When you're involved in an accident, one of the first things on your mind is obtaining compensation for the damages you suffered. This requires pursuing a claim process and dealing with an insurance adjuster. While most people attempt to file a claim without help, this can often lead to disastrous consequences. There are several reasons consulting an auto accident attorney early in the process will benefit you and help you obtain a fair outcome in your case.
1. Representation During Questioning
One of the first things your auto accident attorney will do for you is to ensure he's there during any interviews. Very soon after the accident, the other party's insurance company will send an adjuster out to interview you. The adjuster will ask if the conversation can be recorded or filmed. They cannot do this without your consent, so they will try to persuade you to agree. You should refuse to allow this and, if your attorney is present, he will ensure the adjuster complies with your wishes.
Secondly, the adjuster will ask you conflicting questions, which seem repetitive, but are worded differently. The reason for this is to try to confuse you. It's an unfair tactic and one that your attorney will not allow. Without an attorney present to help protect your rights, the adjuster's questions may frustrate you and cause you to say something that could damage your case.
2. Negotiating for a Settlement
Another reason to consult an accident attorney early in the process is to help you obtain a fair settlement. Very soon after the adjuster has interviewed you, he will return with a settlement offer. This will be a low offer, insufficient to cover the full extent of financial losses you have suffered. The insurance company will try to convince you to accept this offer, because, once you do accept an offer, you forfeit any rights to make additional claims for damages.
If you have an attorney working for you, they will ensure you don't accept an offer that is less than you need to recover. Your lawyer will review your medical records and discuss your situation with your doctor to determine how much your medical care will cost. Combined with damages to your physical property, lost time from work, and other factors, your lawyer can negotiate for a fairer offer.
3. Deal with Creditors
Another advantage to hiring an auto accident lawyer is that they will help you deal with your financial obligations as you recover from your accident. Recovering from a serious accident typically requires hospitalization and plenty of bed rest, which means you won't be able to return to work right away. As a result, your bills will go unpaid and you'll have creditors harassing you for payment.
When you discuss these issues with your lawyer, he may be able to contact your creditors on your behalf. He can explain the situation to your creditors and provide them with an estimated timetable for when they can expect to receive payment. This is often enough to stop the phone calls, so you can concentrate on recuperating and pursuing your claim.
4. Meeting Necessary Deadlines
When you pursue an auto accident claim, there's a great deal of paperwork involved. This is another reason you shouldn't try to handle a claim without professional help. If the paperwork is completed incorrectly, or a deadline is missed, your claim will likely be denied. When you hire an attorney, he will go over the documents with you to ensure all of the necessary information is provided and that all documents are submitted on time. Since many claims are denied as a result of improperly completed paperwork, this is a valuable service in itself.
5. Collecting Evidence
Whether you settle a claim out of court or you must go to trial, there's a great deal of investigating that must be done. While you're recovering from your accident, your lawyer will be doing the leg work that's required to properly prepare your case. This may involve getting more information from the police about the accident, collecting documents pertaining to your injuries, contacting expert witnesses, and meeting with people who may have seen the accident. This will help your lawyer prepare a better strategy for handling your case, so he can try to obtain a better outcome for you.
6. Identify All of the Defendants
Even when it seems clear the other driver was at fault in causing the accident, they may not be the only entities at fault. For instance, if the other driver was on the clock as a delivery driver, or was engaged as a driver for a ridesharing app, the individual's employer may also be held liable. Similarly, if the area of road upon which the accident occurred had already been deemed highly hazardous, you may be able to name the city, county, or state in the claim as well. This often happens in cases where there are several complaints about the same stretch of road and no action is taken to make it safer. If an accident occurs on that road, the government agency responsible for maintaining that road may be held liable.
7. Taking Your Claim to Court
In some instances, the insurance company is unwilling to negotiate and even the best lawyer can't convince them to offer a fairer settlement. In this case, it will be necessary to take your claim to court. However, since you have already hired an attorney, he will be familiar with the facts of your case and will be ready to proceed. This cuts down on the time it would take you to find and hire a lawyer, who will then have to familiarize himself with your case. Since you only have a limited amount of time to initiate a personal injury lawsuit, saving time in this way can help ensure your lawsuit can be pursued in court.
As this overview suggests, consulting an attorney, such as Brisbane Murphy's Law, can help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Since you won't have to pay fees up front, this is an opportunity for you to get the compensation you need to fully recover without compelling you to add to your financial burden. Keeping this in mind, there's no reason to delay scheduling an initial consultation.