Unexpected injuries caused by slips and falls, car accidents, or medical malpractice can turn your life upside down. You may be out of work while you recover. Medical bills are piling up, and you need money now.
The insurance company for the other party then contacts you to discuss the accident and your injury. They ask if you want to file a claim. You have little to no experience with filing personal injury claims. What do you do?
You could submit an injury claim with the insurance company without a lawyer. That is one option. Hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your case is another option. How do you decide what option is best for you?
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Do You Feel Comfortable Submitting a Claim to the Insurance Company Without a Lawyer?
Some accident cases do not require the assistance of an injury lawyer. For example, let’s assume a victim did not sustain serious injuries and had minimal economic damages (i.e., lost wages, medical bills, etc.) after a motor vehicle accident.
The insurance company offered to pay an amount that covers the person’s expenses with some money for pain and suffering. The person’s doctor released him from care, stating he made a full recovery with no permanent impairments.
In this specific case, the person might be able to handle the insurance claim without an attorney. However, very few personal injury cases are this simple. Furthermore, this example is very fact-specific, meaning no serious injuries, fault not disputed, minimal damages, and accepted liability.
Most personal injury cases are not simple; personal injury cases involving catastrophic injuries and substantial financial losses can be extremely complicated. As a result, insurance companies investigate and scrutinize these types of claims much closer than a minor auto accident claim.
A person would need a thorough understanding of insurance laws, personal injury laws, and damages to handle an insurance claim without an attorney. Of course, the victim could choose to proceed without a lawyer, but the result could be disastrous.
Should I Meet With a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney Before Filing an Insurance Claim?
It certainly could not hurt to take advantage of a free consultation with an experienced injury lawyer to learn more about your case. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters do not tell you the truth about your claim or your legal rights.
The claims adjuster assigned to your case wants to close the file as quickly as possible for the least amount of money. Therefore, the adjuster is not a trusted source for legal advice or counsel. An attorney is honest and forthcoming about both.
Before you talk to an insurance company or claims adjuster about your case, it might be in your best interest to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney in Maryland. Meeting with an attorney could help you avoid costly mistakes that you cannot undo later.
Level the Playing Field to Make Things Fair
Insurance companies employ skilled and experienced investigators, adjusters, and lawyers to minimize the company’s liability for injury claims. Hiring a Baltimore personal injury law firm gives you access to a legal team that protects your best interests. Your attorney:
- Investigates the claim
- Identifies responsible parties
- Gathers evidence
- Documents damages
- Works with expert witnesses
- Calculates the maximum value for your damages
- Files and monitors insurance claims
- Aggressively negotiates for top settlement amounts
Your lawyer protects you from insurance tactics designed to undervalue your claim or deny your claim. The insurance company should not contact you about any matter. It should only contact your lawyer.
Examples of Factors That Indicate You Need to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Some factors are strong indicators that you need a lawyer to help you with a personal injury claim. Some of these situations can hurt your case if mishandled. Other situations are incredibly complex and require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Factors that indicate you need to seek immediate legal advice about an injury claim include, but are not limited to:
- The insurance company denies your claim based on contributory fault
- You were injured in a commercial truck accident or a government vehicle accident
- The accident caused permanent disabilities or catastrophic injuries, including brain damage, amputations, internal organ failure, and paralysis
- Your case involves complex areas of personal injury law, including product liability, medical malpractice, aviation accidents, and police brutality
- Someone died because of the accident, or your child sustained injuries
- The case involves a government entity or multiple parties
- The insurance company refuses to investigate your claim or review your claim
The Maryland statute of limitations sets deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits. The general deadline is three years from the injury date to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, the statute of limitations varies depending on the type of personal injury case and other circumstances.
Therefore, it is best to have an attorney calculate the statute of limitations for your case. Do not trust what an insurance adjuster might tell you regarding how long you have to file a claim.
It is Too Late Once You Sign a Settlement Agreement
A settlement agreement or final settlement resolves all issues related to your accident and injury. Settlement agreements prepared by insurance companies almost always contain language that releases “all parties from all future liability for known and unknown claims.” In other words, you release everyone from everything regarding this specific incident and injury.
Therefore, if you discover six months after settling your insurance claim that you need surgery or you sustained a permanent impairment, it is too late to ask for more money. You accepted the insurance company’s settlement offer. A legal, valid settlement agreement is a binding contract.
Before you sign a settlement agreement, take the time to get the facts about your case from a trusted source. Meeting with an injury lawyer cannot hurt, and it may help you recover a higher settlement amount for your personal injury claim.
Contact Our Office for a Free Consultation With a Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer
Deciding how to proceed with a personal injury claim can be overwhelming, especially if you are still recovering from injuries and have never dealt with an accident claim. Our Maryland personal injury lawyers handle everything for you so you can focus on healing. Call us to schedule your free consultation with one of our injury attorneys.