Know when it’s worth consulting a car accident attorney
After a car accident, dealing with your insurance company, the other driver’s insurer, medical care and missed work can quickly get overwhelming. Fortunately, deciding whether or not to get a lawyer to handle your car insurance claim is fairly straightforward.
In these four situations, having an attorney on your side can be more than worth it:
1. You were injured in the accident
First things first: if you have any sort of injury from the accident, get it checked out by a doctor. In the first hours after the crash, shock and adrenaline can keep you from feeling how badly you’re actually injured. If there’s any chance you’ve sustained a significant injury, seeking medical treatment ASAP is not only the best move for your health, it strengthens your injury claim.
When you’re injured and it’s clear you need medical treatment for your injuries, consider talking it over with a car accident attorney to gain some valuable insights. Every claim is different, but as a loose guideline: if medical bills from your injuries add up to more than a couple thousand dollars, or you missed more than a week of work, talking to a lawyer is probably in your best interest.
Don’t get hurt twice
Realize that every car insurance company employs entire legal teams devoted to minimizing (or denying) claim settlements. They know most injured individuals aren’t aware of their full legal rights and/or don’t have the time and resources to litigate.
2. Skimpy settlement offer
A typical insurance tactic is sending a lowball settlement offer quickly – before a victim understands the full scope of their injuries and future prognosis. Once you sign a settlement check you can never claim further compensation, even if your expenses end up totaling way more than the settlement you accepted.
The problem is, unless you work for an insurance company or a personal injury law firm it can be almost impossible to know whether you’re getting a fair settlement offer. An attorney experienced in car accident claims considers the full scope of damages you’re entitled to, which may include compensation for:
- Medical treatment & rehabilitation costs (now AND in the future)
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Lost income
The most effective way to get an insurer to up their settlement offer is with a proven trial lawyer on your side. When insurers have to spend money to defend their position it gets their attention. Your claim just went from “nuisance level” to “let’s take this seriously” –and the usual response is a meaningful increase in the amount offered.
3. Fighting over fault
Wisconsin is NOT a no fault state. Fault matters a lot, and who’s to blame directly impacts how much financial compensation you can recover for your injuries and other losses. The more blame you’re assigned, the less money you’re able to collect.
In some car accidents, determining which driver is at fault is pretty cut and dried. But even if you were rear-ended while stopped at a light, or hit by a drunk driver, it’s possible a portion of the blame could be assigned to you
Make sure your rights are protected in a dispute over fault or coverage.
If the other driver’s insurance company disagrees with you about who’s at fault, you should probably have a lawyer defending your claim. Proving fault requires evidence, and your potential settlement or award is on the line. Steve Caya recruits all necessary specialists to investigate the accident, uncover liability and provide expert testimony to build the strongest possible case.
4. Bad faith
An insurance policy is a contract compelling the insurance provider to act in good faith towards their clients. When a policyholder has a claim and the insurer doesn’t handle it fairly and honestly, the individual may have a bad faith claim against their own car insurance company.
You may have a viable bad faith claim are if your insurer:
- Fails to respond to your inquiries or correspondence in a timely manner
- Fails to investigate the claim in a timely and reasonable way
- Fails to approve, deny or pay a claim within the timeframe established by law
- Fails to explain why a claim was denied
If you’ve been injured in a crash and believe your auto insurance company is failing in their duty to you as a policyholder, you should discuss your experience with an attorney. Personal injury laws, insurance claims and in particular insurance coverage disputes can be very complex. Working with a lawyer who has experience helping clients sue their own insurance company will take the burden of communication off your shoulders and ensure your rights are protected.
Wisconsin lawyer offering free car insurance claim review
Still not sure whether you need a lawyer for your car insurance claim? It’s probably a good idea to talk it over with an attorney to be sure. Steve Caya offers free claim reviews with no obligation. Even if you decide not to hire legal representation, it can’t hurt to get some professional insights and recommendations on your next best steps.
Not all car accident attorneys are equal
It’s important to know many personal injury firms operate with a settlement mill mentality. This means they rely on heavy advertising campaigns, acquiring and settling a large volume of personal injury claims as quickly as possible regardless of the best outcome for the accident victim.
When you’ve been injured in a car accident, you owe it to yourself and your financial future to give your claim the best chance of getting a fair settlement. Steve Caya is a decorated trial attorney willing to see cases through litigation and a jury trial to win truly fair compensation for his clients.