If you have been injured in a car accident, motorcycle crash, slip and fall accident, or you have suffered any other type of personal injury, there is most likely a lot of uncertainty about the future. You have probably missed some time from work, incurred expenses for medical treatment, rehabilitation, and other costs related to your injury. When you are in this situation, you may wonder whether it is best to handle recovering compensation from the insurance company on your own, or to hire a personal injury attorney.
In deciding whether or not you should hire a personal injury attorney, there are several questions you need to answer about your situation:
How serious is your injury?
For injuries that are relatively minor, e.g., those in which you can make a full recovery within a few days to a couple of weeks or so, you might be able to handle the claim on your own. However, if you have a more severe injury that is debilitating and will require a long-term recovery process, it is strongly advisable to obtain legal representation. With a serious injury, the claim will be worth considerably more, accurately quantifying your losses will be far more challenging. Even if you have a less severe injury in which you have ongoing pain and you don’t yet know the full extent of it, it is still a good idea to at least speak with a personal injury attorney, so you understand your legal rights and what types of compensation you may be entitled to.
Is there a question about who is liable for your injuries?
There are some cases that are fairly straightforward, while others are more complicated. For example, if someone bumped into you from behind while you were driving, it might be pretty clear that they are the party at fault. On the other hand, if you were involved in an accident with a large commercial truck, there may be many contributing factors and several potential responsible parties. With more complex cases, a thorough investigation is required to determine the exact cause, and which parties to hold accountable. This may also require the use of expert witnesses to speak authoritatively to certain aspects of the case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can effectively handle these types of cases and help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
How comfortable are you dealing with the insurance company?
Obtaining a settlement from the insurance company involves a lot of back and forth negotiation. To obtain the compensation you deserve, you need to have strong negotiating skills and at least a basic knowledge of the legal aspects of your case and what types of damages you should be able to recover. Keep in mind that insurance adjusters are trained negotiators, and they will often employ tactics such as contacting you early on in the process, expressing sympathy for what happened to you, and trying to build rapport. This is designed to make you believe that they are “on your side” and that they are going to “take care of you.” If you are not careful, however, you may end up with a lowball settlement offer that is far below what your claim is really worth. And if you are not willing (and able) to pursue litigation (if necessary) to compel them to pay full and fair compensation, they are less likely to increase their offer.
Has the insurance company disputed the validity of your claim?
Even when an incident is clearly the fault of another party, the insurance company may try to dispute the claim by either implying that your injuries are not as serious as they really are, that you are partially at fault for your injuries, or both. The goal of the insurance company is to minimize the amount that they pay, so they will look for any reason they can find to minimize or deny the claim.
If you were injured in Alabama and your insurance company is approaching the case this way, your right to recover compensation may be in jeopardy. Alabama is one of only a handful of states that applies the “contributory negligence” legal standard. Under contributory negligence, an injured party can be barred from recovering compensation if they are found to be even 1% at fault for the underlying incident that led to the injury. If the insurer has done anything to imply that they are seeking to deny the claim, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer right away.
Our Seasoned Alabama Personal Injury Attorneys are Here to Help
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in Alabama and someone else was at fault, you deserve to be compensated. Whether you handle the case on your own or hire a personal injury attorney is a decision only you can make. At Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce & Thompson, LLP, we
have extensive experience successfully representing clients with even the most complex injury cases, and we meet with you to provide a free case assessment. This way, you will know exactly where you stand, so you can make the most informed decision on how to proceed. To schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at (334) 731-7693. You may also send us a message through our online contact form.