to increase the value of your claim even in such complex cases.
Oftentimes accidents that cause you or a loved one to be injured happen because of someone else’s negligence. This could be because of a car accident, medical malpractice, or even a defective product.
Lawyers will know exactly what type of evidence you will need to prove someone is at fault for an injury, or even for a wrongful death.
Similar to the previous section, liability disputes hinge on the idea of who is at fault.
Insurance companies dispute the insured’s liability in the case of an accident. What does this mean?
It means that the insurance of the person, company, or product that resulted in your accident is saying that it isn’t actually their fault and thus they don’t have to pay for any damages or expenses.
Sometimes companies will dispute liability just to make you think that you have no basis for a claim, even if you really do have a good reason and their policyholder is at fault.
An accident attorney will be able to recognize whether the liability dispute is valid, or whether they can argue the fault of the insured party.
Insurance Company Tactics
Insurance companies are out to make money: they will often go to great lengths to not pay damages and to reduce their losses.
One example of this happening is the liability dispute that we discussed in the previous section.
These companies may also:
- Purposefully delay the process
- Refuse to pay you (even if they are supposed to!)
- Offer a very low amount proportional to your injuries
- Discourage you from getting a lawyer
- Try to get you to sign over your medical records
- Discredit you because of mental health issues
- Blame your injury on a “pre-existing condition”
- Conduct surveillance on you
- Send representatives to get you to make statements that will hurt you (like admitting fault)
Sounds sneaky and horrible right? Well, an accident attorney will know exactly what insurance companies’ tactics are, and how to best deal with them.
An Accident Attorney Knows the Law
Even if your case isn’t very complex or isn’t dealing with insurance companies like the ones described earlier, claims and law can still be confusing and overwhelming.
Without a lawyer, you’ll have to file claims, negotiate the terms, compile evidence, and have knowledge of the process on your own.
This can be hard even in simple cases, but especially with more complicated ones.
Attorneys will have experience and know-how in all of these areas, which will make things a lot easier on you, and often result in a better settlement than if you did it alone.
Attorneys will also help to find potential experts you might need to substantiate your case, including witnesses, medical professionals, and vehicle experts.
A General Takeaway
Let’s say that none of these things apply to you, but you have been in an accident.
In general, it is always good to at least consult with an accident attorney. Whether you end up hiring them is a different matter.
But consulting an attorney can also help you make the decision on whether to hire them or not. It can’t hurt to talk to a lawyer, especially considering that injured victims who have legal representation receive about 3.5 times more in settlement compared to those who are not represented by an attorney.
That is a substantial amount, especially if this settlement is going to help you cover medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and other losses.
Accidents can be scary and result in both short and long term consequences.
That’s why it is important to handle the situation properly so you’ll be able to receive the settlement you and your loved ones deserve.
While it can’t hurt to talk to an accident attorney, it’s important to know the right time to seek representation.
If you have any other questions about your specific case or this topic in general, please feel free to contact us!