Injured? Should I immediately contact a personal injury attorney?
As a personal injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale, I am amazed by how many individuals seek legal representation for an injury suffered weeks if not months after an accident. This is a mistake and could jeopardize future claims for damages. In fact, I cannot think of a single situation where an individual would not benefit from speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately after an accident.
Here are just a few reasons why you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney after an accident.
- Personal injury attorneys offer FREE consultations with no obligation to sign up;
- Personal injury attorneys are only compensated in the event they recover a settlement on your behalf;
- Personal injury attorneys almost always secure higher settlement amounts than individuals who deal directly with an insurance company. The fear of a possible trial (i.e. exposing the insurance company to unknown and unlimited risk) is the best weapon in a personal injury attorney’s arsenal.
- Insurance companies are NOT working for your best interests. Insurance companies will do everything under the law to sidestep responsibility, seek exclusions, and deny claims. Not retaining a personal injury attorney only emboldens insurance companies make minimal settlement offers (see #3);
- Insurance companies will attempt to lock you into a position (by a sworn statement) early in the case (liability, degree of injuries, etc) to your detriment;
- Insurance companies oftentimes “drag their feet” when dealing with your property damage (“PD”) claim;
- An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you of potentially unknown avenues of recovery (for example, if you are hit on your bicycle or are a pedestrian you may be able to recover benefits through your automobile’s uninsured/underinsured (“UM”) policy OR if your automobile is hit by an at-fault driver who works for a business, you may be able to recover benefits through multiple parties);
- An experienced personal injury attorney can help facilitate medical treatment providers on a letter of protection (“LOP”), even if you did not purchase health insurance.
- [With regards to auto accidents] personal injury protection (“PIP”) laws are confusing; if you miss certain deadlines, you can be excluded from benefits. Please read our article, Florida’s new PIP laws effective January 1, 2013.
I do caution potential clients to be on the lookout for ambulance chasers and “runners” who seemingly appear at your door within hours of an accident. These types of behaviors are highly unscrupulous and illegal. Always speak directly with the personal injury lawyer who will be handling your case prior to signing any documents; do not sign documents on the referral of a non-lawyer (such as a tow truck driver or intake assistant at a hospital).
Finally, take advantage of the FREE consultation provided by personal injury lawyers. Hiring the right personal injury lawyer who will aggressively fight to protect your interests could be one of the most important decisions you may ever make.