When is the Ideal Time to Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney?
IMMEDIATELY! As soon as physically possible after an accident occurs. I know you may be suspicious of my motives, as I am admittedly (and proudly) a personal injury attorney. But hear me out.
I have had people come to me months after an accident, after the insurance company has asked for the same documentation for the fourth time, or refused to accept liability, or the insurance adjuster has suddenly turned from best friend to nasty enemy. These victims of accidents are disappointed as I explain to them the mistakes they made in their case. These mistakes often cannot be corrected after-the-fact. They are mistakes that could easily have been avoided had they come to me immediately after their accident.
Many factors can affect how an adjuster will look at and value your claim. Things that you do, or more often fail to do, can give the insurance company an excuse to lower the amount they are willing to pay. Or they refuse to pay out on your injury claim altogether.
Many clients come to me hesitantly, sometimes only at the insistence of a loved one, because they are not the type of person who wants to make a “big deal” of an accident or who wants to try to get rich from an accident. They have no ill-will toward the person who accidently rear-ended them in traffic. I want to make a couple of things very clear: 1) hiring a personal injury attorney will not turn a minor fender bender into a million dollar case. I seek a fair result for my clients. With the battle insurance companies are waging against injury victims, achieving a fair result is far more difficult than it has ever been. And it is only getting harder. 2) Your pursuit of a legitimate injury claim is not a personal attack on the other person. People pay insurance premiums for this very reason. The law requires people to carry insurance for this very reason. The law is set up in a way that requires a negligent person who causes an injury, or more accurately their insurance company, to bear the cost of the injury their actions have caused. Doesn’t that just make sense? There is nothing vindictive or immoral about it. The purpose to speaking to an attorney IMMEDIATELY after an accident, is to make sure that you do the necessary things to preserve your claim so that you can receive a fair settlement.
Those who wait it out to see if the insurance company will give them a fair settlement before speaking to an attorney are playing right into the hands of the insurance companies, who are in the business of collecting as many premiums as possible and paying out as few claims as possible. You see, by the time you find out whether you will be treated fairly, it is too late to do much to battle a billion-dollar-company when they refuse to do so. And they know it. They count on it.
I have heard some people say that they do not want to give a portion of their recovery to an attorney. However, the studies have repeatedly shown that people who use an injury attorney end up significantly better off than those who do not. Also, there are legal issues that you will not be aware of, such as which medical providers are legally entitled to reimbursement out of your claim and which ones are not. My goal is to obtain as high a recovery for my clients as I can, then to negotiate with everyone who wants a piece of it to allow the client to keep as much of it as possible.
I encourage you to come in and speak to me about your accident claim. The consultation is free. I will explain your options and what I can or cannot do for you. I will shoot it to you straight. Sometimes it does not make sense to use me for your claim. If that is true in your case, I will tell you and provide some guidance on advancing your claim without me. Finally, if we decide to work together, you will never write me a check. I only collect a fee if and when I am able to successfully obtain a settlement for you. So if you have recently been involved in an accident that was caused by someone else, call and make an appointment…IMMEDIATELY.