Dewayne Hopson is an attorney in Clarksdale, MS. This article is for informational purposes only and by reading this article you acknowledge this general information should not be construed as legal advice.
From time to time I get the questions, “Do I really need a car accident lawyer? Can I just talk to the insurance adjuster myself! I think I can handle this claim on my on!” The truth of the matter is yes you can just talk to the insurance adjuster on your own. However, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Whenever you have any personal injuries after the accident, even minor, you need to let a lawyer step in. When injuries are involved, things can get very complicated real quick. The truth of the matter is, insurance companies try to pay low as possible on injury claims to save money even if it doesn’t coverage all your bills. They are in business to make a profit. This article will not be full of the standard “You need a lawyer because you just need a lawyer” language. I’m writing this article to explain the “real” added benefits of having a lawyer handle your car accident personal injury claim or any other injury claim.
Why you should hire a lawyer even for minor injuries?
Besides potential liability issues, you will need a lawyer for counsel. When you are injured in a car accident and only have minor injuries, you may feel like you are ready to talk to the insurance company yourself after the hospital visit. Insurance companies will be trying to contact you and trying to get you to settle with a low ball offer telling you don’t need a lawyer. They are not concerned if you are completely healthy or finish healing. You may think that after you leave the hospital on the day of the accident you are fine, however, it is a good chance that a few days later you may notice a lingering injury. If you accept a settlement too early, will miss out on being compensated for your continuing injury. Furthermore a car accident is a troubling experience, it is not a good time to be dealing with an insurance adjuster on your own. A lawyer will provide you counsel and advise when you should accept a settlement. (Ultimately the final decision is yours.)
Why shouldn’t I just negotiate my claim on my own?
Chances are if you try to negotiate your own insurance company and the insurance company is not going to be fair. Especially if your injuries are not minor and medical expenses are high. The first part of negotiating a claim is establishing liability. Without good legal knowledge you are leaving yourself venerable to the insurance adjuster. Take into consideration that you are not paying the lawyer to just speak on your behalf, you are also paying for his legal knowledge and to handle your claim.
Are you experienced in gathering facts of the accident, collecting medical bills and records? These are not easy or cheap tasks. Gathering the facts, bills, and records are key elements in the claims process. Leaving out anyone of the bills can cost you money in your claim. Gathering these items, will not just make the insurance company automatically pay either? Insurance adjusters may even try to argue that not all of the injuries in your medical records and bills are not related to the incident.
A good lawyer will know when it is time to let a medical professional to look at the records to prove every item on the medical records and bills are related to this claim. Finally, a good lawyer will navigate you through the medical bills. They will be able to let know which bills have statutory liens and which liens are not. (Statutory liens are liens placed on medical bills by law. They are usually Medicaid and Medicare liens.) You’re lawyer will be help you negate this liens as well.
Will I really get more money if I hiring a lawyer? Am I’m just putting money in the lawyers pocket?
No guarantee, but most of the time you will get more money with an attorney. Potential clients are usually scared that they are just putting money in the lawyer’s pocket? Yes, the lawyer does get paid (plus expenses) for handling your claim if the insurance company decides to settle or if your claim it taken to court. You have to remember, doing this whole process you are not paying money out of your pocket. You should look at it this way, you are not “putting money in the lawyer pockets.” The lawyer is guiding you through a complex process, helping to get all (or most) of your medical bills paid, and putting money in your pocket for your pain and suffering.
As mentioned earlier, you are paying for the lawyer’s legal knowledge such as proving liability. In certain situations, you have to follow a certain procedure to even notify a governmental entity a notice of claim if you are in an accent with a state entity. Also, with a lawyer you don’t have to worry about being pressured to settle. Lawyers are also notable of the knowledge of how long you have to pursue your claim and can give you a reasonable expectation of your claim’s worth. Without a lawyer, you are leaving a lot of money on the table to cover medical bills, pain, and suffering.
Are there times when you really don’t need a lawyer?
There are only three reasons I can agree that you don’t actually need a lawyer when you are injured in an accident.
1. You don’t care about the amount of your settlement, covering all your medical bills, or if you are not completely healed. Some people are just happy with the first offer the adjuster gives them and just wants to move on from the situation.
2. You’re injuries where so minor that you didn’t go to the hospital, have an ambulance on the scene, or go your personal doctor to get a checkup, and you don’t care about the potential of future injuries relating from the accident. Note: I would recommend that even you don’t have any injuries, you should go get a checkup anyway to make sure.
3. The accident was your fault. Note: Even if you feel that the accident was your fault you should consult a lawyer for a consultation. You may be at fault but you may not be 100% at fault. This may led to minor compensation or credit for your injures up to the percentage of fault you are depending on what jurisdiction you are you in.
At Hopson Law Group we represent clients who are having a tough time dealing with their insurance companies. We can help you get your maximum settlement. You can reach us at 662-624-4100 to set up an appointment for a free consultation to get help with your insurance claim or uninsured motorist claim!