After a car accident, or sustaining any other injury, hiring a reputable personal-injury attorney is one of the most important decisions you will make. I recognize that hiring an attorney can be an anxiety-producing process – you have to ask yourself: does this law firm have the experience to best represent me?; do I trust the lawyer that will be assigned to my file?; will he/she adequately protect and defend my interests?, etc. Consequently, some will delay making the decision to hire a personal injury law firm.
This is a potentially very expensive mistake. First of all, shortly after an accident, most insurance policies require you to inform your carrier (the other party involved in the accident will probably have to do the same). So now you have up to TWO insurance companies, with virtually unlimited resources at their disposal, that will immediately spring into action and launch their own investigation – all in an effort to justify paying you as little money as possible.
Insurance companies know that certain injuries will not become symptomatic for several days, and will try to take your recorded statement as soon as possible. You may feel little or no pain at the time of you recorded statement only to find yourself unable to get out of bed the following day. One of my favorite saying is, you can’t say anything wrong, if you do not say anything at all. The personal-injury law firm you hire should immediately put the insurance companies on notice so they cannot speak to you without the express permission and/or supervision of your lawyer.
When hiring a personal-injury law firm, make sure that you will not be responsible for paying costs or fees in the event that your lawyer does not make a recovery on your behalf. If so, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You also gain the benefit of allowing the firm to marshal its own resources to investigate on your behalf and get to work protecting you.
Also, keep in mind that, by law, there is a time frame after which you will be forever barred from bringing your claim (called the statute of limitations). This time frame varies depending on the type of claim.
Bottom line: you need a reputable law firm in your corner to protect your interests….because you better believe that the insurance companies are doing everything in their power to protect themselves.
Jason Neufeld, Esq. is an associate with Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert P.A (NKP). NKP serves their injured clients statewide with offices in South and Central Florida. The firm’s attorneys specialize in personal-injury cases, including: high-profile automobile negligence and defective design cases. NK&P’s practice area include automobile and motorcycle accidents; medical malpractice; premises liability; defective products; brain injury; and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).