Do I Need a Lawyer if the Accident Was Not My Fault?
If you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, you may feel that you have a clear cut case and that you do not need an attorney. However, what seems to be clear cut can soon turn into a nightmare. What if the insurance company denies your claim? What if they try to place some or all of the blame on you? What if the at-fault party had no insurance? As you can see, what appears to be a simple case can become extremely complicated. Insurance companies are in the business of making money – not spending it. They often fight and do all they can to lessen their degree of liability and the amount of damages they will have to pay.
Below are some ways you can benefit from hiring a personal injury attorney, even if the accident was someone else’s fault:
- Investigate for you: Without a lawyer, no one is investigating on your behalf. The insurance company has specialists that conduct their own independent investigations into accidents in order to determine fault and damages. Allowing them to conduct the sole investigation into the case without anyone supporting your claim could result in a claim denial or an offer far below what you are legally entitled to. You should always have someone on your side. For example, if you were hurt in a car accident in Memphis, your lawyer can obtain the Memphis Police Department crash report and interview witnesses on your behalf.
- Ensure you are not signing any of your rights away: Throughout the entire claims process, the insurance company will most likely ask you to sign several documents so they can do certain things. They will say that without your signature, they cannot move forward with your claim. Most of these documents have been created by insurance defense attorneys, in place to protect their interests – not yours. Hiring a Memphis car accident lawyer, for example, will provide you with a resource to examine all documents that require signatures so that you do not needlessly sign away your rights.
- Argue comparative fault: After any accident, both parties could argue comparative fault. This meaning each adverse party will try and place the blame on the other. First, it is important to know the comparative fault rules in the state you live. In most states you are only able to recover based on the percentage of fault attributed to you. Sometimes, such as in Tennessee, if it is found that you were 50% or more at fault, then your claim will be denied. Second, in order to ensure your position is fought for, attorneys may be able to obtain witness affidavits, video footage, and hire accident reconstruction specialists to prove the defendant’s fault.
- Evaluate your claim and negotiate a fair offer: One of the most important advantages of hiring an attorney is their ability to evaluate your claim and advise you on a fair offer. One key to negotiating is knowing the value of your case and having the tools in your pocket to fight for its worth. All too often do people accept offers soon after their accident and leave money in the pockets of the insurance companies. Additionally, in some situations, injured parties will accept an offer before they have fully recovered from their injuries. Insurance companies know this, and often present an offer to you soon after the accident even though you may need additional medical treatment in the future. Accepting this offer will prevent you from being compensated for any additional treatment you may need.
- Take care of any lien holders: In most personal injury cases, there are several liens and subrogation claims that must be dealt with before the case is over. Most health insurance providers such as Medicare, Medicaid, and private companies have a right to be reimbursed for the payments they have made to your medical providers. This is called subrogation. Moreover, if you recover from workers’ compensation insurance or obtaining disability under a plan, those carriers may have a right to subrogation as well. Medical providers often file liens in court or have you sign an assignment of benefits to ensure they are paid if you recover damages. A personal injury attorney will be able to identify any subrogation claims and liens on your case and negotiate on your behalf. Without the help of a lawyer, you may be responsible for more money than you are otherwise should have to pay.
Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, for over 25 years, has served the interests of car accident, truck accident, and personal injury victims throughout the South. We offer free consultations, and we handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning no attorney fees are required up front. For a free consultation with an attorney who practices personal injury law, call 800-529-4004 or complete our online form. We are equipped to help victims from Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Missouri, including communities like Memphis, Knoxville, Jackson, Nashville, Chattanooga, Little Rock, Jonesboro, Tupelo, Starkville, Hattiesburg, Paducah, Cape Girardeau, Sikeston, and Caruthersville. Let us show you why NST is the way to go.