In the days after you have suffered a personal injury, you can expect that the auto insurance companies involved will try to contact you. Before you or a family member commits to a meeting or conversation, here are 6 important reasons why you should first speak with a personal injury lawyer.
1. Soon after a personal injury, the insurance companies involved will often get one of their insurance adjusters to contact you and schedule a meeting with you, usually at your home, in order to secure a statement from you about how the accident happened and what injuries you sustained. While many insurance adjusters are good people who do their jobs well, some have one priority – to save their employer as much money as possible by keeping it away from accident victims. When that’s the case, you need a skilled personal injury lawyer by your side to ensure you aren’t taken advantage of.
2. Insurance adjusters can be very pushy in their efforts to convince accident victims that they don’t need a lawyer. They may say that a lawsuit will drag-on for years and that you may be better off settling your case by yourself, directly with the insurance company. The more serious that your injuries are, the more compensation your case is worth, and the more motivated the insurer may be to close your case with a quick payout. Too often, that quick payout is not fair compensation for the victim.
3. Without a legal advocate by your side, you may find yourself overwhelmed and confused by the information that the adjuster is throwing at you. You should not make important decisions when you’re feeling this way and you should not feel pressured or rushed to make any important decisions after an accident.
4. Often times, adjusters will ask you to sign a form that gives them broad access to your medical records. You should not do this. Doing this can violate your privacy and leave you vulnerable to the underhanded tactics of an unethical insurance company. The insurer is not entitled to all your medical records. Depending on the types injuries you sustained, the insurer will be entitled to only some of your medical records. A personal injury lawyer will know which records should be produced and which should not.
5. Often times, insurance adjusters will provide accident victims with incomplete or bad information about their rights and options after an accident. You should not make any important decisions based on this information
6. If you strike an agreement with an insurance company to settle your personal injury claims for a certain amount of money, you can’t later change your mind and un-do that agreement. You also can’t later go back to the insurance company asking for more money if you discover that you settled for too little. That’s the case even if your injuries suddenly get much worse in the future
7. Settling your claims with an insurance company alone, without first speaking with a personal injury lawyer, can be dangerous because in the first weeks after an accident you may not yet know the full extent of your injuries and losses. You may not be able to assess what your case is worth in those first few weeks. A skilled personal injury lawyer will know if the value of your case can be assessed now or if we need to wait a few more weeks before we can properly assess what your full compensation is worth.
8. Sometimes, personal injury victims would rather take less money in their pocket now than wait years to get more. That’s reasonable and it’s up to each person to make that decision for himself. Our job as lawyers is to make sure that you have all the information you need about your options to make an informed decision. After speaking with a personal injury lawyer, if you decide to settle your case alone with the insurance company, without using a lawyer, you can do that. And depending on how much the insurance company is willing to pay, that might be the right decision for you. However, you can’t make that informed decision before first speaking with a skilled personal injury lawyer.
We encourage you to politely decline meeting with any insurance adjusters until you’ve had an opportunity to speak with a personal injury lawyer. Contact us, free of charge, to speak with an experienced and compassionate lawyer and to learn if you have a case and what it might be worth.
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