If you were in a car accident which was not your fault, whether or not you need to consult a lawyer depends on whether or not you were injured. If the accident was a fender bender, you probably could deal with the other driver’s insurance company on your own. However, if you were injured, it’s wise to hire legal counsel. That is especially true if the injury caused you to miss work or if you incurred significant medical expenses.
A Lafayette personal injury lawyer from the Bart Bernard team will review your case and advise you of your options.
How a Lawyer Can Help
An attorney protects your rights and holds the party responsible for the accident liable. The lawyer will determine, based on the circumstances of the case, how the injury may affect you in ways you may not have realized. For example, you know how much your current accident-related medical bills are, but do you know how much they’ll be in the future? A lawyer can determine this and the type of compensation for which you are eligible.
The attorney will also guide you through the claims process, explaining each step thoroughly so that you understand this often-complex procedure.
Insurance Settlement Negotiations
If the car accident scraped some paint off your vehicle or caused some minor denting, you can probably handle the negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company on your own. After all, the costs of such repairs are fairly straightforward.
However, if you were injured, that is another story. It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible in claims. That is their business model. In fact, you will likely hear from the other driver’s insurance adjuster within days of the collision. The adjuster will probably offer a certain figure to make a quick settlement and close the claim. Once you agree, that is it. Negotiations cannot be reopened.
What sounds like a reasonable settlement to you as a layperson may prove inadequate for your needs– especially if you took time off from work and require a lengthy recuperation. That “reasonable” settlement may turn out to be quite unreasonable. A lawyer knows a fair monetary settlement for you and your prognosis. A lawyer can also help you receive the maximum compensation.
No Twisting Your Words
There is another strong argument for having an attorney handle the insurance negotiations. You could inadvertently make a comment, and the insurance adjuster will twist what you said, and use it against you. This could affect your settlement amount, or even whether you receive a settlement at all. The adjuster will jump on any comment relating to the seriousness of your injuries or even whether you were injured. Who is at fault for the accident may even get called into question. This will not happen when a lawyer takes your case and negotiates with the insurer.
Sometimes, a person may think hiring a lawyer will cost too much, so they prefer to negotiate with the insurer on their own. In reality, hiring a lawyer to represent you often means receiving much more compensation than you could receive on your own, even when factoring in any legal fees.
Statute of Limitations
In Louisiana, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident is much shorter than in most states, at just one year after the incident. That is why contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a car accident is critical.
Contact Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers
If you were injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, you might need the services of the experienced Lafayette car accident attorneys at Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers. Call us today or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. There is no fee unless we win.