In the aftermath of an auto accident, you expect your insurance company to be by your side every step of the way. However, it's not always realistic to expect a fair outcome when dealing with an auto insurance claim. This is why personal injury attorneys are often called upon to help auto accident victims receive fair treatment and compensation.
The following outlines more about this topic and a few good reasons why you'll want an attorney by your side when dealing with both minor and major auto accidents.
Your Attorney's Experience Could Aid You throughout the Claims Process
Dealing with an auto insurance claim on your own can be a complicated and sometimes even frightening experience. Not only is there the specter of red tape and unnecessary delays, you may also find yourself at a distinct disadvantage when negotiating on your own behalf with the insurance company.
Your typical personal injury attorney specializing in auto accidents is an experienced hand at assessing insurance claims following minor and major accidents. In addition to using his or her own expertise and experience, your attorney can also call on auto body specialists, chiropractors and other technical experts to help solidify your claim and build a case that can easily win in court.
If you've been involved in a serious accident, you may be too injured or distraught to properly deal with the red tape and paperwork that often follows an auto insurance claim. In this case, it's usually best to have your attorney deal of the intricacies of the claims process on your behalf.
Having an attorney on your side can also be helpful in the event that an injury manifests itself days or even months after the accident has occurred. Keep in mind that each state has its own statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit.
You May Need an Attorney to Receive Additional Compensation
In a serious accident, the amount of compensation you'll receive from a negligent driver's insurance company usually depends on said driver's liability coverage. Depending on state-mandated minimums and the negligent driver's current amount of coverage, this figure typically ranges from as little as $15,000 to $1 million or more (especially if the driver is also covered under an umbrella policy).
In the event your damages exceed the negligent driver's liability coverage maximums, chances are you'll find it more difficult, to recover the remaining amounts from the insurance company. In most cases, this means you'll have to go after the driver directly. This is where the expertise of an attorney comes in handy.
Retaining an Attorney Could Lead to a Larger Settlement
At the end of the day, the average insurance company's bottom line relies on minimizing the amount of money it has to pay in damages. As such, most insurers will attempt to negotiate the smallest possible settlement and hope the injured party accepts that offer without hesitation. Once you accept the settlement, there's no turning back if the amount is much smaller than you've anticipated.
If you feel that the offered settlement isn't enough to cover your medical expenses and other damages, your attorney may be able to negotiate a more reasonable settlement on your behalf. Your attorney's considerable expertise and knowledge regarding the case and other similar cases can give you the upper hand when it comes to receiving adequate compensation.
Another myth is that hiring an attorney could reduce the net settlement amount you'll eventually receive or even delay the settlement process. While it is true that your attorney will receive a percentage of the settlement proceeds, he or she will likely negotiate a settlement that is much larger than what would be initially awarded have you settled on your own. Also, hiring an attorney has little to no bearing on the settlement time frame.