Should I Hire An Attorney?
Should you hire an attorney? This question arises from the misconception that an injured victim will ultimately receive less money by retaining and paying an attorney. In reality, the truth is that those people who do not retain an attorney invariably receive smaller settlement offers and ultimately recover significantly less money for their injuries and other damages than if they had retained an aggressive experienced personal injury attorney. The insurance companies have aggressive professionals on their side whose sole objective is to eliminate and/or minimize the amount that the insurance company has to pay. Can you really afford to rely on their assessment of the situation?
Unfortunately, justice is not automatic, even when it is clear that you have been injured by another person’s carelessness. In order to protect the legal rights of someone who has been injured, a number of issues must be carefully considered and properly addressed. These include complying with various time deadlines, maneuvering through the insurance company mine-field, and taking advantage of all benefits afforded under various laws and insurance policies. Sometimes these issues can be quite complex, and errors can be costly. Knowing the applicable law requires not only knowledge of state and federal statutes, but also a good understanding of the court cases that have interpreted and applied those statutes. Make a mistake, such as failing to comply with a legal time deadline or notice requirement in an insurance policy, and you can lose your right to make a claim. Say the wrong thing to an adjuster, and you may greatly harm the value of your claim
Proceeding without legal advice can be very risky. The system is stacked against someone who is not represented by an attorney. Insurance companies are in business to make money, and they do this by paying you as little as possible or nothing at all. Insurance companies have their own lawyers and well-trained adjusters who are familiar with the system and how to work it to their advantage. Don’t forget that insurance adjusters work for their insurance companies, not for accident victims. They are paid to minimize the value of victims’ claims and this can be easy to do, especially when an injured person does not know his or her rights. An attorney’s job is to protect the victims’ rights and to maximize the value of their claims. Generally, it is advantageous to hire an attorney soon after an accident happens. But, even if some time has passed, a consultation with an attorney is important to make sure your rights are protected.
Some examples of steps that need to be taken to get you the most money possible include:
- Determine all possible sources of insurance. Many times there are additional sources that a layman may miss. Examples can include: liability insurance, resident relative insurance, medical payment coverage on auto and other policies, uninsured motorist coverage, umbrella coverage, health insurance and disability insurance.
- Take appropriate steps to ensure compliance with notice and other requirements in all insurance policies that may provide benefits.
- Determine the applicable “statute of limitations”- the time frame in which a claim or other notice must be filed to preserve your rights – and take all required actions to protect those rights. Failure to comply with these deadlines will result in the loss of the right to make a claim.
- Analyze the applicable laws in light of the facts of a particular case.
- Develop a strategy for the best way to present the facts of a case in order to maximize the dollar recovery.
- Determine the full extent of the injuries- including pain and suffering, cost of medical care, and lost wages.
- Determine the types of damages applicable-compensatory, and possibly punitive damages.
- Preserve evidence: for example, take photographs of the scene, vehicles involved, and injuries, and get statements from witnesses, as may be appropriate.
- Determine the appropriate value of the claim.
We can handle all of this for you so you can concentrate on the important things: getting healthy and returning to your day-to-day life. We take care of the complicated legal issues so that you don’t have to worry. The legal professionals at the Law Offices of Roderick C. White have extensive experience representing all types of accident victims. If you or a loved one have been injured in any type of accident, the network of legal professionals here at the Law Offices of Roderick C. White are here to help!