Dealing with insurance companies in the aftermath of a car accident can be a stressful experience. You might not know what steps to take or how to ensure you get a fair settlement. You may have numerous questions. Learning more about the process will empower you to move forward with confidence.
One common question people have after an accident is, ”Do I need a lawyer for a car accident settlement?”
In straightforward cases without complications or contested issues, you may be able to settle your claim without legal assistance. However, in more severe accident cases and ones with insurance roadblocks, you should have a car accident lawyer protect your interests.
An attorney at Milavetz Injury Law, P.A. can advocate for you and help you fight for the settlement you deserve. Our team can manage all the legal details for you so that nothing falls through the cracks.
Common Mistakes People Make in Minnesota Accident Lawsuits Without a Lawyer
Unfortunately, many people who try to handle accident-related auto insurance issues without a lawyer often settle for less than they deserve. Insurance companies use tactics to pressure people into accepting lowball offers. For the uninformed, it’s all too easy to make a number of common mistakes.
Giving a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company
When insurance adjusters investigate your accident, they may pressure you into giving a recorded statement. They may ask leading questions or interrogate you in a way that undermines your case. You could end up divulging inaccurate or unhelpful information. Since the statement is recorded, the insurer can use it against you to deny or diminish your claim.
For those reasons, you should never agree to give a recorded statement to your insurance company without first talking to an attorney.
Assuming the Insurance Company Will Be on Your Side
Most people assume their insurance company will stand by them when an accident happens. After all, you’ve done your part by paying premiums for years. You expect that you will have that safety net of coverage if an accident happens.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are financially motivated to reduce their payouts. Insurance adjusters and representatives aren’t your advocates. They won’t go to bat for you to get you a fair settlement. Your lawyer will.
Taking the Insurance Company's First Offer
Your insurance company may be quick to offer you a settlement. It wants to close out claims as swiftly—and cheaply— as possible. Efficiency and cost reduction are its priorities.
The insurance company’s first offer is usually low. If you accept it, especially without talking to a lawyer, you could end up leaving a significant amount of money on the table.
Settling the Car Accident Case Without Knowing the Full Extent of Your Injuries
You might not know the full extent of your injuries until a while after the accident. Injuries like concussions can result in long-term consequences that aren’t immediately apparent. With many injuries, only time will tell how much of a lasting impact they will have on your life, including how much treatment or rehabilitation you will need.
Sometimes, the doctor’s initial diagnosis doesn’t capture the full scope of your injuries. Getting the whole picture might take multiple opinions and numerous diagnostic tests.
If you accept a settlement before understanding the severity of your injuries, you could end up with significant medical bills that go unreimbursed.
Demanding a Settlement That Is Too High
Just as accepting lowball offers is a pitfall to avoid, demanding too much money is also a mistake. The insurance company might not “play nice” if you push for an unreasonable settlement out of the gate. You don’t want to position yourself in a needlessly adversarial way from the outset.
When you have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side, they will navigate the tricky negotiation process for you and strategize the best starting position for settlement discussions.
Not Including All Damages From the Crash
The financial fallout from an auto accident can be significant and far-reaching. There are obvious expenses, such as medical bills and vehicle repair or replacement costs. But there are also expenses you might overlook, like lost wages from missed work, lost or damaged property inside your vehicle, and the long-term costs of a physical impairment resulting from the crash, among others.
Many people injured in car accidents also overlook their pain and suffering. However, you may be entitled to compensation for that harm. If you don’t request it, the insurance company isn’t going to include it, and it may take legal pressure to get them to include pain and suffering in your settlement.
Ignoring Time Limits to File an Insurance Claim
In the chaotic aftermath of a car accident, legal issues are far from the top of your mind. Once the dust settles, however, don’t wait too long to pursue an insurance claim.
In Minnesota, you have six months from the accident date to file an insurance claim. There are also complicated notice requirements for cases involving state and local government employees.
Waiting until the last minute could jeopardize your right to compensation and make it harder for you to gather the right evidence to submit a strong claim.
Why Should You Hire a Car Accident Attorney in Minnesota?
In minor car accident cases with minimal or no injuries, you can possibly get by without a lawyer. These cases typically don’t involve enough damages to warrant a personal injury lawsuit. As long as you are diligent about following the insurance processes, avoiding missteps, tracking your expenses, and keeping meticulous documentation, you have a chance of getting a reasonable settlement.
In more complex accident cases—those causing at least moderate injuries—a lawyer is essential. You need a professional legal advocate to protect you and your family, particularly in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
If another person’s negligence caused your accident, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney can advise you on that option and take the necessary steps to pursue a claim.
The right attorney will also fully investigate your case by doing the following, among other things:
- Interviewing witnesses
- Analyzing the physical evidence
- Obtaining police statements
- Gathering and reviewing your medical records
- Securing and reviewing traffic camera footage
- Retaining experts, if necessary
- A good injury lawyer will know what evidence it takes to build a successful case.
Additionally, an attorney can advise you on the deadlines for your personal injury case. Experienced car accident lawyers are well-versed in the statute of limitations for car accidents in Minnesota, which is the legal timeframe that you have to file a personal injury claim. If you wait too long, you will miss out on your opportunity to seek compensation.
Contact a Minnesota Car Accident Lawyer at Milavetz Injury Law, P.A.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Minnesota and are considering hiring a lawyer, the attorneys at Milavetz Injury Law, P.A. can help. We have extensive experience and proven case results in car accident cases across Minnesota. We will provide you with the information and guidance you need to make informed decisions about your accident.