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The perils of handling your own car accident claim

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may think that you don’t need an attorney. You probably assume that you’ll just file a claim with your car insurance and with the insurance of the at-fault driver, give a statement, and you’ll be fairly compensated for your medical bills, your time, lost wages and pain and suffering. Unfortunately for you – and for the millions of people hurt in crashes each year – you are wrong.

Insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. Even your own insurer, to whom you pay premiums, is looking out for its shareholders first and foremost. For insurance companies, their bottom line is their biggest priority. They can and will “lowball” you in order to settle your claim quickly and cheaply. This will mean that you might not have all your medical expenses covered, particularly if you end up needing treatment at a later time (for chronic pain, wounds that won’t heal, re-injuries or scar revision, just to name a few possibilities).

None of this is to say that insurers are evil, nor that they are doing anything illicit by settling claims on the cheap. It’s just that they are a business, and business interests will prevail over personal ones every time. Unless you can convince them that it makes good business sense to treat you fairly, it won’t happen.

The benefits of having an attorney

When you have a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney working on your behalf, you can rest assured that you have someone advocating for your best interests at all times. An attorney is there to make sure that what you need isn’t subsumed by the shareholders’ need to have the company turn a profit.

Your attorney will handle the paperwork, communicate with the insurance companies, deal with court filings and work hard to ensure that you are either given a truly fair settlement or that you get your deserved day in court. If you talk to the insurer yourself, particularly if you give multiple recorded statements, naïveté about the legal process could lead you to inadvertently say something that jeopardizes your legal rights.

With someone else manning the helm to face the insurance companies, you are free to focus on what is truly important: your health and recovery. You won’t have to split your energy between complying with your physician’s orders and going back and forth with claims adjusters.

A lawyer you regularly handles auto accident cases will also have a much better understanding of what is fair in terms of compensation. You may hear a number from the insurance company and assume it is sufficient, but having a settlement offer analyzed by an attorney can reveal deficiencies and factors you might not have considered.

When you have been seriously injured in an accident, don’t try to “do it yourself.” Contact a local personal injury attorney instead.

 

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