Over the past almost 40 years, I've heard just about every reason why someone injured in an accident doesn't need a personal injury lawyer. The most common reason: "Why pay a personal injury lawyer when I can do it myself?"
While this sounds sensible, statistically it is not.
Studies show that injured persons receive a net recovery of 20-25% more with representation, even after attorney's fees and costs are deducted. Any injured person is never fully nor adequately compensated for the pain, discomfort and emotional upset that he or she suffers as a result of having been injured. But the results I obtain for my clients are fair and just given the entire set of circumstances of the accident and the state of the laws as they exist in California.
My practice has focused exclusively on personal injury since 1978. From the moment a new client calls my office, they can be assured that we're doing everything to maximize their recovery from the insurance companies and from those responsible for the injuries.
Unlike many other lawyers, my clients always have the opportunity to personally meet with me or call me directly during the entire time the case is pending. This way, they can be further assured that I am personally handling their case, not some "case manager" or other non-attorney.
When it comes time to settle your case, I don't accept any settlement offer without your specific consent. And any settlement occurs only after the client and I have discussed all options. Also, I handle all property damage claims in automobile accidents free of charge as a courtesy to my clients. We conclude that aspect of the case as soon as possible.
When I first meet with a client to evaluate their claim, I often hear that the insurance company, including their own, was pleasant and accommodating at first. Now, the adjuster is demanding an examination by an insurance company doctor and a release for medical records. Clients also tell me their own insurance company will not pay for treatment because someone, perhaps a computer, has declared future and sometimes previous treatment unnecessary.
Insurance companies are in business to realize profits. To that end, adjusters try to pay the least possible amount to claimants by all means available.
The Insurance Code for the State of California, a volume of laws and regulations, governs what insurance companies can and cannot do. These laws were enacted to protect the public from the practices of the insurance companies-and for very good reason!
Therefore, the appropriate time for an injured person to seek legal counsel is immediately after they leave the accident scene. It is important that anyone injured in an accident speak with a lawyer at the earliest opportunity after the accident to get the answers to all of their questions. Don't wait to let the insurance company ignore your legal rights.
The Law Offices of David G. Smith is prepared to answer any and all questions. All consultations are free, even if you decide not to retain my services. Remember though, you're at a competitive disadvantage and in an unfair bargaining position when you decide to "handle it yourself."
If you have any questions about a particular case or an aspect of a claim, please do not hesitate to call me at 510.893.3741 or by email to [email protected].
Photo courtesy of Joe Wolf, Flickr