Any lawyer will tell you that there are some cases that people can capably handle for themselves. A reputable lawyer will even advise some clients that they can handle cases on their own. In the personal injury world, usually these are small cases – some property damage or a single doctor visit.
However, once the fallout from an accident becomes more than an inconvenience – when there are continuing injuries and treatment – then you need a lawyer.
It isn’t uncommon for clients to contact us having attempted to navigate the claims process on their own (and we happily assist them). After all, there are numerous websites that claim to tell you all you need to know about handling the claim on your own. In reality, insurance companies set up roadblock after roadblock for the unrepresented person, making claims about the law, about injuries, about the insurance policy that may or may not be true. For the unrepresented lay-person, these roadblocks can substantially affect how their case is resolved. The internet doesn’t do a good job of explaining the complexities of comparative fault, causation of injuries, and applicable insurance law. These folks find themselves frustrated, worn out by their interactions with the insurance company, and unable to reach a fair result. After spending substantial time and effort, they turn to us.
Clients tell us remarkable stories from their run-ins with insurance adjusters before hiring us: “You’re 10% (or 20% or 30%) at fault just for being there.” “If you had a previous back problem we won’t cover any back injuries.” “We don’t pay for (over the counter medicine / braces / time off work if you took vacation or sick leave).” The list goes on. The insurance companies know that the unrepresented person doesn’t really know if these statements are true (hint – they’re not) and take full advantage.
We recently settled a policy-limit claim for a client where before hiring us, the adjuster offered a few thousand dollars for the emergency room visit, explaining that she (the adjuster) had suffered the same injury as the client and “it can’t happen the way she described.” We had strong support for the client’s injuries, including physician notes, all tying the injury to the accident and put in a formal demand for the limits. In negotiations, we pushed the law as it related both to the accident and to the insurance contract itself. The insurance company was in the wrong and the offer was finally made at the policy limits.
Hiring a reputable lawyer with a strong practice in personal injury law is the best way to protect your rights and help you through the difficult time after an accident. It’s never too late to call – don’t hesitate or be embarrassed that you didn’t call right away. We understand and are happy to help. Call us at Jacobs Injury Law at (414) 306-8999 to discuss your case – there’s no cost for calling us and we’d love to hear from you.