You’ve probably seen a car accident lawyer almost every day of your life. Whether it’s on television, a billboard, or an online ad, personal injury attorneys are everywhere. And most days, you probably don’t give them much thought.
But if you’ve recently been in an auto accident in West Virginia, you might now find yourself wondering whether you really need to talk to a lawyer — and if so, why?
You might also wonder whether accepting the insurance company’s settlement offer is a good idea. Certainly, it might seem like the easiest option in the moment. But there’s more to consider than you may realize at first.
The law doesn’t require you to hire a lawyer. But unless your accident was of the mildest kind (meaning there were no injuries and no significant property damage), there are compelling reasons for hiring an attorney to help you. Here are just a few that deserve consideration:
1. Insurance companies are not on your side.
If you’ve been injured in a car crash and someone else’s negligence is at least partly to blame, you may be able to file a claim against that person’s insurance company. In some cases, you might also be able to make a claim under your own insurance policy.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are a lot more interested in protecting their own financial interests than they are in helping “the little guy.”
We’ve all seen the TV commercials about friendly, neighborly insurance adjustors who are there when you need them and always on your side. But when it comes time for insurance companies to pay up, more often than not, they put up a fight instead.
The first thing you should understand is that if the insurance company has offered you a settlement, it wasn’t an act of charity or compassion. Insurers offer settlements when they believe the victim might have a claim. The insurance adjustor’s job is to make the victim’s claim go away quickly and inexpensively.
Generally speaking, the dollar amount they offer is based on careful calculation, designed to minimize their liability and the risk of litigation while also paying you as little as possible. And it comes with a catch: if you accept the settlement offer, you will forever lose the right to make an additional claim relating to that accident — even if you later learn that your injury was more serious than you realized, or that the medical bills are more than you expected, or if unforeseen complications arise.
2. Personal injury law is complicated, and mistakes are easy to make.
After suffering an auto injury, you are entitled to certain rights, which may include the right to financial compensation. Those rights are governed by a complex system of law that has developed slowly over the course of many years in our state. The laws are complex, which is precisely why attorneys grapple with each other over auto accident claims all the time.
Insurance adjustors are carefully trained to find evidence they can use against people who file a claim. They might ask you questions that seem innocent but are designed to lead you into an admission of fault or a contradiction. They might try to talk you into giving a “recorded statement,” which is something you should only do under your attorney’s counsel.
They might even comb through your social media accounts (or even your friends or family’s social networks) to find “proof” that your injuries are “exaggerated.”
Moreover, pursuing a personal injury claim means keeping up with countless deadlines and following strict procedural requirements.
Through it all, mistakes are easy to make. An experienced West Virginia car accident lawyer can give you wise, strategic, and practical advice for avoiding mistakes and overcoming the insurance company’s tactics.
3. Your lawyer will fight to maximize your compensation.
You might be entitled to more money than you realize. West Virginia personal injury law recognizes a wide range of damages. Ultimately, your recovery will hinge on the nature of your injury, the losses you’ve experienced, and the circumstances of the crash. A lawyer can help you put your best foot forward and negotiate aggressively with the insurance company, fighting for a settlement that values your losses fully and fairly. In the event that your claim goes all the way to trial, a lawyer can be effective in persuading the court as to the value of your claim.
Studies show that people who hire a car accident lawyer tend to recover more money than those who do not.
4. Your lawyer will handle most of the burden for you.
Even small auto accidents can bring a lot of hassle into your life. Hiring a car accident lawyer means putting the burden on someone else’s shoulders — shoulders that are used to handling this kind of weight. Legal representation brings with it tremendous peace of mind.
Whether it’s dealing with insurance adjustors, bill collectors, mechanics, witnesses, or paperwork and red tape, an experienced West Virginia car accident lawyer can handle every aspect of your claim so that you can focus on getting better.
5. Legal research & expert investigation can help your case.
Car accident cases turn on the question of negligence. In other words: is there evidence that one of the parties was driving carelessly or in violation of the law?
The first and most obvious piece of evidence is the police report. But beyond that, other evidence may prove critical. Examples include: eyewitness testimony, expert testimony, expert accident reconstruction evidence, video surveillance, and so on.
At Colombo Law, we are dedicated to doing everything we can to support our clients’ claims. And even though we have been successful in resolving the majority of cases outside of court, we prepare every case as if it’s going to trial.
6. Without a car accident lawyer, you are at a major disadvantage.
The adjustor assigned to handle your claim may be your primary contact person, but when you interact with an insurance company, you aren’t just dealing with the adjustor. He or she has the entire corporation on their side, including all its vast financial resources and its extensive team of attorneys. You need a car accident lawyer to help you stand on even ground, and to avoid being taken advantage of by people who simply have a lot more experience in these matters than you might have.
Your lawyer has a duty to zealously represent your interests and yours alone. Unlike the adjustor, your lawyer won’t be working for the insurance company. Instead, they’ll stand in your corner and passionately fight for the outcome you deserve.
Schedule a Cost-Free, No-Obligation Legal Consultation Today
Contact Colombo Law and schedule a free, no obligation, case review right away. Just dial 888-860-1414 (304-599-4229 in Morgantown) or contact us online. We fight to maximize your compensation. We proudly serve accident victims across the whole state of West Virginia.