I’ve Been Injured in an Accident: Why do I Need a Lawyer?
In today’s world, it is very rare for an insurance company to treat you fairly when you request compensation for medical bills and property damage as a result of an automobile accident. In fact, insurance companies are known for utilizing tactics commonly described as the Three Ds: Delay, Deny, and Defend. In short, this means the company’s investments keep earning interest while they delay your compensation, while they deny that your injuries are a result of the accident, and while they defend the case in court by producing multiple expert witnesses and undertaking extensive cross examination of you and your doctors.
You could negotiate with the insurance company yourself, but the company’s representatives are apt to take advantage of you. They know that you, like most non-lawyers, have limited knowledge of your legal rights and remedies. As the injured party, it is typical to offer you the lowest possible settlement, while they attempt to elicit statements from you that will damage your position if you eventually sue them.
Therefore, it is very much to your benefit to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. You want to find one who knows how to build your case, how to negotiate your case with the insurance company, and, if necessary, how to take your case to trial. Such a lawyer will help you win a good settlement that, even with the attorney fee deducted, is significantly more than what you would have gotten on your own.
In the process of selecting an attorney, you should ask several questions. The following is a sampling of questions:
- What is your educational background?
- Have you taken any continuing education courses in the past few years?
- How long have you been in practice?
- How many personal injury claims have you successfully settled?
- Do you typically represent the injured persons or the insurance company?
- Do you anticipate my case going to trial?
- What is your experience as a trial attorney?
In addition, you should have a retainer agreement, which is the written financial agreement between client and attorney. A well-written retainer agreement will include the following points:
- Attorney rendered services.
- Required client actions.
- Legal fees and related expenses.
- Payment schedule.
- Process of dissolving an inharmonious professional relationship.
Finally, and most importantly, you want a lawyer who is willing to develop an open and honest professional relationship, who will take the time to clarify any confusing issues, and who will respect your wishes.