Can I Hire a Lawyer After I’ve Already Filed an Injury Claim?
April 26th, 2021|
In today’s “do-it-yourself” culture, handling things on your own that were previously left to the professionals is common. But what about if you tried to tackle filing an injury claim after an accident that wasn’t your fault, but soon realized you were in over your head? Can you still hire a lawyer once you’ve already started the process, and if so, what impact will that have on your claim and your potential compensation?
You Can Still Hire a Lawyer After Filing a Claim Yourself
As long as you haven’t accepted a settlement check from the insurance company or signed any contracts stating that your claim is settled, you can still hire a lawyer to represent you at any point in the claims process. This is a common scenario, as many people believe that personal injury lawyers are unnecessary—until the insurance company refuses to offer more than a lowball settlement, that is.
How Will Hiring a Lawyer “Late in the Game” Affect Your Claim?
While it’s always ideal to call a lawyer right away after an accident or injury, that’s not always feasible. However, the longer you wait to get an attorney involved, the more likely you may experience some of the following problems:
- The statute of limitations may expire—If you’ve only been dealing with the insurance company directly and haven’t filed a lawsuit to get compensation, then it’s important to note that you only have two years to do so from the date your accident occurred. If that period expires, you can’t file a lawsuit anymore, even if you hire a law firm to represent you.
- Evidence may disappear—Personal injury lawyers rely heavily on evidence when building claims for victims. Evidence can help prove victims weren’t at fault and that the other party was, but when it’s missing or incomplete, the insurance company will be less likely to cooperate.
- You go longer without the money you need—Reputable firms never rush claims, but they do work hard to get their clients paid on time. But if you go it alone, the insurance company may drag out the process for much longer than it needs to be.
Why Would You Need to Hire a Lawyer After Already Filing a Claim?
There are five main reasons that you might hire a lawyer after attempting to handle your injury claim on your own:
You don’t have the time, energy, or resources to handle it yourself.
After an accident that wasn’t your fault, the process of getting compensation may seem straightforward and easy. All you do is gather up some evidence, like an accident report and medical records, and send them to the at-fault party’s insurance company, right? In reality, the process is much more complex, and it involves weeks or even months of back-and-forth communication with the insurance company.
Your claim has changed.
When you decided to take on your claim yourself, it may have been small and manageable. But as days and weeks go by, you realize that your injuries are worse than you initially thought. Not only does that mean more medical bills, but it also means more time away from work and more missed paychecks. When the scale of your claim changes, it’s important to have professional assistance on your side.
You need more money than the insurance company is offering.
Insurance companies rake in big profits every year because they are good at reducing or denying settlements to victims. And when victims attempt to get compensation on their own, insurance companies know there’s little pressure on them to give fair settlements. When you go it alone, you’re at the insurance company’s mercy, and they don’t play nice.
You want to take your case to court.
Maybe you do have the know-how to handle your claim yourself, and you even have the negotiating skills to get in the ring with the insurance company and duke it out. But if they continually refuse to pay you the money you’re owed, you have no choice but to get a lawyer. That’s because the next step is taking your case to court, and without a lawyer, you stand virtually no chance of winning over the judge and jury.
Your insurance company isn’t holding up their end of the bargain.
Sometimes people forgo calling a lawyer because they don’t plan on filing injury lawsuits against at-fault parties, but instead, they plan on filing claims against their own insurance. This is common after auto accidents, especially when they’re involved in crashes with uninsured/underinsured drivers or they have personal injury protection coverage. But insurance companies deny their own policyholders money just as often as they deny settlements to the victims of their policyholders.
If Your Claim Hasn’t Settled, We’re Still Here to Help
The best time to hire a lawyer is day one of your accident or injury. The next best time is right now—provided your claim hasn’t finalized, that is. If you’re still in the process of negotiating with the insurance company, or you’re dealing with an uncooperative adjuster, we want to help.
The Indiana personal injury lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin know what you’re going through, and we want to put our years of experience to work for your family. Contact us today for a free consultation.