If you’ve been involved in an accident caused by someone else, you probably have a lot going on right now. You may be worried, confused, angry, hurt or all the above. The insurance company may have advised you that you do not need an attorney to settle the claim. Now you may be wondering if you should believe them.
Am I Required to Have an Attorney?
You are not obligated to hire an attorney but, considering that the insurance companies have teams of lawyers at their disposal, you may want to level the playing field. Having legal representation provides you with professional advice and guidance to help you assess the benefits and compensation you are offered for your injuries. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, your chances of getting your full compensation under the law are greatly increased when you have a personal injury attorney on your team.
What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do?
First, a personal injury attorney is your advocate. He or she will listen to your version of events and gather information about your injuries. They will document your losses and gather evidence like police reports, photos, medical reports, etc. They may also interview witnesses.
One of the first things they will ask of you is to direct any inquiries or phone calls from the insurance company to their office. Part of their job is to keep the insurance companies from putting pressure on you to settle and to prevent you from inadvertently saying something that could be used against you to avoid payment of the claim. Your attorney will keep your best interests in mind while negotiating for a fair settlement from the insurance company.
What Happens If I Don’t Use a Lawyer?
If you choose to handle the claim on your own, you could be leaving money on the table. The insurance companies aren’t going to offer you the full amount you could be compensated, as they are in business to make money. If you are offered a settlement quickly, you could be tempted to take it without taking into consideration future events like long-term impacts on your ability to work or future medical problems from your injuries. Once you’ve signed away your rights to further compensation for the accident, you are done.
Other future impacts that you may not foresee are:
- Inability to recover Social Security benefits
- Denial of Workers’ Compensation benefits
- Missing critical deadlines for making claims or submitting documentation
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to the negligence or reckless behavior of someone else, you don’t have to handle it by yourself. Consult a personal injury attorney in Washington, DC.
Thanks to Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and why to hire an attorney.