An accident victim should not handle his or her case without an attorney because of the challenges involved in dealing with insurance companies and their adjusters and avoiding harming their chances of receiving full compensation. Victims can easily jeopardize the outcome of their cases when they handle the cases on their own. Research has shown that accident victims represented by attorneys receive larger amounts of money than those who handle their cases without attorneys.
The Insurance Company Is Not on a Victim’s Side
Unlike an attorney, an insurance company does not have to look out for a victim’s best interests. The other driver’s insurance company and its private investigators and adjusters will aim to protect the company and save its money. Insurance adjusters are trained to give as little compensation as possible for auto accident claims. As a result, an insurance company’s offer for fair compensation is often significantly lower than the amount that would be required to make a victim whole.
It can be highly challenging for accident victims to negotiate with insurance companies. The companies have persuasive techniques to make victims accept their offer. Additionally, victims can damage their chances of getting higher compensation when they speak with insurance adjusters before speaking with an attorney. Just as a person getting arrested can make charges worse if he or she speaks to the police before contacting a criminal defense attorney, anything that crash victims say, sign or agree to before speaking with a personal injury lawyer can jeopardize the case outcome.
Therefore, it is important for accident victims to let an experienced attorney negotiate with insurance companies. If negotiations are unsuccessful, an attorney will take the case to court to ensure a victim is compensated fairly.
In case of a hit-and-run accident or a crash in which the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, an attorney will help the victim negotiate with his or her uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage provider to ensure he or she receives compensation. The attorney will also help a victim avoid prejudicing his or her rights, for example, by signing a release before getting permission from his or her own policy.
An Attorney Maximizes a Victim’s Compensation
The Insurance Research Council’s independent study found that accident victims who hire lawyers get 3.5 times more for their claims than those who handle their cases without lawyers. Damages due to a victim’s accident and injuries are likely to be more than what the victim may think. Besides tangible damages like medical expenses, a victim can also recover compensation for intangible ones like loss of consortium and pain and suffering.
To help victims maximize their injury awards, car accident attorneys gather evidence that helps build a strong case. That includes collecting the police report, eyewitness statements, photos of the accident scene and vehicles involved, medical reports, cellphone records, wage information, Event Data Recorder (EDR) information, and expert opinions. They come up with an appropriate value for a victim’s accident case by considering several factors, such as:
- The treatment that a victim has already received
- A victim’s prognosis
- Current and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering caused by the injuries sustained
Help With Obtaining Quality Medical Care
A car accident attorney helps victims get doctors who are qualified and familiar with handling accident and personal injury cases that may go to litigation. Obtaining treatment from such doctors is crucial for receiving proper care and providing proof of one’s injuries and the severity. In some cases, an accident attorney can make arrangements with hospitals and doctors to delay payments on one’s medical bills until when his or her case settles.
In addition to following up on his or her car accident claim, a victim will have to keep up with other demands like appointments with the doctor and missed work. An attorney can handle every complicated aspect of a victim’s claim, giving him or her peace of mind and letting him or her concentrate on getting better.