A Lawyer Can Help At Every Step Of An Insurance Claim
Accidents happen. People get hurt, property gets damaged, and the costs of medical treatments and repair bills can add up to a pretty penny. That’s why all 50 states require car owners to carry a minimum amount of insurance, but it’s also why insurers try to minimize the claims they pay out as much as possible. Like it or not, insurers are for-profit companies, and that profit comes from getting more in premiums than they give out in claims.
There’s a lot of variety in the experiences people have when they need to make a claim after an auto accident. It all depends on factors like how straightforward and how serious the accident was, which insurer you’re working with, and even the individual claims adjuster. It also depends on what you do: things like taking plenty of photos, writing everything down, and always being friendly to the claims adjuster can all work in your favor.
One other thing you can do is hire a personal injury lawyer right away, or at least once the going gets tough. Personal injury lawyers are familiar with the claims process, and while they may come with a cost, lawyers have many ways help along the way.
- Gathering Information
The first step of any insurance claim is to collect as much information as you can about the accident. That means photos of the damage, both to property and to people, police reports, bills from mechanics and hospitals, and so on. For this phase, a lawyer can help you by letting you know what’s important and what you can skip, and they can help you organize the information and keep backup copies with their case records.
- Claim Negotiations
Negotiating and bargaining are close to being lost arts in modern America. But negotiation is still very much a part of insurance claims and civil court cases, so it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a trained expert representing your side of the argument. In fact, bringing a lawyer to negotiations can have a positive impact on your claim value all on its own, since if the law firm has enough resources to go to court the insurer will want to avoid that expense.
- Appealing Rejected Claims
If the insurer rejects your insurance claim entirely or won’t move from a number too low for you to accept, that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. A lawyer can help you submit an appeal.
- Going To Court
If the appeal doesn’t work, it may be necessary to take the case to court, and this is when having a lawyer on your side really comes in handy. Most cases don’t reach this point because it costs the insurer extra, but for a high-value claim, they’d have a reason to take things that far.
Almost every personal injury lawyer operates on a commission, which means they get a percentage of the eventual settlement instead of asking for an hourly fee or a retainer. So while hiring a lawyer to help with your claim may lower its total value, your lawyer is just as invested as you are to make that settlement as large as possible.