A scenario that comes up quite often from potential clients is that the insurance company is offering them a sum of money just days after the accident, say, $5,000.00. The potential client wonders, why do I need a lawyer when I can just take this $5,000.00 for myself?
Sometimes, taking the $5,000.00 may be the best choice for a person to make. Other times, that $5,000.00 may represent an irreversible mistake. In exchange for that $5,000.00, the insurance company will most likely make you sign a release of your claim, effectively barring you from attempting to recover any more money from the accident, regardless of what circumstances may arise down the road.
So, if the insurance company offers you $5,000.00 two days after the accident, you sign the release, and accept their offer, where does that leave you? Oftentimes, some injuries are not apparent so soon after an accident. What may seem like a minor injury could, over the course of a few weeks or months, grow into something much worse. Once you have signed the release and accepted the money from the insurance company, however, you will be unable to make any kind of further monetary recovery from the collision.
$5,000.00 can disappear fairly quickly if you find yourself in need of continuing medical care. An attorney can assist in guiding you through the process of making an insurance claim or handling a lawsuit. Attorneys in this field typically work on what are called contingency fee contracts, meaning that they do not charge hourly rates but rather are paid a percentage of whatever the final settlement of your claim would be.
There is no guarantee that hiring an attorney will net you more than the $5,000.00 that you were initially offered. What an attorney can offer you, however, is guidance to make sure that every decision you make is an informed decision. While money in hand that quickly may seem like the best possible outcome, what many people overlook is the adverse effect a severe collision can have on their bodies in the short and long term and the costs that may be associated with that.
Other factors to consider may be that the insurance company knows something that you don’t and that is why they are so quick to offer money. Had their insured had been drinking? Did they admit to the police that they ran the stop sign? There are many factors that an experienced attorney can use to increase the settlement value of your claim.
No attorney can guarantee you what your recovery from an automobile claim will be. What an attorney can do, however, is guide you through the process and make sure that the maximum amount of value is extracted from your claim and that no stone is left unturned. It is important to make sure that every aspect of your claim is taken into consideration when you are presenting your claim to the insurance company, and a seasoned attorney will be able to do just that for you.