Most everyone has had a moment of inattention behind the wheel, whether it was while adjusting the temperature, trying to find a parking space or turning to address your children in the back seat. When you think about it, though, it's not difficult to see how a moment of distraction could end disastrously in a collision.
The reality is that negligent or reckless driving is preventable. Still, people get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol; they text and drive; or they willingly disregard the speed limits. If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one due to a negligent driver, you may be considering the benefits of hiring an attorney to represent you in a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim.
Soon after your accident, an insurance adjuster will likely contact you, and he or she will want to resolve the matter quickly and put it to rest. In fact, the adjuster may have a check already printed out, supposedly to cover all your damages and losses, and you may think it is a generous offer. However, the first offer you receive from an insurance company is rarely the best you can do.
So quickly after the accident, your doctor may not even have completed the diagnostics on your injuries. Therefore, it is impossible to know what you will need or what your case is worth. There may be hidden injuries that will require surgery or therapy, or you may need to make adjustments to your home, such as a ramp on your porch or safety bars in your bathroom. Do you have the energy, knowledge and confidence to negotiate with the insurance company?
These qualities in an experienced attorney can be useful in other circumstances, too, including:
- Assessing the value of your claim
- Dealing with legal procedures
- Helping you understand medical terms and complete legal paperwork
- Accessing investigative resources such as accident reconstructionist teams and injury experts
- Helping you determine if it will benefit you more to negotiate a settlement or take your case to trial
- Advocating on your behalf to insurance companies and other attorneys
Statistically, settlements or verdicts for accident victims who have an attorney on their side are typically higher than those who face the legal issues on their own, although each case is unique. Nevertheless, having someone to provide objective and solid advice based on experience and skill can benefit you in many ways following an accident.