People may hesitate to hire a lawyer after a car accident for a variety of reasons. They may be worried about the cost, uncertain whether it is worth the expense or curious if they can handle the legal aspects of their case on their own.
Additionally, some people may feel intimidated by the process or overwhelmed by the thought of navigating court proceedings and laws. Such individuals may want to settle and move on quickly. In many cases, however, having a skilled lawyer can make all the difference in successfully receiving compensation after an accident.
Working With an Insurance Company
Many people only consider hiring an attorney if they must go to trial. Though an insurer is ostensibly there to help accident victims with their claims, the process is not always straightforward. An attorney is ready to help clients to keep insurance companies honest and diligent after an accident.
Getting Full Compensation for Personal Injury Protection
Claimants only have 30 days after an accident to file for PIP in New York. As a no-fault state, this required insurance helps those who suffer an accident get quick recovery of damages from their own insurance companies, regardless of who is at fault.
Calculating total expenses for an accident is rarely a straightforward process. Trying to determine and verify medical costs is even more difficult for someone who is recuperating. The situation becomes more challenging because symptoms of a head injury or other wounds may only fully present weeks or years later, bringing unforeseen expenses.
A professional by one’s side can help. A lawyer with years of experience is aware of the possible damages and can help a client determine the correct compensation after an accident, present the right evidence to an insurance company and fight any pushback.
Securing Protection Beyond PIP
PIP only covers a portion of economic losses, medical costs and death benefits. The required minimum in New York is $50,000. The coverage handles financial losses of 80% of a person’s monthly earnings but only up to $2,000 a month.
With high medical bills and cost of living, this amount can easily be insufficient for accident victims and their families. An accident survivor must usually file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party and coordinate with their insurance company to receive restitution.
Collecting the necessary evidence and data against the at-fault driver requires a lot of work. Though most cases settle, a claimant may have to go to court. A trial demands even more paperwork and procedures to achieve a resolution.
Finally, a crash can lead to emotional and psychological effects that require lifelong treatment. Determining such noneconomic injuries is difficult, but an experienced lawyer can help a client make reasonable calculations and pursue full compensation.
Dealing With a Difficult Insurance Company
An insurer may deny or undervalue a claim, even if a claimant does all things correctly. The firm has experienced adjusters and agents who can frame data and evidence in a way to limit the company’s payout.
Insurance companies make money by receiving more in premiums than they pay in compensation, so it serves their interests to minimize what they offer to an accident victim. A settlement that seems generous may not even be half of what a person deserves.
For example, a motor vehicle accident gave a young law student permanent brain damage. The insurance company offered $6 million, which is a lot of money to many people. However, Cellino Law represented the victim in a two-week trial, which rendered a verdict of over $47 million! This story is just one example of why accepting an insurance company’s first offer can be dangerous.
Additionally, some insurance companies may use dishonest tactics to avoid paying claims on time or at all. The problem has become so rampant that legislators have proposed Bill A7285 to fight unfair claim settlement practices.
An attorney on the side of a claimant can provide ammunition against any unlawful or shady tactics by insurers. A client may find that an insurance company becomes much easier to deal with once receiving a notice of representation from a lawyer.
Understanding All Options and Timelines
Time really is money when filing for compensation. Collecting evidence and filing paperwork within the statutes of limitations take a lot of effort. Clearly, all such work is a full-time job, which is why major corporations invest millions of dollars in hiring their own legal teams to focus solely on those assignments.
Most people who survive an accident did not have an abundance of spare time before the collision. The consequences of the wreck only add to stress and responsibilities. A person may feel frustration and just want to get things over quickly, but doing so can lead to costly consequences.
A road trip is easier to endure when a traveler knows the landmarks, schedule and estimated time of arrival. Likewise, an experienced attorney helps a client remain patient, make wise decisions and understand the process. This professional assistance may even alleviate feelings of stress, anxiety and helplessness.
Accident victims should keep in mind that the right to pursue legal action usually ends after accepting a settlement. Such agreements generally come with waivers and confidentiality agreements that prevent a plaintiff from suing a party again for the same scenario. Since accident survivors only have one shot, they should make it a good one.
Going to Trial
If a case has to go to trial, the help of a lawyer can prove invaluable. No matter what television and movies portray, representing oneself rarely leads to heroic victories.
Better Success Rates With a Lawyer
Data from civil cases in one industry show that plaintiffs without legal counsel only had a 15% success rate. On the other hand, plaintiffs with an attorney always had better odds of winning than the defendants, whether the opposing side had counsel or not.
A lawyer has knowledge of the law, courtroom experience and resources to do legal research that an individual may not have access to. The attorney also understands how to make the most of the jury selection process and communicate with a judge and jury effectively and efficiently.
A lawyer can provide advice on a reasonable course of action and guide a client through the entire process of filing a lawsuit. In addition, the firm can continue to advise on potential outcomes and help negotiate any settlements or mediations with the other party’s legal counsel even after the trial begins.
Potential Dangers and Missteps
The danger in handling such situations alone is that doing so can be more costly than having professional legal guidance. For example, a plaintiff may have a good case but present the information ineffectively. Legal challenges from the defense could persuade a jury to take their side.
Defendants might also try to paint the victim as greedy or exploitative. A lawyer can help a plaintiff know what to say to protect the case.
A plaintiff needs to be sure to take action against the correct party. The negligent entity could be a property owner, business, product manufacturer, passenger, road maintenance team or any combination of these parties. Addressing the wrong institution wastes time and money.
Hiring a Car Accident Attorney Ready To Assist
Unless a car accident is insignificant, a person typically can benefit from the aid of a lawyer. Finding qualified help is easy. Contact Cellino Law for a free personal injury consultation to determine your rights and possible compensation after a car accident in New York.