How do I know if I need an attorney after a car crash in Missouri?
Posted on October 9th, 2020 by Zane Cagle
The thing you never expected to happen, happened. You’ve been in a car crash. If you are reading this, then you have many questions. While car crashes happen daily, no one is ever prepared for one to happen to them. Usually, at some point almost every person injured in a car crash contemplates whether or not they should get a lawyer or attempt to navigate the claims process by themselves.
If you are debating whether or not you need an attorney after a car crash, there is one essential question you have to answer.
Are You Hurt?
Whether or not you need an attorney is directly answered depending on whether or not you are hurt.
If the answer is “No”, then you may not need an attorney. Daily, I talk to individuals who were in a crash a few weeks ago and are fine now and we are happy to talk with them about necessary steps.
If you are hurt, then you need to carefully consider your steps and absolutely should get some legal advice and consider what an attorney can do to assist you.
What Can an Attorney Do for Me if I’m Hurt in a Car Accident?
Documentation: We begin every case by gathering evidence for documentation. It may seem like a simple enough process to most. However, when you are hurt, chasing down police reports, statements and photos of all vehicles involved can get overwhelming. As well, tracking down video if available in a short time span can be challenging. We handle gathering the information and communicating with the insurance carrier so that you can focus on your medical treatment and returning some normalcy to your life.
Guide You Through the Process: Many people have never had to make an injury claim before, thank goodness. There is a correct way to do it. We explain the process and pitfalls to avoid so that your case is done correctly from the beginning. While many people think that you should keep the auto insurance company informed of all medical treatment, this could not be further from the truth. Do not share your medical progress with an adjuster without the advice of an attorney. As well, often people find navigating the medical process somewhat difficult. You can read online about the injury claim process but it varies greatly by state and more importantly, it varies by person.
At our firm, we know that each case is as unique as the individual involved. Therefore, there is no “formula” for your injury settlement and no “averages”. The “process” is different for everyone so your attorney will carefully review the facts of the crash, your medical treatment and assist in developing a legal plan. Sharing medical information before you and your doctor know your outcome is a mistake. Insurance adjusters do not have medical training to diagnose or recommend treatment– they are not actually on your side. The simple answer to an adjuster’s questions about your medical treatment should be: “I’m still treating”. That response is more than adequate. Our attorneys handle all of that communication on your behalf so that you can again, focus on you.
Answer Questions: In a crash resulting in injuries, you will have questions and not just at the beginning of the claim/case. You will have questions throughout the process that a Google search simply cannot accurately answer. Honestly, there are questions that a doctor nor an attorney can answer regarding predicting the absolute outcome, but we can guide you through the process pointing out information and advice so you can make informed decisions. During the process of a claim, we work with clients based on our experience. Based on our experiences we know that getting the right medical treatment, having a good support system and accessing resources is critical to making it through this tough time in your life.
Communicate with Auto Insurance Companies
Our attorneys handle all communication with the insurance company. While this may sound simple enough, it is not. If you are hurt, you absolutely should NOT be communicating with the auto insurance company. Commonly, the adjuster will have you uploading your medical records and bills to their website and asking you to gather records and call them frequently with updates. What point does this serve? Logically, you think that if you are honest, forthright and work to share all of your medical information with the adjuster then the adjuster will grant favor and treat you fairly? We wish this were so. If it were true, we would practice another kind of law other than personal injury specific to car crash injuries. You and your medical providers make your treatment plan and evaluate progress. An insurance adjuster has no place involved in your medical treatment.
We represent individuals who have been hurt in car crashes for a living. We do not update auto insurance adjusters until it is the right time for our client and not before the actual medical providers and you have made the decisions. You and your doctors should dictate treatment, develop a plan and evaluate changes—not insurance adjusters.
If you are hurt in a car crash, there are several things that you just do not know for awhile. One, you may not know the full extent of your injuries. Example, if you break your leg in a crash, you will not know for a good while just how well that leg will heal or if you may need a potential surgery before it is all over. Second, you do not know what amount of time that you will have to miss work due to your injury. These are not fun surprises AFTER you have settled your claim. It is tragic when someone initially has a diagnosis of “whiplash” and they settle with an insurance company only to find out six months down the road that they have a disc injury that requires surgery. After a settlement, there is no going back to the auto insurance carrier when you discover a bigger problem. Once a claim is settled, it is forever barred to be taken up again regardless of it’s merits.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Negotiating with insurance companies does not require genius intellect. The one thing that it does require is experience and we have a lot of that. Again, most people think if they share everything with the adjuster then the adjuster is more apt to treat them fairly. Experience tells us that is not the situation. Our attorneys have negotiated with literally 1,000’s of insurance adjusters and when needed, we litigate cases in trial. Ultimately, whether your case is negotiated or litigated, it is YOUR case and our attorneys do what is best for you, the client. You want to know that the specialist that you have hired prepares for the occasion from the beginning as if each and every case is going to be tried in a court of law. Why is this important? When your case is prepared from the beginning as if it is going to be tried in court, the case is worked up thoroughly and correctly.
Negotiating with all insurance companies is going to be imperative and you want a professional doing so on your behalf.
Medical Treatment–It Has to Proceed Regardless of Your Claim Timeline
Many people have a personal timeline in which they want to expedite their claim and resolve it–the auto insurance company banks on that. Most people want to hurry and close out their injury claim. One, they want to put the whole bad experience behind them and hopefully recoup some money they may have missed due to work. The auto insurance company hopes that you do resolve this quickly before you find out that there is something more serious wrong with you. In reality, our bodies do not always cooperate with our personal desires and ambitious timelines to move on. You have to be optimistic about your recovery. As car accident injury attorneys, we hope for the best but we plan for the worst. In representing injured people, we want to be absolutely sure that your claim is done correctly and you have the best physical outcome possible. You can try to “hurry” your medical treatment but the body and science simply do not work that way. Taking the time to be sure that you are getting the best possible medical outcome is our desire. Our clients that recover fully are much happier clients.
You Have Questions, We Have Answers
Our attorneys are available seven days a week to answer questions as car accidents do not just occur between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Call us toll free 1.800.685.3302 or locally at 314.276.1681