Is an Attorney Really Necessary? Can I handle a claim by myself? What are benefits of Hiring a Lawyer?
If you have begun searching for lawyers on the Internet or doing research on how insurance issues work, chances are you’ve already begun experiencing the complexities of making a claim.
If you are frustrated with the carrier or the process, that’s OK.
We wouldn’t need lawyers if the process was always simple, fair, made common sense, or was something that only took a couple seconds to do – Danny Glover
That brings up an important point: the time associated with presenting a claim, collecting, assembling, and organizing medical records, histories, and explaining the causation of a wreck, normally takes a long time and a fair amount of experience to do so in a format that insurance companies both understand and recognize as valid.
Furthermore, experienced injury attorneys have a good idea of what a fair settlement amount actually is.
A lot of people get so frustrated with the process they just give up. That’s too bad.
And that’s one reason why retaining a lawyer can help. We help explain the process.
We do the hard and sometime tedious work behind making a claim. We take on the burden of demanding a proper settlement with the insurance company or at fault party.
When legally appropriate, that sometimes requires preparing a Complaint and filing suit, and as part of the Discovery process, making demands for documents, filing requests for admissions, and taking depositions of witnesses and parties.
Whether you realize it or not, that is a substantial load and responsibility. We tell clients that the most important thing for them to do is focus on getting healthy.
That is not just lip service. Taking the time to focus on things like physical therapy, scheduling appointments, making arrangements for work and childcare for all the above, can be a tremendous job in and of itself.
We have experience helping people through difficult times. That’s what we do. We help people – Danny Glover
Checklist for Making a Claim:
- Provide Notice of a Claim
- At Fault Carrier
- Injured Party’s Carrier
- Employer, as appropriate
- Employer’s Insurance Carrier
- Employer’s Worker’s Compensation Carrier, as appropriate
- Assemble Medical Expenses Documentation
- IMPORTANT NOTE: LIMIT DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL AND OTHERWISE IRRELEVANT MEDICAL HISTORIES
- Do NOT execute a Medical Authorization and Release
- Talk to an Attorney first
- Limit the materials that can be sought and disclosed
- Protect and Preserve HIPAA rights
- Making a Claim does not require unlimited access to medical histories, prior medical treatments, or disclosure of medical conditions that are not relevant to making a claim
- Assemble Expense Documentation for Lost Wages
- Assemble Expense Documentation for Personal Property Damages
- Vehicle Repairs
- Lost Value
- Personal Items
- Tag, Title, Registration Fees – If Vehicle Replacement Becomes Necessary
Is a Recorded Statement Necessary or Required?
The quick answer is USUALLY NOT.
In fact, many insurance adjustors just flat get this wrong. While there are certain legal requirements to properly making a claim, providing a recorded statement to any carrier is rarely one of them.
Making a claim does not require you do everything requested by an adjustor. Putting them on notice should be pretty simple. Talking about the facts of the case is often the first step in an insurance company trying to find a way NOT to pay a claim – Danny Glover
People are sometimes floored to find out that insurance companies are not necessarily looking out for the best interests of the injured party.
Make no mistake, insurance companies make money protecting their bottom line.
If they can convince you to accept a very small amount quickly in exchange for a complete release of your claim, they save money in long run. Contrary to what you may see in commercials, insurance companies are in the business of taking in premiums and limiting paying claims.
It is not always a fair system.
You may be surprised to find out that a good number of “bad faith” claims are filed by the insured against their own carriers.
Even if the person whom caused the wreck wants to settle, sometimes the insurance companies just refuse to settle.
They can require a lawsuit to be filed. . .despite the fact that their own “insured” has admitted to doing something wrong and wants the carrier to settle.
We’re not trying to be negative in stating this. Insurance Companies often feel people are making up claims, hoping to recover damages when they were not hurt.
Disputes arise in filing claims. It can be complicated.
What Does It Cost to Hire a Lawyer?
Well, actually, it doesn’t really “cost” anything, if you think of laying out money.
Lawyers in personal injury cases get paid if a case settles. If there is no recovery from a claim, just like the client, the attorney receives nothing.
That is what it means to be a “contingency” agreement.
Legal fees are contingent upon a successful recovery.
Now there can and often are expenses associated with presenting a claim such as:
- Filing Fees
- Service of Process
- Court Reporter – Recording & Transcriptions
- Medical Records / Copy Charges
- Private Investigator Fees
- Expert Witness Fees
While some of those costs of presenting a claim may be advanced by a law firm, ultimately they are the responsibility of the client.
Those costs are often taken from the “settlement proceeds” upon disbursement of funds.
It can be a bit confusing. Talk to us. We’re more than willing to explain how things work. In fact, we will give you a written contract, where everything is set forth in writing.
We want you to understand how things work and what it costs.
The consultation is free.
We do not charge to talk to you, to review a case, and to see if it makes sense to hire a lawyer.
Transcription of “What Are Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer?” for the Hearing Impaired
One of the big benefits of hiring an attorney is that we take all the pressure and workload off of you for everything claims or case-related. You can focus on getting healthy or helping your loved one to recover from their injuries.
We deal with the insurance company, we get all the medical records, we have them reviewed by medical experts. We negotiate with the insurance company.
Remember the insurance company is trying to low-ball you. They may be the nicest people on the phone but they’re trying to make money of off your claim by saving money on your claim.
An attorney can help you avoid making that mistake.