I have signed up a fair number of new car collision clients in the last month, almost each with one fortunate similarity: they waited until they were several months down the road from their injury date to consult with me.
In each case, I agreed to represent the client despite the time lag in deciding to consult. It is not fatal to wait to talk to a lawyer, but there are several services that we can offer in the days after a collision/injury that not only assist the client, but prevent numerous roadblocks that insurance companies tend to set up against unrepresented individuals. Don’t misunderstand: you have three years from the date of the accident/collision to file a lawsuit, but I am talking about attacking your case from the day it occurs and making sure you don’t trampled upon.
Let me give one example. I have a client who was injured in a collision where a group of European tourists struck her vehicle. From the police report, it is crystal clear that the tourists were unfamiliar with American rules of the road and struck my client’s car in their confusion during a turn. The collision was their fault. The rental car company initially offered a low property damage settlement check, which the clients were able to negotiate upward near fair value. However, just days after receiving the settlement check (and before cashing it), another insurance company (really just another division of the original) sent a letter that claimed my client owed money back to them because she was at fault! She then came in to see me.
Luckily, this silly letter by the insurance company caused her to seek legal counsel. The client does not owe any subrogation (repayment) for an after the fact determination of fault. They are simply pushing them to sign the property damage release by scaring her into doing so. Another top-shelf tactic by a quality company.
In the meantime, my client has been diligent about seeking medical treatment. This is not always the case.
Many people are conditioned to “go along to get along”, and ignore pain and struggle through injury. Usually, it is because they don’t have health insurance, are worried that they will lose their jobs if they take time off to get treatment, or simply don’t have cash to pay out of pocket for doctors’ bills. I can look at an insurance policy and determine if medical payments are in effect, and to what degree. More importantly, I can also get this process going much more quickly than an individual doing so by themselves. Occasionally, your own insurance company won’t pay the medical payments you pay for, and they may be breaching their contract with you.
I’ve got other examples of people waiting to talk to an attorney. Rather than earn a war story about how an insurance company has mistreated you, just come in and ask me some questions. I will spend the time you need to figure out your issue.