PART THREE - DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
I have known cases where the award for damages has increased by 10 times the amount first offered by an insurer once an experienced attorney has taken conduct of the lawsuit. While it is possible, in cases of minor accidents with property damage only, for an unrepresented person to achieve a reasonable settlement of a claim, cases with major property damage or injuries to the person should be handled by an attorney.
What will an attorney add?
The benefits, if you select the right lawyer, will include: -
- A quick and accurate assessment of whether your claim is likely to be successful
- An accurate valuation of your case
- Advice on time-frames and procedures
- Identification of all losses that you can claim (some of which you might not consider)
- Removal of the stress of dealing with the insurance company and the court
- Your case will be taken more seriously by the insurance company
- You will have someone who can aggressively challenge the insurance company to ensure that you get fair compensation
Insurance companies are known to make low offers and to attempt to get claimants to sign releases quickly, whilst insisting it is a final offer, in an effort to eliminate potentially costly lawsuits, and remove legal exposure. A victim’s case can often be worth 5 times, or sometimes 10 times many of the amounts first offered by some insurance companies. An experienced attorney will know what compensation you should be entitled to given the facts and evidence.
It is also important to remember that if you accept a low offer in settlement of your case, say $20,000, and later speak to an attorney who advises that your case was in fact worth $100,000, you will generally have lost your right to pursue the culpable driver and his or her insurance company for any further compensation. Use patience, care and the help of a good attorney to insure that you are justly compensated. It is therefore important that any settlement award you accept accurately reflects the compensation you are entitled to.
Here are a few questions that I would recommend you should consider when deciding whether you need an attorney to represent you: -
- Is blame for the accident being disputed by the other driver’s insurance company?
- Are you likely to have ongoing pain and suffering or need corrective surgery / treatment?
- Did you suffer loss of earnings (past or future) because of the accident?
- Did you incur expenses as a result of the accident?
- Do you need assistance with understanding your legal rights for recovering compensation?
- Do you know the full extent of your injuries?
- Are you certain of the fair amount of compensation owed to for your injuries and loses?
If you answer yes to any of the above questions then you should consider instructing an attorney. If you do decide to obtain professional representation it is important that you identify an attorney whom you trust to competently and aggressively pursue your claim. If you don’t have faith in the attorney you hire, the claims process can be a frustrating one. I would be happy to provide a free 20 minute consultation to discuss your case so that we can identify determine if I am the right lawyer for you.
Content prepared by Edmond McGill and Richard Parry.
This message and the information presented here do not create or evidence an attorney-client relationship nor are they intended to convey legal advice or counsel. You should not act upon this information without seeking advice from a qualified lawyer licensed in your own state or country who actually represents you. In this regard, you may contact The McGill Law Office and then representation and advice may be given if, and only if, attorney Edmond McGill agrees to do so in a written contract signed by him.