Why You Can’t Afford to Wait to Sue
You can’t afford to wait to sue.
The law sets specific limitations on how long you have to bring a lawsuit after an incident occurs.
In the case of non-fatal injury caused by a car accident, the law of Arkansas requires that a person file the lawsuit within three years of the incident.
Practically speaking, though, the best way to protect your family finances is to get behind the figurative shield of a pending claim A.S.A.P. Doing so will divert responsibility for medical bills away from you while the claim is being processed.
Another practical consideration is the time it takes to process a successful claim. Negotiations that result in a good return for you take time, and insurance companies aren’t always fond of paying out. By opening a case with your attorney sooner rather than later, the evidence is fresh and the insurer has a hard time reasoning away your loss or injury.
Acting fast, and hiring an attorney, gives you the assurance that the much-needed settlement money will actually be enough to fully and fairly compensate you.
You may be unaware of certain norms that make or break a claim.
If you don’t report your accident to the police shortly after it occurs, you drastically lower your chances of recovering damages.
In a lawsuit over a car accident, police reports play a crucial role in determining whether you will receive anything at all. Even though not technically required by law, official police reports are extremely persuasive with the insurance company.
When you hire an attorney, you know there will be an advisor at your side making sure you don’t jeopardize your own claim in some way, without even knowing it.
Your insurance company may not be on your side.
While most insurance companies try at least minimally to protect the interests of their insured, they also are concerned with keeping their own costs down and watching the profit margin. Because your needs probably don’t match your insurance company’s concerns, an attorney can act as a mediator, and ensure that your interests are provided for.
Rather than face a multi-million dollar insurance company on your own, seek out an attorney with a reputation for winning, and who can represent you no matter how big the insurer.
You may underestimate the damages you could receive.
Car accident victims qualify to receive more than simple compensation for what they’ve paid out of pocket thus far on medical bills, or the amount they spent to repair their vehicle. From pain and suffering damages to compensation for family members who were affected by the crash, there is a wide range of potential legal claims these victims could make. An experienced personal injury attorney is well versed in making sure you don’t miss any one of these.
If your goal is to maximize your return and avoid additional stress on your family’s emotions, health and bank account, let an attorney take this case for you.
Proving who was at fault requires expertise.
Proving liability requires more than just a police report stating that the other party was at fault. To actually prove fault and win a lawsuit—or obtain a satisfactory settlement from an insurance company—a thorough understanding of the world of personal injury law is needed. An attorney includes multiple statutory and case citations in his work and crafts his advocacy for you precisely in the terms that today’s personal injury world requires.
Unless this legal knowledge happens to be part of your work-a-day world, letting a lawyer you trust represent you is not just an option—it’s your only option.
Proving your case in court is even more difficult.
You know how the accident really happened. But do you have the time and training necessary to allow you to jump through the legal hurdles? They are many…
You may not be permitted to “discover” information you need to convince a jury of your experience. Specific guidelines govern who you may or may not bring as a witness. Court procedure carries complex restrictions outlining statements and questions that can and cannot be said during a hearing. Painstaking legal research must be done in order to build even a case that may seem so simple in your mind.
An experienced personal injury attorney has developed the ability to walk a claim through this complex system, and come out winning.
Laws differ from state to state.
Auto insurance and settlement laws are determined by individual jurisdictions, and Arkansas is not particularly kind to the personal injury plaintiff. While 12 states have a no-fault scheme of liability and insurance, a few have a system of pure contributory negligence. Under pure contributory negligence you have no right to sue at all if you bore any portion of fault. Still other states have what’s called comparative negligence, putting certain less-harsh restrictions on your right to sue, and in Arkansas, we have yet a different set of rules governing damages, referred to as “modified comparative fault.” An Arkansas victim of a car accident will be allowed to receive money damages if he was no more then 49% responsible for the crash. Just 1% higher—50% of the fault—and an insurance company or court could justify giving you exactly $0.
With stakes this high, Arkansans dealing with the aftermath of a car accident are well-advised to let a professional ensure that his or her case doesn’t slip over that 49% line.
Understanding settlement options requires expertise.
The majority of cases settle out of court. Once you accept a settlement offer, though, you forever lose your right to sue on the accident in question and on the health conditions that may develop out of it.
Your insurance company is aware of this, and you need an attorney who is on your side to help you evaluate the offers they want you to accept. While adjusters won’t likely turn a blind eye to evidence that’s unarguably in your favor, they still have their own job to do, which depends on saving money for their company. An attorney with years of experience successfully resolving personal injury cases both in and out of court will know “when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em.”
Filing a lawsuit requires understanding a multitude of rules.
A seemingly infinite number of rules exist that govern all aspects of lawsuits. From font and page numbers of documents, to time limits on responses, every step of a lawsuit is one that can have some degree of impact on your claim. When he or she has already experienced the loss and trauma of an auto accident, the wisest thing the accident victim can do is accept the help of an attorney they trust. With years of practice maneuvering this system of rules in similar cases, he will be able to focus his time and energy on the bigger items in the lawsuit that are sure to affect your settlement amount.
If you don’t hire an attorney, you could be faced with financial loss.
As number one through ten illustrate, there are a lot more than ten ways a person can miss out on receiving full and just compensation for the accident they underwent, and can sabotage their own lawsuit. Instead of just missing out on damages for the crash, though, you will also find yourself out the money it cost to attempt a “Do It Yourself” lawsuit…on top of the medical bills likely in collections by this time. All of these expenses you’ve suddenly become saddled with were brought on by someone else’s mistake.
Don’t sit down and take it—let an attorney who knows what he’s doing represent you and your interests instead of gambling on your own creativity.