If you have been injured in a car accident that was caused by another driver, you may be offered a settlement by the other driver's insurance company. Keep in mind that insurance companies make their profits by paying claims that are as low as possible. Before you accept that settlement, call an attorney to make sure that you are getting the compensation you deserve. There are countless reasons to work with an accident attorney, but here is a look at just a few of the reasons why it's essential:
Depending on the laws in your state, the other driver and his or her insurance company may not have to take full financial or legally responsibility of the accident. In some states, if the insurer believes that a portion of the accident was your fault, it can reduce the amount of your settlement by the percentage of fault assigned to you. Arguing that you are not responsible for that portion of the accident can be hard without the right legal representation. Once you have established fault, you need to deal with damages and expenses.
Damages and Expenses
In order to determine how much money to give you, the other insurance company looks at your expenses and your vehicle's damage. If you are working directly with the insurance company, you will provide its representative with copies of all of your medical bills, car repair bills, and receipts for things such as a cab ride home after the accident.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to document certain expenses, and it can be almost impossible to document financial losses related to the accident. If you were injured and missed work as a result of the accident, the insurer should cover those expenses. Similarly, if you had to hire someone to clean your home, provide extra childcare for your children, or to cover any other responsibilities that you couldn't handle after the accident, you also deserve compensation for those expenses.
Unfortunately, creating proof of intangible expenses can be hard if not impossible to do on your own. Luckily, an accident lawyer from a firm like Schiller, Kessler & Gomez, PLC knows how to create proof of those expenses so that the insurer cannot ignore them. The lawyer also knows how to create proof of intangible injuries and issues related to how your life, mental health, and family were affected by the accident.
Pain and Suffering
When you work directly with an insurer, you only have the option to submit receipts of tangible expenses. If you go directly to the insurer and report that you have been having intense anxiety, post-traumatic stress symptoms, or emotional distress since the incident, the insurer is likely to ignore those claims. The insurer may cover bills for mental health care, but they are unlikely to offer you any compensation for your pain and suffering.
If you want your pain and suffering to be assessed fairly, you need an accident attorney who is skilled at arguing about these issues. An experienced accident attorney knows how to prove that the accident caused emotional distress, loss of enjoyment due to an inability to pursue your hobbies as usual, or pain and suffering. If applicable, these professionals can even argue that the accident put a strain on your personal relationships, and your spouse, children, or other loved ones may have a right to compensation as well.
Even if you believe that the settlement the insurer is offering is fair, you should always have it looked over by a legal professional. An accident lawyer can tell you tell you if the offer is fair, and if not, he or she can negotiate with the insurer so that you get the settlement you deserve. Keep in mind that calling an attorney does not mean that you will necessarily have to spend a lot of time in court. Rather, it simply assures that your rights are protected and your settlement is fair.