Each year millions of Americans are injured due to the negligent or reckless behavior of someone else. When you or a loved one face a long road to recovery through no fault of your own, you may be busy fielding calls from insurance claim representatives while medical bills and other injury-related expenses pile up, which can add stress to your everyday life.
You don’t have to go through this process alone. An attorney can help you sort through what happened to you and ensure that the at-fault party is held financially and legally responsible for your injuries. Read on to learn more about four of the biggest benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney to protect your rights.
You’ll Meet Key Deadlines
Without the assistance of an attorney, a personal injury plaintiff can find it difficult to meet certain key deadlines that allow their lawsuit to proceed. Each personal injury claim has an “expiration date” known as the statute of limitations. If an injured plaintiff doesn’t file a lawsuit within this statute of limitations, the claim will be barred—even if the defendant’s liability is clear. In Florida, the statute of limitations for a negligence case is four years.
You’ll File Your Claim Correctly
There may be more than one statute of limitations that applies to your case, which can further complicate matters. In many cases, a defendant’s insurance policy may cover some of the damages attributable to the accident. Pursuing a claim against the insurance company for the at-fault driver is known as a third-party claim and is often subject to a shorter statute of limitations than a claim against your own insurance company. If you’re attempting to seek damages from your insurance company, this claim—known as a first-party claim—may be subject to yet another statute of limitations.
Another factor to consider is exactly when your claim accrued. In some cases, this can be as easy as identifying the time and date of a car accident or medical procedure that resulted in instant and apparent injuries. In other cases where the injury can develop quietly over a longer period of time, the statute of limitations only begins running when the plaintiff first discovers the injury.
A personal injury attorney is familiar with the various statutes of limitations that may apply to your claim. The lawyer you hire will act quickly to maintain and preserve your right to recover damages.
You’ll Avoid Working With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies, even your own, are motivated to settle claims for as little as possible. This reality, combined with the strong emotions you may be experiencing after an injury, can make it tough to engage in these negotiations on your own. A personal injury attorney can handle your first-party coverages (that is, the amount your own insurance company must pay to you) and third-party coverage (the amount owed by the defendant’s insurance company), giving you peace of mind and taking a major source of stress off your plate.
You’ll Value Your Claim Fairly
Personal injury judgments can sometimes make national headlines because of the jaw-dropping dollar amounts involved. However, in most of the millions of personal injury lawsuits filed each year, the plaintiff’s recovery—if any—is far more modest.
On the other end of the spectrum, some plaintiffs who are willing to settle for the defendant’s insurance company’s first offer are very likely leaving money on the table. In many cases, simply having your medical bills or lost wages covered won’t be enough, especially if you’re still dealing with injuries that may cause future problems. Because of this, it’s a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney to get a fair and realistic assessment of how much your claim is “worth.”
If you’re tempted to skip a legal consultation by relying on an online calculator to value your claim, you may want to think again. These calculators use aggregated data from other personal injury claims to assess the value of a generic claim. Because they have no way to account for the individual and unique circumstances of your claim, the number they produce is unlikely to have much, if any, relationship to any eventual settlement or judgment.
Hire A Trusted Personal Attorney
Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that you aren’t obligated to pay them unless you recover damages from the defendant. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by consulting with a personal injury attorney. At my firm, Andrew Pickett Law, we do everything in our power to get you and your family the peace of mind you deserve. Call me today to see how I can help bring value to your case. 321.503.4014.