When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
February 28, 2017
If you’ve been in a car accident you will likely find yourself hearing from various insurance companies soon after the incident. The easiest way to respond to them is to tell them to speak with your lawyer, and if you’ve already retained a lawyer that is always the right answer.
Once a lawyer is retained, they will typically take over all communication with insurance companies. That said, some accident victims don’t have the capacity or focus for retaining a lawyer during the acute recovery phase from injury. If this is the case, it’s best to put communication with the insurance companies in the hands of a trusted family member or friend.
You will likely hear from a bodily injury adjuster from your own insurance company following an automobile accident. The first thing you must do after a car accident that results in a personal injury is to notify your own insurance company that you have been in an accident (you would do this if there was only property damage and no personal injury as well). The insurance company will open an accident benefits claim and assign a bodily injury adjuster to manage your claim. They will send you several forms to fill out, which can be completed by the public so a lawyer isn’t necessarily needed. However, it is always recommended that you have the forms reviewed by a lawyer. The information you put on these forms, which includes a description of how the accident happened, will carry forward throughout your claim. It’s important to be careful not to say anything on those forms that could later prejudice your claims.
Shortly after the accident, you may also hear from an adjuster for the third party. This is typically the other motorist (or driver of your vehicle if you were a passenger) involved in the accident. If your injuries and losses reach a certain threshold you will have the ability to sue the third parties. The information, you provide the third party adjusters at the outset will be used to set reserves (i.e. the amount that insurance companies set aside to deal with your claim). If you paint a rosy and optimistic picture regarding your recovery to the insurance adjuster they may not set aside enough funds to deal with your claim if things turn out to be worse than you were initially expecting. Beware that your natural tendency will be to paint a rosy picture because that is what you hope to see happen. Once again it is best that the description of the accident and your injuries come from a lawyer. However, if you have not retained a lawyer and do find yourself engrossed in conversation with a third party adjuster do not minimize your injuries and in turn your potential claim!