Ten Reasons Why You Need To Hire an Attorney Early
If you or a loved one were injured you may be unsure as to whether or not you need to hire an attorney. You may believe that the injury is not severe enough. You may also believe that the insurance company or at-fault party will treat you fairly in resolving your injury claim. Finally, you may think that you will receive more money if you do not hire and pay an attorney.
These thoughts are common. However, it is a mistake not to hire an attorney early to handle your injury case. If you or a loved one were injured you need help. Do not trust the insurance company representative who will likely be nice to you until you get upset with the lowball offer they eventually make. By the time you decide that you need an attorney, it may be too late. You will likely have made several mistakes that have reduced the value of your claim.
Research shows that injury victims that are represented by attorneys consistently receive higher recoveries and settlements. This means that we do all the work and you still get more than you otherwise would and without dealing with the frustration and headaches. In other words, we earn our attorney fees.
Below are ten specific reasons why you need an attorney. These are areas where we have expertise. Our expertise will maximize the amount you recover for your injury.
The first 24 hours following an injury are the most critical for your case. We will provide you with advice as to what to do in the critical first stages following an injury. For example, if your injury involves an auto accident, we will provide you advice on: how to properly report it to your insurance company; how to document the scene; how to secure witness information; how to report to law enforcement; what to do regarding emergency medical treatment; among other things. This one step alone will maximize the value of your case and reduce the challenges in recovering on your injury claim.
It is not unusual for insurance companies to fight who was at fault for causing an injury. This is especially true if the injury is serious. If an insurance company or at-fault party is fighting who was at fault, it is important that you obtain evidence proving the other side was responsible.
Evidence of an injury must be obtained early. Video surveillance may be available. However, surveillance is often recycled or routinely deleted. It is important that you obtain and preserve this evidence. Eyewitnesses who work in the area may have information. This information must be captured before these individuals move on and can no longer be found. Likewise, automobile data recorders aka “black-boxes” have information about how a vehicle operated prior to a crash. This data must be analyzed before vehicles are discarded or destroyed.
There are several other sources of evidence that need to be considered and protected in serious injury cases. We have the expertise and investigators needed to quickly obtain and secure the evidence for you.
It is standard procedure for insurance companies to try to take statements from someone who was injured early on. The insurance companies regularly use these statements against you later. Although, the insurance company representatives pretend like they want to help you, this is almost never the case. The statements you make to the insurance company are frequently used against you.
For example, early on you may tell the insurance company that you were not injured or that you are unsure what your injuries are. In the days following, injuries may surface or get worse. The insurance company will surely use the statements you made early on against you. As a general rule, you should never give a recorded statement to an insurance company. Once you have an attorney, they are not allowed to take a recorded statement from you without permission from your attorney.
The above not only applies to the other side’s insurance company, it also applies to your insurance company. Sometimes, you may need to seek recovery from your own insurance company if the other side does not have insurance or does not have enough. In these situations, your insurance company will be trying to reduce what they pay you. You should not give them any reasons to do so. Our attorneys will report the collision for you or instruct you on what to say to preserve your rights. We will not let you give a statement without being present to guard against the tricks and traps used by insurance companies.
After you are injured you may have questions about your medical treatment. You may not know where to go for your medical treatment or which treaters are best for you. You may need recommendations and referrals to top medical treaters so that you receive the best care. Our attorneys are able to provide you with referrals to top doctors and medical treaters who will help you recover.
As your treatment progresses, you may have questions on the process. Although, we allow your medical treaters to decide your best course of treatment, our attorneys know what insurance companies usually consider as reasonable and customary treatment for certain injuries. We can provide this information to you. As a general rule, you should never treat for purposes or your injury claim, and should always seek the treatment you need to make a full recovery.
Finally, you may also have questions on how to pay for the treatment. We will also provide you guidance in this area. If you are unable to provide for the necessary medical treatment, we will help you obtain medical treatment from doctors and providers that will work with your situation.
If your case involves a property damage claim, our attorneys will assist you with that claim at no charge. For example, following a car accident, you may need to repair your vehicle or find a replacement. We will provide you information on the best course and what you rights are under the insurance policy. This includes what rental cars you are allowed to obtain and for how long. This also includes what repairs you are allowed to make, who can repair the vehicle and what parts you are allowed to choose.
If your property damage claim involves the total loss of your vehicle, we will provide free assistance on how to evaluate the offer being made. Insurance companies typically use a valuation system comparing your vehicle to other similar vehicles sold in the area. In other words, they use comparable vehicle sales. We will teach you the process of analyzing and contesting the valuation so that you receive a fair and full amount for your totaled vehicle.
If you are seriously injured you will likely miss significant time from work. You will likely also spend money on medical treatment that you have not budgeted for. Most people live paycheck to paycheck and do not have the savings necessary to meet their costs of living following a serious injury.
The insurance companies know this and will take advantage of you. They will draw out your case or claim because they know the longer they do the more financially vulnerable you will be. This means you will be more likely to take a low settlement offer. This is a win for the insurance companies as they will save money by paying you less than your claim is worth.
We have relationships with established companies that will provide you money while your case is pending. This money is advanced against your settlement so that you can meet your living expenses. You can then pay back the money advanced after you settle or win your case. We will provide you guidance as to the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. If you decide taking an advance is right for you, we will help you find a company who will provide you with the most favorable rates and terms.
If you are seriously injured, there may not be enough insurance money to cover your injury. In fact, there may be no insurance at all. When these difficult situations arise, it is important that you have an attorney who is capable of analyzing your case and all potential options.
