Speaking is something the majority of us do every day. We tell our closest friends and family members our opinions and concerns, and share the details of our experiences. Although everyday conversations are normal for most of us, the same cannot be said about standing up to large, powerful organizations like an insurance company. Part of this may be due to insecurity in light of the company’s volume as well as a lack of knowledge about the issues at hand. After all, most of us are not experts on law, insurance coverage, or even our own rights. That’s why it can sometimes be a good idea to hire an auto accident attorney to do the talking for you.
It is impossible to know how many people have missed their opportunity to receive compensation after having received one or more injuries from an automobile accident. There are a number of reasons that this could occur, all of which could have turned out differently if they had hired an auto accident attorney right after their injuries occurred. Below are some of the most important reasons that you should do to avoid their mistake and find a good attorney for legal advice and an evaluation of your case.
1. To Learn if You Have a Valid Personal Injury Case – Although auto accidents are the leading type of personal injury cases, they can be complex and confusing to the average person. From your perspective, the accident was the other driver’s fault. The problem is that there are a number of factors that will determine if this is actually the case. Attorney Kevin Attkisson explains that in Ohio, the Comparative Negligence law allows the responsibility for an accident to be divided between both or all drivers. In other words, if you are found to be 20% at fault, you can only collect 80% of the compensation from the other driver or their insurance company. Bodily injury liability insurance will cover the following expenses for the other driver:
Long-Term Nursing Care
Pain and Suffering
It is up to you and your auto accident attorney to prove that the other driver is more than 50% to blame. If you do, you will not be expected to pay their damages and you can collect the percentage of damages to which you are entitled. The other person’s automobile insurance policy will have a specific maximum that it will pay for bodily injury per person and per accident in addition to the coverage for the other driver’s automobile.
Personal injury attorneys have handled many cases involving driving accidents and they know which direction fault is usually assigned according to the situation. They have the skills to evaluate your situation and determine if you should file a claim and what your odds of recovering compensation will be.
2. To Negotiate with the Insurance Companies – Getting a settlement from an insurance company is not as simple as collecting the amount that is allowed on the driver’s insurance. Their bodily injury coverage may be for a maximum of $300,000 per person but that isn’t an amount that the insurance companies are going to hand over without a fight. A majority of personal injury cases are settled without going to court. People who do not have an auto accident attorney to represent them may agree to the amount that the insurance company offers as a settlement. The person needs to keep in mind that the goal of the insurance company is to pay as little as possible, regardless of the actual damage the person has received.
A knowledgeable auto accident attorney knows the tactics insurance companies use to pay less and they are experienced at negotiating to get their clients a settlement that is fair. This should be an amount that is based on the actual damages and not on the amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance. Although that amount may be less than the maximum on their policy, it could also be greater. If it is, the driver will be responsible for paying the amount in excess of the insurance coverage.
3. To Understand Your Rights–The laws involving personal injury are complex and they vary from state to state. The average individual lacks the skills to read and understand even the simplest legal document. Without the expertise of an attorney by your side, it is easy to miss opportunities that could weigh in your favor. As the victim of an auto accident, you have rights and you should know what they are.
4. To Save Your Credit – One of the greatest reasons that people end up filing for bankruptcy is because of high medical bills. Many people falsely believe that having health insurance will prevent them from going into debt for medical treatment. They fail to take into account that they will have co-pays, deductibles, co-insurance, procedures that are excluded from coverage and charges that are in excess of the amount the insurance company is willing to pay.
The compensation that you will get for your injuries will typically go to pay the insurance company back for any covered medical treatment first. Afterwards, you will be responsible for paying any outstanding debt. If you have had time off from work to recuperate or due to a debilitating injury caused by the accident, your settlement will need to cover the wages you have lost and those you are likely to lose going forward. Failing to get the appropriate settlement could end up costing you your credit rating and prevent you from purchasing the things you need and want in the future.
5. The Insurance Company Won’t Settle – If push comes to shove and the insurance company believes they can disprove your claim, your case will go to court. Having an auto accident attorney who will aggressively fight for your rights and who is familiar with all the details of your case will be essential.
When you are injured in an accident, contact an auto accident attorney immediately to have your case evaluated and start the process to ensure you get the best possible outcome for your case.