Should I Contact a Car Accident Attorney?
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UPDATED: Aug 13, 2020
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If you have just been involved in an accident, you may be wondering if you need a lawyer to handle your car insurance claim. Generally speaking, it depends on what happened and what injuries were suffered. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your claim if you or anyone you care about has been injured in the car accident, especially if there is any permanent injury, or significant time is lost from work or school or household duties. On the other hand, a simple fender bender where no occupants are hurt can usually be appropriately handled through your insurer.
TIP:No matter how minor the accident, don’t rule out the possibility of talking with a car accident attorney. Consultations are free, and the facts and circumstances surrounding car accidents are always different. It is important to look at the degree of the car accident and use your best judgment, but err on the side of getting legal advice if in doubt.
Bad Faith Accident Claim
By contractual law, insurance companies owe their policyholders a duty to act fairly and in good faith. This means the insurance company must honor their end of the bargain, and not attempt to cheat you out of an insurance settlement. The duty of good faith is not expressly written in the insurance contract, however many states have drafted laws specifically identifying practices, which are considers unfair and therefore are illegal claims practices by the insurance company.
Bad faith typically boils down to the company making unreasonable and unfair interpretations of the insurance policy to avoid paying your claim, and can come in many forms:
- Unreasonable delay in adjusting claims
- Inadequate investigation by the claims adjuster
- Improper denial of the claim
- Refusing to make a reasonable and fair settlement offer
- Fraudulent practices
- Not making a reasonable attempt to negotiate a claim settlement
If you have a claim in which you feel the insurance company has acted in bad faith, contact an accident attorney now! A reputable attorney in your area can explain the bad faith laws in your state and help you file a lawsuit to recover damages owed.
When a Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Contacting a car accident attorney who deals with personal injury can provide you with the peace of mind that no stone gets left unturned. Here are some situations an attorney can, and probably should, help you with:
- An injury has occurred where there has been serious injury (broken bones / hospitalization) or where injuries are likely to be permanent (paralysis).
- A death has resulted from the accident.
- Permanent scarring has occurred or significant loss of time from work.
- The accident occurred in a construction area. There could be separate laws governing an accident in a construction area (speed, duty of extra precaution, etc)
- A police report does not accurately describe the accident and puts you at fault.
- Important technical, legal or medical issues are involved.
- The limits of your liability insurance are low and do not adequately pay for the accident.
- If you have a pre existing condition that was made worst by the accident or the other parties insurer is using it to lower your settlement.
- You have no insurance or your insurance company suggests that you did not pay your premium.
- Your insurer involves its own attorney
- You believe the insurance carrier has acted in bad faith.
You can also seek advice or consultation for smaller issues such as:
- Discussing your settlement offer and negotiating a settlement claim
- Looking over the accident to help determine who was at fault and what, if anything, you can recover
- Explaining the terms or coverage of your policy
- Reviewing confusing paperwork or forms.
TIP:You may wonder if you should still contact a car insurance attorney for a free consultation even if you have already been offered a settlement. YES! A consultation is free and free advice is invaluable. Contacting an attorney will not affect your settlement offer!
Finding an attorney is easy and most car accident attorneys listed provide free initial consultations. You will not risk any settlement that your insurance company has offered you, and can find ways to maximize the value of your claim to ensure you get fair payment. Click here to contact and attorney in your area.
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