10. Notice Provisions
Many people understand statutes of limitation. These laws prohibit bringing a case after a certain period of time expires. But, notice provisions apply to some types of cases, requiring proper legal notice soon after an alleged accident or wrong takes place, sometimes 30 to 60 days. If proper notice is not given the case dies. That “they knew” is not proper legal notice. In rare circumstances, the case might go forward if there’s a good faith reason, but don’t count on it.
9. Required Documentation
Medical providers are busy. Medical records often fail to fully document all of the effects of an accident and will not support a full recovery. Experienced personal injury attorneys know how to fill this case-killing gap.
8. Still Practicing After All These Years
Football players practice the week before the Super Bowl. Professional baseball players practice in the pre-season. The best musicians constantly ‘hone their chops’ in practice. Active attorneys read new legal cases as they are issued and participate in continuing legal education seminars where attorneys and judges discuss evolving issues. Do-it-yourself, and you miss factors like what a judge may have disclosed about what they look for in a solid case.
7. Free Consultation
Personal injury attorneys nearly always give a free initial consultation.
Internal insurance industry statistics indicate that once an attorney becomes involved, the value of any claim at least doubles.
Active personal injury attorneys develop a reputation in the insurance industry. Why minimize your case by not having experienced counsel who understands the claims process?
4. Inside Insurance Industry Policy & Procedures
What is a reserve and how does it damage a case permanently based on misstatements early in the case. What is the CIB? What does the insurance company already know about you before your first notice of claim?
3. Rules of Evidence
Medical records and lost wage documents are pure hearsay, inadmissible in court. Trial attorneys apply the Rules of Evidence to overcome such challenges.
“But I don’t want to go to court – I want to settle my case.” No insurance company settles a case, at least not for full value, where they know the case is not ready for prime time in a court of law.
Giving statements to insurance companies presents a mine field. Insurance adjusters have formbooks of hundreds and thousands of questions and will not stop until they break you down and obtain information harmful to the case. Insurance attorneys wrote those form books. You should give no statements without retaining an attorney to help.
And, the number one reason you should always hire an attorney for any personal injury claim:
When you sign an insurance release, it is truly a full and final end to your case. Standard insurance company releases include language prohibiting any future recovery even for future effects of the injury unknown and unforeseen on the date of the release. An attorney’s job is to foresee the unforeseeable and to include potential future effects in the settlement. This is only one of many “elements of recovery” that I have listed in another blog post.