One of the first questions that comes up when you’ve just had an accident is “Do I need to hire a lawyer?”
Your initial inclination is “Well, maybe I can keep this simple and take care of this myself.”
In an ideal world, your inclination would probably be correct. The situation is supposed to be straightforward, right?
In situations where you’ve sustained just damage to your vehicle, handling the claim yourself may make sense. The insurance company will inspect your vehicle and most likely pay all for the repairs that need to be made or they will deem it a total loss and pay you what it’s worth.
However, in situations that involve personal injuries to you or another passenger, your inclination is probably not going to work. There are just too many factors to consider and juggle that make handling a personal injury claim too complex.
You have to remember insurance companies deal with personal injury claims all day, and they are experts at handling them. You, on the other hand, do not handle personal injury claims all day and do not know all the factors to consider and evaluate. The insurance company's objective is to pay you as little as possible for your personal injury claim. They’re not going to tell you the actual value of your claim. They’re going to try to pay you a lot less than what it’s worth.
Consider this: Your car was just T-boned or rear-ended. You were taken by ambulance to the emergency room. You were sent home that day, but told to remain home for the next three days until you see your family doctor.
Three days later, you go into your family doctor. Your doctor prescribes medications and later refers you to six weeks of physical therapy. After you complete therapy, you return to your doctor with even more pain than you started with. Your doctor sends you to a back and neck doctor.
The back doctor begins treating you and sends you to another facility for an MRI. The MRI reveals that you have two herniated discs. You previously had some prior back issues that occasionally bothered you, but nothing like now.
The back doctor gives you the option of pain management or back surgery to alleviate the pain that you’re suffering from. You decide to do 6 months of pain management first to see how if that will get you back to normal. Pain management didn’t work for you, so you go back into the back doctor and tell him you want surgery.
You undergo back surgery. You’re out of work for six weeks after the surgery. After you’re as good as you’re going to get according to the back doctor right before the anniversary of your injury but you still have functional impairments and are still in daily pain.
What do you do? What do you ask for? What do you say to the insurance company? Do you do anything with the courts? What about the statute of limitations on your personal injury claim?
Is your claim worth $43,000, $84,000, $275,000, or $400,000? How do you prove what your claim is worth? What types of things is the insurance company supposed to pay you for?
Did you sign anything with the insurance company? What about all the times you try to call them and they give you the run around? What if the insurance company says, “We’re only 80% at fault,” when they’re insured is really 100% at fault. Or what if the insurance company says, “We’re not paying for anything because you had previously injured your back and it wasn’t our driver that actually caused your injuries?”
How about your health insurance that paid your medical bills, but now wants reimbursement for those payments? Are you obligated to pay them? How much do you pay them?
This is precisely why you need a personal injury lawyer! You need someone that handles personal injury claims all day like the insurance companies do. You need someone that will force the insurance companies to pay for the all the injuries and losses that their insured caused.