Do I Really Need to Hire an Attorney After an Accident?
I get this question often – do I really need to hire an attorney after an accident? It’s a great question. You’ll be surprised to hear that there are instances where you might not need to hire an attorney after a traumatic accident.
You might not need an attorney if there are large injuries and relatively low policy insurance policy limits. However, even if you don’t need to hire an attorney, it might be smart to consider hiring one.
Why? Because there are certain state and federal regulations regarding the proceeds that you receive after your accident. Additionally, the hospital – depending on the county – will have a lien asserted against any proceeds that you receive from the accident.
This is called “subrogation” in the personal injury world. This means that you are responsible for satisfying any and all liens that are legally attached to your injury claim.
Did you get in a car accident while you were working? Workers compensation has a right to subrogation. Did you go to the hospital in Orange County? The hospital has a lien against the proceeds of your settlement. Do you have health insurance? The health insurance company might have a lien against the proceeds you receive as well.
What does that mean for you? That means that if you don’t properly handle the medical bills and liens that are asserted against the insurance money that you may get, the individual lien holders may come after you. These liens are in addition to the fact that even if somebody else caused the accident, the insurance company may still try to say that you were liable for some (or all) of the accident. Additionally, an insurance company may say that your injuries were not actually caused by the accident and that they were pre-existing in nature.
So, to answer the original questions, do you really need to hire an attorney? Every case is different. Simply put, there are no fees or costs to have a consultation with an attorney regarding your potential personal injury case. That is different than many family law or criminal law attorneys who charge an hourly fee for the first consultation.
I would strongly suggest that anybody who was injured in an accident contact an attorney and speak with them about the legalities of being in an accident. Additionally, make sure that you speak with an attorney – not a case manager or paralegal. The last thing that you want to deal with after being injured in an accident is having medical providers and government agencies contacting you trying to take the money that you received from an insurance payout due to the fact that you did not protect their lien.
If you have been injured in an accident, Dunmire Law is available to review the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action. Feel free to contact Brian today to go over your case.