On our blog, we regularly talk about the importance of hiring an attorney after an accident, and we have discussed at length the benefits of having an experienced and trial-ready advocate on your side. But, something we haven’t done is walk through the consequences that most people face when they try to pursue a personal injury claim or insurance settlement on their own. Until now.
A Hypothetical Truck Accident
To illustrate the risks involved in not hiring an attorney, we’ll use a hypothetical example: A 32-year-old single mother is severely injured in a truck accident. She needs back surgery, and even after surgery she is highly unlikely to make a full recovery. Her range of motion will be limited, and she will most likely experience pain for the rest of her life.
This is going to make it extremely difficult for her to continue working as a veterinarian, and it will be next to impossible to take care of her newborn daughter on her own. The truck driver admitted to drinking and driving, so there isn’t (or at least there shouldn’t be) any question regarding liability.
So, what happens now?
Pitfalls of Not Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
1. The Insurance Companies Start Calling
The insurance companies will begin calling regularly to try to close the case. If our victim had hired an attorney, the calls would go to the attorney’s office, and the attorney could fend off the adjuster’s low-ball offers and attempts to solicit damaging information. Instead, she gives a recorded statement in which she says she wasn’t sure if she was speeding (which she wasn’t), and the adjuster gets her to admit that maybe, just maybe there were steps she could have taken to avoid the collision (which there weren’t).
2. There is No Clear Understanding of the Costs of Medical Care
Our victim got diagnosed in the emergency room, and now she is awaiting her scheduled surgery. She has researched the cost of her procedure, and she has confirmed that her medical insurance will cover most of the costs of her surgery. The auto insurance adjuster calls back and offers a settlement of $10,000 (supposedly “the most” they can offer given our victim’s previous statements). But, this is more than our victim expects to have to pay out of pocket for her deductible and other surgery-related expenses, so it seems like a good deal, right?
Unfortunately not. With injuries like our victim’s, the total medical costs can be insurmountable. Following surgery, she is going to need to attend follow-up visits, there will be ongoing rehabilitation and occupational therapy, and there is a chance that she may need another corrective procedure in the future. These are all costs that can – and should – be covered as part of the insurance settlement. The insurance company’s $10,000 offer is just a drop in the bucket.
3. The Other Costs of the Accident Get Disregarded
Remember, our victim is a veterinarian, and she has a newborn at home who she cares for by herself. As a result of the accident, all of this is about to change. Her doctor will ultimately recommend that she not return to work, and she will need to hire a full-time nanny who can take on the physical tasks involved in raising her child.
These are major, life-changing consequences, and if our victim accepts the insurance company’s $10,000 settlement offer, she is not going to receive any compensation for these enormous losses. The law entitles accident victims to compensation for physical pain and suffering as well (in addition to a variety of other types of losses); but, our victim does not know this, and as a result she is going to end up settling for far less than she deserves.
Have You Been Injured in an Accident? Contact Morrow & Sheppard LLP Today
At Morrow & Sheppard LLP, we provide experienced and aggressive legal representation for accident victims in Houston, Texas. We take all cases on contingency, which means that you do not pay anything unless we win your case. You have nothing to lose by speaking with a Houston trucking injury lawyer about your injury, so call (800) 489-2216 or contact us online for a free consultation today.