If you or someone you care about has been injured in a car crash then you have probably asked yourself, "why would I hire a car accident attorney"? First of all, you do not need to hire an attorney for every car accident case. Here are some examples of when you may not need to:
1. If you only sustained property damage to your vehicle and the insurance company for the other driver has taken care of it;
2. Your injuries are minor and only required minimal medical treatment care and treatment. If you hire an attorney in a case like this then you may be paying a portion of your settlement to the attorney for no good reason;
3. You are able to reach what you consider a fair settlement with the insurance company. However, keep in mind that you will want everything in writing including who is paying for your outstanding medical bills, who is repaying your health and/or car insurance, etc.
With this being said there are many cases where at the very minimum you should consult with an attorney before signing forms, giving a statement to the insurance adjuster, etc. Examples of these cases are:
1. When you have been hospitalized for your injuries;
2. You required surgery to treat your injuries;
3. You have permanent injuries caused by the car crash; and
4. When the other driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Why should you talk to a qualified car accident attorney in cases like this? Because you need to protect yourself and make sure you receive the compensation that you deserve. Here are some common mistakes that we have seen people make who represented themselves:
1. Accepted an offer that was far too low and then found out that they had to pay back their health insurance from the money they received leaving them with no compensation for their injuries.
2. Accepting the policy limits for the other driver without verifying by affidavit that this is the only coverage available and that the other driver does not have assets to attach. The only way to truly know how much coverage is available is to obtain the appropriate sworn affidavits from both the other driver and their insurance company. There have been too many times that we have heard "we forgot about that $1,000,000 umbrella coverage that our insured had". That's right, if you don't do this properly you could end up falling into this common insurance company trap;
3. Failing to contact their own insurance company to obtain compensation for UIM (underinsured motorist coverage). Keep in mind that there are specific steps that must be followed under the insurance contract or you can end up with nothing from your UIM insurance company because you failed to follow the proper steps.
So what can a qualified Iowa car accident attorney do for me?
1. Make sure that your rights are protected under Iowa law;
2. Handle contact with all the insurance companies on your behalf so you don't have to worry about making a mistake or deal with the stress of talking to insurance adjusters;
3. Find all applicable insurance policies try to make the best recovery possible for you;
4. Handle contact subrogation companies, hospitals, and other medical providers to put the most money in your pocket after dealing with medical expenses; and
5. Provide you with experienced advice about how much the case is worth and if necessary, be your spokesperson in court.
This is just a short list of what an attorney can do for you and how an attorney can help you avoid mistakes and put more money in your pocket than trying this on your own. If you are wondering, "how do I find a qualified Iowa car accident attorney" then you should request a copy of our Iowa Car Accident book which contains a chapter about how to find the right attorney for you and perhaps, more importantly, avoid the wrong one. Request Your Copy Here!
If you have questions about your car accident claim feel free to call one of our attorneys at (641) 792-3595. We offer car accident evaluations at no cost or risk to you.