Why Should I Call A Lawyer For My Auto Accident? (even a minor one)
Kevin P. Fine
If you have been involved in an automobile accident, you have certain consultation, document review, and letter production rights under your Prepaid Legal agreement. However, you may find that your insurance claim requires more to resolve than these benefits cover, especially if you were injured in the accident. You may be reluctant to hire an attorney to directly represent you in your personal injury claim. Your hesitation is common and understandable. However, there are some things you should consider about hiring a lawyer for a personal injury claim that are different from other legal matters. Please recognize that making an insurance claim is a legal matter, so using an expert in law (an attorney) is something you should consider. Here are some common
"concerns" about hiring a lawyer for your claim:
"Lawyers are Expensive"
Chances are good that you have never hired a lawyer before, even if you have Prepaid Legal services. If you have, you may have been facing a difficult experience like bankruptcy or divorce. Most legal matters require payment for the legal work, regardless of the outcome of the matter. Here is the good news: In a personal injury case, the attorney is paid out of the case. The attorney is paid only if a settlement or judgment is successfully obtained. This should take some pressure off of you on the financial front and allow you to focus on healing. It also creates incentive for your lawyer to effectively represent you in the claim.
"My Injuries Are Not “Serious,” or “Catastrophic”"
You have likely seen law firm ads that emphasize “serious” injuries. This usually means that they are not interested in claims unless they involve permanent injuries, orthopedic trauma, broken bones, or surgery. Many attorneys no longer represent clients who have soft tissue or connective tissue injuries only–like whiplash, neck and back or sprain/strain injuries. At Davis Miles, we do represent clients with serious injuries, and are perfectly capable of helping you if that is your case. But many of our clients have the more common neck and back injuries associated with many car collisions. Even if your claim does not fall into the category of a “serious” injury, it is still disruptive to you, and you are entitled to fair treatment for your claim. And you will still be better protected with legal representation.
"Lawyers Will Take Money I Could Have Kept"
This one seems obvious, doesn’t it? If you share a percentage with an attorney, you will get less money, right? Not usually. Here is a hypothetical to illustrate why you will likely have more money even after paying an attorney in a personal injury claim: At the end of her treatment, Ann has $3,000 in medical bills. On her own, she makes a claim, and the insurance company ultimately offers her $4,000 total for her personal injury claim. After paying her medical bills, she would keep $1,000. Now, let’s say that Ann hired a lawyer instead, and the lawyer gets an $8,000 offer to settle. Her attorney negotiates the medical bill down to $2,500 and takes $2,000 for a fee. If the costs are $100, then Ann pockets $3,400 after paying everyone—more than 3 times what she would have achieved on her own. Plus, an attorney did the work; Ann avoided the headaches of dealing with the insurance company, and her attorney can file the lawsuit if the case does not settle.
Yes, this was only an example, and every case is different. But we have seen similar scenarios play out hundreds of times in our own firm. This discrepancy is even greater in serious injury cases. You may be asking, as we do, why the insurance companies don’t just offer more money to the individual making a claim without a lawyer. We have concluded that many claimants must be accepting the low offers. A lawyer can help protect you from that same mistake.
If you are unsure what to do, you can consult with a Prepaid Legal attorney and arrange a consultation with a member of the Davis Miles personal injury department. You will not be charged anything or pressured into a decision. Finally, if you want to make your claim without assistance, in addition to your Prepaid Legal benefits, we have a FREE booklet available on automobile accidents that can be provided to you by requesting it from a Prepaid Legal attorney. We are here to serve you as the need arises. Thank you. To utilize your Pre-Paid Legal benefits, please call 1-800-435-5081 or 602-285-4664.