Being injured due to an accident or other type of personal injury can be life-altering. In addition to the pain and suffering you experience, you incur financial losses. Sometimes, an accident or personal injury could result in permanent disabilities.
Knowing if you need a personal injury lawyer to submit a claim to insurance can be challenging. The insurance adjuster will likely tell you that you don’t need an attorney to submit an insurance claim. While that is technically true, it does not mean that hiring a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer would not be beneficial.
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Is It Ever Okay to Submit a Claim to the Insurance Company Without Hiring a St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyer?
There could be situations where an injured party might not need a personal injury lawyer to settle an insurance claim. For example, you did not sustain severe injuries, and the insurance company accepts full liability for the claim. In that case, you might not need a lawyer to file an insurance claim.
However, insurance companies have teams of investigators, insurance adjusters, claims representatives, and lawyers that work to protect the company’s best interest. The company’s best interest is in direct conflict with your best interest. An insurance company is in business to make money, which does not include paying large settlement amounts.
Therefore, while the company has a team of professionals protecting it from liability, you only have yourself. If you do not understand insurance laws, personal injury law, or damages, you could make a mistake that hurts your claim. The result could be a denied claim or a severely undervalued claim.
Before you decide to go it alone with an insurance claim, it is wise to seek legal counsel. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations. Therefore, it does not cost you any money to find out whether you need a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer to file a claim with the insurance company.
If you are still struggling with whether to hire an attorney for a personal injury case, consider these questions:
Were You Severely Injured?
Minor injuries typically heal quickly without extensive medical treatment. However, if you sustained a catastrophic injury, you might need months of medical treatment and care to recover. Your life will never be the same if you sustain a permanent impairment.
Severe injuries that indicate you need a lawyer to handle your case include, but are not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burns
- Internal organ damage
- Complex fractures
- Loss of vision and/or hearing
- Severe disfigurement
- Crushing injuries
Personal injury cases involving traumatic injuries are complicated. The cases often involve future damages, including diminished quality of life and a decrease in earning capacity. Expert witnesses might be required to prove how much your case is worth.
Having a personal injury lawyer handle traumatic injury cases increases your chance of receiving a fair settlement or jury verdict.
Do You Know Who Is Liable for Your Damages?
In a two-car accident, you can assume that the other driver caused the accident. However, suppose a defective tire contributed to the cause of the crash. In that case, the tire manufacturer could share liability under product liability laws.
Without an extensive investigation to determine the cause of the accident, you might not be aware of all parties who could be responsible for your damages. At-fault parties will not step forward to claim responsibility. Unless you have the resources, skills, and expertise to investigate your injury claim and identify all liable parties, it is best to hire a lawyer to do that for you.
Did the Insurance Company Blame You for Causing Your Injury?
Florida recently changed its contributory fault laws so that if a victim is more than 50% to blame for causing their injuries, the victim is barred from receiving any compensation for their damages. If you are 50% or less to blame, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault.
More than ever, insurance companies are incentivized to shift blame to the injured victim to avoid paying full value for damages. Insurance adjusters are skilled at getting victims to say things that could be twisted to imply fault. Therefore, allowing a personal injury lawyer to handle all communications with an insurance company is generally best.
Did the Insurance Company Deny Your Insurance Claim?
Some insurance companies take advantage of injured victims who are not represented by lawyers. An insurance company might act in bad faith when processing and settling a personal injury claim. If you do not have a lawyer, you might not realize that the company is acting in bad faith.
If an insurance company denies or refuses to investigate your claim, call a lawyer immediately. It is also wise to seek legal advice if an insurance company pressures you to accept a low settlement offer or tells you that you do not need to talk with a lawyer about your case.
Do You Understand What Damages You Can Receive and the Value of Your Damages?
You cannot trust the insurance company to tell you whether it is paying you for all damages you are entitled to under Florida personal injury laws.
Likewise, you might know that you can receive compensation for pain and suffering. However, do you understand how to put a price on pain and suffering damages? Insurance companies routinely undervalue non-economic damages to pay a lower settlement amount.
Furthermore, there could be damages for future losses that you could receive. If your doctor issues an impairment rating, you might be entitled to future lost wages or loss of earning capacity. Additionally, you could be entitled to compensation for long-term care and ongoing medical expenses.
Signing a final settlement agreement ends your case. You give up the right to bring other claims or demand more money for your losses. Before you sign a settlement agreement or accept a settlement check, consider talking to an attorney to ensure the amount you are being paid compensates you fully for all damages in your personal injury case.
A St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyer Will Help You Navigate the Insurance Claims Process
The best way to know if you need a personal injury lawyer’s help with an insurance claim is to take advantage of a free case review. Contact our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our St. Petersburg personal injury attorneys. We are here to help you when you have been injured in an accident or other personal injury incident.
Call Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at (727) 796-8282 to accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis in Clearwater, FL.