Picture this: you're driving home from work, a routine trip you've made countless times, and you're just minutes away from the comfort of your home. Suddenly, your world is jolted by a deafening crash - you've been rear-ended. In the blink of an eye, your vehicle is wrecked, and you're overwhelmed with the pain of a serious, life-changing personal injury. As days pass, you're engulfed in a blur of medical appointments, car repairs, and missed work. You’re hearing words like “medical payments” and “subrogation” and acronyms like “UM/UIM”. As you're trying to piece everything together, you receive a call from the at-fault driver's insurance adjuster. They're offering to handle your claim directly with you, suggesting simplicity and speed in resolving the entire ordeal if you handle it yourself as opposed to hiring an attorney. While this proposal might seem tempting, it's crucial to proceed with caution. In this post, we will delve into why hiring a personal injury attorney after a serious automobile accident is not just a wise decision, but a necessary step in protecting your rights and interests.
Understanding the Legal Landscape
The complexity of personal injury law and car insurance claims can be daunting. Attorneys who are experienced in this field bring an in-depth understanding of the legal system, including state-specific laws and statutes of limitations. The statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be initiated. When it comes to auto accidents, this time frame varies by state and can range from as little as one year to several years. However, this is not just a simple countdown. Various factors can affect how the statute of limitations applies to your case, such as the date of the accident, the discovery of injuries, and even the age of the victim. An experienced car accident attorney can help you understand these nuances, ensuring that you do not miss critical deadlines. Missing these deadlines can be disastrous, as it typically bars you from ever bringing a lawsuit related to the accident, regardless of the severity of your injuries or the clear fault of the other driver.
The flip side of this is that the at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to pressure you into a “quick” settlement at an unfair value too early. It is important to us to listen to our clients to make sure we have the full picture of their future medical treatment so that future damages are accurately accounted for.
Dealing with insurance companies is challenging, as their main objective is often to minimize the amount they pay out. Without a legal expert by your side, you could find yourself at a significant disadvantage.
The use of sophisticated software by major insurance companies to evaluate claims has become commonplace. Claims assessment software like Colossus, Claims Outcome Advisor, Injury Claims Evaluations, and InjuryIQ are used by insurance companies to evaluate bodily injury claims aiming to standardize and streamline the claims process.1 These software tools are now used by 9 of the top 10 U.S. insurers.2
The software works by removing individuality from claims, breaking them down into categories like trauma, permanent impairment, disability, and loss of enjoyment of life.3 These categories are further divided into around 600 injuries and 10,000 factors, which are assigned "severity points" influencing the claim's valuation.4 Knowledgeable attorneys are familiar with these systems and understand what drives their valuations. They can use this insight to highlight the most pertinent items from your care that need highlighted and to set forth persuasive arguments for a fair and adequate settlement that reflects your specific circumstances and damages.
Forensic evidence serves as the cornerstone of unraveling the events leading to a serious car accident. In cases involving trucking and car crashes, this evidence can be found in various forms, including in the electronic systems embedded within the vehicles, as well as personal electronic devices, including cell phones and smartwatches. If these sources of electronic evidence are not immediately identified and preserved, their data may be overwritten or deleted, and crucial information about the facts and circumstances of the crash (and leading up to the crash) will be lost.
Moreover, trucks are equipped with black boxes, while modern cars feature sophisticated infotainment systems. These components not only make calls and entertainment easier for its occupants, but they also store a wealth of data that can be pivotal in establishing liability, understanding the actions of the driver at the time of the accident, and telling the story of your case. These systems capture information such as speed, braking patterns, steering input, and even the driver's activities just before the crash, including calls, text messages, and other activities.
Time is of the essence in preserving this crucial evidence. Electronic data stored in black boxes or infotainment systems can be easily overwritten or destroyed if not preserved promptly. The same is true of cell phones and other personal electronic devices. This is where retaining legal counsel early in the process becomes imperative. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how important it is to send evidence preservation letters early in a case, to ensure that important data is preserved and not deleted or overwritten.
Proper Documentation and Expert Investigation
A strong case requires detailed evidence, including accident reports, law enforcement files, video and audio recordings, witness statements, medical records, and expert testimony. An experienced personal injury attorney has the resources and network of contacts to compile and inspect this evidence efficiently and effectively thereby increasing your chances of a favorable outcome.
Focusing on Recovery
Managing the aftermath of an auto accident can be overwhelming. You are inundated with insurance company calls and letters. Your health insurance company will likely also be reaching out, claiming a right of “subrogation” and sending questionnaires and other requests for information. By hiring an attorney, you can concentrate on your physical and emotional recovery and turn your worries over to your legal team, secure in the knowledge that a professional is handling the legal complexities and fighting for your rights.
Consider Plakas Mannos When You Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
Opting to handle a car accident claim on your own may seem appealing initially, but the risks and disadvantages are significant. Enlisting the help of seasoned personal injury attorneys like those at Plakas Mannos as soon as possible is crucial for a fair and just resolution to your personal injury claim.
Because Plakas Mannos has expertise in catastrophic and serious car crashes, we make sure you know every member of the team working on your case and how to reach them quickly. Unlike some television attorney spokespersons, where clients are simply numbers who have to talk to a new person every time, our clients know exactly who is on their team. We find that by developing a relationship with each client, we can better represent and advocate for our clients and counsel them through the most difficult time in their life.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car, trucking, or motorcycle accident and suffered serious personal injuries and would like to speak to a member of our personal injury team, please call our office at 330-455-6112 or contact us today.
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