what to do in the event of an accident
Slips and falls at the grocery store, car accidents, motorcycle or bicycle wrecks, and even accidental death claims can happen when we least expect it. How do you know when to seek the help of a personal injury attorney after an accident? Making an informed decision is the answer. After taking the time to think about some thought-provoking questions, it will become clear to you whether you should seek a qualified personal injury attorney.
How bad is your injury?
Not every accident is serious enough to warrant a personal injury attorney. It’s important to understand that even if the accident seems minor at the time, the pain associated with that injury can arise much later, sometimes years later. It is best to see a doctor after an accident. You should have your case evaluated by a professional injury attorney if the following have occurred or are planned to occur:
• plastic surgery
The value of your claim increases significantly when you have professional legal representation for any injury you may suffer.
Who is at fault?
It is very important to consult an attorney quickly after an accident, especially if you believe your injury was caused by the negligence of a third party. The details and accuracy of a case are best remembered and recorded as soon as possible after the event. Proving legal fault involves applying certain standards to evidence that will be given higher weight if the facts are gathered early. In order to obtain a strong case, timely contact with a personal injury attorney is key to a positive outcome.
Has any insurance company contacted you?
If a claims adjuster from your insurance company contacts you and starts asking for details about your injury, be careful what you say. If they ask for recorded statements, medical records, your description of the accident, releases and other personal information, you should stop them by telling them you are contacting legal advice. Insurance adjusters try to get you to make statements that are harmful to your claim in order to reduce their losses. One of the strategies they sometimes use to minimize the amount paid is to claim that your injury was pre-existing. Before speaking with a claims adjuster, be sure to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can give you guidance on how to approach the conversation.
Insurance company refusing to pay you?
Plain and simple, insurance companies sometimes use deception to avoid paying claims. Some of the ways they try to manipulate the case may include unreasonable delays in the claims process, refusing to pay even when liability is not in dispute, or quoting unreasonably low prices despite unreasonable levels of injury. Personal injury attorneys may hold insurance companies legally liable for using malicious tactics. An experienced attorney will interact with the insurance company on your behalf and can often resolve the claim quickly without going to court.
Difficulty handling your own claim.
If you decide to handle the case yourself, you’ll need to do your legal homework and have a solid understanding of the injury claims and settlement process. Negotiating with insurance companies and claims adjusters may involve knowledge of statute and case law. Some injury cases are so complex that you may need the help of an expert to find the evidence you need to optimize your claim. You may need to document the accident by some form of reconstruction of the accident, research and documentation of witnesses, deciphering medical records, understanding physics, negotiating non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, etc.
If you are unwilling to do these things, consult a personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney may be able to negotiate higher compensation for your non-economic and more tangible losses.
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