Why Do I Need An Attorney If I Have Been In A Collision?
If insurance companies did the right thing, personal injury attorneys would be out of a job. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not as wise as one would think. First of all, insurance adjusters are not allowed to practice law. They are restricted to handling claims on behalf of a claimant without giving them legal advice and second, they are the employees of the insurance company and look out for their employer and not you.
If someone is involved in a traffic collision/accident, they incur medical bills and will submit them to the insurance adjuster or representative. The injured individuals medical bills should be paid or reimbursed and also pay them a reasonable amount for pain and suffering. Unfortunately, insurance companies to do not to this which necessitates the need to hire an attorney to get the injured individual the recovery they are entitled to.
There are certain scenarios where you may not need an attorney or at the very least should not be expected to pay the attorney. One such example is where a pedestrian is struck in a crosswalk and as a result is hospitalized for days and incurs tremendous medical bills. Where the person who hit them though their insurance company admit fault and agree to tender the policy or pay the full amount of their insurance coverage for the injuries sustained to the pedestrian, the pedestrian may not need to hire an attorney. Why would an attorney be important under these circumstances? An attorney would look at the facts and confirm the responsible person, in fact, only has these meager insurance coverage limits offered by the insurer. An attorney would also inquire, was the driver in the course and scope of their employment while driving the vehicle? Does the responsible party have significant assets greater than the amount offered by the insurance company? If any of those scenarios are in the affirmative, the insurance limits offered may not be sufficient. The driver’s employer may be on the hook under the theory of Respondeat Superior if the driver was working at the time of the collision with the pedestrian. The attorneys role is explore other liable parties/theories potentially including the government entity perhaps for a dangerous intersection they have failed to properly protect their citizens from.
In those scenarios, though you may not need an attorney, it’s still best to consult with one to make sure that the insurance company is doing what’s in your best interest and not their own interest and that all potential avenues of recovery have been explored.
One should avoid paying a lawyer for what has already been paid or offered by the insurance company. In the example laid out, if the pedestrian is injured traumatically and the insurer is offering the full limits of the responsible parties insurance coverage, it is unfair for an attorney to collect a fee because an attorney’s job is to fight to get you money and not simply collect a fee like “passing go” in Monopoly. If that money has already been offered, you should not pay an attorney a fee. That attorney should charge only his or her costs for having conducted an investigation as to the responsible party’s assets or on any moneys recovered under other theories for which moneys have not been previously offered to the injured victim. If there is a another theory or responsible party, then the attorney should charge you a fee for only the additional monies that you are able to pursue and not those already offered by the insurer prior to retaining counsel/attorney.
For more information on Need For An Attorney In A PI Case, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (323) 496-2234 today.
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