Protect Yourself from the Insurance Company
Hiring an attorney is the first thing one should do when injured in a motor vehicle accident. The insurance company and their trained adjusters know that the best time to gather harmful information is right at the start, before the injured person has had the opportunity to get an informed opinion from an attorney specializing in car accidents. Often times, insurance adjusters will ask people for recorded statements, medical authorizations, and health history on the very first phone call.
Offering information just because the insurance adjuster asks for it is dangerous. There is a wide gap between what the insurance company asks for and what is legally required from the injured person. Never does an injured party have to sign a medical authorization for the other insurance company. Likewise, the injured party does not need to give any recorded statements, health histories, or details about their injuries- their attorney can handle all of that for them.
Throughout your case, if unrepresented, insurance adjusters will call, email, and send letters to you attempting to gather harmful information that you should protect, build their case against you, wear you down, and attempt to settle cheap. If you choose to retain an attorney in the matter, you won’t have to talk to the insurance companies at all. The attorney will (or should) have staff trained specifically to field these calls from the insurance company and let you focus on your healing.
An Accident Attorney Monitors Your Care
Among the leading reasons why it’s preferable to hire an attorney at the beginning of the case is that the attorney should play an integral role in monitoring the client’s medical care. A personal injury attorney should be connecting regularly with the injured person’s medical treatment team to ensure a good recovery, solid note-taking and charting, and to get ahead of any problems that may arise throughout the course of the case. This simply isn’t possible if the injured party is going it alone against the insurance company.
Communicating regularly with your medical team, the attorney and doctors are able to balance the medical needs of the injured party with the elements of a successful legal claim. The attorney will meet regularly to discuss any referrals that should be made, experts who should be retained and review key dates in your case. Handling this aspect alone is difficult, and you are left without an advocate for one of the most critical stages in your case- the treatment phase.
Your Attorney Assists in Management of Assets for Insurance Policy Limits
Each insurance policy carries a cap, called a policy limit, which represents the maximum amount that a particular insurance policy for a driver will pay. In the State of Washinton, the minimum insurance policy limits are just $25,000. While this may sound like a lot, one trip to the emergency room can result in a case being worth beyond those limits. Similarly, months of medical care, whether by a primary care doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist, or other medical professionals need to be managed by a personal injury or car accident lawyer to be sure the medical bills for care don’t exceed the available assets to recover from in your case.
Often times, the driver of the at-fault vehicle has insufficient coverage to compensate you, and your attorney will need to utilize your underinsured or uninsured motorists coverage. In this event, the attorney and the injured party will need to know the total available assets early on in the claim so that the problem of insufficient limits doesn’t become an issue. Similar to liability coverage, each injured person’s underinsured motorists coverage has a policy limit, which is the maximum amount that policy will pay in the event of an accident.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, we strongly recommend you contact a personal injury car accident lawyer as soon as possible to get educated on your case early on rather than picking up the pieces of your case late in the game.
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