5 Reasons a Personal Injury Consultation is Critical After an Accident
You’ve seen the amped-up ads on TV and radio. You’ve heard the jokes about personal injury lawyers being ambulance chasers. But, it turns out, consulting an expert after an accident is a really, really good idea. Why?
The right personal injury lawyer will take the time to understand your situation and present you with real options based on their training and experience. Whether you were hurt in a car accident or experience a traumatic injury in a boat accident, your next step after seeking medical attention should be to contact an experienced attorney.
1. You’re Not Prepared for This
Nobody plans to be in an accident. How many times have you heard people hurt in a car crash say: “They came out of nowhere!”
You’ve experienced serious trauma. Do you really think that you’re in your best frame of mind to make life altering decisions?
When I meet with accident victims I do not charge a fee for the consultation. Why? My number one priority is ensuring you get real answers after your accident. If I think I can be of service, I’ll lay out your options. And even if I can’t help with your specific situation, I’ll still provide as much information as possible so that your family can make good decisions during this difficult time.
Remember that experienced personal injury lawyers have attended law school and helped other families in similar circumstances before. I know the ropes and will provide you with better advice than any google search because I can apply my knowledge to the specific facts of your accident.
2. Your Family’s Financial Future is on the Line
Your injuries may prevent you from returning to work. Even if you’re able to return, you may not be able to do the same work as before. The best case scenario is that you miss a few weeks from work while you recover.
Is your family ready to absorb the lost income from missed time at work? What if you miss more time or have to take a pay cut to remain gainfully employed?
Do you know if there are long-term injuries associated with your accident? Many of these injuries do not become apparent until months or even years after your accident.
You need an advocate that understands the potential short and long-term costs of your accident. Otherwise, you might accept way less than you need to make up for the financial difficulties ahead of you.
3. The Insurance Company Knows More than You
When you pick up the phone and talk to an insurance adjuster, you are stepping onto their turf. They have dealt with thousands of claims.
State Farm likes to say: “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.”
This is doubly true for the people you talk to when you file a claim on your own. STOP! Don’t talk to the insurance company before you consult a personal injury attorney. You can’t afford to accept less than the full-value of your personal injury claim - even if they do promise to pay you quickly in cash.
The waiver you sign when you accept a cash settlement on your claim may prevent you from seeking additional compensation if your medical expenses or lost income is more than anticipated.
4. The Consultation is Normally Free
Different personal injury firms have different policies. The May Firm, where I am a founding partner, does everything in our power to minimize out-of-pocket expenses for our clients.
A high-quality personal injury attorney will meet with you for free. They will travel to meet with you (within a reasonable distance from their law office). They will listen to your side of the story and review any information you have. Then they will outline your options.
Even if they can’t handle your case personally, they should provide you with some general advice based on the specifics of your accident. This can be invaluable when dealing with the insurance company and the people responsible for your injuries.
5. Legal Fees are Only Collected After You Win
When a reputable personal injury lawyer agrees to represent you, they will present you with a contingency fee agreement. Normally the law firm is paid a percentage of the funds they recover.
A contingency fee agreement empowers you to access the best legal representation possible, without worrying about upfront legal fees.
Some law firms, like ours, will help connect you with physicians and treatment specialists that agree to see you without charging an upfront fee. They will be paid from the proceeds of your personal injury claim.
You and your family need access to all the resources available to you after an accident. This is a difficult time and you shouldn’t let the insurance company take advantage of you by pressuring you into a low-ball settlement that fails to cover all of the short and long-term costs from your injuries.
Filing a personal injury claim can be a complex process. If it seems too easy, you’re probably being taken for a ride. Seriously, hit the brakes and talk to an expert before you sign anything. Your family’s financial future may depend on it.