If you were injured in a car accident, you might be wondering whether or not it’s better to try to handle your case on your own. A lot of adjusters will tell you that there is no need to hire an attorney. They will try to convince you to get treatment and sent them your medical bills to pay because personal injury attorneys would only take a cut of what you’ll be offered.
While that logic might make sense on the surface, that’s not exactly how it happens. Statistically, injured parties are offered more when there is an attorney involved. When the adjuster deals with you directly, they’ll expect you to take the lowest offer they can get away with. Most personal injury attorneys are familiar and experienced in recognizing how to undercut the adjuster’s arguments and tactics.
Remember, the adjuster is not your friend. Their job is predicated on their ability to under value your claim and to do so with a smile, so you walk away not knowing that you’ve been taken advantage of. The adjuster might seem incredibly friendly and tell you that they want to make things right, but you must remember the bottom line – they’re still an insurance adjuster working for a company who makes money by paying out as little as they can! The friendliness that they show you is an effort to get you to believe that they have your best interests in mind. But they don’t. They care about their job, their quotas, and their bonuses!
So, when is it important to get a personal injury attorney? First, you must have a case. To have a personal injury case, you need to have been injured because of someone else’s negligent actions and either they or you have automobile insurance. If all of these elements are met, then you have a case!
There are some unique situations that you would benefit from having someone else argue on your behalf.
1. When the Other Driver is Confrontational
Accidents happen but in the moment after a car wreck, emotions run high. It’s common for words to be exchanged and to feel upset in the fallout. So much changes after a car accident and your mind must be spinning with what you’re supposed to do next. This is also happening to the other driver. However, if the other driver is aggressive and confrontational, you need to get the police involved and call a personal injury attorney. This is usually a sign that they are hiding something and won’t be cooperative further down the line throughout the process.
2. If Your Injuries Are Complicated
The best-case scenario following any accident is that there are no injuries. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Injuries from a car wreck can range dramatically from a single visit with your primary doctor and over-the-counter medication to broken bones, surgery, and weeks spent in the hospital. It’s also possible to sustain less than common injuries after an accident, such as vertigo or migraines. When you’re injured because of someone else’s negligence, the insurance company must compensate you for the extent of your injuries. But that doesn’t mean that recovering the compensation is easy. Insurance companies will try to argue that some of your ailments aren’t related. Perhaps they’ll tell you the vertigo was from something else or the migraines are stress related and have nothing to do with the crash. A personal injury attorney can make the arguments on your behalf because they’re familiar with how to fight with the insurance company.
3. If the Facts of the Case aren’t Clear
Sometimes it’s obvious who caused the accident but other times the facts of the case are messy. Insurance companies will almost always take their driver’s word over yours and will often deny liability if it helps them save some money. If you know that you didn’t cause the wreck, but the insurance company is saying that you did – or even that you caused a portion of it – a personal injury attorney might be able to get involved and make things more favorable for you.
4. You Know that There’s Substance Abuse Involved
If the other driver was arrested for drinking and driving or for substance abuse of any type, you need to hire a personal injury attorney who can help you recover your damages. Personal injury attorneys understand when you can and can’t get punitive damages from the insurance company. Punitive damages are those designed to punish the other driver for their actions. Recovering punitive damages will increase your offer, but they can’t be recovered in just any car accident case. You don’t want to get a smaller recovery than you deserve simply because you don’t know the worth of your case.
5. You Don’t Know Where to Get Treatment, But Need a Doctor
Personal injury attorneys often have a network of doctors who will agree to treat you under a letter of protection. This is beneficial if you don’t have health insurance or if you have a particularly high deductible. It allows you to focus on getting better without paying out of pocket for the recovery right now. Under a letter of protection, the doctors agree to get paid from your case when it resolves.
6. You Simply Don’t Have Time
Life is busy. We’re all busy. When you’re involved in a car accident caused by someone else, you would think that the insurance company will try to minimize what you have to do to make things better. While this should be the case, it isn’t always. Often times you’ll be required to make multiple phone calls and emails, find auto body shops, get rideshare services to and from the shops, fight tooth and nail to get a rental car, and much more. A personal injury attorney acts as the middleman for much of the hassle.
At McKinney Vos, we handle all of the stress so that you can focus on what’s most important: healing your body. If you have specific questions, we offer free consultations without a commitment of signing up. You’re welcome to call and ask about whether or not your case will benefit from an attorney!