Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know an Injury Attorney Could Do
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UPDATED: Feb 2, 2014
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There are many excellent reasons for hiring a California personal injury lawyer to help you with your personal injury case, but some reasons are more obvious than others. Attorneys typically know the insurance system better than most consumers, and that is an advantage that an attorney can bring to your claim. But, in addition to the more obvious ways a personal injury lawyer can help, few people realize that the huge hospital bills that may not be covered by your health insurance can be put on hold by your attorney. Also, a California personal injury attorney can actually negotiate with health care providers so that you get to keep more of your settlement or judgment and pay less for hospital or doctor bills. Read on for specific information about what California personal injury lawyers do to help their clients.
Many personal injury victims are unaware of the power their own statements have on determining the amount of settlement money awarded to them. In fact, recent California law has begun taking personal statements so seriously that judges are now permitted to order victims to release their Facebook and Twitter posts to the opposing side. In other words, personal adverse information can now be taken from your most private communications and given to your opponents to better make their case. With this in mind, a personal injury attorney is an invaluable asset. Your attorney will meet with you and educate you on acceptable forms of communication. Should you make a mistake in speaking with anyone, they will advocate for you and do their best to correct the record. Best of all, they are present at every meeting with your insurance company, settlement meetings, and when its time to take deposition statements.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies
California insurance companies will always take advantage of injured victims. Simply put, saving expenses for their company is a job requirement, they will always want to pay an injured person as little as possible. A seasoned California attorney can make a huge difference with insurance companies. Under California law, an attorney is required to contact the insurance company by both telephone and letter and inform them that you are under their representation. That very statement alone is often enough to force some action from the insurance companies. In addition, California law gives the attorney the power to act with assumed approval during negotiations. According to the California Bar Association, this power ensures represented victims a 30% to 70% higher settlement than those who are unrepresented.
Negotiation With Creditors
We all realize that when we enter the hospital, the insurance company will not cover all of our bills. In fact, depending on your level of coverage, you may pay as much as 60% of your medical bills. After being seriously injured to a point of being unable to work, paying these bills may be impossible. Under California law, your attorney has the authority to negotiate with the hospitals to both reduce the overall bill and request a hold on the payment until your case settles. This means that the hospital bills will not even adversely affect your credit score while you are waiting for a settlement.
California Insurance Subrogation Act
You may not realize it, but under California law your insurance company has the power to force you into a lawsuit. Under California’s Subrogation Act, your insurance company can refuse to pay part of your medical bills if they determine that another party is responsible for your injuries. So, for example, if you are submitting a request for payment of your daughter’s dog bite treatment expenses, an insurance agent may call you and inquire whether the dog was yours or someone else’s. If the dog was not yours, the insurance company may refuse your claim or at least require a percentage of your case settlement should you already be involved in a lawsuit. However, there are limits. A California personal injury lawyer will be familiar with California’s Insurance Subrogation law and will make sure that your insurance company does not abuse their privilege.
No Fee Mediation
If the thought of hiring an attorney stirs up images of courtroom drama there’s good news for you. California courts dislike courtroom drama as much as you do and prefer to solve disputes through alternative means. In fact, the California courts like it so much that they offer attorneys an option to mediate the case without any court fees. While the mediation program is open to unrepresented people as well, a California personal injury lawyer will already know how to navigate the mediation process. Your lawyer can submit mediation briefs, will already be anticipating the other side’s arguments, and can tell you whether the mediation settlement being offered is an honest settlement.
If you have been injured in any way and are trying to work with insurance companies, businesses, or other individuals, you really can’t afford to navigate your personal injury case without a lawyer. The fact of the matter is, a good attorney will not only understand the law, but will also know where to get information that will help in increasing any settlement you may be offered. Your lawyer will know when a settlement offer is too good to pass up or not nearly enough. If you have any questions or want to find out more about what a personal injury lawyer can do for you, contact one today for a consultation. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation.