Author: Mitchell Williams, Esq., Harris & Graves
When you get injured in an accident with another vehicle, you may think the process of getting compensated for your injuries is simple, especially when the insurance company offers you a settlement right up front. Accepting this initial offer, however, can be a critical mistake that can cost you everything.
Many people wonder after they get hurt whether they need a lawyer to pursue their case at all. In most cases, it’s a good idea to at least speak with an attorney. Getting compensated for post-accident injuries can be a tricky thing, and a single mistake can cost you a great deal. Learn when and why you need a motorcycle accident lawyer after you get hurt, and how the right attorney is your best shot at significant compensation.
Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
The answer to this is a bit more complex than people think. From a legal standpoint, no, you don’t need an attorney. You can always try to settle a case on your own. That said, from a practical standpoint, if you don’t have a lawyer, you’re placing yourself at a serious disadvantage.
After all, the defendant will have the representation of their insurance company’s high-powered, experienced lawyers. Shouldn’t you have the same advantage?
Dealing with Insurance Companies
When you are in an accident, sometimes an insurance adjuster will be on the scene even before the police arrive. They’ll certainly be among the first to contact you. They will present themselves as compassionate, caring and understanding of your circumstances. They’ll say that they want to help. The offer they tender, however, will often speak to the opposite. It will be very low.
If you refuse this offer, they’ll start to get more aggressive. They might cajole, pressure, trick and even bully you. Some people think that they can accept the initial offer and then still sue for more later. That’s a bad idea; these companies will often get you to sign paperwork that limits your right to sue for more if you accept their offer. You need someone who knows how to fight back.
Why Insurance Companies Are So Tough
Many people don’t realize this, but insurance companies aren’t in the business of providing services. They’re profit-based companies who are out to make as much money as possible. They collect billions in premiums every year, and they certainly don’t want to have to pay out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements.
The insurance adjuster’s job, in fact, is to close your case as quickly as possible, for as little money as possible. They’ll look for any reason to deny your claim. If you say you’re sorry about anything, they’ll spin it as an admission of guilt. If they find out a taillight was broken on your motorcycle, they’ll use that against you.
Because of this, you need someone experienced in your corner who can fight back against the adjusters. You need someone who can prove your case, protect your rights as a victim and give you a better chance at the right settlement in your case.
What If the Damage Was Minor?
Another point that people often bring up is, what if the damage from the accident was minor? Do you still need an attorney? Once again, it’s always a good idea to at least speak with an attorney. The reason for this is simple. You might not feel hurt right away, but some injuries can take weeks or even months to show up, and there is a statute of limitations for when you can file a lawsuit.
Further, waiting too long, even within the statute of limitations, can be a reason for the insurance company to challenge your suit. They’ll claim your injury wasn’t from the accident and that you’re taking advantage of their client. It’s important to get the process started, just in case.
I Can’t Afford It!
The truth is, you can afford an injury lawyer. Good accident attorneys work on contingency. This means they don’t charge you any fees if they don’t win your case. Really, in the end, you’ve got nothing to lose by turning to a motorcycle accident lawyer to pursue your case. While you might not legally need one, it’s never a bad idea to have this kind of representation in your corner.
For years, Tormey & McConnell have been respected and dependable motorcycle accident attorneys for victims in the Amarillo, Texas, area. Give us a call today for a free consultation on your case, and let us help you get the settlement you deserve.
About The Author
Mitchell Williams is a motorcycle accident lawyer in Columbia, South Carolina, and lead partner of Harris & Graves, P.A., a leading personal injury law firm with numerous office locations throughout the state. Mitchell is a member of the American Bar Association and graduate of the University of South Carolina Law School.