When another party causes you harm or injury, you might have a claim against that party for damages.
The party might be financially liable for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Instead of paying you directly for the damages, the party might have liability insurance to cover a claim.
If you are injured on someone’s property, their homeowner’s insurance or commercial insurance property might cover the premises liability claim.
Because most parties have liability insurance covering an accident or injury claim, personal injury claims often begin with filing an insurance claim. Although you are not required to hire a lawyer to file an insurance claim, it can be in your best interest to do so.
Many individuals do not have first-hand experience handling negligence claims. They are not familiar with insurance laws and personal injury laws. Therefore, they can make costly mistakes.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer is always an option after being injured by another person. If for no other reason, you need a lawyer to even the playing field.
The insurance company has a team of lawyers working to protect its best interest. The company’s best interest is to get out of paying you for the full value of your injury claim. Having a personal injury lawyer working for you means that you have the same resources in your corner as a large corporation.
Going Forward Alone or Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
It can be difficult to know whether you need to hire a lawyer to handle an insurance claim. Some insurance claims do not require an attorney’s assistance. However, most people benefit from having the support, guidance, and legal advice of a lawyer whose only priority is to fight for maximum compensation for damages.
If you are struggling with the decision whether to hire an attorney, consider the following questions:
Who Caused the Accident or Your Injuries?
Do you know who caused the accident? You must know who is responsible for causing your injuries to file an insurance claim. Only the parties responsible for causing the accident are liable for your damages.
It can be challenging to identify the liable parties in a case. For example, highway crashes or truck accidents can involve multiple vehicles. What happens when all the drivers deny that they caused the crash?
If you do not have the resources, skills, and knowledge to conduct a thorough accident investigation to identify the liable parties, you need to talk with a personal injury lawyer.
How Severe are Your Injuries?
If you sustained minor injuries and your doctor releases you stating that you fully recovered from your injuries, you might not need an attorney to file an insurance claim. However, if you sustained catastrophic injuries that resulted in permanent impairments, it is wise to hire an attorney to handle your claim.
Injury cases involving traumatic injuries can result in permanent impairments. You could be entitled to substantial condensation for future damages, including decreases in earning potential, ongoing medical care, and long-term personal care.
Anytime a victim sustains a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, loss of limbs, or other severe injuries, it is best to talk with a lawyer as soon as possible. These claims involve complex legal issues that benefit from having a lawyer handle. They also involve large settlements that insurance companies do not want to pay.
Is the Insurance Company Denying Your Claim?
If you receive a denial letter for your insurance claim, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. Insurance companies often deny claims for invalid reasons. A lawyer reviews the denial letter, the insurance policy, and the facts of your case to determine whether the denial of coverage is valid.
Likewise, if the insurance company is delaying your claim or failing to respond to your claim, you might want to consult with an injury lawyer.
The insurance company might be employing bad faith insurance tactics to stall. Stalling could be a tactic to get you to give up or to allow the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit to expire.
If the insurance company uses bad faith insurance tactics to avoid paying your injury claim, you could have a separate claim against the insurance company. Your lawyer can advise you of your rights and help you pursue compensation for bad faith insurance practices.
Is the Insurance Company Blaming You for Causing the Accident?
Another tactic used by insurance companies to avoid paying claims is blaming the victim. The company alleges that the victim contributed to the cause of the accident. Under Texas modified comparative fault laws, a victim cannot recover compensation if he or she is 51 percent or more responsible for the cause of his or her injury.
For example, if a person is texting while crossing the road, the insurance company might claim that the person is partially responsible for causing the pedestrian accident. Even though the pedestrian had the right of way, the insurance company attempts to shift blame to the pedestrian.
If the insurance company can convince a jury that you are partially at fault for the cause of your injury, you could lose money for your claim. If your fault is below 51 percent, your compensation for the accident is reduced by the percentage of responsibility assigned to you.
Therefore, if a jury finds that you are 40 percent at fault, you lose 40 percent of your injury claim value.
Is the Insurance Company Pressuring You to Accept a Low Settlement Offer?
The insurance company might know that your claim is worth a large amount of money. If so, it might pressure you to accept a low settlement offer. Once you sign a settlement agreement, your case is closed. A settlement agreement is a binding legal contract that ends your claim.
Most settlement agreements release all parties from all liability for claims known and unknown. In other words, once you sign a settlement agreement, you cannot try to recover more money from anyone or for any reason.
If the insurance company pressures you to sign a settlement agreement or refuses to negotiate, you might want to immediately consider hiring a personal injury attorney.
When in Doubt, Err on the Side of Caution
It cannot hurt to consult a personal injury lawyer about an accident or injury. Most attorneys offer free consultations, so it does not cost you anything to get the legal advice you need to decide how to proceed.
The insurance company utilizes every resource available, including obtaining legal counsel, to protect itself from liability. You might want to do the same thing to avoid being cheated out of the compensation you deserve for a personal injury claim.