A common question I get asked by people who call in after an injury is, “How do I know if I should hire an attorney?” Typically, just the fact that the person has taken the time to call an attorney is the first sign that they have realized they probably need some help. My answer to this question sometimes varies, depending on the situation, but a good general rule is that if you have an injury that hasn’t resolved in a month, despite you getting treatment, then you should seriously consider hiring an attorney to help you with your claim.
1. Insurance Adjusters Handle Hundreds of Claims A Day
One of the main reasons to hire an attorney is the simple fact that when you file an insurance claim, you are likely entering an arena where you have little to no experience. Making things worse is that you are negotiating against an insurance adjuster who has received countless hours of professionalized training in negotiating and settling claims for AS LITTLE $$$ AS POSSIBLE. As you can see, the deck is stacked against you, and one of the ways to even the playing field is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to advocate on your behalf.
2. Insurance Adjusters Work for the Insurance Company, Not You
Another thing to consider is that, despite their often pleasant demeanor and willingness to “help” you, the insurance adjuster does not work for you and in most instances, has no duties to consider what is in your best interests. This often gets confusing for people who run into interference with their injury claim from “their own” insurance company. Even though you have been paying those monthly premiums, the insurance adjuster’s job is to keep the insurance company’s costs as low as possible, even if this comes at your detriment. This is yet another reason why hiring an experienced attorney is often a good idea, because they will be there to make sure that you are protected and to make sure that the insurance company is adjusting your claim pursuant to state and federal guidelines.
3. An Attorney can help you avoid hurting your case
While it is true that there are things you can do that can hurt your case, a lot of people don’t realize that you can also hurt your case simply by doing nothing. In certain situations, failing to take action (like failing to get treatment or follow up on a referral) can be as bad, or worse, as doing the wrong thing. Having an attorney can help you avoid giving the insurance company extra ammunition in their quest to give you as small of a settlement as possible.
4. Disputed Liability
The most sure-fire sign that you need to hire an attorney is when you get told that the other insurance company is disputing who was at fault for your injuries. Even though the other driver told you “sorry” at the scene of the accident, they may have a change of heart when they talk to their adjuster and are faced with the financial realities of having their premiums go up. Liability disputes throw a huge wrench in the resolution of a claim, so having an attorney who know the law and knows what evidence is needed to prove fault is key.
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