Knowing when you need to hire a personal injury lawyer to help with an insurance claim can be difficult. While some minor accident claims could be settled without consulting an accident attorney, many situations call for experienced, trusted legal counsel.
Do not expect the other party’s insurance company to tell you if you are making a poor decision when you settle your injury claim. Also, do not expect the company to tell you if you make a mistake that could result in your insurance claim being denied. For that type of advice, an attorney is your best source of information and counsel.
Why are You Filing an Insurance Claim?
When another party injures you, you might receive compensation for your injuries, economic losses, and other damages. In most cases, a liability insurance company pays the claims.
Liability insurance can cover a wide variety of personal injury claims, including but not limited to:
- Motor vehicle accidents, including trucks, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians
- Boat accidents
- Product liability claims
- Slip and fall accidents
- Daycare accidents
- Medical malpractice claims
- Wrongful death claims
- Premises liability claims
- Construction accidents
- Nursing home abuse and errors
- Dog bite claims
- And many other claims related to personal injuries
Liability insurance compensates victims injured by other parties. The terms of the insurance policy determine whether a claim is covered and the limits of the insurance company’s liability for the claim.
An insurance company can accept liability for a claim or deny the claim for several reasons. If the insurance company denies the claim, acts in bad faith, or refuses to negotiate a fair amount to settle the injury claim, the victim may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit.
What Damages are Available When You File an Insurance Claim?
Damages for a personal injury claim include both non-economic damages and economic damages.
Non-economic damages include the mental, physical, and emotional pain and suffering caused by the accident and your injuries. It also includes damages such as permanent disabilities, loss of enjoyment of life, and scarring.
Economic damages are the financial losses caused by the accident and injuries. Financial expenses could include medical bills, travel expenses, medications, and personal care. It also includes the loss of income and benefits.
Calculating the value of your damages can be confusing. Economic damages are the total of all expenses related to your claim.
However, calculating the value of pain and suffering damages is more complicated. There is not a standard formula to calculate non-economic damages. Insurance companies may undervalue non-economic damages, especially when a victim does not have a thorough understanding of the value.
Also, calculating future damages related to permanent disabilities could be challenging. Medical experts, economists, and other professionals are consulted to determine the value of future damages in many cases.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your claim, your attorney documents your damages and calculates the maximum value. If experts are needed, the attorney arranges to hire experts.
Does My Case Require a Personal Injury Attorney?
No two personal injury cases are alike. However, some situations indicate you could benefit from talking with a personal injury lawyer before submitting a claim to the insurance company.
A few scenarios that indicate you might be wise to consult with a personal injury lawyer are:
You Sustained a Catastrophic Injury or Permanent Impairment
Catastrophic injuries include spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, amputations, loss of bodily functions, paralysis, and other life-altering conditions. In many cases, a catastrophic injury results in permanent impairments or disabilities.
The value of damages in cases involving catastrophic injuries and disabling conditions can be extremely high. Many people require ongoing personal and medical care. They are unable to work to earn an income.
The Insurance Company Claims You are Partially to Blame for the Accident
Under Florida’s comparative fault statute, your compensation for a personal injury claim can be reduced if you are partially to blame for causing your injury. The decrease in compensation is equal to the percentage of liability you have for causing the accident.
Therefore, you could receive much less for your insurance claim if the insurance company tries to shift the blame for the accident to you. You need evidence proving that the other party was solely or mostly responsible for causing the crash.
Multiple Parties are Involved in the Accident
Multiple parties can complicate a case. The parties can share liability for the claim. The insurance companies for those parties could argue about the level of liability they have for your claim.
You do not want to become caught in a battle between multiple insurance companies that could delay the settlement of your claim or negatively affect the outcome of your injury claim.
An Insurance Company is Delaying or Denying Your Claim
There is a deadline for filing personal injury lawsuits in Florida. The statute of limitations sets the deadline. If you miss the deadline, you cannot sue the party responsible for your injury.
An insurance company could delay a claim hoping that the deadline passes to file a personal injury lawsuit. It could also unjustly deny your claim to prolong appeals until the deadline passes to file a lawsuit.
Your Child Was Injured in the Accident
Childhood injury cases are also complicated and present unique challenges. A child who sustains an injury could have developmental, physical, cognitive, and emotional delays and problems. Even something as minor as a broken bone could result in a permanent impairment.
You want to ensure that you take all steps necessary to protect your child’s best interests and legal rights. You may need to consult various specialists and experts to determine the extent of your child’s injuries and damages.
You Do Not Understand Florida’s No-Fault Car Insurance Laws
Florida is a no-fault insurance state for car accidents. Drivers are not required to carry liability insurance, but they must carry PIP or Personal Injury Protection coverage.
Your insurance claim is filed with your insurance company, regardless of who was at fault for the car wreck. You must seek medical treatment within 14 days to receive medical benefits and loss of income benefits.
If you sustain serious injuries, you might be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver. Proving that your injuries rise to the level of serious injuries, according to the definition of serious injury in the state statutes, can be difficult, especially if the insurance company challenges your claim.
A Government Entity Is Involved in the Case
Any time a government entity is involved in a personal injury case, contact a lawyer immediately. The deadline for filing a notice of claim can be just a few months after your injury.
There are other special rules and procedures for filing injury claims against the government. One mistake or error could result in losing your right to pursue a claim.
Call Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you are unsure whether you need to hire a personal injury attorney, take advantage of our free consultation.
During your free case review, an attorney explains your legal rights and options for seeking compensation for your damages. You can also discuss insurance claims and learn about avoiding mistakes that could hurt your chance of receiving maximum compensation.