In Part 1 of this article posted last week, I discussed 3 reasons why you should never try to handle a car accident injury case on your own. To refresh, those 3 reasons are:
1. When dealing with the insurance company adjuster, if you are not a lawyer, you do not have the believable threat of filing a lawsuit.
2. A non-lawyer is not likely to know how to properly value a case.
3. You may say or do the wrong thing and severely hurt your case.
This article will now focus on 3 additional reasons (4-6) to never represent yourself when dealing with injury claims against insurance companies.
4. You may be unfamiliar with the insurance coverages and limitations
One of the first things that an attorney does when evaluating a car accident and/or injury case is to determine the insurance coverages of all the parties involved and then make determinations as to who to file a claim or lawsuit against. Sometimes the at fault driver may not have the proper insurance coverage such as bodily injury coverage. If this is the case, you may not be able to recover any monies from his insurance company. An attorney will be able to evaluate whether it is your best interest to sue the individual directly or perhaps to make a claim on your own uninsured motorist coverage policy. (Click here for a full discussion on why you should never waive uninsured motorist coverage on your policy) As a layperson, this determination and coverage evaluation can easily be messed up, possibly prohibiting or severely limiting your recovery.
5. An Attorney can negotiate with your medical providers to get significant reductions in your medical bills in order to insure that you take home the most money possible from your settlement or lawsuit.
Although a non-lawyer certainly could make calls to the medical providers in an attempt to get their bills reduced, they aren’t likely to be as successful or taken as seriously as an experienced attorney with a great reputation would be. While a non-lawyer may be able to get his medical providers to reduce his bills by 10-15% or so, an attorney can often get 50% or greater reductions, depending on the circumstances and the amount of recovery. Attorney’s know how to value the claim and the bills and skillfully negotiate these bills downward, often in very significant amounts. This reduction in bills will increase your ultimate monetary recovery.
6. You might give the insurance company a recorded or written statement that might not be in your best interest.
Many times the insurance company for the other driver will contact you and tell you that you must give them a recorded statement of how the accident occurred and what medical treatment you have sought. However, generally this is not in your best interest and is not required. The insurance company will use this recorded statement against you later if you change your answers or position at all. Only a qualified attorney can determine if it is in your interest to give any statements. If the determination is made to give a statement, the attorney will be on the call will you and can stop the statement at any time or instruct you not to answer any questions that may hurt your case. A non-lawyer will generally not know what kind of questions or answers will be hurtful or helpful.
Since most personal injury and car accident attorneys like the South Florida Law Firm of Berman & Tsombanakis LLC handle cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay the attorney any upfront money and the attorney takes a percentage of the recovery if any, then there is virtually no financial downside to hiring an attorney for your car accident or injury case. As discussed above and in part 1 of this article, trying to handle it yourself, without an attorney will not save you money and it is very likely to result in a significantly smaller recovery.