After a car accident, you are going to need to talk to the insurance companies who will be handling the claim — specifically, yours and the other driver’s insurance company. When the accident is a cut and dry situation where the other driver is clearly at fault, many people think that reaching out and handling the entire claim process with the other insurance company is not an issue and that there is no need to hire an attorney. Is this actually the case? Well, the other driver’s insurance company will be happy to work directly with you, but this is because no matter how clear the matter of fault is, the matter that truly matters is that of compensation.
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When you are working directly with the other insurance company, fault ≠ fair compensation, and the agent assigned to your case will be taking every step possible to limit the amount that they ultimately pay, no matter whether or not their client is 100% to blame for the accident. Remember, these companies have decades of experience building their playbooks specifically to save as much money as possible while settling claims, whether or not they can reduce the amount of liability that they must accept responsibility for. Your case will be no different.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN IN A CAR ACCIDENT, NEVER TALK TO THE OTHER INSURANCE COMPANY ALONE
Whether or not you think that it is necessary, speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible – preferably BEFORE speaking with either insurance company, yours or the other driver’s. This ensures that you will be able to speak with an unbiased third party with extensive knowledge of the insurance claims process, how to calculate and negotiate damages, and more. Your insurance company will be concerned about collecting damages for as much as they are owed (such as the medical bills that they initially pay for), but will not put extensive resources into recovering the damages that you suffer personally such as your lost wages and your pain and suffering.
The best way to ensure that your claim is handled with specific concern for your own needs is to work with a personal injury attorney who will represent you through the duration of your claim – and through a lawsuit and trial, if necessary (fortunately, as many as 95% of all personal injury claims are settled before trial).
Contact the team at Fasig | Brooks as soon as possible for a free initial consultation with an experienced legal professional about your situation and your options for moving forward. When you have an attorney handling your claim, you can focus on your recovery process without being bogged down by the stress and complications that come with attempting to navigate your own claim and negotiating for a fair settlement.
The Benefits of Working With a Car Accident Attorney
Peace of Mind
When you hire an attorney as soon as possible following a car accident, you will be able to take your mind off of your legal issues and instead focus on getting your personal affairs in order, prioritizing your recovery, and avoiding the additional stress that comes with the uncertainty of your future when you do not have the guidance and support of an experienced attorney. When you are handling your claim on your own, you will need to handle all of your communications at the same time that you are trying to get treatment for your injuries.
Focus on Your Recovery
Your lawyer will be able to handle all of the administrative work for you, which may not seem very complicated at the surface, but is designed in a way that will allow the insurance company to limit your final settlement. An attorney understands this process and understands the way to handle it in a manner that will keep the pathway open for the best settlement available. Insurance companies love to use claimants’ words against them, even trying to construe a simple apology at the scene of an accident as an admission of guilt. Every statement that you make to the agent on your own will be examined under a microscope and will be used against you. Instead of worrying about everything you are saying, your lawyer will take this process on.
Get Fair Compensation With Less Stress
In addition to the stress of the simple administrative work, your lawyer will be able to perform an investigation into your damages at the same time that the insurance company is performing their own research. You will be shocked at the difference in amounts that your lawyer comes up with versus the initial offer that the insurance company gives you. However, these calculations are only the start. The insurance company will position their first offer as “the best you will get,” and will require that you waive your rights to any additional legal action against them or their client for this accident upon accepting this one-time payment.
Negotiation By an Experienced Legal Professional
Instead of accepting the offer and making the best of it, your attorney will initiate a series of aggressive negotiations intended to close the gap between the insurance company offer and the amount that you actually deserve. During this process they will work directly with you to understand the range of options, including things like the amount that makes sense to accept for an out-of-court settlement, or when makes sense to push and file a lawsuit. While these negotiations are going on, you can continue to prioritize your own needs and simply get updates from your lawyer as necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions About Post-Accident Processes
The following are just a few of the most common questions that we answer during our initial consultations with potential clients. Keep in mind that the answers are not specific to your situation, and the best way to understand the answer as it relates to your own unique situation is to take advantage of our free consultation today.
When should I hire an attorney after a car accident?
The best answer to this question is right away. The more you speak with the insurance companies (yours and the other insurance company), the more opportunities there are to make administrative errors or damaging statements that can impact your long-term financial interests. If you can, hiring a lawyer before speaking with either insurance company is your best bet – but you will need to act quickly so that you are not delaying anything or violating requirements with your own insurance company about when to contact them. After your free consultation with Fasig | Brooks, you will have a better idea of the steps that you can take, and the steps that you should leave for your lawyer.
Should I accept the first offer from the insurance company?
Under no circumstances should you ever accept the initial offer from the insurance company if you have not consulted with a lawyer. If you chose to not hire a lawyer during the claims investigation, make sure that you take your offer letter to a lawyer to see what they suggest, and to learn more about how they may be able to help you get a payment closer to what you deserve. The problem with waiting until the initial offer to speak with an attorney is that the insurance company has spent up to a month gathering information and evidence to use against you, and hiring a lawyer at this point means that they will have to play catch-up, and likely will have to contend with some common errors or mistakes that you will have made on your own.
If my injuries are minor, do I need to work with a lawyer?
The best way to decide whether or not your injuries and situation require the support of an attorney is to contact Fasig | Brooks as soon as possible for a free initial consultation. The specifics of your accident are unique, and what may seem like a minor accident with insignificant injuries now could evolve into a complicated situation that will require a closer look and aggressive representation to get you what you deserve. Once you sign a waiver to accept a small settlement, you will essentially be out of options. It is always in your best interest to consult with a personal injury lawyer before making any decisions at the outset of this complex situation.