If you’ve been in an accident and suffered damage to your car, or worse yet to a person, you may be wondering whether or not you should call a lawyer. After all, it was just a minor accident. Insurance should cover everything right? But what if it doesn’t?
Your car can be repaired or replaced but what about you? What if your injuries are a lot more complex than the doctors first thought? What if you are injured in a way that makes it hard to perform your job – or take care of your kids, forcing you to lose salary or have to pay someone for help? Have you considered the hidden costs of an accident?
You may think you can negotiate with the insurance company on your own. After all, you’re their customer, but what about if you need to deal with the other party’s company? Sure, insurance companies exist to protect you, but they also exist to make money – it is in their interest to give you as little settlement money as possible.
There is something you can do about that. It may be in your best interest to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. The sad truth is that many insurance companies won’t take you seriously without having a lawyer on your side. They will take their time getting back to you or you’ll be lost in customer service limbo – in short, they will try to wear you down – after all, you’re just one person.
What will an attorney help you with? Don’t they cost money? Not exactly. According to Kurt Larson of Larson Law, a personal injury attorney in Springfield, Mo, you will typically receive more settlement money when you work with a lawyer even after paying expenses and fees, than if you tried to do it yourself.
At Larson Law, for instance, once they accept your case, they will consider your individual situation and determine a ballpark range for fair compensation. This will include factors like pain and suffering, medical expenses already incurred, lost wages, disfigurement, loss of household contributors and other things you might not even have thought of. With that number in mind, an attorney will go to the insurance company and start making your case. They will have facts, figures and documents to back up your claim – they will know what type of “evidence” you need to show how the accident has harmed you.
How do you find a lawyer? Beware of lawyers who contact you via postcard directly after your accident – they hire people to scour accident reports, and then send out bids to solicit your business. These are lawyers who are typically desperate for any case that they can get. Also beware of lawyers who need to advertise on the side of a bus or the local park bench. Slick advertising does not a good lawyer make.
Instead do your research. Look for an established law firm in your area with a history of trying cases. Check on the number of years in business, and ask about their trial record. You want someone who is truly going to be your advocate. Don’t be fooled by a pretty picture – after all it is your quality of life that is at stake.