Do I need an attorney if I was offered a settlement by the at-fault driver’s insurance company?
If you’ve recently been in a car accident at the fault of another driver, you are most likely hoping to collect a settlement to help you with your expenses. But unless you’ve been in a similar situation in the past, you probably don’t know how much money you are actually entitled to.
When you are already facing medical bills and repair expenses, you may not want to spend the money to talk with a personal injury attorney about how much money you should expect. But is a personal injury attorney really necessary, especially if you’ve already been offered a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company?
Settling with an Insurance Company Without an Attorney
While a personal injury attorney is not necessary to getting a settlement from an at-fault driver’s insurance policy, you may be missing out on potential money. If you are unsure of how much money you are entitled to, you may believe that the settlement the insurance company is offering you is adequate.
However, you should keep in mind that the insurance company is still a business. Although they are there to compensate you for your damages and provide you with money that you are entitled to, they will also want to keep their expenses as low as possible. If you are working without a lawyer, this means they will probably try to take advantage of you.
Insurance companies also have a tendency to try and settle fast. You may still be in the hospital getting treatment for your injuries when you are first approached about a settlement amount. Insurance companies will use this strategy in hopes of getting you to agree on a settlement amount before you have the opportunity to really consider the extent of damages or expenses that you need to pay off.
If you are unsure of the amount of money you are actual entitled to, it may be tempting to jump at the first settlement offer you are given. However, you will want to properly negotiate with the insurance company whether or not you are working with an attorney.
When Should You Consider Negotiating Alone?
If your injuries are small and your expenses are not extensive, then you may be able to negotiate with the insurance companies on your own. This may include a few days of lost wages, treatment that is not reoccurring, or damages to your vehicle or property. If you do not see expenses continuing far into the future, you can usually calculate how much money you need from the settlement on your own.
You may also not need the help of a personal injury attorney if it is very clear that the other driver is at fault. If you do not also need to prove that you were not responsible for the accident, you can usually get an adequate settlement without professional help.
However, the use of a personal injury attorney is advised in most situations.
Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney to Negotiate for You
As mentioned before, many insurance companies will try to pay you as little as you will agree to. Although you want to believe they care about your well-being, they have their own interests in mind. However, the attorney that you hire will put your interests first and will work with you to get the largest settlement possible.
Just having a personal injury attorney to represent you will make the insurance company think twice about lowballing you in their settlement amount. With a professional representing you, they will be less likely to waste time giving you offers far below what you truly deserve.
Because expert personal injury attorneys deal with similar cases frequently, they will be able to look at your case and know how much money you are entitled to. A personal injury attorney will also know how to calculate future expenses or expense areas that you had not considered alone, such as pain and suffering. With this professionally calculated amount, you will know how much you are truly entitled to.
Although a personal injury attorney is recommended in most cases, there are a few instances where you do not want to go against the insurance company alone. First, if you have extensive injuries that will require long-term treatments and rehabs, you will want a personal injury attorney’s help. Additionally, you will want an attorney’s representation if there is debate over whether or not you played some part in the accident occurring.