The Post-Accident “Legal Checkup”
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you probably sought out medical attention (or you should) to make sure you are physically/mentally okay. But what about seeking a legal opinion?
In addition to your medical checkup, is a legal checkup right for you?
Oftentimes, personal injury victims do not discuss their case with a personal injury lawyer on time or at all. Unfortunately, this could be a major mistake and can lead to the relinquishment of otherwise viable legal rights and claims. Always talk with your doctor first for your physical needs then contact your attorney for the legal implications of your accident and injury.
Here are 5 important reasons to consult with a personal injury attorney:
Attorneys have experience working with insurance providers to help you get the highest possible settlement amounts for your injuries. In addition to helping you get compensation for your actual costs of medical bills, attorneys oftentimes have experience getting compensation (in the form of general damages) for injuries that may be difficult to monetize, such as pain and suffering. Remember – you may receive compensation for non-physical harm.
Damages are the only way to quantify the value of a personal injury claim. As stated above there are a number of different types of damages that may apply to a claim and the only person who is able to quantify your damages properly is an attorney.
2. Statute of Limitations
Most local, state and federal law impose a limited time period (the “statute of limitations”) on your ability to file your claim and receive compensation for your injuries. In Louisiana, they do not use the phrase “statute of limitations” rather we use prescriptive period or just prescription.
If you fail to contact an attorney promptly after your injury, and then later change your mind, you may be out of luck. Keep in mind that minor injuries today can lead to more major injuries tomorrow.
For example, most people do not know that in Louisiana you have one year from the accident to resolve your claim otherwise you have to file a lawsuit or the claim will expire. States like Texas and California have a two year period. This is a huge difference.
Accidents can be traumatizing experiences. Post-accident insurance claims and/or litigation can lead to excessive stress and exhaustion during an already difficult situation. The right attorney can help de-stress the process for you.
I always tell clients there is value in ending or not starting litigation. The claims process before a lawsuit can cause stress as well. Having insurance companies question you, review your medical records, and analyze your claim can be a stressful process.
One of the main factors that go into damages for an accident claim is “pain and suffering” – which stress is an element of suffering.
Depending on the type of accident or the severity of your injuries, you may be dealing with complex legal rules. The combination of statutes, local ordinances, the insurance policy language, and case law make for a crazy mix of rules and regulations.
For instance, claims based on toxic exposure (as a result of contaminants in the air, soil, water, etc.) can be difficult to prove and often require complicated scientific data. Similarly, expert help is especially needed in cases of medical malpractice, where both complex medical and legal questions may be involved.
Even simple rear-end collision accidents have complex facts that have to mix well with the laws and insurance that are in play for that particular claim.
Insurance companies make a lot of money knowing that their claimants do not know the laws and rules of the game. They want to keep it simple so you are paid less.
5. Refusal to Pay
Sometimes, no matter how strong your claim, an insurance company or government agency refuses to pay. In these cases, having an experienced attorney back you up and threaten further legal action may help convince the other party to pay up.
Regardless of the injury, you may have suffered, the right personal injury attorney can be a crucial step in an otherwise difficult process. Here at Smiley Law Firm, we are always ready to take all your personal injury questions. Leave a comment below or Contact us today!
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