I tried for months to gather the information requested by the insurance adjuster. I didn’t know what was right, what I should (or shouldn’t do), and how much my claim was worth. My lawyer was able to guide me through the process quickly and I did better than I would have on my own.Recent car accident victim (Nova Scotia)
When a Car Accident Lawyer is a Must-Have
An earlier post on this site laid out the circumstances where it is smart to speak to a personal injury lawyer about your car accident is. We admit, not all claims need assistance from a personal injury lawyer, but there are yellow flags which do require a second look.
Here we are concerned about red flags that, in our opinion, require a visit to a personal injury lawyer with a dedicated practice in car accident claims.
In the prior post, we encouraged you to at least seek out the advice of a lawyer. If you your claim may involve any of the circumstances below, we urge you to speak with a personal injury lawyer immediately.
1. Your claim is worth more but you don’t know how to prove it
You don’t have a minor injury car accident claim. The claim has a value that isn’t capped by legislation – but you aren’t sure how to quantify the actual value of your claim. If you are struggling to quantify injury damages, past wage loss, future earning diminishment, loss of valuable services, or other heads of damage – you really do need to speak with a personal injury lawyer. Claims experience is important to understand the realistic settlement value of your claim. Ultimately, your injury claim is your single opportunity to recover all of the losses that you have and will experience. Most people can’t afford to get this calculation wrong.
2. Your claim has been unfairly denied
Claim denials happen. Usually, denials happen because you failed to do a step required in a particular period of time, or you because the insurance company has found that you are at fault for the accident. There are ways to overcome limitation periods – but you need to act fast. Ultimately, you need to ensure that your claim will be advanced. Be sure to speak with a lawyer if you have received a denial letter.
3. The offer is too low (low ball offer)
Determining whether an offer to settle your claim is too low is a challenging task. The offer provided to you by the insurance company may be low for many reasons (e.g., they are discounting the claim for liability reasons, they believe you are not severely hurt, they discount future impact, etc.). A personal injury law provides helpful context to an offer. He or she can assist you to not only determine whether or not the offer is reasonable but also how to reply to an offer. The classic saying is “your claim is only worth as much as the insurance company is willing to pay”. Because of this, you are best positioned to show the insurance company why your claim is worthy of greater compensation. Let a personal injury lawyer show you how.
4. You are seriously injured
Significant injuries affect can affect all aspects of your life. We see that most people unfamiliar with personal injury law fail to consider one or more of their recoverable losses. It is essential that a personal injury claim accounts for loss in various spheres of your life at present, and what can be expected in the future. Claims for serious injuries are usually tied to claims for higher damages. Generally, the greater the claims for damages, the more contentious the claim will be. To ensure that your claim is well supported you are advised to speak to an injury lawyer right away.
5. You are financially vulnerable because of the accident
You may be suffering from a have long term injury that will affect your life (at work and at home). An injury can render you without employment income and exposed to unexpected medical bills. If you are exposed to financial pressure because of the litigation you should speak to a lawyer. A lawyer can help you to determine the value of your claim, and also provide you with information about lending sources to take off financial pressure. Ultimately, you should not accept a low-ball offer because you need immediate cash.
6. A child was injured
An injured child adds complexity to any injury case. A child’s injuries can be complex and more challenging to detect. The law provides a series of rules that must be followed when proceeding with a child’s injury claim. Given the complexity involved and the formal role of an adult required – you are strongly advised to speak to a personal injury lawyer.
7. The insurance company says you are partially (or fully) at fault
If you are found to be at fault for an accident your case will not succeed. There are many sources of information that can be used to determine who was at fault for the accident. If you believe that you are not at fault for the accident, do not simply agree with the insurance company if they say otherwise. Contact a car accident lawyer to review your case and develop a strategy to demonstrate that you are not at fault for the accident. If you are partially at fault for the claim – you still have an injury claim to pursue. Act quickly as some sources of evidence (e.g. witness, documents, etc.) may be harder to acquire as time passes.
8. You may have missed the time limit
In Nova Scotia, limitations periods apply to legal claims. In general, there is a two-year time limit to file your legal claim. The clock on your claim runs until your legal claim is filed with the court. Merely letting the insurance company know that you have a claim, or intend to file your claim is not enough to stop the clock from running out. If you believe that you have missed the limitation period for your claim, it is imperative that you speak to a lawyer immediately. There are situations where you may be able to save your claim. What you do to file your claim once you before aware of the limitation period is a major factor used to determine whether your claim will be allowed to proceed. Be sure to act fast.
9. You may need expert evidence
Experts support your legal case, or the case advanced by the other party. Expert evidence can come from many sources. Commonly, expert evidence in a personal injury claim comes from a medical doctor or therapist. The report generated by the expert is provided to the party who requested the report. The report, disclosable to the other party, will either support or rebut the injured person’s claim for damages. If the Defendant’s expert has authored an expert report, you may wish to refute their report with your own expert report. Finding the right specialist can be challenging. Experts are usually costly, so it is wise to ensure that you have the right expert for your case. Speaking to a car accident lawyer will be of great value as he or she can review the expert report (and your case materials) and offer advice for next steps.