Do I Need A Car Accident Lawyer?
You’ve been in a car accident and are wondering whether or not you need to hire an attorney to help you through the claims handling process. Often, personal injury claims can be complex and this article was written to give you an idea of the situations in which you may want to hire an attorney and those in which you may be able to handle yourself.
The Accident Factors Are Complex
If there are multiple vehicles involved in an accident, it is more likely that you will need help for handling the claim. Likewise, if you are injured by a crash with a commercial vehicle such as a semi truck, garbage truck or even a company vehicle you may want to get help early on in the process.
The Severity Of Your Injuries
The general rule of thumb is the more serious the injury the more likely you will need to hire an attorney to assist you with the process. Extremely serious injuries such as those involving permanent disability and/or surgeries almost always require an attorney to handle effectively. Alternatively, very minor injuries such as a whiplash type injury with moderate medical treatment may not require the assistance of counsel.
Health Insurance Subrogation
After a car accident, if you’re Health Insurance Company paid your medical bills and someone else was responsible for the accident, you may want to hire an attorney to help you with the claim and also handled the insurance pay back issues. Recent changes in the law in Texas make hiring a personal injury attorney very attractive proposition when you have health insurance subrogation. In effect, if your health insurance company paid a significant amount of medical bills you may get credit for retaining an attorney to collect from the third party. In this situation is no reason not to hire a lawyer.
If the insurance company you are dealing with makes you a ridiculous offer of settlement you may need to hire a car accident attorney to assist you with the claim. Be aware that if you wait too long to call an attorney many lawyers will not take the case as a policy matter. Also, if you have never handled a personal injury claim before there are things that the insurance company can ask you to do which can actually hurt your claim.
Future Medical Needs
In situations where the personal injury victim will require ongoing or future medical care hiring an attorney is probably the appropriate route to take. It is difficult for non-lawyers to be able to navigate the minefield of future medical expenses in relation to a fair settlement and other issues such as health insurance payback.
Hiring A Car Accident Lawyer
If you feel you are going to need the help of a car accident lawyer make sure you speak with an attorney who is both experienced and reputable in your community. There is no substitute for experience and results.
Be wary of retaining a law firm, which will treat you like a number and not a person. High-volume personal-injury practices of some law firms are not calculated to lead to maximizing the settlement offers to their clients.
There are many sources that you can research online to determine the reputation of the law firms that you are considering. Martindale Hubbell offers the most fair assessments of attorneys in the Houston area because they base the assessments on blind reviews from other Houston attorneys. Some of the other rating companies have “paid” relationships with clients and they tend to favor the people that pay them. Take those paid relationship ratings with a grain of salt.