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Why You May Want to Hire An Accident Attorney
Why You May Want to Hire An Accident Attorney
Do you really need to hire an attorney after being involved in a car accident? The answer is entirely up to you. If it’s a minor fender bender, no injuries are reported, and the damage to your vehicle is pretty much non-existent, you may not even be considering filing an insurance claim.
In this case, there’s no reason to schedule a consultation with an attorney. However, some vehicle collisions are more severe, and this may have you weighing the costs of hiring an accident attorney.
There are advantages to working with a lawyer, but there can also be downsides—if you’re on the fence about retaining legal counsel, here are some things to consider.
What You Should Consider
Something you’ll definitely want to consider is the severity of the accident. As mentioned earlier, an attorney may be an unnecessary expense in a minor traffic accident. If you’re not planning on seeking compensation, there’s no reason to shell out money for an attorney.
However, even a minor car accident can result in injuries, so it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a physician. If injuries are present, then you may want to change your mind and seek legal advice.
The at-fault driver is another consideration. State law can affect your accident case. For example, if it’s a no-fault state, then you may not need an attorney since you’re working with your attorney. In comparative negligence states, you may want to work with an accident attorney to help ensure you receive fair compensation, which even applies if you’re partially to blame for the accident.
If the at-fault driver is uninsured, then you’ll probably want legal representation. Receiving compensation from uninsured drivers is often a complex process that can end up in civil court. It’s rarely a good idea to represent yourself, even in a civil case.
Reasons to Hire an Accident Attorney
So, along with accident severity and insurance considerations, what are some other reasons to hire an accident attorney?
Boost Your Chances of Receiving Fair Compensation
Yes, you pay your insurance premiums every month on time. Sometimes, your payments are even early. Your insurance agent loves your prompt payments and is always there to answer any of your questions. Guess what? All of this doesn’t matter when you file an insurance claim. Insurance companies are rarely happy to pay out a claim and will fight to reduce your compensation amount.
Sometimes, even presenting bills, receipts, and estimates aren’t enough to get the insurance company to pay out. After turning down a few settlement offers it’s easy to give up and accept the next one, but this is a mistake.
Chances are, the offer isn’t going to cover all of your expenses. You may have ongoing medical costs and what about lost wages? Have you considered your non-economic damages? These should also be part of your claim. Working with an experienced accident attorney can help ensure you receive a full and fair settlement offer.
Your accident attorney is familiar with the practices insurance companies often use to get away with paying smaller claim amounts. Instead of feeling frustrated every time the insurance adjuster offers you a lowball number, you can concentrate on your recovery and let your attorney handle the negotiations. If an agreement can’t be reached, your attorney will be ready to file your case in civil court.
Reduces Compensation Waiting Times
Insurance companies are well aware your bills are piling up after an auto accident. Instead of promptly paying a claim, insurance companies like to play a waiting game. Their hope is if they wait long enough, you’ll give up and accept their offer. With an attorney, you can end their procrastination and get started reaching an acceptable settlement offer.
Instead of taking months to finalize your accident claim, your attorney can help shorten it to a matter of weeks.
Understand the Ins and Outs of Your Claim
Some of your damages are easy to understand. You know how much it takes to repair or replace your vehicle. You also have a good idea of your medical expenses. But what about your pain and suffering? How do you calculate emotional damages?
Your accident attorney can help you calculate all of your damages, both economic and non-economic. Your attorney can help you decide if you should use the per diem or percentage method when it comes to totaling non-economic damages. One method may be better suited for your personal injury case than the other.
Best of all, your attorney is there to explain your damages and the claim total to the insurance adjuster. Even if the final settlement number is a little lower, at least you know you’re receiving fair compensation.
Potential Downsides to Hiring an Accident Attorney
There really aren’t any potential downsides to hiring an attorney to represent your interests after an auto accident. Yes, attorneys come with fees, but you may be surprised at the payment structure. Instead of paying by the hour, most personal injury attorneys work off of a contingency fee, which means you don’t pay unless you successfully settle your personal injury case.
If you’re worried about the amount of the contingency fee, this is something you and your attorney work out at the start of your accident case. If you feel the percentage is too high, move on to the next attorney.
You can find personal injury attorneys charging anywhere from 5 to 50% of your settlement amount. The best advice is to choose an attorney who charges somewhere in the middle, which helps ensure you’re receiving adequate legal advice without giving away half of your compensation.
You may also be worried about taking your case to civil court. Hiring an accident attorney doesn’t automatically mean you’re heading to court. However, if your case goes to court, you’re already prepared.
Working with an Accident Attorney Makes Sense
Working with an accident attorney makes sense—having a dedicated professional fighting for your compensation allows you to focus on your recovery without the added stress of navigating legal proceedings.
Moreover, if your personal injury case escalates to civil court, being represented by an attorney ensures that you are well-prepared to confront the insurance company. This legal support not only enhances your chances of a favorable outcome but also ensures that your case is handled with the expertise and diligence it deserves.