Is it Better to File a Claim or Talk to a Lawyer First?
May 17, 2021
Accident victims often feel a sense of urgency to recover compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. An injury can cause tremendous financial strain as medical bills pile up, especially if you are unable to work.
Even if you plan to hire an attorney, you may think there is no harm in getting things started by filing a claim. However, it is important to be cautious when talking to the insurance company, even when doing something as simple as filing a claim. Insurance company representatives know how to make accident victims feel comfortable, which may result in victims saying things that hurt their credibility or the value of their claims.
Below, learn more about the pros and cons of filing a claim before talking to a lawyer. If you have questions about what to do after an accident, give Phillips Law Group a call. Our Phoenix-based personal injury lawyers are prepared to help you with each step of the legal process, including dealing with the insurance company.
The initial consultation is free. Call 1-800-706-3000 today.
Talking to the Insurance Company After an Accident
Many times, insurance companies contact victims while they are still recovering and before they have had a chance to call an attorney. However, you can decide not to take the call and tell the insurance company you will call them back later. You can also tell them you need to talk to an attorney first and the attorney will contact them.
Despite what the insurance company may say, talking to your attorney first will not ruin your chances of recovering compensation. You are within your rights to delay this initial conversation for a little bit.
If you choose to talk to the insurance company first, it is important to be careful with what you say. All they need to know is you were in an accident and suffered injuries for which you are seeking treatment. You can tell them the date, time and location of the crash and if you contacted the police.
Beyond that, you do not need to say much. The insurance company may ask how bad your injuries are or for more details about the crash. However, it is often a bad idea to start discussing these things with an insurance representative before speaking with an attorney. You could unknowingly say something that hurts your claim.
For example, crash victims often feel sorry for being in an accident and may say so. They may think they bear some fault for what happened, even if the accident was entirely the fault of the other driver. Insurance companies know this, and they know what to say and what questions to ask to encourage victims to say things that sound like an admission of fault.
The insurance company may also ask you to gauge how severe your injuries are. This is a bad idea because there is no way an accident victim can know how bad his or her injuries are. Even doctors may not know initially, because they may need to see how you respond to treatment and may also need to see test results.
Benefits of Talking to a Lawyer First
When comparing injury attorneys to insurance companies, it is important to recognize that your lawyer’s best interests are the same as your best interests. The insurance company’s interests, however, conflict with yours.
The insurance company, as a for-profit business, is committed to making money and therefore pays out as little as possible to accident victims. An injury attorney is focused on recovering as much compensation for the client as possible. If you do not get paid, he or she does not get paid.
If you call a lawyer before the insurance company, he or she can review your situation to determine if you may have a valid case. He or she can also answer your questions, and there is no risk of you saying something that may hurt your claim.
For example, if you think you may be at fault, an experienced lawyer can give his or her perspective and this conversation is confidential. That means the insurance company will not find out about it. If you discuss this issue with the insurance company, they will probably agree that you are at fault and reduce the value of your claim. They may even use this conversation as a basis for denying your claim.
A lawyer can also explain what you can do to help strengthen your claim. For example, if you have not yet been to the doctor, an attorney will likely tell you to get to one right away. He or she is also likely to tell you to follow the doctor’s orders. For example, if the doctor tells you not to work, you should stay home.
A lawyer can review evidence you have already collected to determine if you may have a valid case. For example, pictures from the scene, medical records, interviews with witnesses and the police report can all help an attorney assess whether your injuries may have been caused by negligence.
If you talked to the insurance company briefly and they made a settlement offer, your attorney can give his or her perspective on whether the offer is fair. It is very difficult to assess whether a settlement offer is fair on your own, but an experienced attorney has done this many times.
Need Help After an Accident? Call Phillips Law Group
An initial consultation with a licensed attorney from our firm is free of charge and there is no obligation to take legal action. Contacting our firm to discuss your accident comes with no risk. There are also no fees while working on your case, and our lawyers are not paid unless they recover compensation.
Whether you have already contacted the insurance company or not, we may be able to assist you. Our attorneys have recovered more than $1 billion on behalf of our clients.
Phillips Law Group. No Upfront Fees. Ph: 1-800-706-3000
Jasmine helped me so so much I want to thank her ! And also Aaron , i was always scared after an accident , knowing I would have to deal with lawyers but not here . Luckily I’ve only been in 3 accidents but this time it was fast and easy . And i received all the treatments I needed to help me recover ! Thank you Jasmine and Aaron!
Sophia H is a pleasure to work with! Thanks for all you do.
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