Personal injuries often occur when you least expect them. Even a seemingly minor accident can result in injuries that are disruptive to your life. You could be unable to work and facing significant medical expenses.
If your life has been turned upside down by an accident caused by someone else, you may be wondering whether to try to deal with the other party’s insurance company on your own or to hire a personal injury attorney. It is a common question that many injury victims face. We will try to discuss various scenarios.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Roughly 31 million people each year seek care in hospital emergency rooms throughout the country as the result of accidental injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These include potentially debilitating injuries such as broken bones, muscle or tendon tears, severe cuts and burns, as well as injuries that have the potential to be life-threatening, such as head and spinal cord injuries and damage to internal organs.
Among the most common causes of these types of injuries are:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents;
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents;
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Being struck by an object;
- Dog bites;
- Medical mistakes;
- Dangerous or defective products.
Many of the injuries caused by the accidents listed above are preventable and occur due to someone else’s carelessness, misconduct or disregard for safety.
Knowing When to Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Many accident victims are initially reluctant to seek legal help after an accident. If you were involved in a minor fender bender with another car and you were not injured, you certainly may be able to handle the accident without help. You should be able to deal on your own with the insurance company to get your car repaired. But if you were seriously injured or the other party’s insurance company is disputing your claim, you should consult with a knowledgeable attorney. You should understand your legal options so that you can make well-informed decisions.
Most accident victims are unfamiliar with the claims process. Insurance adjusters settle claims every day and are skilled negotiators. Having a trusted legal advocate on your side can help ensure your rights are protected. A lawyer who has experience handling injury cases can offer a perspective on the value of your claim and prevent an insurance company from taking advantage of you.
You should not have to pay medical bills for injuries caused by another driver’s carelessness. Failing to seek legal guidance after a serious accident may cost you time and money.
The sooner you have an experienced attorney investigating your case, the sooner you can focus on your physical recovery.
When Dealing with Insurance Companies
In the days after an accident, an insurance company representative may contact you, looking to settle your claim quickly. When dealing with other party’s insurance company, it is important to keep in mind that the insurance adjuster has a financial motive to make the lowest settlement possible. The adjuster may seek to minimize your injuries, shift the blame for the accident or offer a low settlement to remove their liability. They may offer a settlement that is far less than the case is actually worth. They understand that if you accept the offer, then you won’t be able to seek any additional payment.
Any statements you give the insurance adjuster may be used against you. Before you make any statements or sign any documents, you should speak to a personal injury attorney.
When Injuries Were Caused by Medical Providers or by Defective Products
If your injuries were the result of medical malpractice or due to a dangerous or defective product, you can expect to be confronted with a team of attorneys aggressively defending their client and their actions. They are unlikely to admit what really happened, leaving you with unanswered questions.
They will likely attempt to dispute your credibility and block you from obtaining information pertinent to your case, while using legal proceedings to delay settlement of your claim for months or even years after your injuries occur. In these types of situations, it is important to have legal representation to aggressively defend your interests.
When Accident Investigations Are Insufficient
A thorough accident investigation is crucial to proving how your injuries occurred and who is at fault. Unfortunately, police departments and insurance companies are generally limited in the amount of time or resources they can spend investigating your claim.
As experienced personal injury attorneys, we can conduct an independent investigation of the accident and reconstruct how it occurred. We can subpoena witnesses, obtain video surveillance footage, and uncover hidden evidence necessary towards building a successful case.
When Facing Permanent Disabilities
You should always contact a personal injury lawyer if your injuries are severe enough to have a lasting effect on your ability to work and enjoy life.
When you are facing permanent disabilities as the result of an accident due to someone’s reckless or negligent actions, any compensation that you receive should take into account future medical care and lost future earnings.
While an insurance company settlement may address a portion of your current expenses, a settlement generally does not account for long-term needs, nor do insurance companies voluntarily compensate you for pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment in life that you and your loved ones may suffer. The only way to obtain this type of compensation is to have a determined personal injury lawyer advocating on your behalf and pursuing a personal injury lawsuit if necessary.
Before the Statute of Limitations Runs Out in Your Case
Investigating an accident, identifying those potentially at fault, and negotiating with insurance companies regarding settlement amounts all take time. In some cases, you may not even discover the full nature of your injuries or any lingering disabilities until months or years after the accident occurred.
Under Section 1-52 of the North Carolina General Statutes, you have three years from the date of your injury to claim compensation. Requesting a consultation with our personal injury attorneys immediately after your accident can ensure that there is sufficient time to investigate your accident and file a claim.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you or someone you care about has been injured as the result of someone’s negligent actions, contact Hardison & Cochran today. Our experienced North Carolina personal injury attorneys provide the aggressive legal representation you need in these situations, and can advise you on how to get the maximum amount of compensation you need to recover. We serve Raleigh, Fayetteville, Wilmington, and areas throughout North Carolina; call or contact us online today for a free consultation.