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Mistakes People Make Not Hiring an Attorney

1. Assuming the insurance company will be fair

Many people feel comfortable speaking with an insurance representative following a collision because the representative sounds nice. Sometimes adjusters will even tell people to go ahead and see their doctor and "we will take a look at your medical bills when you are done." Keep in mind that whatever an insurance representative may tell you at the beginning of the case might not necessarily bind the insurance company to assume "full" responsibility for your claim at the end of your case. Often times what insurance adjusters tell a victim of an accident is considered settlement negotiations and what the insurance representative says may not legally be considered to be a promise to carry through, as a victim may have been led to believe.

Hiring an attorney can help better assure that what an insurance adjuster says is not just a "empty promise," but an agreement to handle a case honestly.

2. Providing the insurance company with your statement

The first thing an insurance company will do following a collision is to gather statements from all the individuals involved in the collision and any witnesses to the collision. The insurance adjuster is trained in the law and will attempt to obtain statements which are favorable to the insurance company, so that the insurance company can reduce or eliminate the amount of money they should pay. An innocent victim of an accident may assume they will be okay just "telling the truth" to the insurance adjuster. However, techniques used by the insurance adjuster often times allows the adjuster to bend the truth against the victim of the accident.

No individual is legally required to provide a statement to the adverse insurance company's adjuster. There may be a contractual requirement for an individual to provide their own insurance company with a statement. However, in either case, no individual is required to give a statement to an insurance company without having the victim's attorney present. Having an attorney present makes sure the statement is conducted in a fair manner.

You should know what your rights are before speaking with the insurance company. Remember - - the insurance company is only looking out for themselves. Make sure someone is looking out for YOU!

3. Assuming one's injury will get better with time

Following a collision, everyone hopes for the best. Everyone hopes that the damages are not as bad as they could be, that injuries are not as serious as they might develop and that everything will be handled without a hassle. Unfortunately, many injuries that are suffered in an accident do not instantly develop following the accident. It is medically documented that there can be a delay in the onset of injuries which can take several hours or even days to develop following an accident. It is important, therefore, to report any injury or symptoms of injury to police investigating the accident and to a physician following the accident and to make sure all symptoms are examined and assessed. Report all injuries as soon as possible.

4. Failure to keep/document important evidence

Often times, the cause of certain accidents are not readily apparent. Sometimes the cause is apparent to one party, but not another. Duplicating the circumstances of a particular accident "after the fact" can often be troublesome or impossible. It is, therefore, important to properly preserve and document the instrumentalities leading to and causing an accident. The method and manner to appropriately preserve important evidence for a case is essential to bringing a claim to successful resolution.

An attorney can make sure appropriate evidence preservation takes place.

5. Failure to document injuries

Most people assume that people will take them at their word and will believe what they have to say. Unfortunately, insurance companies operate in a contrary manner. Documenting injuries and the cause of injuries is essential to a successful claim. Photographs and even videos of one's injuries, including bruising, cuts, burns, abrasions, distinguishes a successful claim from a not so successful claim.

Remember - - "A person who documents their claim the best, gets the fairest result."

An attorney can help make sure such documentation takes place from the beginning and throughout the course of your claim.

6. Failure to get witness statements

Often times, following an accident, there will be witnesses who can help support your version of the collision. Following an accident which has been investigated by a police officer, most individuals assume the officer will collect the names and information from witnesses present at the scene. Sometimes people believe witness statements are not necessary because the person responsible for the accident admits fault at the scene. Unfortunately, often times following an accident, the at-fault person will "change" their story about who is responsible for the accident. It is important, therefore, to immediately secure the identification and accident information from all witnesses as soon as possible.

7. Failure to obtain proper investigation of an accident

Following an accident, people often assume that the person causing the collision will be a good neighbor and own up to their responsibility for causing an accident. In such circumstances, people sometimes elect to not call the police for an investigation and simply choose to exchange information with the responsible party, so that the responsible party's insurance company can handle the matter later. Choosing to allow the responsible party to leave the scene under such circumstances can often cause headaches later. Calling the police department to the scene to identify the people involved, obtain their identification information and to confirm the circumstances of the accident is, therefore, the best way to obtain independent confirmation of the circumstances of the accident.

8. Sign a release before all injuries or property damage is known

Often times, the insurance representative for the responsible party will contact the victim, to try to "settle" the case up front. Settling before an appropriate medical examination or vehicle inspection has been completed can cause big problems later. Sometimes people do not appreciate the full extent of their injuries until several hours or days later. Without an appropriate examination by a qualified physician, a person may sign their rights away before they find out how seriously they are injured.

Vehicle damage may also be hidden. "Assuming" there is not much damage to a vehicle under the circumstances where a proper inspection of the vehicle shows much more damage than is readily apparent can cause problems, also. The law also may provide for compensation of other injuries and damages which the victim is not aware.

Signing a release immediately following an accident often times results in more harm than good. An attorney can review the release documents before they are signed and advise you as to whether the release fully compensates you under the law.

9. Assume you cannot make a claim

Often times, people are injured seriously in accidents and assume that they cannot bring a claim for a variety of reasons. These could include the fact that the person responsible for the accident did not carry insurance, that the officer investigating the officer failed to issue a citation or that there simply was no known cause for the accident. Consulting with an attorney can provide insight as to whether one does or does not have a good claim. We can fully investigate a responsible driver to determine if there may be other sources for payment for their responsibility. The issuance of a traffic citation for a particular accident does not necessarily determine, under the law, who is responsible for a collision. Sometimes products that cause injuries are recalled or the circumstances of a particular pattern of injury is a known to attorneys, but not known by the general public. Obtaining a free consultation with our firm can help you determine if you have an injury claim worth pursuing.

10. Assume it will cost too much to use an attorney

Most people have a natural apprehension about using an attorney. They assume it will cost too much to use an attorney or that they can handle their claim on their own. Unfortunately, people who deal with insurance company representatives place themselves at a great disadvantage, as they are usually dealing in the dark. That is, the insurance company representative understands the law and the facts that are essential to defeating your claim. Consulting with an attorney, therefore, levels the playing field, by allowing you to understand the law and the evidence necessary to present a successful claim.

Our initial conference is FREE of charge. We will meet with you and review the particulars of your claim and provide you with our opinion about the merits of your claim. You can then decide if you want to continue handling the matter on your own or if you want us to help you. We will provide you with the information you will need to make an intelligent decision about handling the matter on your own or letting us fight for you.

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Phoenix Metro Office
11240 North Tatum Blvd.
Suite 120
Phoenix, AZ 85028
Phone: 480-905-9114
Fax: 480-905-9113

Central Arizona Office
203 E. Union St.
Prescott, Arizona 86303
Phone: 480-905-9114
Fax: 480-905-9113