People often ask why they would need an attorney after being involved in an accident. The most simplistic answer is whether you know what to do next , what to expect from the insurance company, and when is it too early or too late to file a law suit or accept a settlement. If you do not know the answers to these very basic questions, odds are, you need a lawyer. Don’t wait and attempt to have a stab at it on your own, you make sign releases, make statements adverse to your case or even accept a significantly smaller offer than an attorney would have been able to achieve.
My personal answer is that personal injury attorneys work these types of cases day in and day out. Lawyers, myself included, eat, sleep and breath this stuff every single day. We know how to:
- Deal with insurance adjusters;
- Interview witnesses;
- Preserve evidence;
- Assist you in finding treatment without up front costs from medical providers, even when you have no health insurance;
- Ascertain the amount of liability insurance coverage;
- Ascertain the amount of uninsured motorist coverage;
- Obtain the accident report;
- Assist you in finding a reasonable repair shop for your vehicle, as well as getting you a rental vehicle (if available), and making the at fault party pay it;
- estimate the value of your case;
- Prove lost wages;
- Obtain medical records;
- Deal with low offers from insurance companies;
- Deal with a law suit against you by the other party;
- Answer Discovery;
- Take and Defend Depositions;
- Choose a jury;
- File your lawsuit before the Statute of Limitations expires;
- I could go on, and on and on…… but you get the point.
Bottom line is that if you want to maximize the value of your case you need an attorney, and you need them as soon as possible. Do not attempt to undertake the task of negotiating with any insurance company, even your own, without an attorney. If I (a car wreck attorney) were involved in a wreck today, I would hire an attorney to represent me. Why? Because “he who represents himself has a fool for a client” – Abraham Lincoln.