After you've been in an accident, it's not always clear whether or not you need a lawyer. The key is to figure out which cases you can settle on your own and which ones require an attorney. To help you decide, consider these five questions:
Does the At-Fault Party Admit that They Caused the Accident?
To explain why this matters, we'll look at an example. Let's say Bill is driving when he rear-ends Sue. Bill admits that he was tailgating and apologizes for causing the accident. They file a claim through Bill's insurance and the case is settled without a lawyer.
But what happens if Bill denies fault? What if Bill blames Sue, saying she swerved in front of his car and that's why he wrecked into her?
Now there's a dispute, which complicates things. When neither party wants to admit fault, it's up to Sue to prove that Bill caused the wreck. If Sue can't prove it, she win no money.
At this point, most people choose to hire an attorney. Proving negligence and providing evidence is tricky business, and there's often a lot at stake - money for medical bills, missed work days, pain, suffering, damage to the car, long-term disability and the like. People in Sue's position know that it's not worth risking "going it alone." If the other side won't cooperate, you need an attorney's help.
How Much Money Is The Accident Costing You?
Look at things like your medical bills (past and future), lost income and so fourth. How much money will this accident cost you? And how much money are you comfortable handling on your own? What amout of money are you willing to risk losing? Some people feel confidant handling claims that are worth $500, $2,000 or even $5,000 on their own. However, when doctor's bills, hospital fees and other costs continue to mount, lots of people turn to a personal injury attorney for help.
You have to decide at what level your case becomes too big to handle yourself, and how much money you're willing to risk losing should the claim not go in your favor.
How Seriously Were You Hurt?
This is a big one. If you were seriously hurt in an accident, especially if you're looking at months or even years of recovery, you should consult with a lawyer to represent your professionally.
As a general rule, the more seriously you're injured, the more money you'll need to cover medical costs. Of course, the more money you need, the more the insurance company will try to fight and deny your claim. Insurance companies do their best to minimize the amount of money they have to pay out in claims - it's the only way they'll remain profitable. And while there's nothing wrong with profits, it comes at your expense.
Sometimes, simply having a lawyer on your side will deter an insurance adjuster from offering you an unfair settlement or denying certain aspects of your claim. Even if the insurance company does try to pull some of their "tricks," a lawyer will understand how to handle them. Remember, insurance companies do this for a living, but so do lawyers. Having one on your side is your best bet if you've been seriously hurt and want a fair outcome.
Is the Insurance Company Treating You Fairly?
One of the most common reasons my clients choose to hire me is because the insurance company was treating them unfairly. Insurance adjusters are in the business of making money, and while there's nothing wrong with that, the more money they pay you the less their company gets to keep. This creates some skewed incentives.
A few of the most common complaints I hear regarding insurance companies include:
- The adjuster has refused to authorize a rental car, even though the accident is clearly their insured's fault.
- You received an extremely unfair offer on your car's repairs.
- The insurance company won't accept full responsibility for the accident.
- The adjuster is arguing that because you delayed medical treatment, you "aren't that hurt."
- The insurance company won't advance you money for your medical bills or missed wages.
- No one will return your calls.
- The adjuster is arguing that your injuries were pre-existing.
If you're struggling to get the insurance company to cooperate, it could be time to consult an attorney.
How Much Time Do You Have to Spare?
Settling a claim takes time - lots and lots of it. There's paperwork to be completed and decisions to be made, not to mention the time you'll spend learning about the claims process and preparing your case.
You can probably learn all you'll need to know about settling a routine claim in a few hours. After that, settling your own claim is doable and typically profitable, assuming you're successful. Lawyers typically charge a legal fee equal to one-third of your recovery, so if you settle your own case for $1,000, you can keep that $300 fee. Of course, the bigger the case, the more time and energy you'll need to commit, and the greater chance that the other side will try to fight you. If your case is too serious, turn it over to a lawyer. One-third is a small price to pay when the alternative is nothing!
