If you were injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, and required more than a couple of medical visits, you should seriously consider hiring a personal injury lawyer.
Here are six reasons why:
1. Insurance Companies are not on your side, ever.
When you file a claim with either your own insurance company or the other driver’s, that insurance company’s only objective is to pay out as little money (or none at all) to you as possible. There are no exceptions to this, no matter how righteous, legitimate, or simple you think your personal injury claim is. This is because insurance companies are multi-million-dollar businesses whose bottom line is profit. To this end, insurance companies and their lawyers will come up with any and all excuses to not fully compensate you. These excuses include:
- The accident was your fault;
- You weren’t injured at all in the accident (despite medical reports to the contrary);
- You weren’t injured to the extent you are claiming (despite medical reports to the contrary);
- Your injuries weren’t caused by the car accident (despite medical reports to the contrary);
- You made your injuries worse by doing or not doing certain things;
- You waited too long to seek medical attention;
- There is a time gap in your medical treatment;
- The treatment you received or need to receive for your injuries was/is unnecessary; and
- The treatment you received or need to receive for your injuries was/is too expensive.
A good personal injury lawyer will know how to make sure all the right things are done to (a) make it harder for the insurance company to come up with excuses; and (b) gain leverage to negotiate the best possible settlement, or, if need be, increase your chances that a jury will award you maximum compensation for your case.
2. You could recover up to 3.5 times more money.
For injuries that require more than just a couple medical visits, you are much more likely to recover significantly more money than handing the claim on your own. In fact, a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council indicated that personal injury victims with legal representation on average recovered 3.5 times more money than those without. This is because:
- A good personal injury lawyer knows what to do to maximize the value of your case;
- Insurance companies are more likely to take you and your claim more seriously;
- There is a legitimate threat of trial; and
- Insurance companies know that they will have to spend more money in the long run fighting a lawyer.
3. Less hassle and stress.
A good personal injury attorney will handle everything for you so you can focus on your recovery and get your life back to as normal as possible. A personal injury lawyer should be able to do the following things for you:
- Deal with your and the other driver’s insurance company;
- Obtain necessary documents and evidence such as police reports and medical records and bills;
- Get your car repaired;
- Get you into a rental car;
- Make sure you get adequate and prompt medical treatment, even if you have no health insurance;
- Interview witnesses; and
- File and handle a lawsuit, if needed.
4. Other Sources for Damages
California law requires drivers to have only a minimum of $15,000 in bodily injury coverage. Oftentimes, this isn’t enough to cover all your damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A skilled accident lawyer may be able to find other sources to cover your damages, such as your own auto insurance policy, the auto insurance policy of a member of your household, and in some cases, the city, county, or state in which the accident occurred. Also, if the driver was working, doing something for work, or running an errand for another person, it may be possible to collect from the employer or the person on whose behalf the errand was being performed for.
5. Getting Medical Treatment
For your own health, and to obtain maximum compensation, it is important that you receive prompt, adequate, and regular treatment. Failure to do so affects your health and recovery, and drastically reduces your compensation. An experienced and attentive lawyer will be able to ensure you receive appropriate medical care promptly even if you have no health insurance.
6. Avoid mistakes.
Attempting to handle a claim on your own initially may complicate things later and may even lower the value of your case. Even a skilled and experienced lawyer may not be able to repair the harm done.