Is An Attorney Necessary?
Is an attorney necessary to handle your personal injury claim? Any attorney will explain that you do need to hire him (or her)to handle your personal injury claim. This is because if you don’t hire them to handle your case, they can’t do things like pay their mortgage or feed their kids. They are just like most of the rest of us; they have to work in order to get paid. On the other hand, most insurance adjusters will tell you that you do not need an attorney because they want to settle your claim as quickly as they can and go on to the next one.
Unfortunately, the simple fact is that some people simply aren’t knowledgable enough to handle their own claims, or they are too busy, or are incapacitated or greiving. They may need an attorney. A lawyer doesn’t make an injury claim worth any more money because insurance companies simply cannot discriminate against those who don’t have one. (Remember that they are regulated by the Insurance Commissioner of the state they do business in.) Doing so would incur heavy fines from the state insurance commissioner, and trying to save the company a couple thousand on your little claim just wouldn’t be worth the risk to the company.
An attorney will, however, be happy to take a percentage of that money if you make him do all of the work that under normal circumstances you might be able to do yourself. Ask yourself; do you want to pay the attorney a percentage to do the legwork of collecting your medical bills and records, or do you want to do that legwork yourself and keep all of the money yourself. Another thing to consider is that a motivated insurance adjuster will be all too happy to do the legwork for you at no cost to you, just to close your case and get it off his/her desk.
Threatening the adjuster with the possibility that you may hire an attorney isn’t really worth your breath. If the adjuster is indeed intimated, they aren’t worth their salt and you could spank them all by yourself. An experienced or competent adjuster will be relieved to work with an attorney rather than you; the attorney will be easier to work with and have more realistic expectations about claim value than you ever would. Don’t bother saying that you’ll “sue for millions” as no one cares. Only large corporations carry multi-million dollar policies.
THIS IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: If you sue the average defendant over an automobile accident, you are suing the other driver, not the insurance company. Unless you get hit by the heir to some fortune, there really is not much chance of getting more from the defendant than their insurance policy's liability limits. Hardly anyone has money just sitting in the bank these days. On the other hand, it might be necessary to hire an attorney just to make sure.
That aside, adjusters are like everyone else; they have bad days also. Some are inexperienced and slow the settlement process down. Personality differences alone may be enough to make you scour the internet for a personal injury attorney.
So, is an attorney necessary to handle your claim for you? It depends upon your unique situation.
This article is written for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.
Other articles that may be of interest to you:
The Insurance Claims Process Explained
Insurance Commissioners: State by State
What to do If You Are Sued
What to do When You Have Been in an Accident
What is an Insurance Lien-holder?
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