A personal injury attorney wants to maximize the compensation you receive in your case. Despite knowing this, you may be hesitant about hiring an attorney for your injury claim. After all, the insurance company seems more than willing to settle with you, and your injuries do not seem catastrophic.
While there are plenty of reasons to not hire an attorney, there is no risk to speak with one to get a better perspective on your situation. An attorney is an asset any time you are dealing with a legal matter. Therefore, by familiarizing yourself with the common reasons people avoid hiring an attorney for their accident, you may gain insight and understand just why you should hire an attorney.
The Common Reasons Accident Victims Don’t Hire an Attorney, But Should
Perhaps it is the money. Maybe you think you can handle the case alone. Regardless of the reasons holding you back, know that for the best outcome, you need to get help. An attorney knows the laws, regulations, and procedures. They have handled countless cases just like yours.
Let’s review some of the common reasons why victims do not hire accident attorneys and the arguments against it.
Reason #1: Your Injuries are Not Severe
Immediately after the accident, you might find the at-fault party’s insurance company is contacting you. They will inquire about your injuries. You feel fine, and you tell them such. You have a few scrapes, you are a little sore, but nothing seems severe. You might have even skipped going to the hospital after the accident because you felt fine.
The insurance company relies on you assuming your injuries are minor. Naturally, those injuries could be minor and you could make a full recovery. However, what if your injuries are more serious than you realize?
After an accident, you experience bursts of adrenalin. These often mask the symptoms of a serious injury. Take whiplash for example. While a soft tissue injury, it can take a few days to a few weeks for this condition to manifest. The pain, once it shows, could be severe. You may be unable to work, sit up straight, or even sleep at night. While you could recover in a few months, if you settle with the insurer before your symptoms show, how will you afford that time off work and the medical treatments?
Never assume your injuries are minor. Also, never assume that an injury is too minor to hire an attorney. Even minor injuries have costs. You should not have to shoulder the burden of those costs either. Instead, you need an advocate that can ensure you receive compensation for the medical bills, time off work, and your pain and suffering.
Reason #2: You Cannot Afford an Attorney
Attorneys cost money. Therefore, after your accident you try to handle the case yourself to save money.
While it is true a personal injury attorney does not work for free, they also do not require you to pay upfront. Instead, an attorney that handles these types of cases typically uses the contingency fee model. That means that the attorney receives a percentage of your settlement as his or her compensation.
During the claim process, your attorney pays all court costs, copy fees, investigator fees, and medical expert costs.
So, if money is holding you back from receiving help from an attorney, do not worry.
Furthermore, the consultation with that attorney is typically free too. These free, no-obligation consultations mean that there is no risk for meeting with an attorney. Even if an attorney charges a minor fee for the consultation, the fee is minor compared to the knowledge and peace of mind you receive once you hire that attorney.
Reason #3: Fault is Straightforward
Do you think your case is simple and easy to win?
Perhaps the other party admitted fault at the scene? Maybe they received a citation from officers on the scene?
While your car accident might seem straightforward, the reality is that these cases are never simple. Insurance companies are experts. They are also a business. Therefore, they use every method at their disposal to reduce the settlement paid to you in an accident case.
What does that mean for you as the victim? That means that they might try to use contributory negligence – which puts a percentage of the blame on you. If successful, the court may require them to only pay a portion of your medical costs and other damages – regardless if they were 100 percent at fault or not.
Reason #4: You Do Not Want a Long Drawn Out Trial
You are injured, you have compounding costs, and you are unable to work. Therefore, your savings is quickly depleting. You need a settlement fast, and the insurance company is offering one to you right now.
While it sounds great, realize that the insurance company is offering a settlement for well under what you deserve. They know that you are desperate; therefore, they are hoping that you will accept the settlement without speaking to an attorney or calculating how much you truly deserve.
There is no guarantee your case will settle with an attorney quickly, but it will settle faster than if you try to navigate the process alone. Also, you will receive more compensation with an attorney – making a few extra weeks or months worth the wait.
Most importantly, your attorney does whatever is best for your case. While he or she might push for the case to settle out of court, they won’t cave-in unless the settlement is fair, and in your best interest. If the other side won’t be reasonable, an attorney is ready to go to court. That means you have someone ready to fight it out in trial, if necessary, in order to recover the full compensation you need for your injuries.
Reason #5: The Internet Tells You How to Demand a Settlement
We live in an age where everyone can turn to the internet for answers. You will see “expert” guides posted online telling you how to negotiate with the insurance company, how to file a lawsuit, and how to win.
These guides do not address the real issues you are facing, such as valuations of your case, negotiations, or even your state laws. The procedures for accident claims vary from state-to-state, and these guides are often not even written by licensed attorneys practicing in your state.
The only way to succeed in a case is to know the law, and that takes years of study and experience. A personal injury attorney has years of education, knowledge, and experience. Attorneys know how to negotiate a settlement ten times more than any non-attorney using an internet guide. They’ve been to court, and the opposing side knows that. The insurance companies are aware that a case handled by an attorney may wind up in trial, and that is the last thing they want. This is called leverage, and can be used in your favor at the negotiating table.
Reason #6: Fear of Losing Insurance Coverage
Another common reason accident victims fail to hire an attorney is that they are scared their automobile insurance company will drop them if they file a claim.
Insurance companies cannot raise your rates when you are the victim. Furthermore, an insurance company cannot drop coverage because you exercise your right to file a claim with that insurer. Doing so would be bad faith, and threatening to drop your insurance coverage if you file a claim is equally bad faith – which could result in a lawsuit against the insurer for additional damages.
Reason #7: Fear of Social Stigmas
There is a fear of filing lawsuits that stems from social stigmas. Some victims worry about what family members and society will think of them if they were to file a lawsuit. Others believe that only people filing false claims use the civil court system.
The civil court exists for people who were legitimately injured in an accident that was not their fault. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you must file a claim. You did not cause the accident, so why should you suffer the financial burden? Personal injury statutes exist to protect people who are the victims of other people’s negligence.
Reason #8: Attorneys are Too Aggressive and Greedy
A personal injury attorney is aggressive, but for your benefit. They are by no means greedy. However, the old myths endure – that all personal injury attorneys are the classic “ambulance chasers.”
Most attorneys practicing personal injury law are in no way “ambulance chasers.” They work hard to stand up to huge insurance companies that are trying to pay out as little as possible, leaving accident victims financially strapped. More so, they get to know and care about their clients. They have a genuine concern for the best interests of their clients, and won’t rest until they’ve gotten just compensation.
Reason #9: You are a Good Negotiator Already
Some victims think they are experts at negotiating. Some are business owners that have negotiated their way to the top while others are skilled bargain hunters. No matter how good of a negotiator you are out in the world, realize that negotiating a personal injury settlement is not the same.
First, you are emotionally tied to your case. Second, you are dealing with insurance companies that have trained negotiators working against you.
Reason #10: Someone You Know Had a Negative Experience
Someone you know might have had a negative experience in the past with a lawsuit or dealing with an attorney. This, unfortunately, does happen. However, it does not happen as often as you might think. In fact, most victims have positive experiences with their personal injury attorney.
What is important is not necessarily going with the first attorney you meet. You must find the best lawyer for your case. Meet with them, and do your research. If you are careful to find the right attorney, you will likely be surprised at what a great experience it is to have an advocate in your corner.
Injured in an Accident? Hire a Team of Lawyers Ready to Fight for You
Whether you were injured in an automobile accident, from a negligent doctor, or another act of negligence, you have the right to seek compensation. To exercise that right effectively, you need an attorney by your side.
Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.