It is shocking how attorneys often receive telephone calls from personal injury victims who speak to an attorney for the first time several months after their accident. By then, the damage had been done to their case.
And the insurance company for the defendant receives the benefit. Insurance companies are averse to personal injury victims. Even when someone hears something like “we accept responsibility,” that does not mean that the insurance company will treat the injury victim fairly.
Most of the time, the exact opposite is true without an attorney.
Most personal injury law firms in Houston and around the country offer free consultations to personal injury victims. Some attorneys will take the time to answer questions and give helpful information regardless of whether they are interested in pursuing the case for you.
While each case is unique, taking 30 minutes to speak with a personal injury attorney about an insurance claim can make a big difference down the road.
Also, you may gain some insight into the claims handling process and your next steps. Here are a few areas to consider:
Failure to Document Evidence
Suppose you’ve been in a car accident and suffered a significant impact. In that case, photographs of the damage to your vehicle are often essential evidence if the case goes to trial.
Do not assume that you can access the pictures taken by an insurance company. Often, the personal injury victim feels that the insurance company will “take photographs” and keep the photographs for them. However, even your own insurance company can be adverse in many different circumstances.
The adjuster will not take photos designed to be informative at trial unless the adjuster believes they will benefit their defense of the claim. An example is photos taken at angles designed to show areas of no damage and not the spot of significant impact.
Other necessary documentation includes witness information and medical treatment.
Trying to Tough it out.
It is generally commendable for someone to try to tough it out; in personal injury litigation, the opposite is true.
Often, someone will wait weeks and even months before they understand that the injury is not going away and seek medical treatment for the first time. Unfortunately, this delay in getting medical help plays directly into the hands of the insurance carrier. Who then claims that the accident did not cause the injury, that the injury was not serious, or that the person would’ve waited so long to seek treatment?
Additionally, the personal injury victim has made it much harder for their treating physician to give an opinion on the cause of the injury. And in many cases, a doctor is required to prove the cause of injuries and the necessity of treatment.
Expecting Fairness from the Adjuster
Adjusters are not paid to be fair to the adverse claimant. Most adjusters are employees of the insurance company they represent. Money saved on a claim makes them look good, and therefore they try to pay as little as possible to you.
Even experienced business people are taken back by a friendly adjuster who is indicated that they assume responsibility once the subject turns to payment of money. When the lightbulb comes on, it usually means ‘we need a lawyer.
If you were in an auto accident where you got hurt, speaking to a car accident lawyer surely can’t hurt.
Whether or not a personal injury claimant decides to hire a personal injury attorney, there is no doubt that they should take advantage of a free consultation as soon as possible after the accident.
Questions to Ask in A free Consultation with a Local Injury Attorney:
- Do I have a case? Learning the elements of your claim and possible defenses can help you understand what needs to be done.
- What is the insurance company’s reputation for claims handling?
- What would you recommend I do now?
- What are your fees and expenses?
Taking advantage of a free conversation with an experienced local attorney is an excellent place to start with any personal injury claim.
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