1) Do I need a lawyer if I have been involved in a car accident?
2) How much might I receive as a result of my claim?
3) What if the insurance adjuster tells me I don’t need a lawyer and offers me a settlement?
4) Do I collect money from my own insurance company?
5) What do I do about the bills that come in while my case is being adjudicated?
Anytime you have been involved in a car accident, it is a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney to explore your options. If there has been an injury, there may be financial consequences, including medical bills and lost wages from when you are out of work. And it may not be clear right away who the liable party or parties are. An experienced personal injury attorney can sort this information out for you and will evaluate your case free of charge. If he or she determines you have a valid case, you pay no money up front. If your attorney wins a judgment or settlement for you, he or she will take the fee out of the settlement. If you do not win a judgment or settlement, you pay nothing.
If another party is found to be responsible for your injuries, you are entitled to be compensated financially for all expenses resulting from the accident. This can include medical bills, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering and property damage. Sometimes, a settlement can be negotiated with the insurance company representing the responsible party. Otherwise, the case may go to court. The amount you can receive depends on the severity of your injuries, the amount of time you are out of work and other factors.
Insurance companies want to keep the amount of money they pay out as low as possible. Don’t agree to any settlement without consulting with your own personal injury attorney. He or she will be able to determine how much you are entitled to receive.
Generally, if the other driver is deemed to be at fault, you collect from his or her insurance company. If that driver does not have insurance, your claim is handled by your insurance company under what is known as Uninsured Motorist coverage.
It is important to pay all the bills you incur as a result of the accident. Keep good records of everything you pay out. When the settlement is negotiated, you will receive a lump sum payment to cover all your expenses and damages.