You have been hurt in an automobile collision and now wonder if you need a lawyer. Family and friends may have differing advice as to whether or not you need a lawyer. Representatives from the insurance companies will often try to discourage injured victims from obtaining the assistance of an attorney. The decision is ultimately yours, but here are some things to consider.
Severity of the Injury
A minor injury with a minimal amount of medical treatment and no lost time from work can usually be handled without the assistance of an attorney. Bumps, bruises, contusions and strains that require only one trip to the emergency room or to the family doctor can usually be resolved fairly quickly via insurance. If you sustain injuries, whether permanent or temporary, that require therapy or a number of visits to a physician, you are more likely to benefit from the assistance of an attorney.
Getting a Fair Settlement
Often the insurance company representative will seem to cooperate and even make an offer to resolve your claim, but it is still a good idea to contact an attorney to see if you are being treated fairly. Attorneys can determine whether you are being fully compensated for your pain and suffering as well as lost wages, permanent impairment, loss of earning capacity and any other compensable damages.
Cooperation in Settling a Claim
If the insurance company fails to contact you or return your calls, it may be a sign that they are intent on not cooperating and resolving your claim. Sometimes their lack of corporation is tied to hopes that the victim will forget about their claim or get tired of the hassle. An attorney can help in dealing with the insurance company, and this could be necessary if the insurance company fails to respond.
If you have been hurt but the insurance company doesn’t believe that you have been injured – or denies your claim for other reasons – you will likely need a lawyer to assist you in proving your claim. Some cases may be straightforward, but many cases are denied for legal reasons or issues that may be difficult for an injured victim to handle on their own.
Cost of Representation
In determining whether or not you need an attorney, you must remember that most attorneys who handle automobile collision cases are paid on a contingency fee. Usually such attorneys charge a 1/3 contingency fee, meaning that they are to be paid 1/3 of the total recovery.
Questions, Worries, and Concerns
If you have never been injured in an accident and don’t know your rights or how to proceed, you should consult an attorney. Attorneys can answer your questions, give assistance and help you to decide whether further representation by an attorney can be beneficial to you.
Things To Remember
Whether you obtain the services of an attorney or not there are some things of which you need to be aware.
Many times the insurance company representative will want to take a recorded statement to adjust your claim. If you believe that you are going to seek the assistance of an attorney, wait before giving such a statement as any attorney you may obtain will likely prefer that you not give such a statement without their presence. Also, the insurance company will sometimes use misstatements or your own wording against you in denying your claim and to avoiding giving you fair compensation.
Gaps or delays in your medical treatment often present problems in resolving your claim. Insurance company representatives usually will use gaps or delays in treatment to argue that you were not injured or that your injury has been caused in some other way. If you have been injured and feel you need medical attention, you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Take pictures. You can describe your injuries or the damage to the vehicle involved in an accident but pictures will be much clearer. If your claim is denied and you are forced to file a lawsuit, the pictures you have taken are likely to be more beneficial than any description you can give.