Why you need an attorney ASAP after an accident

I heard a story recently that turned into a case study as to why you should call an attorney right after an automobile accident involving an injury.

Child was riding with his friend’s mother. Friend’s mother passed out at the wheel and crashed, resulting in injury to the child. Mother of the injured child spoke with the insurance company for the driver that passed out. They had questions as to whether or not the driver was negligent. There was an offer to pay “reasonable” medical expenses and a little on top for the trouble. This was accepted.

It turned out there were several things the mother of the victim didn’t understand:

  • The claim was potentially devalued due to the question of whether it was the driver’s fault that she passed out or not. Had she had an attorney, would could have easily discerned if there was a history of previous episodes, which would then have made a much stronger case…this was not done.
  • The mother didn’t know that she should have used her health insurance to pay the child’s medical expenses. It wasn’t until a year later that she started getting bills, so she didn’t know what was owed (see below) AND it was then probably too late to get her health insurance to pay, resulting in potentially HUGE financial loss from the loss of the insurance adjustments.
  • When the mother was negotiating the settlement of her child’s claim, she had no idea how to value the claim. Particularly, she didn’t even know what her medical bills were, or who was technically responsible for them (she was!), or how to get help with them (see above). Also, she didn’t take into consideration the offer was for “reasonable” medical expenses…guess who gets to define “reasonable” under the terms of that deal? You guessed it, and it ain’t mom.
  • She accepted the settlement deal as offered by the at-fault carrier. Maybe she and her daughter are stuck with that, even though they really didn’t know what should have been considered or what the case might potentially have been worth!

It baffles me every time I hear someone trying to manage something this complex on their own. I get it. There are some successful, smart people out there that feel like they’re totally competent to handle an injury claim. Maybe they can. But what if they can’t? You don’t get do-overs in this business. And every mistake you make can cost you money. Would you start to build your own house, then after you had a big pile of crap try to hire a contractor to fix it? NO! You’d hire a contractor from the start to make sure it was done right the first time.

If you’re in an accident and you’re hurt. Call an attorney. Call me. 919-929-2992. Maybe you don’t need me. But maybe you do. Either way, I can help you understand better what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

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Jeffrey Allen Howard, Attorney at Law, PLLC
1829 E. Franklin St. - Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

(P) 919-929-2992
(F) 919-636-4779

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