When you’re seriously injured in a car accident, the money you get through an insurance settlement will be needed to pay for expensive medical bills, time you may miss at work, and other losses. So it’s important to get as much money as you can when you’re an innocent victim of another’s negligence. As insurance industry studies show, you can get significantly more money in a settlement if you hire an attorney.
Here are important details of studies performed by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) and the All Industry Research Advisory Council (ARAC):
One widely noted study done in 1999, titled “Paying for Auto Injuries: A Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims,” showed that people who hired attorneys to help with their claims received 40% more in insurance settlement money than those who didn’t.
In another report, called “Auto Injuries: Claiming Behavior and Its Impact on Insurance Costs,” the IRC data highlighted that 85% of dollars paid out in insurance settlement for bodily injury claims are paid to people who are represented by attorneys.
It went on to say that payouts are 3.5 times higher for people who hire attorneys compared to those who don’t.
A 2014 IRC study, titled “Auto Injury Insurance Claims: Countrywide Patterns in Treatment, Cost and Compensation,” collected data on over 35,000 injury claims from 12 car insurance companies. The study showed that attorney involvement affected what the companies paid in damage settlements related to medical expenses.
Another study by the All Industry Research Advisory Council (ARAC), called “Attorney Involvement in Auto Industry Claims,” found that people who hired attorneys received $1.59 per dollar of economic loss compared to claimants without an attorney who received only $1.26.
Hire an Experienced Attorney to Get More Money in a Settlement
These studies highlight the fact that insurance companies will seek to pay out as little as they can to car accident claimants who don’t have attorneys. They know that they can get away with it because the average person who is injured in a crash doesn’t understand the insurance system, how damages are calculated, or how claims are valued. Without an attorney, the average person who is injured in an accident will be at a distinct disadvantage in negotiations. Big insurance companies have teams of lawyers working for them with a goal of paying out as little as possible to maximize corporate profits.
Personal injury attorneys with experience handling car crashes and other accidents know what claims are worth, which is why it’s so important to consult with an attorney about your accident. As shown by the IRC and ARAC studies, you may stand to leave serious money on the table if you don’t. A knowledgeable and trustworthy attorney can review your case and advise you as to whether you may be able to get more compensation than the insurance company is offering.
You Deserve to Get the Best Settlement Possible When Hurt Due to Another’s Negligence
As someone who was hurt because of another party’s carelessness, you deserve to get as much money as you can in a personal injury settlement to pay your medical bills and other costs from the accident. Experienced attorneys know how to take on insurance companies and can potentially help you get significantly more money than if you handle your claim yourself.
What Will an Attorney Do to Increase the Value of My Settlement?
Insurance companies know that personal injury attorneys understand insurance laws and the insurance system. When you have an attorney on your side who knows how to aggressively negotiate with insurance companies, you improve your chances of getting a fair settlement amount that will cover your current and future losses caused by the accident. When you hire an experienced attorney to represent you, they will:
- Carefully examine all of your damages to advise you about an accurate amount that they believe your case is worth. This means you won’t undervalue your case and settle for less money than you deserve.
- Gather all the evidence in your case, including speaking with eyewitnesses, reviewing the police report, and identifying expert witnesses who will testify on your behalf.
- Communicate with insurance adjusters, insurance company lawyers, and other insurance company personnel. It is not advisable to speak with the other side’s insurance company yourself, because if you say the wrong thing it could come back to harm your settlement offer.
- Fill out and file all necessary paperwork and forms for your case. You won’t be hassled by trying to understand and handle documentation that you aren’t familiar with.
- Work to prove that the other party was completely at fault in causing your accident. If the insurer can show that you also helped cause the accident, they may reduce your settlement offer by your percentage of fault.
- Approach your case as if it is going to trial. When insurers see that attorneys are willing to do all the time-consuming preparation work to go to trial, they will often agree to more favorable settlements. This is because they know they may pay more in time and money by going to court.
Most people don’t have the complex legal or insurance knowledge to effectively stand up to insurance companies. Many people suffering from serious injuries caused by negligent accidents may not have the energy or time to fight for their rights in order to get the best possible settlement. An attorney will take the hard work out of your hands so that you can focus on your recovery.
How Much Compensation Can I Get When I Hire a Lawyer?
No two cases are the same when it comes to how much you could get in a settlement with the help of an attorney. Once a personal injury attorney reviews your case, they will advise you about the potential value of your claim. Generally speaking, though, the worse you were injured the more your claim may be worth. However, this is also very much dependent on the amount of applicable coverage.
Here are the kinds of damages that may be asked for in motor vehicle accident claims:
- Medical expenses for the present and future that include doctor bills, hospital costs, physical and other therapies you may need, prescription and over-the-counter drug costs, and equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, and other devices you may need following a serious injury.
- Lost income when you have to miss time at work while recovering from your injuries. If your injuries are so severe that you are unable to work at all in the future, or you must work fewer hours or in a different, lower-paying job, your attorney may claim damages for lost earning capacity.
- In addition to pain, disfigurement, and other physical effects of injuries, terrifying car accidents can cause grave emotional issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental effects. Pain and suffering damages can help compensate car accident victims for these physical and emotional impacts.
- Exemplary or punitive damages. When the negligence of another driver is especially bad — which may be the case in drunk driving crashes, for example — punitive damages may be asked for. These damages are meant to punish gross negligence and stop similar behavior in the future.
If someone dies in a car accident, family members can potentially get significantly more in a wrongful death settlement by hiring an attorney. Damages in wrongful death cases can include funeral and burial costs, medical expenses, pain and suffering of both victims and survivors, lost income, lost companionship and love, and more.
Contact a Houston Personal Injury Attorney for Help with Your Claim
Some insurance companies have been known to advise claimants not to hire attorneys. The reason they do this seems pretty obvious. They know they will end up paying significantly more money in settlements if claimants have attorneys representing them. In fact, they may try to rush you to accept their offer as soon as possible – and specifically before you think to consult a lawyer. When you’ve been seriously injured in a car wreck, you’ll face expensive doctor and hospital bills as well as lost time at work and even the possibility that you may never be able to work again. You should be able to get as much as you can as you try to rebuild your life.
If you’ve lost a loved one in an auto accident, we know the losses you are experiencing can’t be measured in dollars. But by getting the most compensation possible, your financial stress can be reduced and the responsible party will be held accountable.
To learn how you can get more money in a settlement, contact our experienced attorneys at the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant today. Terry Bryant is an award-winning trial lawyer and former judge with in-depth understanding of Texas law. Our firm will work hard toward getting you as much compensation as possible for your accident. Schedule a free consultation with an attorney by calling (713) 973-8888 today. We work on a contingency basis (no recovery, no fee).