Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Why should I hire a personal injury attorney? I can tell you that this is one of the most common questions I get from prospective clients. Soon after you have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s wrongful actions or failures to act, you will likely be overwhelmed by phone calls and requests for paperwork and statements. It is common for injured victims to receive requests from insurance companies, law enforcement officers and doctors. It can be very confusing to deal with all of the questions about the accident and to understand what to do next. The responsible party’s insurance company may be requesting a signed authorization for your medical records and trying to get a recorded statement from you. Here are some reasons why it is important for you to get the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Experience and knowledge to assess your claim’s value and winnability
Experienced lawyers understand how to calculate the reasonable cost of your present medical expenses as well as what you might expect to pay to treat your injury in the future. He or she may also refer you to orthopedic doctors, neurologists or other medical experts so that they can help by providing information regarding your ongoing treatment needs into the future. The lawyer may be better able to determine liability in the case, especially if the other party’s insurance company is trying to dispute it.
He or she may use accident reconstruction experts to recreate what happened. An attorney might also use an investigator who can locate and interview witnesses and take photographs as needed. By gathering the evidence from your case, the attorney may be better able to determine if your case is winnable and to prove to the insurance company that its insured was the person who caused the accident. Attorneys are able to do their jobs in assessing the case and its value with objectivity. Since they are not the parties who were directly involved in the accidents, they are able to step back and view the case without emotion in order to get a clearer picture. Lawyers may also be more familiar with categories of possible damages that you might not realize that you could be entitled to. They can evaluate any offers made by the insurance company to you in order to determine the offers are fair or inappropriate.
Ability to conduct proper and thorough investigations to maximize your case’s value
In many cases involving injury, it is difficult to resolve them fairly without doing some legwork. A personal injury attorney will use all of the experts that he or she needs in order to get to the bottom of what happened. He or she may also identify additional defendants and other sources of payment in addition to the person who caused the accident’s insurance company. For example, if a different person owned a vehicle that was involved in the accident and negligently allowed a bad driver to use it, the other person may also hold liability for the accident. Another example occurs when a person is working at the time an accident happened. In that case, the person’s employer may also hold liability. An attorney will investigate the policy limits on all of the insurance policies. Thoroughly investigating the accident is vital in order to obtain the maximum compensation amount possible.
Serving as a buffer between you and the insurance company
Insurance companies have a vested interest in minimizing their losses. In order to do this, they may attempt several different tactics to either minimize the amount that you will receive or avoid paying you all together. Even if your case seems like it is clear and that the other party was obviously at fault, an insurance company may still try to avoid paying you. They try to do this by doing such things as asking you to make recorded statements and asking for signed medical authorizations. You should not sign anything that is sent to you by the insurance company or agree to make a recorded statement without first talking to a personal injury attorney. An insurance company wants signed medical releases so it can dig through your entire medical history in an attempt to find any earlier accident that it can blame for your current injuries. You can simply tell the insurance company that you want to talk to an attorney and cannot make any statements or sign any documents until you do so. Your lawyer can then communicate with the insurance company on your behalf and control what information they are able to access so that the company doesn’t attempt to use irrelevant information against you.
Ability to file a lawsuit and litigate the case at trial if necessary
A majority of personal injury cases don’t go to trial. Most are settled outside of court before any trials that are scheduled. When a lawsuit is filed, mandatory discovery rules come into play. A personal injury lawyer understands that the ability to file a lawsuit and litigate a case may help an insurance company to decide to reach a fair settlement in your matter. Without having an ability to file a lawsuit or having a track record of trying cases, it will likely be impossible for you to negotiate a settlement that represents the full value of your claim.
Peace of mind
When you have been injured in an accident, you are likely upset. You need the time and ability to focus on recovering. When you have a personal injury attorney who can deal with the insurance claim issues and give you sound advice based on his or her knowledge of the law and experience, you can save yourself a lot of stress.