Ideally, fault will be obvious from the facts of the car crash, and insurers will offer compensation to their customers for all medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This is rarely the situation accident victims encounter when they initially file a claim. So, they start to look into their options. Frequently, accident victims will walk through the door of our downtown Bellingham office with a lot of questions. One of the first ones is, “does it make sense to hire a personal injury attorney?” for their insurance claim.
I want to talk about one major benefit of hiring a personal injury attorney. It gives you leverage. Insurers know that if you don’t have a lawyer on your side, you are in a “take it or leave it” situation. This is usually a lowball compensation offer that insurance companies pressure their customers into taking. Already, accident victims are feeling pressure as their medical bills start coming in and doctors visits can turn up more injuries and treatment recommendations as time goes on. Sometimes, the effects of the trauma need a few weeks to reveal themselves, and often the insurance company will offer their compensation much quicker. Add to this that one of the most common injuries in a car accident is TBI of which a typical symptom is confusion and it’s easy to see how victims struggle with this confusing process. It’s unfortunate that insurance adjusters know that they have their customers in this predicament and seem to try to capitalize on it, but if you think about the fact that they are in the business of making money, it makes sense that they want to avoid paying high claims. However, with an attorney representing you, you can file a lawsuit.
A lawsuit can go all the way to trial, meaning there is a neutral party – judge or jury – who will look at the facts and determine how much the insurance company will have to pay. This can mean that claims can be more expensive to insurers, and sometimes much more. This is a risk they often don’t want to take. In the end, usually there is no need to go to trial, but it’s the threat that makes the insurance company take your claim seriously and start to treat you fairly.