Despite the fact that hiring an attorney can help you get more compensation after a car accident, a lot of questions often come up about when you actually need an attorney, and when it makes sense to just handle the claim on your own. A lot of this has to do with the extent of your injuries and whether there are any complicating factors in your case.
In general, if your injuries are minor and the facts in your case are pretty straightforward, then you might not have much need to get an attorney. As long as the insurance company treats you fairly and gives you a settlement offer you are happy with, then you are probably okay to settle up and move on with your life.
Another question that comes up fairly often is regarding the need for an attorney if you already have good health insurance. After all, your health insurance should pay for all your medical costs, right?
Find out more about why you still need an attorney after an accident—even if you have health insurance.
Health Insurance Isn’t Free, and It Has Limits
To start with, even if you have health insurance, it’s still going to cost you to use your insurance. If you haven’t hit your deductible yet, you can plan on maxing that out on most car accidents. Even after that, you’ll usually have to pay a portion of expenses until you reach your out-of-pocket maximum for the year. And if the accident wasn’t your fault, it isn’t fair for you to be stuck with those expenses.
On top of all this, insurance does have limits. Health insurance companies are not exactly known for being philanthropists, and they’ll do a lot to deny a valid claim. After a car accident, you don’t have just one claim. You’ll have a claim for each diagnostic test you get, each appointment you attend, each surgery you get, each medication you have to take, and each follow-up appointment. Your insurance company is likely to challenge at least some of these claims, which is extra stress you don’t need while recovering from an accident.
Health Insurance Kicks in After Your Car Insurance
One of the reasons that insurance is confusing is the overlaps in the system. For example, the other driver’s insurance policy has funds for injuries caused by the policyholder. Health insurance does not kick in until that police is maxed out. Depending on how much coverage the other driver has, that could leave you on the hook for a lot of money.
Additionally, you can’t expect the other person’s car insurance to pay up without a fuss. Car insurance companies are just as profit focused as health insurance providers, so if they can find a reason to deny your claim, they absolutely will. With an attorney, you have a much better chance of filing a successful accident injury claim, which can cut down on the delays and unnecessary communication with getting your medical bills covered.
Insurance Providers Don’t Want to Pay if Someone Else is Liable
When you go to the doctor to get checked out for an accident, they’ll ask why you need to be seen. That information will be visible to the insurance company. As soon as your health insurance provider finds out that your injuries occurred in an accident you didn’t cause, you can expect them to point the finger at the other party.
Their coverage is not there to pay for other people’s mistakes. Because of this, many health insurance companies will go after the liable driver for compensation. Any money you receive in a settlement will go first to the expenses covered by the insurance company. You receive the remainder. By going after the other driver directly, you save a step and have more control over the negotiation process.
Other Expenses Aren’t Covered by Health Insurance
Beyond the medical bills you get after an accident, you’ll have plenty of other accident-related expenses to cover. You can’t rely on health insurance to cover those costs. For example, if you have to spend a week off of work to recuperate, you’ll need to go after the liable party to pay that. Health insurance won’t. If your car is totaled or damaged, you’ll need a new vehicle or a timely repair to meet your obligations. Health insurance won’t provide that, but a personal injury claim can.
All that being said, we understand the uncertainty about hiring an attorney. It might feel like you’re unnecessarily dragging the process out or making too big a deal of your accident, but the accident will have a direct impact on your life. You shouldn’t be left with the financial burden of an accident that wasn’t even your fault. With a personal injury attorney by your side, you can build a strong case and start planning for the future.
Injured in an auto accident? Take the first step now toward a successful legal claim by contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area.