Frequently Asked Questions - How Will Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney Impact Your Claim?
After an auto accident, things can become extremely confusing and can be a nightmare if you are unfamiliar with the process. That is where an experienced personal injury attorney can come in extremely handy. Most personal injury attorneys only focus on personal injury. If you hire an attorney, it is probably best to hire an attorney who’s only practice, or main practice is personal injury as that is their main focus of expertise and are generally very well versed in personal injury law.
It is always wise to research your attorney prior to hiring them. You can find much of your information online or through the Florida Bar. After hiring a personal injury attorney for your claim, you will find that your attorney has a staff of many capable Paralegal’s and legal assistants who will process your claim with the assistance of your attorney. You will usually speak with your attorney’s Paralegal quite often as they are the main ones working on your day to day items. Throughout your case, your attorney will most likely schedule meetings or telephone calls with you to discuss your claim and answer any questions you may have. While it is extremely common for you to mainly discuss your claim with your Paralegal, if you do not hear from your attorney once in a while, you should question if the attorney even has an interest in your claim. At Trial Pro, all of our fully experienced personal injury attorneys love to speak with their clients throughout their claim and are more than happy to meet with you in person to discuss any and all question you may have regarding your claim and how it is processing.
Attorney can only work with what they are given so if you do not do your part and treat with a medical doctor for your injuries, they are limited to how far they can take your claim and how much they can settle it for. In the State of Florida, in order to obtain a personal injury settlement, you must have suffered from a permanent injury. If you do not meet the permanent injury threshold, you may be offered a very small settlement in exchange for you signing a release and closing up your claim forever. In order to meet the permanent injury threshold, the only way to document your injuries is through your medical records. If you do not treat with your medical provider, they are unable to provide your attorney with any documentation as evidence to your injury. Once you have completed your medical treatment, your doctor will inform you that you have reached maximum medical improvement. While you will most likely never be back to the health you were in prior to your accident, your doctor will state that to a medical certainty, you will never be any better than you are at that point. Your doctor will assign a permanent impairment rating which is something insurance adjusters take into consideration once they are reviewing your medical records for settlement. If your doctor opines that you have sustained a permanent injury, they will assign you a rating according to the American Medical Association guidelines.
Another benefit to having a personal injury attorney on your side during an accident claim is that they are usually able to find a medical provider for you who is willing to treat your injuries without being paid and wait for your attorney to pay them out of your settlement funds. In the State of Florida, you are required to have personal injury protection on your own insurance policy which affords $10,000.00 of coverage towards your medical bills, lost wages, prescriptions and mileage. If you have a valid Florida auto insurance policy, you have personal injury protection coverage. Even if you do not have personal injury protection available to you, your attorney will likely be able to schedule medical treatment for you and again, pay any medical balances out of your settlement funds. Even if you require surgery for your injuries, your attorney will probably be able to work with your doctor and surgical centers in order to pay them once the case settles. If you do not have an attorney for your claim and you require surgery, the doctors and surgical centers will either charge you out of your own pocket or will bill your health insurance which will require you to still pay any co-pays out of your own pocket.
Another benefit to having a personal injury attorney working on your behalf is you no longer have to deal with the insurance companies. The only thing you will deal with is your property damage repairs or the total loss of your vehicle. Your attorney or Paralegal will most likely be able to step in a make some phone calls on your behalf if the insurance company is giving you the run around with regard to your property damage, but personal injury attorneys typically only focus on the injury side of your case. Without having to deal with insurance adjusters, you are free to focus on your injuries and medical treatment. Once you are finished with your medical treatment, your attorney will provide all of your medical records, medical bills and any evidence required to the insurance company to settle your claim. Personal injury attorneys are experts when it comes to negotiating claims with the insurance company and know approximately how much your case should settle for. If the insurance company offers a small settlement offer and your attorney believes you are entitled to much more compensation for your pain and suffering, they will discuss with you the possibility of filing suit against the insurance company. Again, this is much easier for an attorney to handle as they are experts when it comes to legal claims and are able to argue your case against the attorney the insurance company will hire to defend their interests. If the case has to be taken all the way to trial, the average person would likely have no clue what they are doing which makes all the more reason to have an attorney on your side.