So you want to handle your own car accident claim? While no law exist requiring an attorney to be involved, you may be surprised at the benefits of actually hiring an attorney to handle your case. We are approached regularly by insurance companies who do nothing, but take advantage of un-represented clients. Why? Because, they know they can take advantage of the system and limit the recovery. They are aware that a client will not file a lawsuit, and will likely not argue for future damages in a car accident claim. Additionally, insurance companies are aware that injured parties do not immediately seek the assistance of counsel after a automobile accident. In these few days or hours, after a car accident, insurance companies will try hard to settle a claim for pennies on the dollar. It is important that you know your rights.
Insurance Company Common Statements
Insurance companies will routinely attempt to convince you to not employ an attorney. Here are some of the common statements used by insurance companies to discourage the use of a lawyer.
- You will have to pay an attorney up front- this is never the case as almost all cases are handled on a no win no fee basis;
- Attorneys will end up costing you more money- again this is inaccurate, your attorney will only work to maximize your claim. In most cases value of your case will only be increased when you have an attorney. Generally the cost of employing an attorney worth it based on settlement averages;
- Hiring an attorney will take a long time- this is actually a correct statement to some degree. Having an attorney will delay your case, but for all the right reasons. It will give you time to really inspect the value of your claim. What is the value of your injuries? What is the other responsible parties insurance coverage limits? Are other parties responsible? These are all important factors to consider when dealing with an insurance claim. So even though having an attorney may take a little longer, this time will only help benefit the value of your claim in the long run.
These statements are an example of tactics used to encourage injured parties to not hire the services of an attorney. While, it is ultimately the decision of the client, it is advisable that an attorney be consulted before any settlement agreement is entered into.
Can I Hire a Lawyer After I Sign A Release?
If you agree to a settlement, the insurance company will send over a “release of bodily injury” form. This form will state the value of the settlement and essentially waive your right to pursue a lawsuit or any other claim. Once you sign that document, you will not be able to do anything further. Essentially, by signing that document you are releasing your right to file any follow-up lawsuit for damaged. Even, if you were not aware of the extent of your damages.
So next time you are considering whether you should speak or hire a lawyer to handle your case.