Reasons Why Hiring a Car Wreck Attorney Makes Cents (Sense)
This short guide will give you an overview of the process that occurs after you are involved in a car wreck and why having a personal injury or car wreck attorney makes "cents" to your recovery.
Free ConsultationsMost if not all Personal Injury, or Car Wreck Attorneys in Oklahoma offer free consultations. This means that you as a potential client are allowed to sit down with the attorney and get to know them, what the legal process of your case may involve, as well as ask questions about your possible case.
You have no obligation to hire an attorney at the conclusion of your free consultation.
Car Wrecks can be complicated matters.You're sitting at a stop light when someone rear ends your car. What then?
First, make sure you and your occupants are safe.
Second, if possible, check to see if driver and occupants of the other vehicle are okay.
Third, call law enforcement.
Fourth, if necessary, accept medical care.
Maybe the driver admits it was their fault. You've exchanged information and a police report is filed. This is when the real process begins.
The Recorded StatementUsually within 24-48 hours, you are going to get a call from the insurance company of the person who just rear ended you. The insurance adjuster or claims representative is skilled in asking questions in a manner that will get you to admit almost anything. They are going to ask you some questions about the wreck, how you are feeling, and it will feel like they are "going to make it right". Newsflash: They aren't. This is what is called the Recorded Statement that an insurance company will use against you later. You might be a very intelligent person who thinks this insurance adjuster can't trip you up with their questioning. However, these adjusters call people all day long and are skllled at what they do.
Under Oklahoma law, you are not required to give this statement, and I routinely recommend that my clients never give recorded statements.
Why? Because most of the time it is not needed to show who is liable for the wreck. Further, the insurance company is not going to offer their insured to you so that you can take a recorded statement. You won't have the same opportunity to question their insured as to whether they were on their phone? Had they been drinking? Were they fumbling with the radio or GPS at the time of the wreck? Were they distracted in any way?
Damage To Your VehicleYou need to make sure you are fully compensated for the damage to your vehicle. Insurance companies might offer to fix your car, but they are not going to volunteer to pay all of the damages (both physical and loss of value) that you may be entitled to receive.
Your vehicle might only need to be repaired and not need to be totaled. The insurance company might not fully compensate you for the $4,000.00 wheels and tires you put on your vehicle 6 months before the wreck.
An attorney can help you determine what damages you might be entitled to and some that you never even imagined.
Insurance(s) and injuriesIf you were injured, you need adequate representation to make sure all of your legal options are protected and that all avenues of compensation are explored. You might need some chiropractic care or even a surgery. You can consult with your attorney about doctors and treatment centers that might make sense for your particular injuries.
An attorney can explore whether there is more than one insurance policy on the vehicle that hit you as well as determine if their are more parties that might be liable such as an employer if the person was driving a work vehicle.
Maybe you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage on your own policy that my need to be used. You might even have Medical Payments coverage that can used to offset some of your mounting medical bills.
You might be thinking that your own insurance company would just pay you the full amount of your claim under your UM/UIM insurance or medical payments policy, you would be wrong. The claims process is a negotiation, even with your own insurance company. Further, how do you know what your claim is worth if you don't know all of the damages that your are legally entitled to receive. An attorney can help you with these questions.
One common misconception I see in my practice is that people are scared of filing a UM/UIM or medpay claim because they think it will raise their rates. Under Oklahoma law, if you were not at fault for the wreck and make a claim under your own insurance policy, your rates cannot be increased.
As discussed earlier, a free consultation with an experienced Oklahoma personal injury or car wreck attorney can help you to understand the complicated process that is specific to your possible case. Free is always good, call one today.