Are you injured? Or do you know someone who has suffered a personal injury due to another person’s negligence? These are terrible situations to be in, and you should not make them worse by trying to resolve your legal claims before you know the injuries are worth. The best thing you can do after receiving injuries in an auto accident is to retain a personal injury attorney who has experience with cases involving car accident injuries and knows the law.
The First Few Days After a Crash
It may seem insensitive, but it is very common for people to start thinking of a money settlement within hours after being injured in a car crash or other accident. Sometimes, the victim of a car accident is not even conscious yet, and family members are already worrying about how they will deal with the medical expenses and financial repercussions of the victim’s injuries. The first few days are very emotional, and depending on the severity of the injuries, people may not be getting any sleep as they wait around a hospital bed.
As pressing as these financial issues may seem, this is not the time to sign any papers with ambulance chasing law firms or make any agreements with any insurance company. Yes, it is important to figure out what to do about the victim’s injuries and you should not wait long to come up with a plan, but you also have to be sure you are thinking straight and understand the implications of your decisions.
The Insurance Companies Are Not Your Friends
Maybe you suffered personal injury from a car crash two days ago. Perhaps you were released from the hospital right away, or maybe you did not even go to the hospital. However, your whole body hurts from the violent car crash. The accident was not your fault, and someone from the insurance company for the other driver calls you or maybe even visits your home. The insurance adjuster asks you how you are doing, and then says the insurance company will pay whatever hospital bill you have plus give you $1,000. You may like the sound of that because after all, you assume you are just sore and will be okay in a few days.
Before you accept this money, you have to remember is that the insurance adjuster is not your friend. Insurance companies are not interested in paying you what you deserve. The word fair or deserve is not in their vocabulary. The insurance industry is about making money, and insurance companies are only interested in paying you as little as possible. The insurance adjuster will not tell you that you are entitled to have all of your medical bills paid, even if you require follow up care after the hospital. The adjuster will not warn you that if you accept that money before your injuries have resolved, you will not be entitled to additional compensation. The insurance adjuster will hope to entice you release these rights, so it will not be required to pay full value for your case, in the event you discover that you are more injured than you thought.
Negotiating Without an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Greenville, South Carolina
People make one of two common mistakes in trying to negotiate a settlement: One, they try to use a family member or family friend that is an attorney or works for an attorney. Or two, the injured victim tries to negotiate on their own. On its face, the desire to avoid incurring an attorney’s fee is understandable. While your attorney may not get paid unless you get paid, people think that they can save the money they would have paid a personal injury attorney if they use a family friend, or handle this on their own.
However, it can be a mistake to use your brother-in-law who is a real estate attorney, or to go to your sister who works for a criminal defense attorney, just because these people will not charge anything or will charge less than an attorney who focuses on injured people or car crashes. It is unlikely that an attorney who does not focus his practice on helping injured people can recover more than a lawyer who does hundreds of car crash cases a year.
Along those same lines, the only reason to negotiate your settlement yourself is that it may be the best way to put more money in your pocket if you can avoid an attorney fee. However, you have to think about this logically. Think about the insurance representative that offered you $1,000. Maybe you are a good negotiator, and you were able to get him up to $2,000. Or, maybe your brother-in-law wrote a letter on his attorney letterhead demanding $2,500 and the insurance company said yes. However, what if an attorney who focuses on automobile collisions can get the insurance company to pay $5,000, $10,000, or maybe even $20,000? In such an event, you would end up putting less money in your pocket if you decides not to hire the best personal injury attorney you can find.
How do Car Accident Attorneys in Put More Money in Your Pocket?
There are two reasons why an experienced car crash attorney will put more money in your pocket than you negotiating on your own: The first reason is that at the end of the day the insurance company will pay you the amount they believe they will lose at trial if you take your case to trial. If you do not have an attorney, the insurance company will not believe that you are ever going to sue them. If the insurance company does not know that your attorney is willing to file suit and capable of putting the best trial together possible, then it will not necessarily believe that your attorney means business when he tells the insurance company that it needs to pay $20,000 or else the case is going to court. If the insurance company does not believe you will take them to court or that your attorney will do a great job once you get there, then it will not pay you top dollar.
The second reason is that an experienced car wreck attorney have a better idea than you about how much money your injuries are worth. What does this mean?? That’s a great question. Let’s talk about that car crash where you were sore a couple of days afterward, and you accepted $2,000 because you thought the soreness would go away. Well, a good personal injury attorney knows that many times the soreness doesn’t go away for months. These attorneys work with doctors that they trust, and that can give you a real-world prediction about recovery. So, what you thought was just soreness might be a bigger problem that will prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep for months. Your experienced car wreck attorney will know that you are entitled to recover your medical expenses for all the treatment you needed during these months, and to be compensated for the pain and suffering and lost enjoyment of life you experienced during the entire time you were injured.
An experienced personal attorney is even more important in cases, where the injuries are even more substantial. How do you know what losing your eyesight is worth? Or, what is losing your ability to walk worth? How can you be sure that you have identified all the sources of insurance from which you might collect? An experienced personal injury attorney will know the answer to these questions because will have resolved these types cases before. He will have stood before a jury representing people just like you, and he will know how much money juries would award in your case. Also, he will have negotiated hundreds of other cases with insurance adjusters and will know what they pay for your injuries. Your attorney’s experience can guide you through this process, but only if you select an attorney with the type of experience that is necessary for your case.
God forbid that you or a loved one is the victim of someone’s negligent driving. However, if you are hurt, don’t just guess what your injuries are worth. Hire the best personal injury attorney you can find and let that attorney use his experience in helping you.
Contact David R. Price, Jr., P.A. today to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers in Greenville, SC.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.