When to Hire an Auto Insurance Lawyer
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Hiring an auto insurance lawyer can be a life-changing decision. Hiring a lawyer can be the difference between having your claim denied or approved. A good auto insurance lawyer can fight for greater compensation from your insurance company, including compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, and other damages.
Should you hire an auto insurance lawyer for your case? Is hiring an auto insurance lawyer a necessary step? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about hiring an auto insurance lawyer.
Some People Recommend Hiring an Auto Insurance Lawyer Immediately for Any Collision
First, let’s make something clear: it’s never a bad idea to hire a lawyer, if you can afford it.
Your insurance company has teams of lawyers and adjusters who will begin reviewing your claim immediately after you file. Your insurance company will look for any evidence they can use to reduce or deny the claim. The goal of any insurance company is to pay you the lowest amount they’re legally required to pay.
A good lawyer can help you fight back against this behavior.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should immediately hire a lawyer for a minor fender bender. Keep reading to learn more about when to hire a lawyer – and when not to hire a lawyer.
Simple, Clear-Cut Insurance Cases Rarely Require Auto Insurance Lawyers
Many auto insurance claims are simple. These claims are processed quickly with minimal argument or controversy.
Your insurance claim might have one party that’s clearly at fault, for example. Or, your claim might have no major medical bills, lost income, or other expenses. There may be no extenuating circumstances that require further investigation, and no long-term medical rehabilitation required.
In these situations, it’s unlikely that you would benefit from an auto insurance lawyer.
Situations Where You Should Consider Hiring an Auto Insurance Lawyer
There are no fixed rules that tell you when to hire a lawyer and when not to hire a lawyer. Instead, it’s up to you, your preferences, and your unique situation. However, you should at least consider hiring a lawyer if your insurance claim involves any of the following:
- Liability is not clear or is shared between parties, or there’s a dispute over who is at-fault
- You have no idea how to evaluate your claim (say, if you have a previous injury or previous damage to your vehicle, or other things that could complicate your claim)
- The insurance company’s adjuster is requesting medical records from before the accident
- The adjuster has made an offer, but the offer is much lower than you anticipated
- The adjuster is offering a structured settlement instead of a lump sum payment
- You are not confident about your ability to negotiate with your insurance company, or you feel overwhelmed by aspects of your claim
- You’re making a claim for lost wages that is difficult to prove (say, if you work from home, or if you work as a freelance consultant)
If an insurance company is requesting medical records from prior to the accident, then the insurance company may be looking into your past for a reason to deny your claim. The insurance company might point to a long history of legal, prescription anti-depressant use, for example, to suggest you were not fully alert when driving, and then deny or reduce your claim based on this information. When an insurance company starts probing into areas of your life like this, you should consider hiring a car insurance lawyer – or at least sitting down for a consultation.
Situations Where You Should Almost Certainly Hire an Auto Insurance Lawyer
There are certain situations where it’s almost imperative that you hire a lawyer, including all of the following circumstances:
- There are extenuating circumstances that make your claim more expensive than it initially appears (say, if your accident affects your ability to care for a loved one at home, or if you permanently lost your ability to earn an income after an accident)
- The insurance company has denied your claim, and you feel the denial was incorrect or unfair
- The adjusters offered a settlement that is insultingly low
- You have significant medical bills and a long road to recovery
- One of the injured parties is a minor with significant injuries
- Liability is being disputed, and you believe you’re not responsible or partially responsible for the accident
- The circumstances of the accident are complex for any reason and require lengthy, expert investigation
- Your insurance company is dragging its feet or taking too long to process your claim with no discernible reason given
- Another party involved in the collision has served you with a lawsuit
It’s Never a Bad Idea to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Auto Accident Attorney
Most lawyers offer a free consultation. You can sit down with a representative from the law firm, explain the details of your case, and then learn the legal implications of the case. During a free consultation, you can learn how an auto insurance lawyer may be able to help you, including the specific services they provide and the specific compensation they may seek from your insurance company.
If your case meets the qualifications listed above, then it may not be a bad idea to schedule a free consultation with an auto insurance lawyer.