At my firm, something my clients appreciate the most is the time, energy and stress we were able to take off their shoulders. Though clients hire me to win them compensation for accidents that weren't their fault, what they appreciate more is the peace of mind I give them. Having an attorney allows my clients to focus on what really matters - recovering.
Still Can't Decide?
That's okay. Sometimes, you're just not sure if you should hire an attorney or not. If this is true for you, your next best step is to contact our law firm for a free, zero obligation consultation.
During the consultation, we'll review the details of your case and let you know honestly if we believe we can help you. We'll give you a clear idea of how we'd handle your case. If you choose to hire us, it costs nothing upfront. We only get paid at the end when your case is resolved, and only after your satisfied.
Call us today to schedule your free consultation.
What Our Personal Injury Firm Can Do For You
When accident victims come to us, it's often out of frustration with the insurance company. No one ever tells you how hard making a claim can be, especially when insurance adjusters refuse to call you back or create unfair excuses to deny your claim.
We Fight the Insurance Company So You Don't Have To
Insurance adjusters might find it easy to brush you off, but they won't be able to ignore us. Sometimes simply having a lawyer on your side forces the insurance company to stop messing around - they know we won't let them get away with undervaluing your claim or playing around with your case.
We Prove the Other Driver Was At Fault
This is a sticking point for many car accident victims. You might know that the other driver caused your accident, but how can you prove it? We have over 40 years combined experience building cases and proving negligence. We know exactly what to look for, who to call and how to handle your case in the right way.
We Immediately Investigate Your Accident
If we're going to convince the insurance company to pay you full compensation, words alone are not enough - we'll need to prove that someone else caused your car accident, and that your car accident caused your injuries. For this reason, quick and thorough car accident investigations are crucial, which is why we make yours a priority. Since evidence like skid marks, debris, vehicle damage, video camera recordings and injuries tend to diminish and disappear fairly quickly, we understand the importance of fast action.
We Fight to Win You the Compensation You Deserve
If you've been in a car accident that wasn't your fault, you shouldn't have to pay the price. Under Texas law, you're entitled to compensation for your medical bills, missed work days, pain and suffering. The Anderson Law Firm can help you get it.
How Does It Work?
Schedule Your Free Consultation
First, you'll schedule your free consultation with our firm. When you come to our office, we'll listen to your story and get all the facts of the case, then form a plan to get you the medical care you need. From there, we'll gather evidence to build your case against the other driver and start our battle to win you everything you deserve to cover the cost of the accident.
You Pay Zero Upfront Costs
If you choose to hire our firm, there are no costs upfront. Instead, we work on a contingency basis, meaning we take a percentage of the money we win for you once you're satisfied with the results and your case is complete.
We Set You Up with Doctors
Even if you don't have health insurance, you shouldn't be left to suffer. We work with a network of doctors we trust who can get you the care you need now, and defer payment until later (after we've won your case and the money needed to pay these bills).
We Handle Everything, Giving You Updates Along the Way
You'll be assigned a case manager who is there to answer questions every step of the way. As your case progresses, we'll keep you updated on its status and check in with you to see how you're healing, but we handle all the paperwork, evidence-gathering and negotiations. Your only job is to get better.
Once You're Healed, We Fight the Insurance Company
After you're fully recovered from the accident, we'll gather all your medical bills, photo documentation, police reports and other evidence and bring it to the insurance company to demand a fair settlement. Attorney Mark Anderson has over 25 years of experience negotiating with insurance adjusters, and he won't let an adjuster lowball us. If at the end of negotiations we still don't believe the insurance company is offering you fair compensation, we'll file a lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit
In addition to our attorneys, we have a full litigation team trained to bring your case to court. We've won millions of dollars for our clients over the years, and we are confidant in our ability to bring justice to hurt accident victims.
Why Trust the Anderson Law Firm?
The Anderson Law Firm's founder Mark Anderson is one of the most recognized attorneys in our area. Most notably, Mark was named a Top Attorney by Fort Worth Magazine, and recognized as a 2016 Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters. He is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and is ranked in the top one percent of practicing attorneys in the United States, according to the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.