Hiring An Auto Accident Attorney
The main reason to hire an attorney for an auto accident case is because the at-fault party typically has the insurance company or the employer and their lawyers behind the situation. And, so they are immediately represented and they are immediately attuned to risk management concerns.
The injured party is out there by themselves and the people that typically contact an injured person about their case typically try to come across as though they there are trying to help. Unfortunately, however, this is a misnomer as they’re not there to gather information for purposes of helping the injured party, but instead for purposes of gathering information to help themselves.
They are not there to immediately try to resolve a claim. The initial contact and everything that they have is strictly for purposes of investigation to try to uncover things that will show that they are not at fault and to establish that they should not have to pay on a claim.
Importance of Contacting a Lawyer
So, when the at-fault party has the insurance company and lawyers behind them, it is unfathomable that a claimant or an injured party should not have the same representation representing their interest against those who have injured them.
Again, people don’t necessarily want to get into a contentious situation or into litigation or into a claim process, and if they’ve not had some experience in it, then they think everything is going to be objective and go smoothly. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten, those who have done that find out that that is not how things proceed with insurance companies and their defense attorneys, in fact, it’s just the opposite. They get burned by lack of knowledge and they learn the hard way.
And, you know, we do get clients who come to us after they’ve talked and given a recorded statement and have tried to handle the claim themselves, and unfortunately they’ve not navigated it well and they’ve harmed themselves in a process that could otherwise have been rectified by having a knowledgeable experienced attorney representing their interests.
What Are Some Of The First Things You Look For In An Auto Accident Case?
From an attorney point of view, we look for those elements of a case that we discussed earlier about negligence. We want to know if we can establish all of those factors: the duty, the breach of duty, the damages, and causation.
So, any case is seen through that prism in order to be able to say who’s at fault, why, and how did it happen. The jurisdictions we’re talking about, Maryland, DC, and Virginia, are all contributory negligence states which means that if the plaintiff or client is deemed even just 1% at fault, that prevents a recovery in the case.
Going back to what we advise clients, the reason it’s very important for the clients not to talk to insurance companies is because the only reason they’re trying to talk to them is to find out facts that may not be helpful to the client, but helpful to the insurance company or the defendant. This is particularly the case in light of contributory negligence. Things can get easily twisted by people talking to the insurance companies because, again, the insurance companies are not looking out for the client, they’re looking out for their insured or their defendant.
We have to look very seriously at the cause of whatever injury there has been and determine the party or parties at fault, establish the reasons they’re at fault, but at the same time we have to look at our client’s conduct to be sure that contributory negligence does not become a factor in the case.
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