i just want to know if i am going the right route by hiring a lawyer and sue the other driver for pain and suffering? we both have insurance,and the driver rear ended us and currently my husband is experiencing back pain since the accident.
I'll give you a most lawyerly answer . . . it depends! If your damages (medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.) are substantial enough to enable a Nevada attorney to negotiate a settlement that will pay the bills, pay the lawyer AND leave something for you, then you certainly should retain a Nevada licensed attorney to represent your interests. As pointed out, it is usually the case that an insurance company will make much more reasonable offers when they know you have a skilled and experienced negotiator on your team. They love to have folks pursue their own claims without legal counsel, because they know you do not know the intricacies of the process, cannot so readily threaten them with the costs of defending their insured in court, and would rather not deal with someone who truly knows THEIR team's side of the game.
If you can find a personal injury attorney who has experience as an insurance defense litigator, you will have a considerable advantage. That lawyer knows exactly how the claims people "play the game" and are well aware of just which hot buttons to push to extract a reasonable settlement. This includes the astute observations of my colleague about the "Colossus" programs that make the valuation process quite impersonal and objective.
I suggest you call and interview some Nevada attorneys who specialize in personal injury, and particularly, motor vehicle accidents. Find one with whom you feel comfortable, who will give you personal attention (not an assembly-line type firm that will simply accept the first offer they receive) and who is not afraid to go to trial in your behalf. Believe me, the insurance companies know which firms they can push around and be confident that they will not back up a threat of arbitration or trial. Keep records of everything, maintain a personal journal of activities, bad pain days, and medications and therapies sought, as well as any other details relating to the accident and its affects. This will be immensely helpful to your attorney. I wish you well and hope your husband feels 100% very soon!
I have to admit, getting a personal injury attorney to say you don't need to hire a lawyer after you've been hit by someone else AND a family member is hurt could be a challenge. While I won't tell you not to hire an attorney, or even dissuade you from doing so, I will give you some of the reasons why hiring an experienced personal injury attorney, that takes cases to trial, certainly has its advantages.
Generally speaking, attorneys deal with legal problem everyday and are in a better position than the layperson to understand and appreciate seemingly trivial, but often significant issues in your case. While many people choose to pursue their own claims, it is not uncommon for an insurer's offer to double simply because the injured party hired an attorney.
A well-practiced personal injury attorney knows what insurance practices to look out for, knows the insurance company may try to send you to a "preferred" body shop where they'll use inferior parts, pass the savings onto the insurer, and a poorly repaired car back to the injured party.
An experienced personal injury attorney can better assess your case than you can because he/she has seen your injuries before, knows how the insurer operates. 90% of domestic insurers are now utilizing complex computer systems to evaluate your injuries and determine your claim's value. These programs are generically termed "Colossus". Not surprisingly, these programs are not an accurate assessment of your claims because they use generic one-size-fits-all logarithms to decide how much pain YOU are in and how severe YOUR situation is. While many attorneys don't know how to best represent a client when Colossus is in play, imagine how that translates for the average personal injury victim. With that in mind, when you do look for an attorney (you're going to, right?) ask any potential attorney about Colossus. If they don't know what you're talking about or give you some ultra-generic answer, consider thanking them for their time and looking elsewhere.
There are plenty more reasons why you should consider hiring an attorney, but the point is this: Yes, you're probably doing the right thing by hiring an attorney.
For more information on Colossus or other matters, you're welcome to consider our website as a resource. While we are NOT licensed to practice in Nevada, you may find our website helpful. http://deshawlaw.com/
To be honest, if insurance companies did what they were suppose to do, that is, fairly evaluate a claim and provide adequate settlement to compensate for someone's medicals and pain and suffering, there would be no need for attorneys. Unfortunately, insurance companies are in the business of making money. They collect premiums and then fight strongly to pay the least amount possible and increase profits (even if its unfair to the injured person and/or the insured). In my opinion, as the other attorneys have stated, having an attorney who can negotiate and assist with the claim not only reduces the amount of work you have to do, but also increases the chance of your claim being handled fairly. My suggestion is, before you talk to the insurance, give statements, provide them with reasons not to pay, I would hire an attorney to represent your interests. Remember: an attorney represents you and ties to fight for your rights to recover; an insurance company represents its owners and tries to limit recovery.
I personally would err on the side of letting things be and forgiveness, and hire an attorney only if the insurer is truly not coming forward with adequate compensation, but you have to make your own mind up on something like that. Anyway, a few more facts might help people give more focused advice on the topic.
It is always wise to speak to an attorney whether or not you plan on hiring one. This is because many lawyers, including myself, offer free consultations. Please contact me if you would like a free consultation by a Nevada Attorney experienced in Plaintiff's Personal Injury matters.
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