After being in an accident, many victims wonder if they should hire a car accident lawyer or negotiate with the insurance company directly. This is a normal and understandable question to ask, especially if the victim has a good relationship with their insurance agent. However, there is one important point to make: the insurance agent will not be the one handling the claim or making a decision regarding what to pay out.
In regarding the amount an insurance company will pay out, the claims department are the only ones to decide that fact. Those representatives are typically located in a different area and do not have a personal connection on purpose. Their job is to preserve insurance company profits by paying as little as possible to settle the claim. This is not in the best interest of the victim, making it important to hire an attorney who can advocate for the victim's rights.
Hiring a car accident lawyer is important regardless of whether the case settles or goes to court. An attorney understands what to ask for in regards to damages and can often get money that a victim will leave on the table due to a lack of knowledge. For example, a victim may be unaware that they can ask for money for pain and suffering. Additionally, an attorney knows when an offer is low, on par with industry standards or high.
This knowledge of the system makes it possible for an attorney to recommend whether the client will benefit from accepting, rejecting, or countering the offer. In some cases, the best action may be to go to court. Even in the negotiation phase, the more knowledge a person has, the better. An injury attorney is going to have significantly more experience and be able to bring that experience to the negotiation table for the victim's benefit.
To strengthen the position prior to negotiations, a car accident lawyer will conduct discovery or at least research the accident. This could involve reviewing photographic and video evidence, speaking with eyewitnesses, discussing the injuries with a treating physician and going over the police report in detail. The stronger the case is, the more likely that the other party will make a fair settlement offer. A good offer should include:
Once an initial demand letter has been sent and reviewed by the other party, negotiations can begin. Typically, numbers will go back and forth until an agreement is reached or the case has escalated to trial.
After hiring an attorney, it is important not to speak with the insurance company about the case. All negotiations should go through a lawyer to ensure that things continue to progress and that no information is obtained that can be used against you. It is best to start this from the very beginning so call our office today and schedule a consultation. We can handle the case and work to get you as much compensation as possible for your injuries.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute