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Car Accident Settlements: When Do You Need To Hire A Lawyer?

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Do You Really Need A Florida Car Accident Lawyer?

As an Orlando car accident lawyer, I sometimes speak with auto accident victims who aren’t sure whether they really need a lawyer for car accident settlements (or who the best car accident lawyer might be, but that’s a different question).

car accident settlements lawyer need

Their reasons for not knowing whether they should hire a Florida auto accident lawyer vary.

But often they aren’t sure yet how serious their injury might be (for example, they might have serious neck and back pain, but they don’t yet know what treatment they will need, or when, and how well, they might recover). A small number of people wonder whether they should just deal with the insurance company on their own, for their car accident settlements.

Car Accident Settlements That Do Not Require A Lawyer

There are car accident settlements where you really do not need a lawyer. But here’s the thing: if you call us with a case where you really don’t need a lawyer, we will tell you that you really don’t need us.

Those fall into a few broad categories, including:

  1. You experienced no injuries and only need to handle property (vehicle) damage — in these cases, we really can’t help because we only handle the injury portion of accident cases. Besides, you wouldn’t want your lawyer taking a percentage of the money you will need to repair or replace your vehicle. So we don’t even technically handle property damage claims for the injury clients who have hired us, other than oversight, and getting involved if they have a real problem.
  2. Your injuries were so minor that you aren’t interested in (or willing to) receive any medical treatment, such as a scratch on your arm, minor bruising, etc. or
  3. Your injuries were catastrophic (or someone you love died in the accident), AND there is either no insurance coverage, or a very small insurance policy amount. In these cases, if there is a small policy, very often the insurance company will offer to pay you the entire amount immediately, without needing a lawyer. This “small policy” qualifier is extremely important, because, if there is even a modestly “larger” policy, very often insurance companies will try HARD not to pay you, even when it is absolutely clear that they should.  (By “small policy,” I mean something like a 10K policy, in a catastrophic injury or death case.)  However, only a lawyer can tell you whether there might be other insurance policies involved (you can’t trust any insurance agent or adjuster to tell you that the defendant doesn’t have more policies, nor can you trust them to tell you, for example, that in addition to the defendant driver’s policy, there is an employer policy involved, just as an example).  Basically, even though the insurance company MIGHT pay you the full amount of a small policy without a lawyer, in a serious or catastrophic injury or death case, you still absolutely must contact a lawyer.  If we don’t think that we can help you beyond that small policy, we will tell you.  Also, if you have moderate injuries, with a small policy, then they still aren’t likely to pay you fairly without a lawyer.  Lastly, if they refuse to pay a small policy, when they should, then we can pursue a complex legal claim called “bad faith,” in which we seek to recover ALL of  your money damages, above the policy amount, as the law allows when we can prove that an insurance company acted in bad faith by not paying a policy when they should.

Car Accident Settlements That Require A Lawyer

If you received anything from moderate to severe to catastrophic injuries (or if there was a death involved), from an accident on the roadways in Florida, and there is insurance coverage available (or a corporate / business defendant), then you absolutely must hire a Florida car accident lawyer to negotiate your car accident settlements.

Why Not Having A Florida Auto Accident Lawyer Can (And Probably Will) Lower Your Case Value

Unfortunately, there is no way that the insurance company adjusters will give you a fair settlement without a lawyer involved. The reason is that they know that you aren’t equipped to provide any court with all of the necessary evidence to prove your injuries (not to mention handle all of the procedural complexities involved in any lawsuit), which is the only way that you can force an insurance company to do what they should. So they basically know that you can’t make them do better, nor do you know what “better” should be.

Even worse, they will ask you very innocent sounding questions, even from the first phone call, to try to get information that will hurt your case value, if / when you ever decide to hire a lawyer (in which case, if you first tried to deal with the insurance company on your own, it may eventually be too late for the lawyer to help you). These include questions like “how you are doing?,” “how is your day going?,” “how is your work is going?,“”are you able to work now?,” “how is your treatment going?,” “when did you first visit the doctor or hospital?,” “when are you planning to visit the doctor again?,” “what did the doctor say?,” “how are you feeling?,” “how much have you been billed for medical treatment so far?,” “were there any witnesses?,” “do you have any witness contact information?,“”how did the accident happen?,” “were you speeding?,” “were you on your phone?,“”where were you going?,” “was there anyone in the car with you (if so, who, and what is their contact information?), and on and on.

If you really are injured, you NEVER want to be in a position of answering these questions from an insurance adjuster yourself! There are FAR too many traps for the uninitiated in those questions. You also never, ever want to give a recorded statement, without first speaking with your lawyer, and having us communicating on your behalf, and deciding whether giving a recorded statement is in your best interest (and that decision varies from case-to-case, depending on the unique facts of each case). But even an unrecorded statement can hurt your case value. So you really need to call us first.

How An Orlando Serious Injury & Accident Lawyer Can Help You

We give our clients a lot of advice about steps to take after any accident, to maximize their case value, regarding things such as statements to doctors, statements to insurance adjusters (related to both injuries, and their vehicle damage), statements to anyone else who might be a witness, generating medical / treatment evidence, which is CRITICAL in any auto accident lawsuit, and (very importantly!!) avoiding common pitfalls while receiving treatment.  We also take MANY steps to preserve critical evidence in your case, which will be needed if we have to file a lawsuit.  Much of this evidence disappears, or becomes unavailable, shortly after any accident.  For example, witnesses may be harder to reach, or forget what happened, or the black box after a Florida semi-truck accident may be unavailable for inspection, or phone or text records may be erased. Your doctor also might fail to recommend a specialist who was necessary to prove one of your injuries.

Another Sneaky Way Insurance Companies Avoid Paying You Fairly

Another technique of insurance companies is NOT to offer you ALL categories of legally available money damages, and to blatantly lie about what money you are entitled to receive. For example, they might tell you that they can pay your ER bill, but say nothing about your need for ongoing medical evaluation or treatment, future lost wages, and/or pain and suffering. You really need a lawyer giving you advice about how to handle those things, then communicating for you to the insurance adjuster, and, in serious accident cases, later communicating with defense attorneys, mediators, judges, and juries. (Also, your own insurance company, just as an example, might tell you that you are entitled to a certain amount of coverage under your own policy, but not mention what you might recover from the defendant’s policy. Either insurance company (yours or the defendant drivers) might not tell you that there are other policies involved, or other defendants who you potentially could sue.)  These oversights are especially concerning in catastrophic injury & death cases.

I have personally spoken with many people who first tried to deal with their insurance companies. I have never, ever, seen them receive anything close to a fair offer (other than the catastrophic injury cases with very low policy amounts, as mentioned above; in those cases, we will explain your options before hiring us — and we will not accept the case unless we strongly believe we might be able to increase your case value, and we will tell you why & how (and the likelihood of there being more money), such as we need to investigate whether there are other insurance policies, or we need to hire an estate lawyer on your behalf, in the case of a wrongful death, where you will need to open probate to recover the money).

But I have seen many people destroy their case values by not hiring the best Orlando personal injury lawyer early enough in the process, particularly in a serious injury or wrongful death case, with significant insurance coverage involved. (There is a long history regarding why insurance companies fail to pay what they should, and very good evidence of their systemic de-valuing of insurance claims, and how the business model of paying the least amount possible for all claims started around the mid-1990s. Books have been written on the early lawsuits that uncovered these widespread but totally unfair insurance company procedures. Even lawyers are often required to file lawsuits, to get the most money from any given case, when the insurance company should pay the money much sooner in the case.)

If you were involved in any car, semi-truck, Uber or Lyft, bicycle, pedestrian, motorcycle, or other auto accident case, particularly involving moderate to catastrophic injuries, or death, anywhere in the states of Florida or Georgia, you can call us 24/7, for a free evaluation, and consultation with a lawyer, if you have a case in which we might be able to help you recover far more money. We also encourage you to read our many 5 star reviews.

If you want to make sure you get the most money, besides calling us ASAP, you might want to read the top 10 mistakes that auto accident victims make, which lowers their case value. Or you might want to read about what your personal injury or auto accident case might be worth.

(Every article on this website was written by an experienced accident lawyer, to help you understand how these cases really work, and how to always get the most money for any serious injury case.  Assuming you are really injured, AND assuming the defendant has either money or insurance coverage, being an informed consumer will help you maximize your case value.

Text Or Call 24 Hour Car Accident Lawyer Hotline (407) 803-2139

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About the Author:

Tina Willis is a serious injury, accident & death lawyer, based in Orlando, Florida, although she accepts cases throughout the states of Florida and Georgia. Ms. Willis has won many prestigious industry awards, best personal injury & car accident lawyer awards, and recovered multi-millions for her clients. She was formerly a law professor, and graduated second in her law school class back in 1997. She formerly worked for some of the largest defense firms in the country, often on multi-million dollar cases. She used to represent large corporations & insurance companies, so she knows their playbook. We are very focused on the highest quality client service, and maximizing the value of every case we handle. We vigorously prosecute serious injury and death cases caused by auto accidents, semi-truck accidents, slip and fall accidents, products & premises liability cases, as well as medical malpractice.
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