With so many drivers on the road, car accidents are an unfortunate reality. If you’re ever involved in a car accident, the hope is that it’s minor and barely disrupts your life. When the accident isn’t minor and it results in a major disruption in your life, you might consider hiring a lawyer — especially if the accident wasn’t your fault.
Assessing the Physical Damage
When a car accident occurs, some of the damage is immediately obvious, like any damage to your car and other property. You’ll need a professional appraisal to know the extent of the damage. The insurance company will provide the appraisal, but you can also consult experts independently.
You may suffer from obvious physical damage to your body as well. Besides the initial visit with any medical professionals on the scene, make sure you do a follow-up with your doctor.
You’ll want your doctor to go into detail with notes about any injuries you suffered in the accident. These notes should include treatment plans and recommendations for missing work. These notes are essential for when you go to file a disability claim.
Recognizing Temporary and Permanent Disability
The damage to your body and to your life may be less obvious than that to your car. Certain injuries, such as broken bones, are clear. However, soft tissue injuries are notoriously hard to diagnose and heal. These injuries can include deep bruising and sprains.
Depending on your job and the extent of your injuries, you may have to miss work or cut down your hours. Naturally, missing work impact your finances. Keep note of how much time you’re missing work for purposes of your claim. You may receive some temporary disability compensation.
Permanent disability comes into play when a medical professional has decided that you have reached maximum medical improvement, which means continuing treatment is unlikely to yield further results. Permanent partial disability means you have lost part or all of a body part or use of said part.
Illinois uses different methods for calculating how much compensation you might be due for permanent disability. However, it all comes down to making sure you get adequate documentation from your doctors.
Knowing When to Hire a Lawyer
For the most part, you can hire a personal injury lawyer any time you’ve been injured in a car accident. However, some instances require the help of a professional.
Once you’ve assessed all the damages, consider the cost of legal advice over what you’ll get in return. CarInsurance.org recommends settling the claim yourself if the damages amount to under $1,000. If out-of-pocket expenses plus lost wages are much higher, consider hiring a lawyer.
In that vein, if you’ve suffered any long-term or permanent disability, you should consult a lawyer. It’s difficult to prove how long-term or permanently disabling injuries impact your life, especially if they’re not immediately obvious. A personal injury lawyer will consult with all your medical professionals and be able to paint a better picture of the disability.
You might think that it’s obvious that you weren’t at fault in the accident. However, the insurance company might try to dispute liability by exposing technicalities. Personal injury lawyers are just as conversant in the laws and technicalities as the insurance attorneys.
Finally, some insurance companies start by low-balling settlements as a negotiation tactic. When this happens, a good choice is for you to hire a lawyer to get a fair settlement — or any settlement at all.
A lot of paperwork and red tape goes into settling a car accident case, even when you’re not at fault. Consult with Daniels Long & Pinsel, LLC if you’ve been injured in a car accident.