Many people wonder if they really need an insurance claims lawyer to settle their injury claim. They wonder if they could negotiate on their own and “save” all those lawyer fees. They believe they might not get as much as a lawyer would, but still, they might “come out ahead.” On rare occasions, in the small case, this may be true. However, the potential for disastrous results is very real for the personal injury “do-it-yourselfer.”
What’s not readily apparent is how fast an “open and shut” case becomes intricately complex. Proper handling of an injury claim requires an understanding of both law and medicine. There’s much more to getting a fair and reasonable settlement than appears. Missteps in the beginning can diminish, dramatically, the value of your entire case.
Personal injury law is complex. The rules are unforgiving. Insurance company attorneys are ruthless. Identifying responsible parties and sources of collection can be difficult.
For example, let’s say you’re seriously injured in an auto accident. The insurer for the other driver explains that his client carried the minimum $15,000 coverage required by law. You, wisely, ask for verification of this amount. You know your own policy covers you against underinsured motorists when the other person’s insurance is inadequate. The adjuster provides documentation confirming the $15,000 in coverage and, satisfied with the proof, you accept the $15,000 payment and readily sign the release required by the insurer. Simple. Straightforward. No insurance claims lawyer necessary. Right?
Next, you submit the claim to your own insurer to collect for the underinsured motorist benefits. Guess what? Claim denied! Why? When you signed the release for the other insurer, you automatically relinquished your rights to a claim against your own policy. By “saving” lawyer fees on the first, smaller part of the claim, you sacrificed thousands of dollars you were entitled to, but forfeited, because you didn’t know the law.
Success in accident cases is frequently reduced to one simple premise: proving which party was at fault. Establishing blame is hotly contested! Proving who’s at fault, convincingly, always requires an in-depth investigation. Private detectives are hired. Witnesses are identified. Statements are taken. Subpoenas are served, and photographs of the scene are taken. Would you know where to begin? What steps to take? What evidence to preserve?
Even when fault appears indisputable, insurance companies often won’t freely admit to it.
Traps abound for the unwary who handle their own case. Personal injury law is complicated. Successful outcomes can only come through experienced injury lawyers; insurance claims lawyers who know exactly when to take action critical in maximizing your compensation. Preserving evidence is essential. A thorough understanding of both law and medicine is critical. Statutes of limitations become time bombs to the unschooled. If you’re still asking yourself if you need an experienced injury lawyer, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I know and understand what statutes of limitations apply to my case?
- Do I understand motor vehicle insurance policies and provisions….uninsured coverage…underinsured benefits?
- Do I have the financial resources equal to insurance companies to cover all my expenses until my case settles?
- What will I do if I can’t settle my case?
- Should I give the insurance company authorization to get my medical records?
- When should I start my settlement negotiations? How much should I demand? Can I prove why I deserve this?
Do you really need a lawyer? If you expect to recover fair and reasonable compensation for your accident injury, we know you do. And not just any lawyer. You need a lawyer who knows the ropes; the ins and outs of injury law. We’re those lawyers; injury lawyers available to help you win fair and reasonable compensation. You worry about getting well. We’ll worry about recovering your damages.
Abraham Lincoln probably said it best:
“He who is his own lawyer has a fool for counsel.”