It is shocking how many times lawyers receives telephone calls from personal injury victims who speak to an attorney for the first time several months after their accident. By then, many times the damage has been done to their case and the insurance company for the defendant receives the benefit.
Insurance companies are averse to personal injury victims. Even when someone hears something like “we accept respon sibility” that does not mean that the insurance company will treat the injury victim fairly. In fact, most of the time without an attorney the exact opposite is true.
Most law firms handling personal injury offer free consultations to personal injury victims. Some of the attorneys will take the time to answer questions and give helpful information regardless of whether you are interested in hiring them or they are interested in pursuing the case for you.
While each case is unique, taking 30 minutes to speak with a personal injury attorney about an injury insurance claim can make a big difference down the road. Also, you may gain some insight into the claims handling process and your next steps.
Common Mistakes Lawyers See:
1. Failure to document
If you’ve been in a car accident and suffered a major impact, photographs of the damage to your vehicle are often very important pieces of evidence if the case goes to trial. Often, the personal injury victim feels that the insurance company will “take photographs” and keep the photographs for them. However, even your own insurance company can be adverse in many different circumstances.
Do not assume that you can access the photographs taken by an insurance company. Many times, the adjuster will not take photos designed to be informative at trial unless the adjuster believes they will benefit their defense of the claim.
2. Trying to tough it out
Well, it is generally commendable for someone to try to tough it out, in personal injury litigation, the opposite is true. Often, someone will wait weeks and even months before they understand that the injury is not going away and for the first time seek medical treatment. Unfortunately, this delay in getting medical help plays directly into the hands of the insurance carrier who then claims that the accident did not cause the injury or that the injury was not serious, or the person would’ve waited so long to seek treatment.
Additionally, the personal injury victim has made it much harder for their treating physician to give an opinion on the cause of the injury.
3. Expecting fairness
Adjusters are not paid to be fair to the adverse claimant. In fact, most adjusters are employees of the company they represent. Money saved on a claim makes them look good and therefore they try to pay as little as they possibly can to you.
Even experienced business people are taken back by a friendly adjuster who is indicated that they assume responsibility once the subject turns to payment of money. It is usually then when the lightbulb comes on that indicates ‘we need a lawyer’.
If you were in an auto accident in which you got hurt, speaking to a reputable local car accident lawyer surely can’t hurt.
Whether or not a personal injury claimant decides to hire a personal injury attorney, there is no doubt that they should take advantage of a free consultation as soon as possible after the accident.
Guidance on rights, options, and next steps
Probably the best reason to get a free consultation if from the insight you can gain on what your options are and what to do next. Adjusters are trained in negotiation and follow a plan to reduce the amount they pay out to the victim. A consultation with a reputable local lawyer can help educate you on the process.