Do I Need to Hire an Attorney After My Car Accident?
Car accidents are an unfortunate but inevitable part of being a driver. After a crash, you may wonder whether you need to hire an attorney, or if you should simply rely on your car insurance company to handle the matter. Here are some issues that Florida drivers involved in an auto accident may want to consider:
Injuries Involve Long-Term Costs, and an Attorney Can Help You Recover Those Costs
If a car accident results in a serious injury either for you or your passenger, finding legal representation can ensure you’re compensated not just now, but in the future for ongoing expenses associated with your injuries. Certain traumatic injuries don’t manifest immediately and may have life-long implications, but an insurance investigation and claim payment might be over before you even experience certain symptoms. Hiring a lawyer familiar with the sorts of injuries that result from car accidents will help to ensure that all your costs are covered, and that any legal claims you may have are filed before the time runs out to make them.
Negotiations with Insurance Companies Can Be Difficult for the Inexperienced
Insurers have an interest in paying you as little as possible for your claims. Without persistent advocacy and knowledge of what you’re entitled to under the law, your insurance company might not leave you whole. Also, keep in mind that insurance companies have seen and negotiated thousands of claims, putting an individual at a significant disadvantage in terms of experience and knowledge of the system. Hiring a seasoned personal injury attorney will ensure that someone equally well-versed in the law and claims process will be representing your side in such negotiations.
Focus on Your Recovery and Leave the Fight to Your Lawyer
After a crash, you’re going to be busy handling the aftermath, such as finding an alternate means of transportation and dealing with your injuries. However, even being reimbursed by your insurance company involves carefully compiling and presenting records of your expenses, not to mention the investigation required to contest the insurance company’s findings where necessary–obtaining witness statements, medical reports, police reports, and otherwise gathering evidence and conducting an investigation. An attorney will take this burden off your shoulders and accomplish these tasks more skillfully and thoroughly by virtue of years of experience in the field.
No-Fault Laws Require Meeting Special Threshold Requirements To Obtain Greater Compensation
Under Florida’s no-fault rules, insurance companies do not require a finding of who was at fault before they pay out a claim for damages within a certain range of value. In most cases, even if it was your fault that the accident occurred, your insurer will pay for up to $10,000 in your accident-related costs, and up to $10,000 for damage to someone else’s property. However, if your expenses are greater than this amount and you wish to sue the at-fault driver, you must be able to show that the accident resulted in:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function,
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability,
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement, or,
Making this showing requires additional effort, and when in the midst of such a difficult time, trying to represent yourself in court would involve an undue strain and put you at a serious disadvantage.
Should Settlement Negotiations Fail, Be Prepared to Go to Court
Insurance companies know that you don’t want to go to trial on your claims, and they will use this fact to their advantage in dissuading you from pursuing additional recovery or challenging their findings. Finding experienced representation means that you will always be prepared to go to court, should the need arise, and you won’t be required to scramble for a lawyer at the last minute who is unfamiliar with your case.