When To Hire An Accident Lawyer
Publication: Scooter News
Published: March, 2010
Motor vehicle accidents are a daily occurrence in the Denver, Colorado area and across the U.S., affecting millions of Americans every year. While minor fender benders or accidents resulting in damages less than approximately $500 generally do not warrant the help of an attorney to recover losses, you will want to think about utilizing the expertise of an accident lawyer if you are offered little or no compensation for your damage, or if your damages are significant.
If you are involved in an accident where you sustain injuries or significant damages to your vehicle, you will want to seriously consider hiring an accident lawyer. An accident lawyer can help you recover losses by negotiating with insurance claims adjusters and/or taking your case to court.
Being involved in an accident of any kind is a scary thing. Not only do you have medical bills to deal with, but you struggle to meet the costs demanded in daily life, like paying the rent, buying food and taking care of your children. When you are facing tremendous bills and don’t know how you’re going to pull through, you may be tempted to try to deal with the insurance adjuster yourself and accept the first settlement offer presented to you by an insurance company.
The first offer an insurance adjuster makes is usually on the low end, even if it sounds like a lot of money to you. Remember, insurance adjusters work for the insurance company and are trained to settle claims for the least amount of money possible. Hiring an accident attorney can help level the playing field. An experienced attorney can be a strong advocate fighting for your best interests in an insurance settlement.
Many accident victims are not fully aware of the value of their claim and jump at the first offer made to them. This is where an experienced accident attorney comes in. An attorney can help you calculate both immediate and future damages of your injuries. These often include things like medical bills, time missed from work (both now and in the future), loss of earning potential, impact of injury on lifestyle, pain and suffering and any other out of pocket expenses you may have incurred as a result of being involved in an accident.
When an insurance adjuster contacts you to “help you settle your claim,” he or she may try to get you to say things that will minimize the value of your claim. For this reason, it is important to have an experienced attorney speak to insurance companies on your behalf. Even if you are well-intentioned and try to work cooperatively with the at-fault party’s insurance company, things you say may be misconstrued to diminish the amount of money that you are legally entitled to receive for your injuries.
Insurance adjusters may also try to contact accident victims soon after an accident, before all injuries and damages have been realized. Some injuries take time to show up after an accident; and some injuries require significant treatment into the foreseeable future. If you are unaware of the full extent of your injuries and how they may impact your future, it is best not to speak to an insurance adjuster yourself, and contact an accident lawyer early to avoid financially painful mistakes.
Paying an attorney is a concern that many accident victims worry about. Most attorneys will take accident cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not have to pay the attorney upfront; the attorney will receive a percentage of the money that he or she recovers for you, usually 1/3 of the amount awarded to you. This provides accident lawyers with tremendous motivation to be an effective advocate for you in the settlement of your insurance claim. It is important to be aware that contingency fees do not cover the cost of litigation and you will be responsible to pay your accident attorney for things including, but not limited to copies, expert witness expenses, filing costs and court reporter fees for depositions. Of note is the fact that people who use the services of an experienced lawyer typically receive higher settlements than those who negotiate on their own claims, even after paying attorney fees.
It is important to contact an accident lawyer soon after your accident so that he or she can help you set up medical treatment if needed, speak to your insurance company on your behalf, protect your rights, and inform you of options you have to receive the money entitled to you for damages and/or injuries. Also, you may need money to pay medical bills and cover lost wages. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you can financially recover from your accident. Contacting an accident attorney promptly after an accident will help you avoid missing out on just compensation due to statutes of limitations, or deadlines (which vary from state to state), that may prevent you from making a claim. It is in your best interest to contact an accident attorney sooner rather than later to help you obtain the recovery to which you are entitled.
If you have any questions on this topic or other accident related topics, please contact me via the form on the right or call my Denver office at 303-454-8000 or toll-free at 1-800-ROSEN-911.