A car accident is a traumatic incident often resulting in injury, property damage, piling medical bills, and sometimes, even death. With New Hampshire and Virginia as the only exceptions, all other US states require that motorists within their jurisdictions have at least basic auto insurance coverage. So, as an accident victim, your recourse is to make an insurance claim after the accident.
However, pursuing insurance claims while in a vulnerable state of shock post-accident is a bad idea, and that is where auto accident lawyers come in. Below are the primary reasons you must hire a car accident lawyer.
1. A Vehicle Accident Lawyer Can Protect You from Self-sabotage
The post-accident period is overwhelming for the victim and their family members, and judgment can be cloudy. Unfortunately, this is when insurance companies send their agents, including claim adjusters, to evaluate the damage. As part of their job, car accident claim adjusters interview all parties at the scene, including you, the claimant, witnesses, and the at-fault driver.
Insurance companies prioritize paying the minimum amount possible on a claim. So, besides assessing property damage, claim adjusters interview claimants to identify any loopholes they can use to minimize the settlement or nullify the claim altogether.
Anything you say during an interview with a car insurance claim adjuster can be used to nullify your claim. Therefore, hiring a car accident lawyer helps you gain insights into handling insurance claim adjusters or, better yet, they deal with them on your behalf.
Car insurance lawyers help you avoid oversights like apologizing for the accident, underestimating your injuries, failing to go for a post-accident medical check-up, and failing to file police reports and claims within the stipulated time windows. Moreover, they can intervene when the at-fault driver’s insurance offers an unfairly low settlement on your claim.
2. Car Accident Lawyers Can Analyze Your Claim
Car accident claims vary in legal merit and value. Legal merit refers to a matter based on factual evidence and not emotions or conjecture. That means your claim should meet certain facts to be valid; otherwise, the insurance provider will dismiss it.
Besides legal merit, your claim may lose validity if a factor contravening the law led to the accident. It can be for being behind on premiums during the accident, not renewing your policy, or if the car was under an unlicensed driver. An accident lawyer helps analyze your claim’s legal merit and validity and advice whether to proceed with the claim or drop it.
Also, car accident insurance claims vary in value based on the extent of damage or injuries incurred. This can range from personal injury, property damage, medical bills, and loss of income to permanent disability. Each of these bare consequences leaves the victim at a loss. For instance, permanent disability means you need to make adjustments to your car or home to make them disability-friendly.
As a civilian with no legal knowledge or car accident experience, you will likely oversee many aspects of a claim and settle for a low amount that will not help you to bounce back from the accident. However, a car accident lawyer has the expertise to identify underlying aspects of the claim to ensure you receive a fair and comprehensive claim.
3. They Can Facilitate The Car Accident Investigation/Evidence Collection
Since legal merit is essential to a valid car accident insurance claim, as the claimant, you are responsible for collecting evidence and proving legal merit for your claim. The evidence necessary to prove or nullify a car accident claim’s legal merit includes photos taken by the witnesses at the accident scene, video footage from traffic and intersection cameras, and police reports.
Additionally, medical reports, lab test results for potential substance use, vehicle tracking system reports, and cellphone data proving potential distraction are also essential in giving an accident claim legal merit.
Car accident claim adjusters have numerous resources that allow them to conduct such investigations. Therefore, you will likely be out of your depth collecting evidence by yourself. Besides limited resources and networks, a lack of experience may cause you to overlook key pieces of evidence. However, an experienced car accident lawyer has the wherewithal, including legal knowledge, paralegal researchers, private investigators, and accident reconstruction experts, to help you gather crucial evidence to support your claim.
4. They can Facilitate Negotiation
Even with legal merit, insurance companies always offer the minimum settlement possible on claims to preserve their profit margins. However, experienced car accident lawyers are aware of this fact. They also know the tactics insurers use to convince unsuspecting claimants that they cannot get a better deal than their incredibly low offer.
Car accident lawyers are essential in helping you circumvent the insurance claim negotiation process. Their legal knowledge and experience with insurance clauses will ensure you do not get short-changed on your claim.
5. They help with Representation at an Insurance Claim Trial
Trials are expensive, time-consuming, and prolong the agony for the car accident insurance claimant. And while you can file your insurance claim in a court of law, you have little chance of winning the claim if you represent yourself. However, an experienced car accident lawyer can prepare you for trial and help counter any attempts by the defense lawyers to unfairly compensate or invalidate your claim.
Car accidents are challenging for claimants and their families, and the daunting insurance claims procedure only worsens matters. However, hiring a car accident lawyer allows you to take a back seat and improve your chances of receiving a fair claim. A lawyer will offer consultation and help you navigate the legal challenges of car accidents.