We have the experience to help you find additional sources for recovery. After seeing hundreds of cases we are aware of different legal theories that may help find additional at-fault parties. For example, in a car accident situation where the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you may look to your own uninsured motorist policy. If you do not carry this coverage, you may believe you are out of luck. However, there are other legal theories that may need to be considered.
- Did the failure to maintain the roadway present a dangerous condition?
- Did an adjacent property owner not trim a tree that contributed to a lack of visibility?
- Did the City leave out a waste receptacle that created a hazard?
- Was the intersection a dangerous design?
- Was one of the vehicles defective because of a mechanical failure?
- Was the mechanical failure due to a faulty repair by a repair shop?
- Is there a product liability lawsuit for a manufacturer failing to install crash avoidance technology?
- Was a restaurant or bar responsible for overserving a patron that led to an impaired driving accident?
- Was the at-fault driver in the course of employment for an employer who may be responsible?
- Were the parents of a minor driver negligent for not adequately supervising him?
- Is the insurance agent who sold inadequate insurance to the at-fault driver responsible for not providing more coverage?
Often times, there are sources of recovery that we will recognize that you will not. It is important that you hire a personal injury attorney who has this expertise. We will help you by exploring all potential theories and sources of recovery.
Insurance is complicated business. Advancing an insurance claim is equally difficult. This is especially true because insurance policies are loaded with legal terminology, confusing provisions and tricky exclusions. If you are advancing an insurance claim, it is essential that you not only know what your rights are under the law, but also under the insurance policy.
We understand the fine print and can interpret these complicated policies. We will help you assert your full rights under them. More importantly, we will make sure that the insurance company does not misrepresent what you are entitled to.
In addition to the confusing language contained in the policies themselves, the laws controlling how different insurance coverages apply are no easier. For example if you are a passenger in a vehicle that is being driven by someone other than the owner, which insurance applies?
- Can you recover from your own insurance even though you were not driving?
- Can you recover from the driver’s insurance if he was at fault?
- Can you recover from the insurance of the owner of the vehicle you were in?
- In this situation, do the insurance coverages stack to provide a higher amount of recovery or do they offset which limits the amount you may recover?
Understanding how different insurance coverages apply and interact is not something you can easily learn. It takes the handling of countless cases and claims. It also requires staying current on changing insurance laws and cases that interpret those laws. We have the necessary experience dealing with insurance and understand how different coverages apply. We will help you maximize the value of your injury claim.
The number one reason why an injured person seeks out an attorney is because he or she needs help valuing his or her injury. If you or a loved one was seriously injured you will want to make sure you receive the most you can for your injury. Unless you have experience handling hundreds of injury claims, you will be unable to value what your injury is worth. You likely do not even know what factors are considered or what items you can even recover for.
For unique injuries or situations where multiple injuries occurred, valuing these claims can be even more challenging. Not only do our attorneys have experience valuing difficult injuries, we also have resources and attorney networks that we can consult. Our attorneys routinely review past jury awards and settlements so that we are familiar with what injuries are worth. Our attorneys also belong to powerful attorney networks where we discuss and learn what other attorneys are recovering for similar injuries.
What damages may be recovered differs in every situation and is case specific. However, there are general items that someone can recover for. This includes, past and future:
- medical expenses
- lost wages/earnings
- loss of enjoyment of life
- emotional distress
- non-medical care needs
An analysis of what damages or items you can recover following an injury is not simple. There are other factors which must be considered. The most important of which is your own fault in causing your injury. This legal concept is called comparative fault.
In Arizona, the amount someone can recover for their injuries is reduced by his or her own comparative fault. For example, if you are in a motor vehicle collision or suffered a trip and fall injury, and are 40% responsible for causing the injury, the amount you are entitled to is reduced by this percentage. In other words, if your injury is worth $100,000 and you are 40% to blame, you will subtract $40,000 for your own fault and are left with $60,000.
Our attorneys have experience handling hundreds of injury claims. We know how to value serious injuries. We know what items are considered and can be recovered. Most importantly, we know how the insurance companies value these injuries. We will help you maximize your recovery for your injury claim.
In you suffered an injury and received medical treatment, there will be medical creditors claiming they should be paid with part of your settlement or award. This may include medical providers who claim balances are owed or health insurance plans that paid for your treatment. Most health insurance plans provide that the plan is to be repaid if you receive a settlement or award for medical treatment for an injury caused by a third party. This includes private health insurance plans as well as public health insurance plans such as AHCCCS and Medicare.
It is not uncommon for medical creditors to claim rights to repayment to which they are not entitled. For example, medical providers may be claiming balances owed in situations where the law prohibits them from doing so. This may be true if they have accepted insurance money already. In certain scenarios, these providers are not allowed to “balance bill.”
Likewise, health insurance plans may be claiming a right to repayment from settlement funds from which they are not allowed to recover. Similarly, insurance plans may be seeking repayment for medical treatment that was not related to the injury claimed. In these situations, a comprehensive audit is required to make sure that the insurance plan is not claiming repayment for unrelated treatment.
Assuming that these medical providers are properly claiming a right to payment, there are several situations where a reduction or full waiver may apply. For example, some providers and plans will reduce their claimed repayment amount because of a limited settlement. Other providers, will reduce to account for the work of your attorney. Finally, some providers and plans will grant a complete waiver for a hardship or when fairness demands it.
Our attorneys have significant experience in dealing with the repayment rights of medical providers and health insurance plans. We have successfully and consistently reduced the amount to which these providers claim they are entitled. Under certain circumstances, we have obtained complete waivers for our clients. We will work to do the same for you. In the end, this will allow you to keep more money in your pocket and receive more value from your injury claim.
Call to speak to one of our attorneys at Scottsdale Injury Lawyers LLC about your case.