What to do When the Unexpected Happens
A slip and fall in the grocery store, a car crash, motorcycle or bike wreck, or even a wrongful death claim can happen when we least expect it. After an accident, how do you know when it’s appropriate to seek out a personal injury lawyer? Making a well-informed decision is the answer. After you have taken the time to contemplate some thought-provoking questions, you will have clarity as to whether or not you should seek a qualified personal injury lawyer.
How Serious is Your Injury?
Not every accident may seem serious enough to involve a personal injury lawyer. It’s important to understand that even if an accident seems minor at the time, pain related to that injury can occur at a much later date, sometimes even years later. It’s best to be seen and examined by a doctor after an accident. If the following has or is scheduled to occur, you should have your case evaluated by a professional injury lawyer:
• Physical therapy
• Cosmetic surgery
The value of your claim can significantly increase when you have professional legal representation for any injuries you might have sustained.
Who Was at Fault?
It’s very important to quickly consult a lawyer after an accident, especially if you believe your injury was caused by the negligence of a third party. The details and accuracy of a case can best be remembered and recorded soon after the event. Proving legal fault involves applying certain standards to the evidence that will be held in higher regard if facts are gathered sooner than later. In order to have a strong case, contacting a personal injury lawyer in a timely manner is key to a positive outcome.
Has an Insurance Company Contacted You?
If you are contacted by a claims adjuster from an insurance company who starts asking you for details about your injury, be cautious about what you say. If they inquire about recorded statements, medical records, your account of the accident, releases and other personal information, you should stop them by telling them you are contacting legal advice. Insurance adjusters are trying to get you to make statements that are harmful to your claim to reduce their losses. One of the tactics they sometimes use to minimize the amount they pay out is to claim your injury was pre-existing. Make sure you talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer before you talk to a claims adjuster and they can offer you guidance about how to handle your conversation.
Is the Insurance Company Refusing to Pay You?
Plain and simple, insurance companies will sometimes use deceptive tactics to try to avoid paying claims. Some of the ways they try to manipulate a case may include unreasonable delays in the claim process, refusing to pay even if liability is not in dispute, or making offers that are unreasonably low despite the level of injury. Insurance companies found using bad-faith tactics can be held legally responsible by a personal injury lawyer for doing so. An experienced attorney will interact with the insurer on your behalf, and can usually settle claims quickly and without having to go to court.
The Difficulties of Handling Your Own Claim.
If you decide to handle your own case, you will need to do your legal homework and have a solid understanding of injury claims as well as the settlement process. Negotiating with insurance companies and claims adjusters may involve knowledge of both statutory and case laws. Some injury cases are very involved and you may need the help of an expert to uncover the evidence required to optimize your claim. You might need to prove an accident by some form of reconstructing it, researching and recording eye witnesses, deciphering medical records, understanding physics, negotiating non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, and more.
If you are not comfortable with doing these things, consulting with a personal injury lawyer is in order. An experienced attorney may be able to negotiate a much higher recovery for both your non-economic losses as well as your more tangible ones.